installation: woodcut, wooden disks, magnets, paint | approx. 20″ x 20″ (each) | 2016
books: letterpress | 9″ x 6″ (closed) | 18″ x 12″ (open) | 2016
In this project, I have started with early diagrams of molecules developed by John Dalton (1808) in which each kind of known atom was assigned a symbol contained in a circle. From these symbols and Dalton’s general ideas about how they combined, I have created a system for diagramming English words. Consonants are represented by Dalton’s atomic symbols and vowels by their IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet) symbols; for each, the symbol is carved and printed as a woodblock that is then cut into a circle. The circular woodcuts are mounted on wooden disks with embedded magnets which grouped into “syllable clusters” with the vowel at the center. Finally syllables are arranged into words with the connections between them as lines painted on the wall. The installation suggests the repetition with variety that is found in sounds and syllables. Made up of a limited number of possible sounds, a great range of possible syllables can built, just as atoms can be combined into many different compounds.