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detail from the front cover of Plough Quarterly 18: The Art of Community

Covering the Cover: The Art of Community

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How do you capture the life and energy of creative community on seventy-six square inches – namely, the front cover of a Plough Quarterly magazine? Emily Alexander, our art director, found that dramatic movement, spiraling from a central source, in Denis Brown’s striking calligraphic art.

We commissioned Denis to communicate this issue’s title, The Art of Community. He included background art from another of his original works – a galaxy of words forming a translation of an ancient Irish poem that celebrates a turbulent storm as God-given protection against Viking attack:

Bitter and wild is the wind tonight,
Tossing the tresses of the sea to white.
On such a night as this, I feel at ease;
Fierce Northmen only course the quiet seas.

Into this poem, he lettered lines that emerged from a different life, one which also rejoiced in storms and strong winds – phrases from Eberhard Arnold’s essay Why We Live in Community, “Communal life is impossible without faith,” and “the realization of a true community.”

detail from the front cover of Plough Quarterly 18: The Art of Community, calligraphy by Denis Brown
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