“What do we lose when a written language dies? And what happens when some daft Englishman living in Vermont decides to buck the global trend and write slowly, using tools a thousand years old?
I launched the Endangered Alphabets Project, and I started documenting these losses in a medium more permanent than paper or the fleeting pixel. Learning about woodwork as I went, I carved Balinese and Javanese from Indonesia; Tifinagh from North Africa and Bassa Vah from West Africa; Lanna from Thailand and the traditional Mongolian script called bichig. First by emailing scholars and later through Facebook, I gradually developed a network of contacts. To my astonishment, I started getting emails from the other side of the planet with tiny miracles of exotic text to enlarge, transfer with carbon paper, and gouge into maple, cherry, walnut, and sapele.”