Monday, October 15, 2007

Looking for a Sign

So, I'm looking for a symbol.

This is for a quilt project that is going to feature just one single very bold symbol on a relatively neutral background.

I am hoping for something that will be at a level of complexity a little less than this, the Arabic word for "peace"....
But a little more than this, the "thorn" letter of the Old English alphabet. This symbol, of unknown provenence, is about right in terms of complexity.

As is the Chinese word for "dragon." Except, I don't want the symbol to really MEAN anything. Or if it does mean something, it needs to be pretty abstruse in isolation.

Some other possibilities I'm thinking about include....

Some of the letters in the Glagolitsa alphabet:

Some Hebrew letters (although these might be too familiar):

Some words in Japanese script... Or Korean script (although these might be too, I don't know, "Orientalist").

Amharic letters?

I don't know. I'm hoping for ideas. Anybody have suggestions for me?

Not this one, though:


mydogischelsea said...

Amharic! Amharic! Or, as a certain douchebag would say, "American! American!"

What about this? Just kidding.

Chuckdaddy said...

I like the unknown provenance one (what does that mean anyway?)

Rex Parker said...

My wife and daughter were both born in the year of the Dragon (36 years apart), so ... that's my vote.


Michael5000 said...

Just to be clear, none of the ones I showed here is quite satisfying to me. I was hoping one of you gentle readers, from your vast reading of maths, languages, logic, whatever, could return from the field with some beautifully elegant and arcane symbol that I have never seen before....

G said...

Have you looked at Maori designs?

Dug said...

Take some of your quilting tools, drop them randomly on the floor on top of each other and you'll probably get some cool, meaningless pattern that looks important. If not start rearranging until you do. If not there's always cheesy emoticons :)

Rebel said...

mdic beat me to the 'artist formerly known as' symbol... but maybe you'll find this link helpful - you can select 'random symbol' or decide you want something that's open or closed, lines or curves etc.

Michael5000 said...

@g: I hadn't. But now I'm glad I did. Excellent suggestion.

@dug: Emoticons might not be quite the mood I'm looking for. I'm hoping more for "inscrutable."

@rebel: Well done, little grasshopper! Lots of ideas to play with there.

austin said...

ever heard of cymatics? sound waves interacting in a medium producing spectacular patterns. a visual representation of the sound. check this out:

patterns were carved into blocks in this medieval chapel and a composer figured out the cymatically corresponding tones and produced a musical piece.

Neil said...

What if you took a Japanese word or letter and then erased half of it, leaving you with some weird half-Asian typography?

Rex Parker said...

I still say Dragon! But ... Maori is great too. My wife is Kiwi and has a Maori middle name. Clearly I want whatever you do to be in some way an indirect tribute to my wife, is what I'm apparently saying... call me self-centered.


Rex Parker said...

PS your "thorn" is not a thorn but an eth.


Heatherbee said...

A couple of other ideas, though unfortunately, all meaningful ones:
Hobo signs:
astrological symbols
(most are too simple):
These mongolian syllables are absolutely gorgeous:
This is also awfully pretty:
And this one:

Michael, if these or the Maori symbols don't satisfy, be on the lookout for one more I'll send by mail (due to my lack of computer drawing abilities). I can guarantee its not coming from anywhere, since I made it up myself when I was in high school.

@rex: Kudos for the 'eth' link.

Michael5000 said...

@Austin: Haven't been able to check that video out yet, but looking forward to it....

@Neil: Yes! I was just thinking that too. Also, maybe rotating a symbol off it's original axis, to further remove it from its meaning.

@Rex: As a matter of general principle, I try to avoid having my large-scale artistic projects be tributes to other men's wives.

@Rex, part II: Damn! I've been confusing my thorn and my eth!

@Heatherbee: Oh my. The Soyombo script is yummy. They are all yummy. I'm going to have to set up a new category of bookmark based on the good stuff you guys are giving me.

Anonymous said...

The "Japanese Symbol" (which is the symbol that means MALE) is used in Japanese Language however it is a "Kanji". "Kan" meaning "Sino-Chinese" and "ji" meaning "Character" so basically it is a chinese character. If you want actual JAPANESE script then check Hiragana and Katakana. Hirigana is for native Japanese words, Katakana for loan words from other languages, 90% of which are from English. The Hiragana and Katakana are phonetics so represent sounds not meaning like Kanji "Chinese characters" do. The Korean script they also represent sounds but in smaller components compared to Japanese. You'd understand after studying both for awhile. I'm an Asian language lover and study Japanese, Mandarin and Korean so I don't know... call me sad, I just love it too much.

P.S. that kanji can be pronounced Dan... which is my name! :P

じゃ、 よろしく!