Over the course of the last year I have made a number of cut wood letters. I have done so in order to gain process experience and to find the right combination of typefaces, dimensions and treatments in search of a decent question and answer linkage.

Watch a presidential debate and see the tangled relationships between the moderator’s questions and the varied kinds of responses. Messy and devious as it may become at times, the question and answer relationship is a fundamental aspect of the intellectual process. As such it calls out for plastic representation.

The final solution will likely be a tangled mass of big block letters. In the meanwhile I’ll settle for an equally tangled mass of this last year’s experiments.

These are three photos of one piece.


I’m still looking for the right colors. Early on I was giving each letter its own hues and patterns. This raised the visual density, but detracted from any clarity of intention. When undecided, I usually fall back to aluminum paint.


This piece offers a degree of freedom as one can rearrange the components to taste. One objective is to have the various edges assume a worn and somewhat distressed quality. The rearrangement and the wearing I tend to see as parallel to the dynamics of Q and A.


It’s all angles, nooks and crannies, and I like the effect. Whether or not it has much to do with its subject is open to debate. You lift the whole thing by a letter and slowly let it drop into a new configuration. Perhaps one of those falls best represents the underlying thought.

Your ideas and suggestions are most welcome. And, yes, you have seen some of these shapes covered in mud in a previous post.