Once again I have ink-stained fingers from cleaning my Rotring technical pens, trying to persuade them to work after a long hiatus while we moved house last year. It took two hours of Saturday plus Sunday morning to restore them because they had been left unused lying on their sides for so long. There was ink everywhere, but the joy when they finally started running again made it all worthwhile! It was like being reunited with very old friends I hadn’t seen for quite some time. I find the quality of the line absolutely gut-deep inspirational and it makes me want to get going on new work.
The drawings pictured above are works I made in 2014. I was intrigued to find out just how far you could obliterate a word before it completely lost its meaning. I started working over my own handwriting as well as printed text (just like at school, when everyone fills in all the closed shapes in the letters in their jotters). I was intrigued to discover I could take it to a point where the text was no longer legible, but still retained a sensation of being text; something in the rhythm of the strokes and length of the shapes which were once words and sentences still indicated a system of language in spite of its heavy disguise. It was like looking at a foreign or ancient text, mysterious, obfuscated, yet knowing it had a meaning. I worked as a graphic designer and calligrapher during the 1990s, obsessed with the beauty and history of fonts, so it came as no surprise to me that I enjoyed exploring different ways to alter text. Besides which, I discovered some wonderful new forms! I also found out that illegible text is actually a thing, and has been named Asemic Writing (link to Wikipedia page)
Since 2014, this work has continued quietly in the background while I completed the body of work which became my Brave Oleander show with the Open Eye Gallery, Edinburgh, in 2018. That exhibition was immediately followed by the house move and working on book illustrations as Binky McKee (still in progress), but I finally have achieved space in my work room and a timetable which allows both Heather Eliza and Binky works to run side by side. This is truly living the dream, I feel so lucky and privileged to be able to work this way. I have already started to incorporate asemic writing into my Heather Eliza work and it is very exciting!
Thanks for visiting, see you next week!
Welcome to my blog, where I share what I have been doing during the week.
I have at last copied my nom-de-plume Binky McKee blog entries from here to their own blog, having given the illustration website an overhaul. Peace and tranquillity may resume here in the somewhat quieter nature of Heather Eliza's work, while Binky has her own rather more colourful Weekly. Please visit Binky McKee if you would like to visit!
Heather Eliza Walker
Artist in Edinburgh, Scotland
My Illustration Work:
Binky McKee Website