The Search for the Soul

copyright Emrah Istrefi 2017

So, after the collaboration session, my first point of call was to go to the Library and find some source material for the project ahead. I thought it would be pretty straight forward… Turns out it wasn’t so straight foraward at all. I ended up walking around the library for about an hour and a half until I found three publications I was happy with.

To save time relocating the pages to be scanned later, I opened each spread and used the selected pages I was going to scan as book marks.

Straight after the library, it was off to the Print Shop for me, which happened to be only a minute’s drive away.

Once there the mission was clear: Get my type gauge printed onto OHP film and get all my spreads scanned into 300DPI PDFs.

My USB was loaded with the type gauge and ready to receive the PDFs. All this for under $10.

The Type Gauge

Copyright Emrah Istrefi 2017

The PDFs

The Search for the Soul. (2017). History Today, (4), pp.48-49.
Edmonds, P. (2015). True Colors. National Geographic, (228), pp.98-99.
Cath Caldwell. Yolanda Zappaterra. (2014). Editorial Design: Digital and Print. Laurence King, pp.48-49 96-97 126-127 142-143.
Cath Caldwell. Yolanda Zappaterra. (2014). Editorial Design: Digital and Print. Laurence King, pp.48-49 96-97 126-127 142-143.
Cath Caldwell. Yolanda Zappaterra. (2014). Editorial Design: Digital and Print. Laurence King, pp.48-49 96-97 126-127 142-143.

Getting the green light

Once I got home I transferred all the PDFs from the USB into my ‘Assessment 3’ folder found on my computer – I’m obsessed with keeping my files organised.

From here I opened all the PDFs in Acrobat and saved them as PNG files, uploaded them to this wordpress and sent Will the URL in an email.

Promptly Will responded,

Hi Emrah,

Definitely “The Search for the Soul” layout! It’s got a nice grid, and a good mix of type hierarchies.


And there it was, the next step staring me in the face. The search for the soul was over, but the recreation had just begun.

The Search for the Soul

P1 Compositions

I photographed two variations of the one idea and then tweaked colours and performed image enhancements using a new technique I learnt on photoshop that really sharpens and adds nice tonal quality to images.

I chose this one. The way the inversion turned out couldn’t have been better. The blue, yellow and black all symbolic colours representing toxification (blue), caution (yellow) and root root (black)

I chose to interweave the O and the V to align with the root theme.

P1 Compositions

Back to the drawing board

I’ve been having trouble making connections with the word improve and the material wood. I think it might be a good idea to re-visit and dissect the meaning of the word improve and perhaps list some synonyms.

I’m also inspired to take from Shelley’s take on questioning improvement rather than validating it. Has wood improved or impaired? Therefore I should explore antonyms, synonyms and some examples.


advance, better, boost, correct, develop, enhance, help, increase, lift, progress, promote, raise, recover, reform


decline, demote, depress, deteriorate, diminish, hinder, hurt, lessen, lose, reduce, worsen

I decided to make another mind map with a selection of themes from the first.

This mind map really helped me identify several themes I could play with.

Wood has been such a positive influence on mankind. Its the most versatile raw material man has ever worked with. It has been used for farming, building and construction, comfort items such as beds and chairs, fire and cooking and for tools to make hunting and warfare more effective.

That’s all well and good. However, I want to focus on who or what does not receive the benefit that harvested wood has to give. I want to focus on what we take from another when we do so.

I’m going to work with the idea of forest to factory. Deforestation leaves animals and other organisms without a sufficient environment in which to survive, whatever remaining environment that is in proximity is also affected by pollution from the diesel hungry machinery that cuts and mills the timber on site. This machinery and the activity that surrounds logging compacts soil, leaving it unable to breathe and host life below the surface which gives life to those above. It corrodes soil by way of removing all soil binding fauna, leaving the top soil on slopes and inclines defenceless to torrential rain that washes it down to the valleys and into the ocean.

This archaic material once was exactly what we needed. We can’t forget how fire and tool making is the reason we exist the way we do today. However, it might be time to work toward alternatives that are available to us. We can’t neglect the fact that mass forestation still occurs in the Amazon and all of the sentient wildlife that suffers as a result.




Back to the drawing board

a warm up exercise

After my research last night, I spent the remainder of the night mulling over ways I would experiment with wood and themes for the assessment. A few ideas came to mind…

  • (attempt) to build a Wright flyer model model with the vertical support beams rearranged to form the chosen word.
  • stone age campfire or stone age tools arranged to form the chosen word
    • night time stone age camp fire where the word is formed by taking a piece of hot ember and writing the word in the air above the fire while taking a photograph that has had the shutter open long enough to capture the type.

With lot’s of inspiration to play with, I woke up this morning with a fresh set of brains and off I went, out of bed and to the craft store. As soon as I got home I ripped open the pack of sticks like a preschooler threw them down onto the blank piece of paper I had waiting for me on my work space.

More to come…

a warm up exercise

History of wood continued…

Having primed myself for being able to identify some ways in which wood has improved the quality of life for humans I began to look for other, more modern wood related (quality of life) improvements that involved wood.

One thing that crossed my mind was the invention of the aeroplane by the Wright-Brothers and how that has come to be a big part of modern society. From casual travel to airfreight, the aeroplane enables us to cover a lot of ground in times unimaginable for our ancestors, who would have been used to waiting for long periods of time for imported goods such as grains and other material.

I got to researching the first aeroplanes. I found that in December of 1903, the Writght-Brothers took to the skies with their first working aeroplane (Wright Flyer I) that was made entirely from wood, cloth and rope, apart from the engine of course, which was steel.

The form of the Flyer really struck a creative nerve with me when I saw those photographs and plans. I gravitate toward the flyers symmetrical geometry. I see the form in the vertical wooden beams that support the horizontal wings, and the non existent fuselage. The cross-ropes in the plan below act as another form of geometric possibility. 1903 Wright Flyer I

1903 Wright Flyer I

I crudely sketched. The idea is to rearrange the vertical beams of the flyer to form the word improved in capitals.

wright bros plane sketch


I was listening to Django Reindhardt when researching and sketching for this post.


History of wood continued…

A select history of wood

Wood has well and truly improved the quality of life for humans in a big way ever since the stone age (9600 B.C.) with the creation of tools, hunting apparatus, shelter and the discovery of warmth and cooking with fire.

Stone Age Tools

Fast forward a few thousand years and you find that Ancient Egypt is believed to be the first civilisation to build on their ancestors experience of wood. Egyptians used wood to make varieties of furniture to improve quality of life such as beds, chairs, tables and so on. They also used wood for agriculture and ceremony, sometimes burying the dead in coffins (sarcophagi) made from wood.

“According to some scholars, Egyptians were the first to varnish, or “finish” their woodwork, though no one knows the composition of these “finishes”. Finishing is the art of placing some kind of protective sealant on wood materials in order to preserve them.”

Life is improved when you are comfortable.
Egyptian wood saw


A select history of wood