Monday, August 12, 2013

You Inspire Me

This is a new project I am working on. It was inspired by a few different things. One of them being when a woman approached me at an event and did not speak a lick of English (I think she was Dutch). She tried to say something to me, but I couldn't understand her. Finally she gave a slight bow, handed me a piece of paper, and disappeared. The paper said, more or less, thank you for all the work you have done on your persona. It is very obvious you have done a lot of research. You make this event a more special place to be and you inspire me.

It was such a simple gesture on just a printed piece of paper, but I will tell you, I will never forget that moment and that well abused piece of paper is something I carry with me often so I can open it up and re-read this sentiment.

Talking to other people, it appears that many people have had a moment like that. Duchess Isabella, for example, once gave out hand calligraphied slips of paper to people whose dress impressed her. There are stories all over of these pieces of paper. And, like most people, I am still on a desperate search to think of a favor to give to someone who, it feels, just a little trinket will not suffice. This is part of the inspiration for this project.

This project is to promote three different things:
 1) I want to practice more with my calligraphy and illumination.
 2) I want to spend time dedicating a card a day to people that inspire me and why.
 3) I want to have a handful of cards to hand out to people at events.

The basis of this project is to take a 5.5 x 8.5 cm card (about the size of a traditional business card) and write and illuminate the words "You inspire me" on each card. I plan to make one a day using various sources for my inspiration. Each day I plan to post up a new card that I made and mention someone who has or does inspire me as well as a little about how I made the card if I am trying out new techniques. When I go to events I hope to give these cards to people, in person, and it will hopefully spur conversations with them and inspire them, as well, to keep their chin up. Since they are small enough to fit in a wallet and my hope is that people will keep them and give them to the next person who inspires them. I would love to see them circulated and one day to be given one back to me, unknowingly, by someone who found me to be an inspiration.

For fun, I will be writing the date, my name, which number card it is, etc on the back. I would love to hear stories of where the card has traveled and who it has seen.

As it is, each card is being inspired by someone I know (I am considering writing either the name or perhaps one of their inspiration attributes on the back) before I hand them out. So it will almost be as if each card is already a legacy card. "I just want to say, you helping out in the kitchen all day? You are amazing. Incredible. Volunteering your time like that and not even in your own barony! You remind me of this other amazing person in my life who, like you, can't seem to sit still and always wants to help in every way. It is a beautiful thing to see. Thank you. You inspire me."

This plans to be a long running project. I will probably post, once a week or so, with an update of all the cards I made. But I wanted to start this project with my first card.

Inspired by Marco Polo's Book of Wonders, 1410.

This card, being my first, was kept fairly simple. It has been awhile since I have done calligraphy and illumination, firstly. Secondly, my inks are starting to dry up. For now I'm using commercial inks, pens, and papers. I would like this to change at some point, but one step at a time.

This card is dedicated to Ysemay Sterlyng for reminding me with her daily love for artisans that I wanted to do this project. Ysemay, for those who don't know her, is not only incredibly skilled in all the crafts she takes up from costuming to middle English poetry, but she is also one of the most encouraging people I know. I have never heard Ysemay discourage someone from doing something. She is truly the perfect starting inspiration for this project.