Saturday, May 29, 2010


I cannot let a survey or a non-academic test pass by without taking it. I'm sure that has something to do with how my insides (head, not gut) processes such unfilled lines or unchecked boxes, but that isn't the issue. I just love to rise to the challenge. Sometimes I succumb to some dumb "tell 25 things about yourself" survey that comes through online. Sometimes I hate it when I participate -- and I do have a mental line drawn over which I won't transgress - but for the most part I just do them because they are fun to see the answers that pop out, and I am never compelled to let anyone else see them if I choose.

So when I found Daniel Eatock's blog online and discovered his "Holley" thumbprint, I knew that this was one of those that I'd just better do and get it over with because it was a compelling challenge. Here's what he wrote about it:

Holley Portraits
On my first day at college each student in my graphic design class had to present a typographic self portrait. Years later I can only remember one, an example made by a friend named Richard Holley. His response to the brief is one of the best pieces of graphic design I have seen. Richard has since lost his original. I invite you to create your own…

Instructions: Using an ink pad make a print of your thumb in the center of a white page. Enlarge this thumb print on a photocopier to match the approximate size of your face. Place a thin sheet of copy paper over the photocopied enlargement of your thumb print and secure it in place with tape or paperclips. Starting anywhere you wish and using a black ink pen and your natural/everyday handwriting, compose a text about yourself following the contour lines of your thumb print as a guide. Use a light box or window to improve the show-through.

The final result combines your text, your handwriting, and your finger print to form a self portrait.

What you see above is my Holley thumbprint. In order to do this I first had to go buy a good ink pad. I tried it with an old pad that I had, but the thumbprints from that one indicated I had no more thumbprints! I looked closer at the pad of my thumb and sure enough, my lines were still there, although until that moment I hadn't realized that thumbs can get wrinkles on them just as faces do. And I noted that both my face and my thumb were about equally wrinkled.

A trip to Michael's craft store produced both an ink pad and a tablet of tracing paper (neither of which I will ever use again so will probably pass on to the little granddaughters for their school projects.) I set about getting a decent thumbprint, and then finished off with writing my composition. And the result is what you see above.

The best part of this is that now I have a typographical self portrait. It will go into my "When" file - and when I die, down the road someone cleaning out my file cabinet will say, "Gee, I wonder why mother had this old thumbprint in her folder. Guess we'll never know, so let's hoist it." (Along with all the other crazy bits in that file that really are the essence of "me.")

Thanks to Daniel Eatock and Richard Holley for providing me with many hours of fun, contemplation, shopping and crafting. I am very pleased with the result.

1 comment:

Olga said...

Now that is a very interesting exercise. I may try it!