From stardust we are fired and scattered, aggregated and evolved, only to spend our limited existence seeking to aggregate, create, and evolve quickly before the light burns away back into stardust.
I wrote that one day at my local coffee shop in the middle of writing something else entirely. Apparently, while one part of my brain was focused on a certain task, another part was mulling this concept over. It came to me almost fully formed, and I scribbled it down before I could forget it. The next thing I did was put away my iPad and hand lettered my new mantra. After that, I shoved what I’d lettered in the back of a sketchbook and almost forgot about it.
A couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of taking a workshop from Yukimi Anand, called Text & Texture. Part of our supply list was a favorite quote about nature that we would each use to letter over and over throughout the exercises. The idea was that the feeling of the quote would come through even as the letters transformed into texture rather than readable text. Choosing what I’d written about stardust must have been a good idea because I noticed Yukim copied it down in her notebook. She smiled at me rather wanly and said, “‘Limited existence,’ yes.”
As my friend Nick Bantock once said, there is something magical about text you can’t quite read. Perhaps it’s because our literate brains automatically know to try to fill in the gaps. When we can’t quite make sense of things, we are lulled into letting our imaginations fill in those gaps. Magic happens when imagination leaps over reason to allow new possibilities to come to the forefront of our minds.
The idea that all of the molecules that make up us and everything around us were once cooked in a star is just mind blowingly cool. It doesn’t get any cooler than that for me. All the materials I work with, all the gold, silver, rocks, vellum, pigments, tools, brushes, graphite, all of them and I can trace our roots back to the same source: the stars. With these materials, I am in a perpetual race against time to be the alchemist that transforms them before life and the cosmos do it for me.