Thursday, June 08, 2006

~:D E S I G N:~

See these lillies? How mouth-watering they are? They are perfect. Growing in my front yard right now. I hope to create something as close to these as I can get. I am inspired! So I have signed up for Holger Kappenstien's Typeface Design class at PC and I'm so excited. I'll be able to take it providing it doesn't conflict with one of my own classes. Thank you Holger! He says that by week two, we are to commit to a name for the font we're creating and stick with it for the entire quarter. I've a few ideas/options to consider that I'd like your feedback on.

This means "Being with child; heavy with young or eggs; pregnant." Would be really cool to design a face, each character with a bump or elegant protrusion, each balanced with asymmetry, which is how my body feels. Flourishing in this rare life-giving state is fascinating. What better way to honor this special time than to design a face during this transformation? Only drawback is that I might find this gets old after a while. But sticking to it would be a labor of love, if it ended up being difficult. Which is the nature of creativity. So...hmmm. I'm really tempted to tackle this idea.

2. "TOMMY"
I have an older brother who took his life when he was 34. This happened about 8 years ago. One of those experiences that's changed me forever. And continues to teach me things. I thought honoring him by creating a face that celebrates his personality - the best of his personality would be a great tribute. Another labor of love. Tommy and I were so very different from each other. I'd say the only two real similarities were 1. that we shared the same sense of humor. Oh God, could he make me laugh. I miss that. 2. We had the same big toe. No kidding. To remember his presence, all I need to do it take off my socks and stare at my big toe. That's tommy.

The greatest thing Tommy accomplished was hiking the Appalachian Trail. Yep - he was a beautiful thru hiker. His trail name was "Darling Boy" - something our Mother called him.

I was thinking that the face should look nothing like me. It should be physically strong. He was an ox of a person. He was ruddy. Elegant. Incredibly brave. Sturdy. And he loved the outdoors. He would have survived a nuclear war - would have ended up a king if the tables turned so. He did not have book smarts - but an instinctive awareness of how things worked naturally. And he was spiritual. And his anger. Fierce. You'd want him on your side if in battle. Tommy fought off monsters. The only one that got him in the end was what he saw in the mirror. His self esteem damaged from too many poor decisions and a learning disability that left him feeling less than everyone else.

But man - I'd love to make this face out of wood. Wood cuts. Or twigs. Pinestraw. I dunno - some kind of natural material that I could vectorize. (is that a word??) Something sturdy to honor him. I'd want you to look at it and say, "Hero. Thru hiker. Anne's brother, Tommy." And want to know him.

Only drawback is that I want this to be something totally for myself. Is guilt part of my motivation? Or would that just be part of my journey? I dunno.

3. "Anne-Davnes" or "Davnes"
This would be another self portrait. I love calligraphy. Have developed my own style by now, based upon Copperplate. Addressing envelopes with a steel nib dipped in ink is yoga for the hands and soul. I absolutely love it. Can't get enough of it! My calligraphy is somewhat free-spirited and irregular. Gives a nod to the past, but is rather contemporary. There's a lot of grace there - irregular grace. I just love it. Makes me happy.

Were I to turn this into a font, that irregularity would need to be somewhat diminished or harnessed. This would be a face with rhythm, but with a level of consistency. I think it would be terribly exciting to decide which characters have descenders or ascenders that can reach high or dip deeply. I think I can do that, as long as there are but a few special ones without them all fighting for attention. To be a calligrapher who has designed a version of their natural hand for keystroking would be very, very rewarding. I think this would give me the most natural high out of all my options. The strokes themselves give me great pleasure. I know what you're thinking - you perverts. :)

I think this last option is the one I want to go with. but is it big-headed of me to name it after myself? I thought Davnes would be so elegant. It's Norwegian and should I have a girl someday, I'll give that name to her as well.

Saying no to the first 2 options is something I'm not quite ready to do. I want this exercise to be pleasant but to stretch me, too. What do you guys think? Any opinions?


Mary Campbell said...

I love the calligraphy...and there is nothing wrong with doing something to honor your it is a way to share it with maybe it is a gift for you AND others.

Wow, the Tommy Typeface is really powerful...a beautiful, painful story...I love the idea of it being cut out of wood...a tribute to his strength and love of nature...rough but beautiful...sounds like the essence of who he was.

"Gravid" is something that you may really like now...but when you are "vectorizing" all of those bumps in month 8 of your may be wishing you had done something else. I think it could be fun...but I would think a typeface should be a reflection of you...and you are more than just "fun."

So that's my feedback.
Can't wait to see what you decide!

Anne Elser said...

Mary - now tha's really intersting. Hadn't thought of this as a possible gift to others. I'm sold! Thanks for your feedback.

Harpy said...

I love the last one about you as well. It's a masterpiece already!

minus five said...

i'm going to disagree.
because i'm cool like that.

i think the passion you have on this subject of your brother could mean that you produce something amazing. it's still about you because it's your perception of him. and maybe not the same as what he thought of himself. i can't say for sure.

there seems to be a chance for a lot of depth with that one. for it to be something that other people can really feel.

i think pregnancy might be too easy.

and i have an extreme prejudice against handdone fonts. based on a belief that those letters are sacred. and should always be individual.

and no matter the craft involved; a computer is not capable of generating the same power as your hand. which is driven by your heart.

minus five said...

i would also like to note that i will miss coming to your blog and seeing your little kid picture that was on the entry you posted the other day.

it made me want to fly home to play with my nephew.

Anne Elser said...

nancy dusenberry:

Well, fine! I've begun my day crying. Thank you sweetheart for writing about Tommy. I hope you do all the fonts that you're incubating but for now, while you are great with child go with what will give you pure pleasure and give "Bimp" happy swimming.
i love you, mom

maryk said...

ooooh, i might have to agree with your mom.
Love all the ideas, but maybe b/c of the time in which you're going to be doing them, you stick with the pure-pleasure one. Don't know how much work in and out of class it would be, but that may get to be quite an emotional load after awhile. Which is not a bad thing, at all, exploring all of that, just may be not the right time for it.
You can always do the Tommy next. (I sincerely doubt you'll stop at one)

Jason said...

When I started reading the post and saw you were talking about a typeface, I was excited to hear that you were going to design a typeface called "lilly" based off your flower. I can already see a beautiful 'W.'

So forgive me when I say that you'd probably rarely use 'Gravid'. 'Davnes' completely takes away from your natural ability to calligraph (is THAT a word) and you'd probably continue to do it by hand anyway. 'Tommy' has the greatest potential.

If I can continue to put my two cents in, having just completed the class, you will want a typeface that you will use forever. Something where you will use all 52 U&Lc letterforms, 10 numbers, and unlimited punctuation and other glyphs at your disposal. Otherwise it would be a waste of time. I'm talking 80 hours waste of time.

Anne Elser said...

Oooftah. What you say abotu 80 hours plus and the need to create something that I will use A LOT makes me want to create the long lost cousin on my hand - Davnes - before Thomas. I've been on my way to creating this face for years now - so why not make it final.

I think what I'm after is the mouth-watering effect. And this is what I feel when I envision all those fun loops and dips via line stress. I think the heavy-dutiness of Tommy would flow better when I'm not so sunny, as I am now. When I am in pain - that pain fuels me to make sense of the feeling - to work things out. Pain triggers the need to know. Fulfillment comes later. So here I am, sunnier than I've ever been, (cept for those darn itchy legs) thinking - how can I express this beauty?

I think I want to dip into Davnes - get my feet wet. At least - this is wht my heart tells me. While on the side, explore the marks and texture that will be Tommy, without delving too deep into the all those lovely emotions that come with surviving suicide - despair, loss, guilt, rage.... sounds nice doesn't it?!

Does that make any sense?

Man - this is a great discussion.

Other thought I had was to take Tania's poetry class - which I've been dying to do for over a year now. Now there's a very direct way to deal with all this stuff.

The function of pain is a whole other blog altogether. Another one I want to discuss.

Mary Campbell said...

The great thing is can do all of it...when you are ready. Perhaps now is not the time to dig into that loss with regard to Tommy...but rather celebrate life...yours and the one that you and Doug are creating. In doing so, you also celebrate Tommy's as well...just from a perspective of joy rather than pain. I say go with what will bring you the most joy...what are you going to have fun doing? Not all projects have to be gut-wrenching pain-driven tributes to our greatest loss...I say go with the Sunnier Side of Anne...have fun! Save Tommy for when you are in a more contemplative and perhaps melancholy space...when it is not such a stretch to find your pain...and enjoy the beauty and happiness of this time while you have it.