Allow me to report on my progress, or lack of it, with the question and answer theme.

The idea has been to create a chain form, corresponding to a sequence of events; in this case questions and answers.

Scattered about my workplace are various takes on the letters “a” and “q”, done up in a number of fonts, sizes and materials. These have been strung together in attempts to find the right combination of variety, legibility and sparkle.

Early attempts emphasized strong interactions of color and form. They were entertaining, but the underlying call and response theme that I was after tended to get lost in the visual noise.

In this iteration I’m trying to standardize somewhat by choosing block letter forms and a monochrome finish. Last I counted there were three of each letter, which when tied together creates a tight mass.


The letters are all composed from the same size of stick, but some freedom was taken with scale and proportion, with one letter canted somewhat.

But now the questions: are there too few units? Is there too little variety? Is it too subtle or not subtle enough? Is the fact that it can be reconfigured a plus or a minus?

One thing I have noticed with this exercise is its sensitivity to lighting. Two images were photographed at night and have a certain deer-in-the-headlights effect. The other was taken in morning light for the sake of contrast. There’s a metaphor afoot here in the “media spotlight” that we encounter this presidential season. Pundits like to shine a beam on the backs and forths of this campaign – getting into the crannies, illuminating. I’m led to believe that the best lighting for a “q” and “a” chain might be a single harsh spot coming straight down.


This whole business is so darned programmatic in it’s Constructivist plan-your-work-and-work-your-plan manner, that it makes me want to mystify matters a little, like putting the whole thing in a shrink wrap bag. I can imagine viewers saying: “Look Henry, there’s a “q”!” and other words to that effect. Is this a dish that should announce its ingredients?


I’m not unhappy about the finish which is a mixture of varnish and sawdust that is then ironed flat, and in this case, hit with automotive primer. It points to the possible use of aluminum castings that would preserve the look of the sand molds with the option for portions ground flat and polished.

How many links do you think should be in the chain?