Sunday, October 29, 2017

Deep space

Calligraphers, like other artists, reflect the time they live in.  Medieval scribes and illuminators saw their universe as a starry bowl inverted over the world. That style still charms us.  

Today we can see much more of the sky up there. Cassini, the recent space probe to Saturn, sent back pictures from up close, while orbiting telescopes show us fantastical clouds, clusters, and explosions we could not imagine. We don't need to be limited to the medieval point of view when we can mine such a rich visual source. 

I have been working on a Song of Songs text that suggested a whirling vortex of passion, V: 2 - 6.  I knew that quaint medieval stars would not do justice to the intensity of a night-time encounter that ranges from ecstasy to despair.  I'll be working on the layout this week; maybe a few weeks to come.     
I wanted to arrange the words in what we now know is the shape of a galaxy, with a hot core and long trail of stars (suns), collapsing double stars, planets, black holes, space dust, exploding novas, and other matter. All of this, while using only letters, pens, and colored ink.   

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