Date of Thesis
Bachelor of Arts
Alfred K. Siewers
Nature, Nature writing, Travel, Place, Self, Environmental studies, Environmental literature, Digital humanities, Illuminated manuscripts, Calligraphy, Journals, Sketchbooks, National Parks, Arts and humanities
Medieval manuscripts are beautiful compilations of text and image. My work explores this media as a way to celebrate the beauty of the natural world, combining nature writing with marginalia and illustrations that reflect the content of the text. The calligraphy style is modeled after the font used in the Book of Kells, as it too portrays natural imagery throughout its pages. Manuscripts were meant to glorify the text within, and it is my hope to glorify and preserve an appreciation of nature in a world where it is sometimes overlooked. The culmination of this research has grown into a thesis project as well. Soon after my summer manuscript work was completed, I spent the next month traveling to different natural places around the U.S., keeping a journal and sketchbook along the way. These musings inspired the text of the thesis, which has evolved into a study of place and self, exploring the reciprocity of human beings and the environments we inhabit. Using the same ideas as the manuscript, combining text and images, I instead have compiled them in a more modern, digital format. I have compiled the journals and sketches, as well as photos and maps to represent the project on a public website that can be viewed at http://ajthesis2015.blogs.bucknell.edu/. It explores the connections we share with the natural world, but also raises questions about the established divide between man and nature. Are we natural beings? Can the things we create be considered natural? What about National Parks? Can the wilderness that we fence off really be thought of as natural? Why is there this divide? Are we not natural beings ourselves? These thoughts brush the surface of our complex relationships with where we are at any given moment, coexisting with the environments we live in. And as we live, these things evolve. Side by side the manuscript project and the thesis represent an evolution of an art form that mirrors the constantly changing world in which we live. We and our surroundings are always developing, responding to each other's presence in a reciprocal evolution of place and self.
Jajko, Alana Jane, "An Undiscovered Wilderness--Place and Self: a Digital Curation of Text and Images" (2015). Honors Theses. 302.