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Focusing: the Flow of Ideas, Strokes and Inspiration: Teaching Calligraphy and Designed Exploration

Focusing: the Flow of Ideas, Strokes and Inspiration: Teaching Calligraphy and Designed Exploration

A study of letterforms, the calligraphic drawing of educational references, paleography and alphabetic history, photographic brand boards, broadsides on rhythm and stroke fluency

Focusing: the Flow of Ideas, Strokes and Inspiration: Teaching Calligraphy and Designed Exploration
Focusing: the Flow of Ideas, Strokes and Inspiration: Teaching Calligraphy and Designed Exploration
Focusing: the Flow of Ideas, Strokes and Inspiration: Teaching Calligraphy and Designed Exploration

Tomoko Arakawa and Michael Kennedy: practicing.
Focusing: the Flow of Ideas, Strokes and Inspiration: Teaching Calligraphy and Designed Exploration

Alphabetic drawing with

a chisel-cut carpenter’s pencil

Focusing: the Flow of Ideas, Strokes and Inspiration: Teaching Calligraphy and Designed Exploration

In an earlier journey, exploring the hand drawing of letterforms, with a team from Girvin, Inc., and it was about finding motion, gesture, the curve, the light and the dark, what is seen and stroked, and what is left blank — untouched. I’ve been teaching calligraphy, once again. For now, it’s a cadre of Girvin designers. That tradition began in 1976. And continues in workshops today.

During that workshopping day, I had another reconnection with friends from the past — long past.

Focusing: the Flow of Ideas, Strokes and Inspiration: Teaching Calligraphy and Designed Exploration
Working sheet and demonstration of fundamental 15th century Italian alphabet, a quick sequence of letters, working sheet and gesture monogram knots.

These were friends, fellow students, from the Evergreen State College. In an earlier run to Olympia, I’d gone back to the Evergreen State College, reconnecting with the Media Lab there — which is now newly named the LyndaLab — there’s a room that’s especially dedicated to her contributions to the school.

Lynda, along with her husband, Bruce Heavin, founded Lynda.com. We noted something more on her — a grand transition..More on her, here: http://www.womenandbiz.com/2008/09/16/interview-lynda-weinman-founder-lyndacom/. And her site is here: http://www.lynda.com/.

Along with Lynda and Bruce, there was Linda Stone. And the story on Linda Stone — also an Evergreener — can be found here: http://lindastone.net/. All amazing people.

All of them came to the office, and we spent just an hour, exploring books, design, the office, meeting people, exploring ideas.

In a way, it all comes back to the idea of how is the story told — one, the breath of the teller, recalling the tales of the experiencer; another, two, the transcribing of that story — what is called beyond and carried into a point of new certainty, it has a place. And three, the imagination of the listener — a listener that might be sitting, sifting into the telling of the story, to another, who is reading and embracing the telling of a story.

Focusing: the Flow of Ideas, Strokes and Inspiration: Teaching Calligraphy and Designed Exploration
A calligraphic knot, along with the original worksheet, from the Girvin / Evergreen State College workshops, 1975

Beautiful — what was old, what was new, what could be found, and what is recalled — and newly discovered.

The letter form is a bundling of the idea, curves and black, light, openings, structuring, the architecture of speak, the thought, scribed. But it — the transformational scribing, too, is magical — it is a transformational art — capturing the spoken and placing it in text, like other design — a mark creates a place, a plane, a portal that wasn’t there before — a door opens — and you, the viewer and journeyer pass through.

tim | olympia, washington | The Evergreen State College

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