Work by Rob van Avesaath
Pen or Pencil
How many people still write with a pen or pencil? I’m writing this with a keyboard right now. You can read what I’m saying but it is not so easy to discern my mood. There are few additional clues outside my choice of words and subject.
Handwriting tells us a lot of things we don’t even have to analyse, we just see and so we know. Sort of primal instincts like those we notice in a fraction of a second when we look at a person’s face. When we used to send each other handwritten letters (that was not so long ago), we could see from the handwriting if what the person was telling us was sincere. But we don’t have that advantage anymore. It appears to have vanished from our world.
A shopping list is just about the last bastion of handwriting that is honest, direct and revealing. We learned to write lists as a memory jog, choose unambiguous words and phrases, sometimes with details between brackets (preferences). You can see from the handwriting if the shopper was well prepared, in a rush, chaotic, they reveal their hand. People who write shopping lists leave a trail of clues about who they are and how they live. Is the list from a shopping list notepad or is it written on the back of an envelope, or a scrap of paper? What colour is the ink or pencil? Is it scrawled inconsistently or penned like a sheet of scored music?
There are lots of similarities here with other things that are created by fertile fingers. When a maker builds his or her chair or a table piece by piece, rather than from behind a computer and with a CNC machine, you can see his or her mood. Where they direct your attention, the details (preferences) why they selected one material over another for their design. It all comes together and communicates the journey from somewhere along the way to where you are standing right now in front of it. Authentic handmade designs always preserve traces of the maker’s handwriting, makers marks, it enriches them and those who own them.
What better than to put one on your shopping list, don’t you think?