Sunday, July 10, 2005

you never know...

I just recieved this in my newsletter from By way of an introduction, Susan Kapscinski Gaylord talks/writes about the fact that we never know when we do something, how meaningful it may become later.

A few years ago, I stopped asking myself why I was drawn to do "crafts" and it has led me to a place where I make "art" from "crafts". These disctinctions are awkward and possibly sexist and classist and I apologise. I also difress, so let me get back to the exerpt--except to say that it also reimforces what it is that the previously posted Wired article had to say.

"On the Books Arts List , there was a posting about the commencement address by Steve Jobs, founder of Apple Computer, at Stanford University. It is a moving statement of his experience and philosophy of life and I highly recommend reading it. One of his main points is that you can't understand the way the experiences in your life will connect until later. He refers specifically to his experience taking a calligraphy class at Reed College and its impact on the quality of typography in computers.

"Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best calligraphy instruction in the country. Throughout the campus every poster, every label on every drawer, was beautifully hand calligraphed. Because I had dropped out and didn't have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. I learned about serif and san serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can't capture, and I found it fascinating.

None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life. But ten years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, its likely that no personal computer would have them."

FYI: Kapscinski Gaylord has work in this month's web-exclusive gallery, and the full text of Job's address is well worth the read. In many ways, it sums up what I have learned about life so far.

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