Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Fiona's first four for the year

It has taken me a while to get organised and sort and sift lots of ideas for this alphabet.  I ended up trying to set myself a bit of a challenge - to find peace each week.  I usually read the daily newspaper on my ipad, but three times a week we buy the real thing and sit in our local coffee shop and read the news.

I decided I would try to find the word peace in the three newspapers I read in hard copy - hoping that it might be there twice one day!

It has proven to be a challenge and I am surprised in lots of ways that I can scan/read many many pages of the newspaper and peace appears only occasionally.

I then chose to cut out the page on which I found peace and write a letter of the alphabet within the 7cm square.

I also wanted to use pencil/graphite - it seems a day to day material, not posh, not precious, not hard to find, and I wanted to feel as if peace could be all of those things. The choice of hand (font, letter style) was another challenge - I didn't want it to be fancy but I also didn't want it to be easy, so I thought I would try to write my alphabet in Neuland. This is a hand with which I am not at all familiar and I have never previously written a single letter in that style.

So you can see, I think a lot before I do.

Here are my first four letters.  Now that I have gotten the thinking out of the way they will become a weekly practice rather then pulling together four in a day.

 I am also liking the fragility of the newspaper in a way, and discovering that the graphite pencil doesn't go onto the newspaper anything like it goes onto beautiful paper! Always discovering...


  1. I was looking forward to your alphabet and I shouldn't be surprised that you came up with something so unassuming and serene. I am reading a book by Japanese author Jun'ichirô Tanizaki, written back in 1933. It's titled 'In Praise of Shadows' and it discusses traditional Japanese aesthetics and how they were influenced by Western values and technology. He writes about the predominance of shadow in the interior of Japanese homes, the subtleties of low light and the elegance of relative darkness. I am obviously influenced by the book and I thought I saw this same elegance in the toned-down, humble traces of your graphite on the newspaper.

  2. Interesting the difference the paper makes to the graphite pencil. Sandy

  3. As Ersi serene! And I do love Neuland. They are such versatile letters, aren't they? They can be so solid and strong and BOLD, yet here in graphite on the newsprint, they are so unassuming and peaceful!

  4. what a good idea, and Neuland is such a great typeface. I'm always interested in what happens when people render a typeface freehand -- it retains some of its original character but also gains a whole new dimension.

  5. Always discovering Fi. Well done. Don't ever lose that curiosity. x g


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