Monday, September 7, 2009

engaging both the heart and the mind

Etegami is a combination of drawing and words. I know I say this a lot, but I'm beginning to think I can't say it often enough. Words are an element of Etegami that frequently sets it apart from other kinds of art-- even other MailArt. I don't just mean words as part of the design. Rather, words that complement the artwork (may even be visually stunning) but are also meaningful on their own, apart from the artwork.

If it weren't for the words aspect of Etegami, I probably wouldn't have defected from Chigiri-e or Woodblock printing or Pottery or any of the other arts and crafts I've dabbled in over the years. Etegami engages both the heart (emotions) and the mind (reason). I'm not saying other forms of art can't do the same thing. But no other art did this to me until I discovered Etegami. And yet, as meaningful to me as my choice of words are, they may signify nothing to you. Hopefully, though, I choose words that speak to the people for whom the cards are intended.

Today I combined a drawing of a lotus tuber with an old Japanese saying: renkon no ana ni unagi (literally: "an eel in the hole of a lotus root"). It's an expression that refers to things that don't suit each other. Maybe you can think of an equivalent expression in your mother tongue. Is there anything from your own experience that can be expressed by these words?

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