Tag Archives: fonts

Spring Is the Mischief in Me

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And then you have to read the next couple lines in the poem.

With the comic finally put to bed, 11 days late, I managed to get a seasonal bulletin board up; the image hadn’t been changed since mid-December and now it’s basically spring in Tucson, even though the weather has been unseasonably cold.

The quote is from Robert Frost’s “Mending Wall,” which was first published 104 years ago, yet presciently questions the point of a meaningless wall.

The letter art for the word “spring” is all original, of course, although I did look at some animal alphabets for inspiration on the S and the G. The S is supposed to be a vermillion flycatcher, the P is a lemon bud, the R is a monarch butterfly, the I is a desert marigold, the N is a long-suffering saguaro, and the G is a gecko. The small block letter are just the easiest style to cut by hand, and the lettering of “mischief” is based on a Harry Potter inspired font called “Mischief Managed.” The other animals are a hummingbird, a jackrabbit, some kind of fish, and a gambrel’s quail. I feel like it needed more animals, but The Man wanted me at home and the school is closed until Monday (in Tucson we don’t celebrate President’s Day, but we get 2 days for Festival of Vaqueros: the rodeo).

Maybe I should go back Monday and give the rabbit some whiskers, and take a better picture. We’ll see. My massage therapist also suggested that I should let my creating hand rest a little bit.

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Alphabet of Desire Part 1

Title for the Alphabet of Desire. The lettering is based on Gothic Versals.

Title for the Alphabet of Desire. The lettering is based on Gothic Versals.

I don’t remember where I first heard the term “Alphabet of Desire,” a magical device invented by artist Austin Osman Spare, but it was something that synchronistically popped up here and there, until it occupied a firm space in my mind. I went so far as to sketch out the ideas I would use in my own Alphabet of Desire, and would find them every couple months or so.

The first initial cap for my acrostic novella. The wood symbolizes the Tarot wands and the concept of generation. A sprouting stick signifies new beginnings and earthly ventures. The snake represents the mystic male generative principle.

The first initial cap for my acrostic novella. The wood symbolizes the Tarot wands and the concept of generation. A sprouting stick signifies new beginnings and earthly ventures. The snake represents the mystic male generative principle.

At the same time, I had also been long kicking around an idea of writing a story whose plot was based on the Tarot’s journey of the Fool (i.e. a work of twenty-two segments, each based on a Major Arcana).

For every chapter of the Alphabet of Desire, I also do a page of hand drawn letters in various fonts, which serves as a centering exercise.

For every chapter of the Alphabet of Desire, I also do a page of hand drawn letters in various fonts, which serves as a centering exercise.

The Breezeway Part 2

Winter 2013. I had the idea for the bird first and found the Maya Angelou quote after I did the image.

Winter 2013. I had the idea for the bird first and found the Maya Angelou quote after I did the image.

For the last four or five years, this bulletin board has been my baby. While the wind has, on more than one occasion, ripped my work from the wall, while a PTA mom has, on more than one occasion, tried to hijack my real estate with badly rendered licensed characters, this space, where I create ephemeral works of art for children, is regarded as mine, and most staff and students seem interested in seeing what comes next.

Winter 2011, One of my favorites. The poem is by a local poet called Ofelia Zepeda. At the time, my husband worked at the same university where she teaches and, unbeknownst to me, forwarded her this image! She wrote back that she found it beautiful. I was a little embarrassed, but 2 years later when I happened to meet Ofelia Zepeda at the Tucson Festival of Books, I was glad to have a funny story to share with her.

Winter 2011, One of my favorites. The poem is by a local poet called Ofelia Zepeda. At the time, my husband worked at the same university where she teaches and, unbeknownst to me, forwarded her this image! She wrote back that she found it beautiful. I was a little embarrassed, but 2 years later when I happened to meet Ofelia Zepeda at the Tucson Festival of Books, I was glad to have a funny story to share with her.

I work almost entirely in cut colored paper, either the butcher type paper that comes in a long roll, or sturdy sheets of construction paper, using rubber cement and staples. Periodically, the work requires other elements (paint pens, string), but generally it’s just the paper, the glue, and the staples. Since these murals are exposed to the elements, the colors fade quickly and need replacement every six or eight weeks. All the letters are hand-drawn and hand-cut. Some of the fonts come from books, others from my own mind. Most bulletin boards take around six or eight hours to complete. The most complicated one (the Tohono O’odham Man in the Maze) took about fourteen hours.

Winter 2014, the Tohono O'odham Man in the Maze

Winter 2014, the Tohono O’odham Man in the Maze

The Breezeway Part 1

My first completed bulletin board, Halloween 2009.

My first completed bulletin board, Halloween 2009. I made up the bone letters. The other font came from a book in the library’s collection.

There’s a bulletin board outside the elementary school library where I volunteer, a scabrous, peeling wreck of old cork, exposed to the elements (this is Arizona, where year-round outdoor living means we keep a lot of things outside that northerners would never consider subjecting to the wind and rain) but prominently positioned in a breezeway through which most students and teachers regularly pass.

Winter, 2009 (I think)

Winter, 2009 (I think). These snowflakes are all hand cut, of course. The big one was a lot of fun to cut, but not that easy to affix to the wall.

Due to unconscionable budget inadequacies (this is Arizona, where certain people don’t understand the connection between funding education and creating a healthy and robust standard of living) I’ve held various degrees of responsibility in this library, including, for certain periods, being the only person to staff it in any way and basically completely in charge, with the principal’s blessing.

 

Summer, 2010. Even though school's not in session, I like to put something up for the kids and adult in camp and summer school on this campus.

Summer, 2010. Even though school’s not in session, I like to put something up for the kids and adult in camp and summer school on this campus.