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 12 November 2012
During a recent trip to Zagreb, I was fascinated to learn that a distinctive and decorative alphabet called Glagoljica (Glagolitic) exists that was used for centuries in Croatia before Roman lettering became dominant.
Whilst strolling through the city, by chance I wandered into a souvenir shop that had many items on display adorned with various unusual letter shapes. I thought they were ancient runes but the shop owner (who luckily spoke good English) showed me a poster she had for sale entitled “Glagoljica” and explained that they were letters from an old Croatian alphabet.
After the tablet was found, it then took almost 25 years before a full translation was completed but, unfortunately, the subject matter was not very exciting – it commemorates a gift of land by King Zvonimir to the church and gives details of attendees at the presentation ceremony. However, that is not so important as its real value lay in its use as a resource for studying both the development of Glagolitic script as well as the Croatian language.
The Croatian Academy of Art and Science website is here.
My heartfelt thanks to the lady who owns Gallery Gea, Radeceva 35, Zagreb.
Originally written and published 30 April 2012
Thanks to my friend Simon the Letter Carver, I watched the first episode of “Meet The Romans” last night on BBC iPlayer entitled “All Roads Lead To Rome”. He said it was worth a look because of the wonderful examples of carved lettering that was featured in it and he was right.
Prof Mary Beard brought the ordinary citizens of the empire to life – their professions, pastimes, social habits – through inscriptions they’d left behind. Those Romans certainly had a lot to say! They loved chipping away at blocks of stone, not just for special occasions or epitaphs, but for noting details of their daily lives, probably as much as we like blogging or tweeting today.
And I was captivated watching and listening as Mary Beard followed the lines of Latin words with her finger while she translated them aloud into English (as she did with one or two Greek ones too). It almost makes me want to learn to read Latin before my next trip to Italy, or is there an app for that?
She enthused as much about small tablets etched with casual Rustic lettering as impressive monuments adorned with beautifully carved, classic Roman capitals. I might try to capture some of those images of lettering… [update : got a couple of screenshots, now added to this post as you can see!]
And as a complete aside to the lettering aspect of this post, one of the highlights of the programme was the incredible site (and sight!) of Monte Testaccio, ‘broken pot mountain’. You’ll have to watch it to see what that’s all about!
Episode 2 “Streetlife” is also on BBC iPlayer and is on the cards for tonight’s viewing.
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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