Once upon a time…I embarked on a journey back in time. Lost in my future questioning “What next”, I sought comfort in the catacombs of my parent’s basement practicing calligraphy throughout the day and night. I researched and explored everything I could on the subject while frequenting The Cleveland Museum of Art, galleries, book stores, graphic supply stores, local art centers and classrooms, all where I felt most welcomed. During my quest, advisors and mentors guided me into a land filled with parchment paper trees and materials I soon fashioned into tools for my craft. These materials were an extension of me where I initially applied a part of myself for others to see.
Sister St. “K” met with me each week for instruction. Her enthusiasm as a scribe exuded from beneath her habit and her kind and gentle smile was a reassuring hug affirming I was on the right path. Her knowledge and skill was blessed by a power extending beyond the high Gothic arches of the Institutions antiquated halls. I was dreaming while wide awake.
Invaluable words were her gift. Sister watched me work, observing my penchant for wanting to do everything “right”. She smiled and spoke softly saying “Try not to hold the quill tightly, let your spirit move through it, guiding your feelings”. As soon as I eased my death grip (desperate not to let go of the wonderful world I had recently discovered), my creativity flowed with the ease of the ink, leaving a stain so sincere and effortless…reflecting back at me. This was my introduction to the imperative lesson of “letting go”, that we have no unilateral control.
I received two invaluable gifts that year. ‘The Prophet’, by Kahlil Gibran, with an inscription from a very dear friend so profound, it became the proverbial beacon I soon memorized, holding on the forefront of my mind. I practiced writing his words every day. For hours I focused on the form and structure while the meaning of his words permeated my heart, giving me function. The following year while in Graphics design critique, I hastily constructed the assignment presently due. I took advantage of the Professor’s critical focus and impulsively fulfilled my interpretation of the specs, drawing from these two (three) inspirational people. As class came to a conclusion, I scooted to the front of the room reluctantly pinning my work to the board so as not to be noticed, but still get credit. The Professor hesitated, her affect changed and she proceeded to act out the free-form and spontaneous style she announced “Captured the purpose of the exercise.” “How the letters hang together, exposing a balance of positive/negative space…” She asked me to share my process. “How did you come up with this alphabet?” I blushed and decided to come clean, simply admitting that I had procrastinated and created the project on a wing and a prayer, unbeknownst to anyone how literally true that was. I could feel the vibration of my heart pounding throughout my body, so loud in my head that I could barely hear her as she exclaimed: “That is the most authentic expression; THAT, people, is art!”
“No matter how far away you think you are from the truth and the meaning of life, just remember happiness is in the palm of your hand-the problem lies in recognizing and realizing it’s there.” Heath