discovering new lands


This quote is inscribed on a Jeanine Payer necklace that I own. I used to wear it almost every day. As a reminder. I hadn't worn it for a very long time, until recently. Maybe I just rediscovered it. Or maybe I needed to rediscover it. As a reminder. That sometimes we need to let go of all we know (or think we know) about ourselves so that we can become who we are truly meant to be. This is not necessarily a process with an end. It's an ongoing quest throughout life.

Last week, I had a yoga teacher discussing descriptions during class. How we, as humans, put descriptions on ourselves and instead of those descriptions defining who we are they instead limit who we can become. The example he used was learning a foreign language. For instance one would say "I don't speak Spanish." When actually, they just haven't learned to speak Spanish. Yet.

I've felt this way about different aspects of design from time to time. One of those being lettering. I've always thought "I can't hand letter" when actually, I've never put the time in to practice lettering. I've taught myself many things. How to sew, how to refinish a piece of furniture, how to cook, how to be a graphic designer- including learning all the CS programs on my own when I first started out. And I wasn't any good at any of those things when I first started. So what has been holding me back? The answer: me. Looking around at all these perfect, beautiful things on this internet that we all love, and forgetting that most of the time the images we see are the end. Not the beginning. Not the patience, and the practice, and the versions thrown in the trash. It's easy to forget this since things I find remarkably beautiful are generally things that also look and feel effortless. 

So it's something I'm going to start practicing. And hopefully I won't be too shy to share my progress here from time to time. Because I'm not good- right now. But I hope to get better.  I was actually pretty inspired by Lisa Congdon's 365 days of hand lettering, and this podcast interview of her. It's interesting to learn how she feels about her process and work changing over time as a self taught artist.

There's another line at the end of this quote that is missing (which I didn't discover until recently) which reads "for a very long time." Also an important reminder. When you are in the middle of the ocean, you can either panic and go back in the direction you came from, or you can steady yourself in the face of the wind and press forward. And discover something wholly new and wonderful.

image by sarah: very sarie