Thursday, June 23, 2016

No words...

"Departures"©2010, 20" x 24"
probably the only piece I've done with text on it....
This has been a really tough challenge for me. I've thought about it since it was proposed and have gone through several vastly different ideas. I admit, I find text a challenge to insert into my work without feeling it is contrived. As Hsin-Chen has pointed out, there are those that are adept at adding text and making it part of the artistry....just not me. So, I've been exploring different ways to approach the challenge and collected some random thoughts to share.

One interesting idea was exploring punctuation. As our language uses more and more emojis to non-verbally express our thoughts and feelings, we are using less and less of our historical punctuation, or at least using it correctly less often. It was like opening Pandora's box reading about the misuse of punctuation. The unnecessary use of quotation marks - as in, he calls himself an "artist", or the over use of other punctuation marks!!! Which, you ask??? I'm guilty of these. If you are concerned about them, you can participate in National Punctuation Day on September 24th each year, celebrating and promoting the proper use of punctuation.

I read a bit about punctuation marks that never really took off or have fallen from use such the Interrobang:
Somewhat self-explanatory - - it asks a question in an excited manor, expresses excitement or disbelief in the form of a question or asks a rhetorical question. Wikipedia's example is: You're pregnant

How about the Percontation point or Irony mark:
It was first introduced in the 16th century (!) and became known as the rhetorical question mark, later falling from use in the 17th century. At that time, it was suggested the symbol be called an Irony mark and used to indicate that a sentence could be understood at a different level, such as sarcasm or irony. Seems useful enough...

Or these more recent additions, the Exclamation comma or Question Comma:
"Now you can be excited or inquisitive without having to end the sentence"

One of the really interesting things I read about - and never really considered - was the way that social media and the internet has repurposed some punctuation. In particular, the at sign, "@", can be traced back to the 16th century. Historically used as an accounting symbol or commercial unit abbreviation - 12 units @ $2.00 each, it became a critical part of email addresses in 1971. Also, the number sign (or pound sign), "#", which since the 1800's has had a variety of uses from mathematics to music. In 2007 it was immortalized by Chris Messina when he suggested on Twitter that it be used to identify groups - an thus, the hashtag was born.

#Viewpoints9, #Challenge8, #ideasIamnotusing


  1. Interesting! Thanks for sharing. I was also thinking about using punctuation in my work. But later I found some printed fabrics with words in my studio, so I will create the quilt with them.

  2. Great article, Martha and lovely quilt. Grand Central??? Misuse of punctuation, and language for that matter, is rampant today and getting worse with texting. Who actually spells words out anymore?!? Sorry, just had to do that...

  3. Very interesting! I feel I probably overuse punctuation, partly because I use it Spanish style - less punctuation is used in English. I love the Interrobang! And the irony mark! How did you incorporate them in your text?