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GIRVIN | Strategic Branding & Design | Seattle

GIRVIN | Strategic Branding & Design | New York

Layering content, the palimpsest of meaning
Brand story, the layering of content
A calligraphic broadside, a gift, for speakers and presenting participants at The Evergreen State College 40th Anniversary.

When I was a student, library adviser, workshop instructor and finally, faculty member [graduate ’75] at The Evergreen State College (the 70s – c’76) — I drew large banners on specially-ordered paper — huge rolls that were hung as announcements of events, talks, workshops. Apparently widely recalled by friends and other fellow students, I used them, to demonstrate as well, in the drawing and calligraphy workshops to notate alphabets, ideas, gestures in rhythm, work to music, pen dance. Those, too, are recalled by friends, students or colleagues.

The notion of palimpsest relates to messages that lie beneath — that might be one level of content, then another, then another. This, all drawn, then printed on vellum — two sided, for showing through the tracing-paper like quality of the finished stock. They are signed in an edition of 100. The party is tonight.

The idea of palimpsest, these days, is a holistic risk – it presumes that people will dig, to uncover what lies beneath and that they’ll read [and care to explore]. But, most importantly, that people will read. Who reads – who might consider unearthing the puzzlement of a symbolic threading of messages in a layering of art, message, beauty, mystery?

The point is, of course, if you’ve gotten this far is — would you?

The point, to my take, related to my earliest experience at the college — which was, then, experiment. The professors were smart, amazing people, but not longstanding and tenured; freshly thrown into the Matrix of change, which was then, the crucible of change.

To create a gift, I thought of a layering of attitudes, messages, some poetic recollections, meditations on the Evergreen State College.

Threading the tracery of the underpinnings of exploration — they loop

Layering the mind, context, message — conscious and subconscious, dream and wakening — psychical and physical — the obvious, and the newly discovered unknown dimensions of experience.

The coniferous evergreens are everywhere. They are, ever green. Ever green. Ever flourishing, ever opening.

Mud was big — but what does mud mean but, earth made loose, liquid earth — it’s solid, but fluent.

Change and “instability” presume innovation — things, ideas, directions can’t be “stable” if the horizon line of thinking is endlessly evolving.

The art, the allegory, the layering, the threading of the calligraphic messaging is here; the sequencing of the layering:

In the Chinese system and appraisal of painting – capturing energy is key — but it, too, is the stroke that is seen and known, as well as the ghost stroke that is “not there.” The white of the paper, the black of the ink – what form, formlessness, lies between? What can be seen, the containment, the ghost stroke that isn’t a stroke, but the murmuring of an idea:

Brand story, the layering of content
Thread + tracery — ideas in wheeling and arcing gesture.
Brand story, the layering of content
Layer — access, sensibility, intelligence, “get-it” content — persuasion and expression, direct messaging, the middle layer [2].
Brand story, the layering of content
Layer [3] — Ever-green mind — the swooshing openness: ever green, ever open — this, the stroke seen.
Brand story, the layering of content
The [4th] layer: Solidity + fluency = instability [the Chinese character] which might be, too, translated a the luck, the risk, of the gamble [chance prevails, in everything, nothing: to certainty– and evinced in the flow of mud:
Brand story, the layering of content
The [5th] tier. Change — the cursive storytelling, another conversation, the last layer — like a close, explanatory, un-presuming, modest — “all new, all change, all ways” — the evergreen mind[ed] way of life.
Brand story, the layering of content

It is a way of life — ever-green, ever open, solid, but fluent thinking, susceptible to the immanency of change, ever-impermanance; everything is young, newly moving, flowing — green and alive.

Personally, I believe that I was allowed to flourish — the college made itself around me, my needs — I was brought into the cauldron of that community, made part of the weaving, became tapestry, and went on to teach others, share, explore, change and beautify.

Blessings, grasped, known, loved and shared.

t i m | GIRVIN | The Pike Place Market
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