Thursday, September 1, 2011

Thursday 13: 13 quotes to play around with, calligraphy-wise

As autumn approaches (rather rapidly this week, judging by the crisp mornings we've enjoyed), I tend to focus less on the outdoors, and turn my attention back inside, to my more creative endeavors. This week I baked a bunch of cookies for a work event, and also took a quick sewing class that I've been wanting to take for awhile. (Zippers, I know them. Love them. Sort of.)

While fun and interesting, those activities have distracted me a bit from one thing I've been wanting to focus on, and that's calligraphy. I was at my drawing board this week for a bit and went through some old papers, looking at a time last spring where I was dedicated to sitting down with ink and paper for at least a half-hour each morning. The progress I made during the brief month or two I was committed to that plan was evident, and it energized and inspired me to get back at it.

Since I mostly work with quotes or sayings, I am in the habit of collecting them in an odd little system, by month. I have a Word file for each month and just tuck them away as I find them on various blogs, websites, or emails that come my way. I print out the month when it's done and use the ones that stand out to me as fodder for practice. I know it's a bit unorthodox, but it really feeds the part of me that says, "Pay attention." Meaning: I can put quotes in "boxes" and label them under headings, but that just lumps them all together and my eyes glaze over what I'm reading. I see the label of "Faith" or "Love" or "Friendship" and the quotes themselves don't stand out on their own. When I scan a month's worth of quotes, sometimes one quote will jump out at me; another time through, others will reveal themselves. (Cue the Twilight Zone music, but trust me, it works for me.)

Well, that's my little justification for why I do what I do. But most important, I find quotes that are meaningful to me, and enjoy working with them.

Here are 13 favorites I gathered just this August, with the caveat that these are short quotes that would make for lovely typographic layouts. I find many longer, more wordy quotes quite enjoyable, but for today's purposes, I've gleaned the pithy ones to share with you. It also helps, for me, if I'm able to envision the words with a simple image that I might then work toward making something arty...

1. All the windows of my heart I open to the day.
-John Greenleaf Whittler

2. I once had a thousand desires, but in my one desire to know you all else melted away.

3. Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon and the truth.

4. We are not at peace with others because we are not at peace with ourselves, and we are not at peace with ourselves because we are not at peace with God.
-Thomas Merton

5. I cannot make my days longer so I strive to make them better.
-Henry David Thoreau

6. Forever is composed of nows.
-Emily Dickinson

7. The bad news: there is no key to the universe. The good news: it was never locked.
-Swami Beyondananda

8. Any time that is not spent on love is wasted.

9. You must not blame me if I do talk to the clouds.
-Henry David Thoreau

10. Everything that slows us down and forces patience, everything that sets us back into the slow circles of nature, is a help. Gardening is an instrument of grace.
-May Sarton

11. Be not afraid of going slowly; be afraid only of standing still.
-Chinese Proverb

12. Spend more time walking, and less time looking at your maps.
-Colleen Wainwright, communicatrix

13. There is no safe investment. To love at all is to be vulnerable.
-C.S. Lewis

And because I just can't stop at 13, here's a bonus:

The obstacle is the path.
-Zen Proverb

Some of these quotes just fill me with an inner smile. I hope they do that for you as well. (And yes, I do like that Thoreau dude...)

Which one is your favorite? Which one should I first turn into something calligraphic and lovely? Tell me!

For more Thursday 13s, go here.


  1. Wonderful quotes! It's hard to pick a favorite, but #10 seems to be speaking to me the most right now, along with the Zen proverb - that proverb would be great in calligraphy! Visiting from Thursday 13.

  2. I appreciate so many of them, but I have to thank you for the bonus. "The obstacle is the path", I needed that!

    Happy T13,

    13 Things to Do

  3. All great quotes but I do appreciate the Dickinson quote of 'nows'. And no.5 is particularly special for me...I am always trying to pack more in...more of the good stuff.

  4. superb in your header that prange and white food center what is that ??

  5. @sandyland: It's a butternut squash salad with goat cheese. It's in my recipe section:


  6. I love 7, 10, and 13 :) I'd LOVE to see your calligraphy, I really would!


Blogger Template By Designer Blogs