DECEMBER’S CREATIVE SPOTLIGHT: Hope Meng
Graphic designer and letterer, maker, seamster, problem solver, mama (of 2), plant mama (of 50+), swimmer, and eater. Not necessarily in that order.
Three years ago, I began an ambitious personal project to draw every combination of 2 letters that the alphabet provides us. Monogram Project (see it on IG @hopemengdesign) kicked off with AA and will conclude sometime in the (very) distant future with ZZ.
More recently, I’ve been working on a project that merges two of my disparate interests: sewing/quilting and design/typography. Text/tile (@texttilestudios on IG) is a multi-disciplinary project that consists of a typographic system based on quilt blocks. At first glance, you may only see a random geometric design, but upon closer inspection, you may notice that the quilts contain an embedded message.
Q&A with Hope
What does Tradition mean to you?
Tradition is a starting point, but a crucial one. My practice in design and lettering has been rooted in an understanding of graphic design history and traditional letterforms. You can’t really do original work or innovate unless you know what has been done before you to set the stage.
How is this concept reflected on your creative work?
I think tradition really shows in my work. With Monogram Project, even the pieces that push the boundaries of legibility start from a place of our common understanding about what makes an A an A and what makes a B a B (for example). I try to boil the letterform down to its true essence before building it back up to another form.
It’s a similar thing with the Text/tile project, though that’s further constrained by the medium of fabric and the visual language of quilts. I just love the concept that quilts have traditionally always carried stories and with Text/tile, that’s just being made explicit.
What have you been inspired by lately?
I am inspired by humanity! By that I mean: the mark of the hand, imperfection, wabi sabi, the organic form that flows from the hand when you’re trying to draw a perfectly straight line. My own work tends to be really polished and perfect and I am trying to evolve from that, and let go—allow my hand show through.
Any advice for someone in our community who is looking to tap in more traditional techniques or creative pathways?
Try to make something directly with your hands—when we use a mouse, it controls a cursor which then moves pixels on a screen. Find a practice where you are directly manipulating a tool, even if it’s just making marks with a pencil on paper. There honesty in using a tool directly. There is something so satisfying about creating a physical object, not just one that lives in 0’s and 1’s.
Thanks to Hope for collaborating with us in a unique knitting piece that we’ll be giving away at our even on December 14th - join event here.
CM/SF’s Creative Spotlight looks to highlight local creatives by collaborating on a fun project centered around the monthly theme. There are tons of local artists, makers, and creators in our city who are doing rad things – we want to spread the world and spark our community with their creativity!
Know someone doing rad things? Drop us a line or two over email at firstname.lastname@example.org.