Monday, January 12, 2015

Words, words, words...

Back in my college days I was a big fan of the silkscreen artist, Sister Corita Kent. She was a Catholic nun and very much associated with the socially conscious mood of the country, addressing issues such as civil rights and the Viet Nam war. I loved her clear, bright color sense, her clean, strong compositions and her hand-cut lettering. Always the lettering, because her work was all about words.



Though her work went out of style after her death in 1986, it till speaks to me.

I wonder why I have never tried using words on a piece of my own work. Now that I think about it, it seems so right up my alley. As a graphic designer, my favorite part of it was typography. Now I have a really good opportunity. Oregon SAQA put out a call for artists for a work inspired by a piece of writing. I am rolling it around in my mind and decided to just see how tedious it might be to hand-cut the letters for a favorite Shakespeare quote. Cutting the letters is the way I want to do it. Painting or stitching or stamping would not produce the look I want.

It wasn't hard to do this much.

I wonder if I have the patience to cut the rest of the passage...

And just because we are talking about Sister Corita, I have long loved her list of "rules". Perhaps you will find something useful here:

Some Rules for teachers and Students from Sister Corita Kent

RULE ONE: Find a place you trust, and then try trusting it for awhile.

RULE TWO: General duties of a student — pull everything out of your teacher; pull everything out of your fellow students.

RULE THREE: General duties of a teacher — pull everything out of your students.

RULE FOUR: Consider everything an experiment.

RULE FIVE: Be self-disciplined — this means finding someone wise or smart and choosing to follow them. To be disciplined is to follow in a good way. To be self-disciplined is to follow in a better way.

RULE SIX: Nothing is a mistake. There’s no win and no fail, there’s only make.

RULE SEVEN: The only rule is work. If you work it will lead to something. It’s the people who do all of the work all of the time who eventually catch on to things.

RULE EIGHT: Don’t try to create and analyze at the same time. They’re different processes.

RULE NINE: Be happy whenever you can manage it. Enjoy yourself. It’s lighter than you think.

RULE TEN: "We’re breaking all the rules. Even our own rules. And how do we do that? By leaving plenty of room for X quantities." (John Cage)

HINTS: Always be around. Come or go to everything. Always go to classes. Read anything you can get your hands on. Look at movies carefully, often. Save everything — it might come in handy later.



  1. I love Corita,' s work, too

  2. Anonymous9:26 PM

    I have always been a fan of Sister Corita. Her words have always inspired me. I think it was the simplicity of her style and her words that touched me. Let her words guide you. I'll be anxious to see where you go with this challenge.

  3. one of my sweetest memories was a day with Sister Corita; I was a new mother living in Seal Beach CA and the workshop was a gift from my mother-in-law...truly a big inspiration for my life of work in textiles. ...along with a workshop for using lettering in art with Pat Russell, a calligrapher and textile artist from England. Thank you for stirring the memories to the surface...letters and words have power. Kristin