This piece was inspired by a project called A Letter a Week (ALaW), for which participating artists create a letter each week and then combine them into a final piece. My initial explorations involved flowing cursive-style letters that were linked to one another, but after watching the documentary Helvetica I decided to base the letters for this alphabet on the simple lines of the Helvetica font.

From the beginning, I was drawn to the idea of depicting only a portion of each letter. I found it interesting to see how little of a letter was necessary to ensure that it was still identifiable—what made it a “C” instead of a “D,” for example. I chose a scale large enough that the letters remain somewhat abstract but at the same time allow a large enough glimpse to distinguish each—though perhaps with a bit more thought than one might usually give to reading individual letters. I decided to bring the letter shapes into a large, single-sheet format so the relationship between all of the shapes could be seen simultaneously. I scored a grid of forty-nine 7-cm squares within which to arrange the shapes; they are in order but do not follow a regular pattern, and some squares are left empty to allow a bit of breathing space.

When Australian artist Fiona Dempster, who founded ALaW, put together an exhibition of all the alphabets that had come about in response to this project, I didn’t want to ship such a large piece to Australia, so I re-did the letter fragments as a “meander” book with a 7 x 7-cm page format. (Photos of this alternative form of Twenty-six/Fragments can be seen by scrolling along to the far right of the page.)

More details on Twenty-six/Fragments can be found in this blog post.

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50 x 50 cm

(~ 20 x 20 inches)

Canson Mi-Teintes papers

The second incarnation was also made from a single sheet of 50x50-cm paper, but instead of being mounted it was cut & folded into a 7 x 7-cm meander book

Twenty-six/Fragments was part of the exhibition A Letter a Week: Artistic Travels through the Alphabet, at the Butter Factory Arts Centre at Cooroy (near Noosa, Australia), from 10 October to 16 November 2013.

The alternative version I made for the exhibition in Australia...