Gardening with Soul, the story of Sister Loyola, the Kiwi gardening nun, will hit the big screen nationwide this week, after selling out around the country at Film Festival screenings and getting a standing ovation at the Embassy Theatre in Wellington, during the International Film Festival.
The movie includes hand-drawn letterforms created especially for the film by Melbourne-based New Zealander Shayna Quinn, who has joined the project produced by Vicky Pope, working alongside a collection of interesting Wellingtonians.
Quinn lectures design at RMIT University and has a history of working with Gardening with Soul director Jess Feast and producer Vicky Pope on film and graphic projects.
She had been connected with the movie from early on in the project, having visited Sister Loyola with Feast at the Island Bay gardens prior to filming.
The intention was to create something which reflected the organic and natural voice of the film, feminine while not fussy, and to reflect the character of Sister Loyola.
Quinn’s process began by experimenting with calligraphic and traditional hand scripting styles. Writing the words by hand quickly, repeatedly, with a different emphasis on the letters each time allowed for a natural result. It was important that the words not seem forced, and embrace the organic character of the lines.
According to the artist, in order to respect the documentation technique of the film, samples of Sister Loyola’s own handwriting were analysed to ensure the natural character and flourish was reflected in the final titles. In all, each of the words needed to create the slates were written close to 100 times with slight variations to ensure the final solutions reflected the intent of the film and the sister’s personality.
The result of Quinn’s work, and the story of Wellingtonian Sister Loyola Galvin, can be seen in theatres across the country from 12 September.