Here we are in the studio with lesson two of the Playful Muse series: making marks on brown paper with sticks, bamboo pens and strange nibs, fingers, etc. My Muse Group friends in Sebastopol will recognize this lesson from my visit last March! We in the Olympia Muse Group chapter had fun with it too! Just getting started with it in this picture.
Everyone got a long sheet of brown craft paper to make random expressive marks on, the idea being that interesting things would happen spontaneously, and could be cut out and used as collage pieces in another work.
One suggestion was to try writing, preferably with unusual implements, in an invented style. This practice has been called asemic writing, defined as
a wordless open semantic form of writing. The word asemic means “having no specific semantic content”, or “without the smallest unit of meaning”. With the non-specificity of asemic writing there comes a vacuum of meaning, which is left for the reader to fill in and interpret. [Wikipedia]
In other words, Asemic writing is sort of a tease. In wanting to make sense of it, because it is, after all, writing or appears to be, we go out on a limb and come up with some sensation at least, that feels like meaning and we like it!
In preparation for the class I tried a number of mark making approaches with Chinese black ink, charcoal and gesso. I just love the combination of those three. Included is asemic writing. And the general effect is, well, very Wabi Sabi!
Here they are laid out together with some other possible collage pieces tucked in. This shows step two, which is to find some other collage pieces that may interact in some way with the exploratory beginnings on the brown paper. The linear thinking part of the brain goes into overload trying to make sense of all this confusion and blows a fuse.
Now you’re free to cut things out, move them around, and reassemble, still holding off trying to make logical sense of what the poetic pictorial mind, heedless of logic! is constructing.
She speaks with two voices in song
One a night creature on transparent wings
Sprinkling stardust and hooting
The other appearing as a saint
Or a goddess made of saplings and mist
Both writing their names in ancient
Tongues on the forest floor.
I always stick to the 10″X11″ size watercolor paper format for the finished pieces and put them in a loose book format. This archives them with the writing. At this point I have 48 books worth or 760 pieces I call Conversations with the Muse! and all of them archived on this blog. But this format is not for everyone and my students have adopted many different formats.
Here’s some more of the Olympia students’ mark making play. Wouldn’t you love to have at it?!!