In August, St Albans Cathedral, in commemoration of the 800th anniversary of the city's role in the story of the Magna Carta, displayed an original document from 1215 as part of a special exhibition explaining the importance of St Albans Abbey in the document's history.
As part of their celebrations, Paul Wright from the UK's only parchment producer, William Cowley, was demonstrating the ancient skill of preparing parchment for use. With a wetted goatskin stretched onto a frame, Paul showed everyone how to scrape the lanolin from the skin using a lunar knife, then let us have a go ourselves. It's a mucky business but the end result is a work of art in itself.
One of the highlights of this year that I'm very much looking forward to is the "Living Letters V : Writing on the Edge" exhibition to be held at Foyles bookshop in London, which will run for almost the whole of October. The gallery space was offered to the Calligraphy and Lettering Arts society (CLAS) to utilise before the bookshop moves next door in 2014 and so they wasted no time in inviting submissions.
The theme of the exhibition is Literature and Poetry, which is pretty much the best and broadest subject that any calligrapher can wish for. The possibilities are infinite!
I am so pleased and excited that one of my own pieces was accepted for inclusion and will hang alongside some of the most talented calligraphers and Fellows of CLAS. The evocative words are an extract from "The Stark Monro Letters" by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and my interpretation is written in pencil and decorated with sumi ink, watercolour and a touch of pastel.
Above is the complete piece entitled "Rain", measuring approx 470 x 200mm, and below, details of the body of lettering and the credit.
The exhibition runs from 2nd-30th October at Foyles Bookshop, Charing Cross Road, London.
This is written a little after the event as Lay Members' Day this year was held at the end of April but is it ever too late to share some good calligraphy stuff? I don't think so.
Saffron Scribes regional group is named after the town of Saffron Walden in Essex where it was originally established. It's a friendly and enthusiastic group interested in learning about calligraphy, lettering and other related skills, such as bookmaking and gilding. I very much enjoy being a member and attending the workshops.
The group was very pleased to be asked to put together a display for this year's Lay Members' Day, held by the Society of Scribes & Illuminators at King's College in Waterloo, and immediately set about making plans for the stand.
We all decided to prepare a group project specifically for display on the day and once we'd agreed the theme of "Essex", set to work with our individual contributions. The theme was purposely broad with no limitations on subject or style as long as it related to the county. However, there were some restrictions : to write two panels of A4 size with black lettering on a white background only. All the panels were then overlaid with a pastel effect to echo the colours of the Essex landscape, which brought the whole display together as a single piece.
In the end we had 22 panels and here is the marvellous result of everyone's efforts!
And a closer look at all of the individual panels...
And here is the group's stand on the day, which shows the wonderfully varied gallery of individuals' calligraphy artwork displayed next to the Essex theme and on the table.
Bags and books too!
Every member also contributed one or more letters or words for printing onto bags - a purple shopper and a drawstring in black - and many also pitched in to create an attractive range of quality hand-made notebooks, all to raise funds to keep the group going.
Originally written and published on 27 April 2012
How do you make paper interesting? Well, leave it to papermakers GF Smith and you’ll discover it’s not only fascinating, but fun too! For the whole of this week they have occupied the basement of Victoria House on Southampton Row in order to show us all how quality paper is actually created and what beautiful products can be made from it.
The exhibition, called Beauty In The Making, was designed to "celebrate 'the making’ as an art form in its own right” and was free to enter.
One of the event’s collaborators, It’s Nice That, have posted some excellent photos and a commentary on the event.
Downey & Co, printers of fine & elegant stationery, joined in by bringing along a few tabletop hand-presses for printing out sample cards that everyone was eager to have a go on. Downey’s helpful and enthusiastic print experts were on hand to assist and answer questions.
For lovers of lettering and the printed word, Monotype displayed (under glass of course) an exciting array of original pencil and ink workings by the renowned Eric Gill illustrating the development of his typeface masterpiece, Gill Sans. There was also a papier-mache bust of Mr Gill by Ann Pillar in attendance.
There was plenty more to occupy the time from envelope-folding to speakers on a range of paper and print related subjects. There was a lot of interaction with both people and things.
Rarely do I find exhibitions this much fun and GF Smith know how to treat a guest…they send everyone off home with a nice natural fibre bag printed with bright blocks of colour, chock full of their paper samples to play with later!
Originally written and published on 24 April 2012.
Inspired by the Venice Carnival.
Last Saturday was the 2012 Lay Members Day of the Society of Scribes & Illuminators held in King's College, Waterloo. It's an annual gathering and each year it wins my vote as the top event in the calligraphy calendar.
A lady I met there told me that she comes away from the day feeling, on one hand, inspired and, on the other hand, depressed. I know what she means...the exciting work and demonstrations on show are indeed inspiring, but they also remind us that there's always lots of experimentation and work still to do!
As a recent graduate of the SSI's Advanced Training Scheme, I was very pleased to be asked to display projects I had been working on during the last 3 years. I did imagine that my satisfaction would come from having my work on show, but the real feeling of gratification came from how genuinely interested and curious people were - about techniques & materials used, development of my pieces, and also in the scheme itself. It's quite surprising how much information people can share in a very short space of time! I wouldn't have been taking such an active part if it wasn't for the ATS so I was keen to sing its praises and encourage any potential recruits to apply and find out what it's all about for themselves! More thoughts on that soon...
It was a wonderful day and I shall be looking forward to next year's event with anticipation.
In the meantime, if you want to find out more info about The Society of Scribes and Illuminators then have a look here : http://www.calligraphyonline.org/
This is a little corner where I like to share my love of calligraphy & letterforms and my fascination with the tools, materials & methods used to create and display them. I also love patterns and carved faces!
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