Why Letterforms? – Reflection on the A to Z Blog Challenge, Letterforms in Nature and the Built Environment

2016-05-09 A-to-Z Reflection [2016]

My theme for the A to Z Challenge here at Knoontime Knitting was “Letterforms In Nature and the Built Environment.”

Why Letterforms?

I adore letters.  I have my whole life.  I started young as a calligrapher, and had a business at the age of thirteen where I did menus and certificates for local small businesses.  While art was not something that was encouraged when I went to college, it’s always stuck with me in the back of my mind and I got back into daily calligraphy a couple years ago.  It just seemed natural to look at letterforms in a non-traditional way, and while I was outside walking one day, it hit me.  Why not look for accidental letters?

A book that was a deep influence on me was Alphabet Art:  Thirteen ABC’s From Around the World, by Leonard Everett Fisher.  This was one of the first calligraphy books I ever owned and I used to pore over it for hours, looking for similarities and differences in the way people make the alphabets that represent their language.  I suppose because of this, it’s no surprise I studied languages when I went to university, or that I speak several now as an adult.  My love affair with language and letters is a long one.

When I started the challenge, it was simply “In Nature.”  I didn’t start adding the “Built Environment” until I was out on one of my photography walks, prowling the neighborhood looking for ABC’s.  I found an “F” in a fence that made me laugh because of the double entendre, and it hit me that because I have become, of necessity because I live in the third largest city in the U.S., an urbanscape photographer, doing letters in built structures was a natural progression of the landscape photography training I’ve had.  After all, “can’t beat ’em, join ’em.”  And so, I set out to find more letters.

The more I photographed, the more I saw letters around me.  I’d be waiting for a bus and examine a sapling waiting for Spring.  Or I’d find letters in the joints of buildings and the elbows of signs.  It turned out to be a lot of fun.  I may even turn my photographs into a book, which tickles me because I can include narratives and poetry as befits the particular images.

On a more mundane note, as I did the challenge I realized that I needed some kind of footnote to explain to visitors what I was doing, and where, since I had multiple challenges going.  Rather than re-write it each time, I created a “backmatter” file in my word processing program where I could write the notes, customized for each blog, and then just copy and paste each time.  That really helped me feel like my posts were tied together with a common thread and helped me promote the different blogs where I was participating in the challenge.  I’ll definitely do that again next year, because it made things feel much more professional.

Suffice it to say, I had a ball with this challenge and with picking a theme and, while it didn’t have anything strictly speaking to do with knitting, I found the inspiration it gave me to be invaluable.  I can’t wait until next year’s challenge!

For your ease of viewing, here’s the list of the posts for the Challenge.

Letterforms in Nature and the Built Environment

A: The A-Z of the Natural World – Letterforms In Nature

B: B Is For Bush! (No, Not THAT Kind of Bush)

C: Urbanscapes And Letterforms In The Built Environment

D: The D in a Tree

E: The Largest E You’ll Ever See

F: Hit the Fence

G: Good Things Come In Threes

H: How Does Your Garden Grow?

I: There Is No “I” In Tree (possibly my favorite title of the series)

J: Jump Out At You

K: Konlabos. With a K.

L: Too Literal

M: Paint the Fence!

N: Noony!

O: O Say, Can You See?

P: Poussez, Tirez

Q: Quotidian

R: Lowercase

S: A Bit of a Stretch…

T: Look Up, Young Man!

U: Under-Over

V: V! V-I! V-I-C-T-O-R-Y!

W: Weird Sky

X: X Marks the Spot – Even If It’s Tardy!

Y: The Fork In the Tree and the Path Less Traveled By

Z: Zed


Thank you for joining me for the A-Z Blog Challenge.  If you’re blogging in the challenge, please leave me a link so I can come visit you too.  If you have a moment, please check out these other fine blogs:

The theme on my main blog, Explore the Worlds of A. Catherine Noon, is The A To Z of the Zoo.  Join me as I explore Brookfield Zoo and finds animals, birds, and insects from A to Z.

The theme at Noon & Wilder is The A To Z of Chicago.  Since I live here in the city and we have our Chicagoland Shifters based here, I figured I’d share a window into the city, Noon & Wilder style.

The Nice Girls Writing Naughty have a new home, and we’re blogging in the challenge again this year.  Throughout the month you’ll be hearing from each of the Nice Girls, and during the RT Booklovers Convention from April 12th to the 17th, you’ll be getting live convention reports.  Join the conversation!

The Writer Zen Garden’s brand new website is up and running, and we’re bringing you posts from me, Noony; my partner in crime, Rachel Wilder (the Wilder half of Noon & Wilder); the talented Darla M. Sands – a blogger in her own right, see below; as well as Grace Kahlo, Evey Brown, and author Tina Holland.  Check it out!

My friends who are participating in the challenge (and if you’re not on this list, tell me and I’ll add you!):

Write on, and Happy Blogging!

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