Alphabets All Over the Place

The Alphabets at the South End Art Hop
The Alphabets at the South End Art Hop

September is always the busiest month for the Endangered Alphabets, and this year is no exception: one successful public show has already happened, one opportunity for you to see me and the Alphabets live is coming up, and at the end of the month I’m launching my most ambitious Kickstarter campaign yet, for my most ambitious new Alphabets project.
Last Friday/Saturday/Sunday a selection of the Alphabets visited Sterling Hardwoods, source of much of my wood, on Pine Street in Burlington. Friday evening was a mob scene, Saturday was brisk and Sunday sedate, but on each day the visitors included not only the interested and the interesting, but some potentially wonderful contacts.
On Friday evening a young exchange student from Burlington High School turned out to be from Sumatra, one of the islands that make up Indonesia, the country that has more endangered alphabets than any other. Believe me, I’m hoping for some follow-up there, especially in light of my upcoming Kickstarter (see below).
Other visitors included a Cherokee, a Tibetan, a developer of language apps–the whole of Art Hop was a field day of possibilities. As the hardest part of my work is finding someone who can send me text to carve, it’s wonderful when those people end up coming to me!Tibetan table with legs1
And coming up, our annual appearance at the Vermont Forest Festival (formerly the Vermont Festival of Woodworking and Fine Furniture), to be held this year in the Billings Farm & Museum in Woodstock, Vermont on Saturday and Sunday, September 26 and 27. This appearance will include the largest and most striking piece I’ve carved, the Tibetan-blessing dining table. Tibetan table withlegs4Five feet across, it features the blessing/mantra phrase “Graceful kindness” repeating six times around the tabletop. It also has the most graceful and amazing no-nail leg structure that slots together, designed by my collaborator Tim Peters. Drop by if you’re in the neighborhood!Tibetan table with legs5
But the biggest news of all is…roll on the drums… I’m planning to expand the work I’ve been doing in publishing children’s learning materials in endangered alphabets. In February-April 2016, if I can raise the funds, I’ll be traveling to Indonesia and Bangladesh to collaborate with teachers who are trying to reintroduce traditional scripts into the classroom–an endeavor rather like the efforts to reintroduce cursive into schools in the U.S. My students at Champlain College and I have already helped in creating and publishing a wide range of classroom materials for indigenous children in Bangladesh; now I hope to start a similar liaison in Indonesia.

Please consider supporting my campaign when it launches on October 1, and please alert friends and colleagues to what I’m trying to do.