Origin of 522Motifs.com designs

Art of Japanese Calligraphy (shodo):

The 522Motifs.com designs originated through a confluence of events and experiences. Perhaps the first and major event, if you can call it that, is that I am an American who was born in Japan and lived there for most of my first 18 years. These years included kindergarten through 5th grade in a local Japanese school in the city of Yonago in Western Japan.

In school I learned and practiced the art of brush calligraphy in elementary school. Each kanji character had a specific number of strokes and a particular order in which to place them on paper. Each student had their own ink well and charcoal bar with which they would prepare the sumi ink made of soot and animal glue.

Once the black ink is prepared, we would use a brush to write/paint kanji characters. Here you see a master creating the two kanji for “peace.”

A Mentor’s Gift:

Fifteen to twenty years ago a man who I respected had seen me speaking to a young girl at an interracial event in a manner he thought was kind. I respected this man a lot for the stance he had taken against war and living on the Koinonia Farm which was an attempt at an interracial community in Southern Georgia. He sent me a post card. In addition to his note to me, on the post card were these words from Galatians 5:22 and 23:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such there is no law.

I felt as though this man I respected was calling forth the better angels of human nature in me. The post card sent, over such a seemingly insignificant gesture he had seen me perform, has had an impact on me.

Logo for HaikuMoment.com:

When I was casting about for a logo for HaikuMoment.com I decided on kanji characters for “haiku” surrounded by an enso circle and decorated with bamboo. I realized how simple and pleasing the enso circle was to my eyes. It felt perfect for surrounding other kanji characters that had a positive meaning.

Girlfriend’s Parting Gift:

When my family left Japan fairly suddenly due to my father’s illness, my girlfriend at the time gave me a traditional Japanese fireman’s coat (image below). It was a thick and heavy garment that extended down to the mid-thigh. Predominantly black, with the cloak included a design on the back that, in part at least, was red.

Traditional Japanese fireman's coat

Having somehow inadvertently parted ways with the coat many years ago, I do not recall what image and/or character(s) were on the back. But I remember the circle surrounding everything. The Japanese mon (emblem) and kamon (family crest) often have a circle surrounding a design which together create the beautiful family crest.

Doing something symbolic and concrete:

So these elements…

  • Japanese brush calligraphy
  • kanji for the nine fruit of the spirit
  • enso circle
  • circle or rondell of the Japanese kamon

…and one more birthed 522Motifs.com and its designs. I wanted to do something concrete and symbolic in this world to, in a small way, help light shine in the darkness.

May the “better angels” and fruit of the spirit seep into our lives and the world.

Steve