Logo designed by Judith Lovell
NEWSLETTER ISSUE # 55 June 2013 Regular monthly meetings are held on the Second Tuesday of each month from 9am to 12:00pm Mellor Hall, Cowichan Exhibition Park Duncan, BC (Exceptions: December, June, July and August)
Editor Linda Yaychuk Assistant Editors Jane Taylor Ria Lewis Photo Editors Jane Taylor Alane Lalonde Proof Readers Denise Rothney, Martha Fraser, Barbara Qualley Regular Contributors Gwyneth Evans, Charlotte Whiteley, Pat Wheatley, Joyce Gammie Distribution Muriel Heggie Covers Charlotte Whiteley Marilyn Silver Printer Copycat Printing and Design Ltd.
Inside this issue
Executive Meetings are held on the First Tuesday of each month from 9am to noon All members are welcome!
General Guild Information
Diary of a Newsletter Cover
Membership in the Warmland Calligraphers includes three electronic newsletters published in February, May and October. Annual membership dues are C$30 for Canadian residents and US $30 for US/International
Annual Loft Show
A Class with Sheila Waters
Words, Words, Words
Editor’s Message Executive Photograph
Members are invited to submit concise pieces for publication as well as to alert the Editor to conferences, papers, speeches and other matters of interest to our readers.
Exposé - Pauline Thompson
The Editor reserves the right to make editorial changes in material accepted for publication. These include such revisions or additions deemed necessary to ensure correctness of grammar and spelling, clarification of obscurities, brevity and conformity to the newsletter style.
Adolf Bernd Workshop with Peter Thornton
Jottings from the Library
Warmland Calligraphers of the Cowichan Valley (the Guild) is a non-profit group formed to facilitate the exchange of information between calligraphers, and to promote interest in and appreciation of calligraphy as an art form within the community. Membership is open to calligraphers at all levels of expertise as well as those with a love of beautiful writing. Contents of this newsletter are copyrighted by the authors/ artists. Requests for permission to reprint any part must be made through the Editor. The views of contributors are not necessarily those of the Editor or of the Guild.
Contact us at: P.O. Box 2, Duncan, B C, V9L 3X1 Canada http://members.shaw.ca/warmlandcalligraphers
This newsletter is produced using Microsoft Office Publisher 2003
President’s Message the members of Warmland Calligraphers guild, THANK YOU, BETTY!
As I write this, the sun is shining, it is unseasonably warm and life is good. If that doesn’t get the creative juices flowing, I don’t know what will! Since our last newsletter, an exciting addition has been made to our Warmland equipment cupboard. We are now the proud owners of a document reader, affectionately known to our members as “Elmo.” It is due to Betty Locke’s generous donation that we were able to purchase the document reader without embarking on a long fund raising campaign. If you have attended a meeting since February, you have seen “Elmo” in action projecting important information on the screen and making our Galleria pieces large and clear to everyone present. So on behalf of all
Another successful Loft Show was held at the Mill Bay Valley Vines to Wines store from January 26 to February 28 thanks to coordinators Trish Peebles, Marilyn Silver and all their helpers. A special thank you to everyone who entered their artwork in the show and congratulations to the artists who sold pieces, making a record of eight sales this year. My personal impression of the show is that we just keep getting better! Your hard working Executive remains the same for another year, elected by acclamation at the March meeting. Thanks to all of you for your show of appreciation and confidence. They are a very enthusiastic group and I appreciate being able to work with each and every one of them. Keep in mind that members are welcome to attend Executive meetings which are held on the first Tuesday of each month. Contact me for details if you are interested.
By the time you read this, we will have completed two workshops: Guild member Carolynn Dallaire’s second Star Book Workshop and Peter Thornton’s Workshop based on the work of Adolf Bernd. A third workshop coming up in June, making Paste Paper, will be presented by two Warmland members, Janet Peters and Anne Atkinson. Finally, a huge thank you to our Newsletter team for making this edition possible. With our Newsletters available to the public on line, we seem to be attracting attention with inquiries about artwork and even a new member from far afield. Keep on creating! Joyce
Peter’s Tips on Higgins Ink •
Leave a new bottle with the lid off for a few minutes for the ammonia to escape.
Add a marble and shake to mix up the sludge.
Add ten to twelve drops of gum Arabic to a new bottle. Double the amount of gum for copperplate.
Add ¼ inch of jet black and vermillion gouache for a richer colour.
Diary of a Newsletter Cover Submitted by Marilyn Silver and Charlotte Whiteley Sometime in March when Marilyn Silver and Charlotte Whiteley were together and talking about being asked to do a cover for the newsletter the idea was hatched to create a collaborative piece. Charlotte started the process March 30 by cutting the paper. She cut two so that she could see where the process might take them. That morning she applied the Clear Tar Gel, a Golden Gel Medium to some parts of the paper and spread a bit of Gesso to other areas. The Clear Tar gel takes eight hours to dry properly. The papers were handed over to Marilyn Silver. April 3 Marilyn writes: I wanted to add a bit more interest to the background but not texture as I knew I wanted larger spaces to write in. We had talked about a music theme so I stamped on some musical notes using Versa Mark, a water mark stamp pad that acts as a resist. I continued by adding watercolour over this so the notes would show through. April 6 Charlotte writes: I found when working with another's colour palette, it really makes you sit up and think. You ask yourself what will compliment the colours chosen and what tone to set. I consulted the colour wheel and added a splash of red violet on the yellow green cover and went with jewel tones on the other. When that was dry I added the larger text of Music and Song. I let the piece sit for a day or two and decided to add the quotes by Maya Angelou and Andrew Lawrence. I found the pointed pen was difficult on the Reeves BFK hot press paper. Also found the eraser picked up the paper if I wasn’t really careful so used a kneaded soft blue eraser. The picture here shows the other cover we produced. You may question our choice.
April 16 and 17 Marilyn writes: I spent a bit of time this past week thinking about the quotes to use and where to place them on the page. I decided on one quote about music by Plato and one about song by Longfellow. This made me think about how music and song are timeless. I decided to take advantage of the beautiful italic “Music” and write my quote incorporating it. When I was finished I hoped Charlotte would be OK with this. Is it stealing her work or being creative? I wrote with a small broad edge nib using watercolour. I tried to choose colours that fit with Charlotte’s writing. I found it hard to write on the paper as well and the pen did not move smoothly. I felt disappointed with the quality of the lettering but all in all both covers had a pleasing look. April 20 Charlotte writes: Today I put some final touches on the pieces. I was not pleased with the calligraphy written into the purple wash. I was able to wet it with water and blot up the black of the text. Then I redid it higher using the Akim Cursive hand in the lighter spaces. I followed Marilyn’s
suggestion of using another quote incorporating “Song” this time. I thought there was too much white space so added the Louis Armstrong quote using Mixed Monoline. For me it is hard to know when is enough and when is too much! I decided we needed to echo the colour of the jewel tones so I did that and now it should be good to go with another look by Marilyn. April 22 Marilyn writes: Charlotte and I got together to put any final touches on this project. A decision had to be made as to which cover we wanted to represent our collaborative piece. We decided to go with the purple and blue version. We liked the yellow/green one also but decided the other had better balance to it. We did add a little more jewel tone colours and a short quote at the right hand bottom corner. For our final quote we chose “I get by with a little help from my friends” by John Lennon and Paul McCartney. They too had collaborated on their piece and we thought it would sum up very well our experience on this project.
January Program with Lucy Hylkema and Barbara Qualley Submitted by Lucy Hylkema about ten words long, written on a strip of brown paper bag, 2½ inches wide by 10 inches long, and folded at the top where a piece of twine is threaded to tie onto a tree.
Lucy using the new Elmo projector
The January program on weather grams was presented by Barbara Qualley and me, Lucy Hylkema. Barbara used our Elmo projector for the first time, and the weathergrams that we made were displayed at The Loft Art Gallery in Mill Bay during our annual Calligraphy show there. It was a great start to the New Year. Our Elmo projector is going to expand our abilities enormously. We thank Betty Locke and her husband Duncan for their incredibly generous donation to the Guild so that we could buy this amazing piece of equipment. Suddenly we can all see what is being demonstrated (not always an easy feat when thirty people are involved!) and get a better look at Galleria pieces while they are being discussed. Right now I think everyone but Barbara is a bit in awe of it but I am sure we will be writing more later on to demonstrate what it can do such as taking photos and movies of itself too. This weathergram program idea came from the Calligraphy Northwest 2012 Conference held in Portland last summer a number of our members attended and Barbara came back with photos and a handout about Weathergrams. Instructions on making weathergrams are now on our website. Basically it is a short poem,
Trudy Kungold Ammann and Brenda Hicks
Lloyd J. Reynolds (1902-1978) was a professor at Reed College and is considered the “Father of Westcoast calligraphy” as well as the man who created weathergrams. He based them on the Japanese tradition of attaching prayer slips to trees but preferred the use of brown paper bags rather than the traditionally associated white paper prayer slips. He wrote, “Poetry should be outside in wind and rain as well as squeezed on a dusty bookshelf. Let snails write their comments and birds build their nests of these paper and strings.” Normally, these pieces of paper are tied to trees and biodegraded. Unfortunately, the tree outside the Loft Gallery was cut down so our weathergrams hung from a branch inside the gallery. Lloyd Reynolds also wrote books on calligraphy which Reed College has reprinted. They may be ordered from their bookstore. One that he wrote is called Weathergrams. These books were written for calligraphy classes that he started informally in 1940 at Reed College. Reynolds saw calligraphy as so much more than just nice writing, and his weathergrams are more than just short poems. I think he saw connections in things and valued our ability to communicate.
Weathergrams are also a part of Lloyd J. Reynolds legacy, and incorporate many of his beliefs. Our group created indoor weathergrams in 2009 when we had a display in the Telus Gallery in the Island Savings Centre. Although there are guidelines about weathergrams, such as giving them away or not selling them, they can be a starting point for your own ideas too. June Maffin, one of our members, told me that she has done a similar project in our community using bags cut in the shape of stars. She had people write out messages to friends and family that had died that year. They hung these stars in a tree and left pens and stars out for other people to participate. If you Google weathergrams, you will get an idea of how many ways there are to use this format and how accessible it is to noncalligraphers as well. I happened upon an article in the January 2013 issue of nanaimobulletin.com about Nanaimo writer, Kim Goldberg, who wrote an essay about “seven individual weathergrams she creates and places in a park near her home that is often used by the homeless.” There was also an elementary teachers’ site that had a five-page worksheet showing how to teach the idea to their students. I am very glad we had this opportunity to introduce them to a wider community.
Cheryl Bakke Martin with her completed weathergram.
January Galleria - submitted by Jane Taylor The challenge this month was to make us laugh and indeed they did. Betty Locke led the critique. There were seventeen pieces altogether. Unfortunately they were not all available to be photographed as a number of them were taken home to be framed for our annual show at The Loft in Mill Bay.
Janet Peter’s piece was done using a pointed nib and Finetec gold paint. It demonstrates good planning in its layout and an excellent use of white space. The whole piece is lovely and looks so elegant; one is surprised by the humour of the quote. Betty loved the S’s and thought having three G’s the same and one different was beautiful.
Janet Peters used a Gillott 404 nib in both of her pieces. She loves it because she gets a good spread from the nib. Betty loved the A in the word ‘normal’ and felt it was “a good piece of work”.
The inspiration for Marilyn Boechler’s piece came about as the result of a relative’s recent, unfortunate experience. Betty loved the position of the boat and felt the piece was very well done.
Betty Locke’s piece reflects a collaboration between herself and her husband Duncan. He helped her find the font she used for ‘Technologically Fettered’. She has also incorporated techniques from Heather Victoria Held’s workshop on flourishing.
In Marion Craig’s great piece of work she fills the page with her lettering and makes us laugh. This piece was inspired by a card which Marion had. Betty loved the tilt of the woman’s head.
Betty expressed her pleasure with Ida Marie Threadkell’s work. She liked the horizontal orientation of the piece. She felt the simple graphics were lovely and suited the quote. The placement on the page was beautiful. While Ida Marie likes the colour and shapes in her work , she expressed some concern that the white background was boring. Betty however, felt that she had used the texture of the paper very well and this added interest. It was suggested that the letter forms were a little too erratic for bounced letters. The huge O does a wonderful job of connecting the various shapes and the quote.
Lenore Le May used the suggestions Betty gave us in November’s program on bounced letters to help her complete this piece. She incorporated three different styles of ‘e’ which it was felt made it more fun. The piece is done on Arches Text Wove with a Micro pen. She tried to go back and thicken up some letters which she found difficult to do.
Lenore’s second piece was done using gouache. She had trouble with the word ‘wrinkles’ but Betty expressed a lack of concern for this when trying to make people laugh. Betty said it was “a wonderful example of having your graphic meld with your calligraphic”.
Shirley Johnson created this book using just one piece of paper. It is paste paper which she made using a very old technique that was used in England to make books. Many of the quotes and stamps are the result of years of Shirley collecting bits and pieces.
Charlotte Whiteley’s piece was inspired by a conversation she had with her daughter who is a runner. It has been done in a very nice hand which combines a variety of styles. Betty likes the double diagonals and thought the two O’s in the word ‘look’ were quite something. She also felt the juxtaposition of some letters was just charming. It was noted by one of our athletic members that the runner’s pose is incorrect in that the bent arm and leg should be opposites. Charlotte has redone this piece correcting that and made other changes as she felt it should be more wintry. The final piece can be seen on our website in Resources/ Exhibitions.
Pat Wheatley would have liked the cover of her Bizarre Book Titles to have more colour. Betty loved her letter Z and the way she superimposed letters on each other. Two Ts and an I together is hard to do.
Anne Atkinson’s piece is a book of quotes by Spike Milligan. Each pocket contains a different quote. Betty felt it was very calligraphic. The book itself was made by Carolyn Dallaire.
This is Ria Lewis’ first attempt with this piece. After taking a break she found it difficult to come back to her work. The consistency was gone. Betty suggested that one should stop in the middle not at the end of a quote as it seems to help maintain the consistency. It was also suggested that Ria could use a different hand for each quote. Ria wondered how she might mend her mistake which the paper patch is covering. Betty suggested she add a couple of more patches, one for each quote. Overall it was felt to be “a pretty neat piece”.
A note from the photographer. I would like to apologize to anyone who feels their work is not accurately presented in these photos. For some reason this month it seemed particularly difficult to achieve my desired results. Perhaps it was the camera. My husband has my preferred one in Ontario. More than likely it is my skill as a photographer. I am a real amateur. Having all the pictures appear in colour certainly makes it more challenging. I edit the photos on my Mac and then I have to do the actual publishing on my PC. Sometimes they look different from one computer to another. Sometimes the photos are not my work but have been submitted to me by the artist. You all put such effort into your wonderful work and I want the pictures to reflect that. JaneTaylor
Loft Show 2013 Submitted by Marilyn Silver and Trish Peebles were created in a workshop given by Carolynn Dallaire. There was a tree branch full of Japanese Weathergrams made by members at a guild meeting. As well, there was a whimsical “Paper Dolls in a Suitcase” display by Charlotte Whiteley.
Our thanks go to Charlotte for this delightful creation. The Decorated Envelope display consisted of eighteen creative entries that were received through the mail and mounted for display by Linda Yaychuk. Thanks to Linda for putting together such an eye catching display of the envelopes.
Poster by Charlotte Whiteley
This year the guild mounted its 15th Annual Loft Show and Sale at Valley Vines to Wine from Saturday, January 26 to Thursday, February 28. The show was a great success and well received by the public. Fifty-eight people signed our guest book with very positive comments such as “Inspiring”, “So much to look at and enjoy.” and “So glad I stopped to see your show! It's magical.”
We’d also like to thank Barbara Qualley for updating and sending out the required forms to the membership, photographing each piece of calligraphy and adding them to our website. Thanks also Barbara for providing the tree branch and explanation sheet for our Weathergrams display. Weathergram Tree
The show was truly a cooperative effort as so many members contributed in so many ways. Jungle by Marion Craig
Charlotte Whiteley produced an original poster to advertise our show.
Thirty members contributed ninetyfive pieces to the exhibit. The quality and variety of pieces were delightful to see. Eight pieces were sold. To celebrate our 15th year we set up a special “Déjà vu” display to revisit some of the work done in past years. We also continued our “Off the Wall” display which was introduced last year. Pieces in this section included some beautiful Carousel Books that
“A” by Anne Atkinson
Paper Doll in a Suitcase by Charlotte Whiteley
Eleanor Harris opened her home as a drop off place for the show pieces. We appreciate this Eleanor and for checking and organizing all our paperwork! 11
Our thanks also go to Betty and Duncan Locke for producing the title cards for each piece. Betty's
The Queen of Hearts by Betty Locke
with them to set up the show. Thanks to Carolynn Dallaire, Charlotte Whiteley, Denise Rothney, Jim Wisnia, Marilyn Lundstrom, Pat Wheatley and Barbara Qualley. Many hands make light work â€“ and all your creative ideas made for a great display.
Calling All Flies by Brigitte French
calligraphic skills and Duncan's computer skills made a great team.
Our final recognition and thank you goes to all those who contributed their calligraphic pieces â€“ Georgia Angelopoulos, Anne Atkinson, Anne Berens, Marilyn Boechler, Marion Craig, Carolynn Dallaire, Brigitte French, Joyce Gammie, Brenda Hicks, Shirley Johnson, Trudy Kungold Ammann, Lenore Le May, Ria Lewis, Betty Locke, Judith Lovell, Judy Lowood, Marilyn Lundstrom, June Maffin, Gillian Mouat, Trish Peebles, Janet Peters, Barbara Qualley, Denise Rothney, Marilyn Silver, Pauline Thompson, Ida Marie Threadkell, Mieke van der Vliet, Pat Wheatley, Charlotte Whiteley and Linda Yaychuk. Trish and Marilyn are very appreciative of all the assistance so willingly offered by so many in making this show such a great success. We have included a few photos of pieces in this article but for a complete look at our show see the Resources/Exhibitions section on our website.
This show was coordinated by Trish Peebles with the assistance of Marilyn Silver. A team of members worked
A Letter From Afar Since putting our newsletter on the website we have had acknowledgements and hits from various places around the globe such as Brazil, England and The United States as well as various places in Canada. We received a delightful email from a man named Frank Boyd, which we thought you would like to read. With his permission, I have included it in the newsletter. I am 70 and a retired petrol piping draftsman. I live in southwest Mississippi in a small town (700). I check on all guilds on the internet. Went to a big conference in St. Louis in 1997. I was in awe of some of the calligraphers. I lived in Baton Rouge Louisiana for 42 years and I was a member of the Guild in town and in New Orleans. I always enjoy reading about other guilds. Keep up the good work up there. It is cold here today-in the 40s.
A Class With Sheila Waters Submitted by Gwyneth Evans If there could be only one instruction book in my calligraphy library, I’d make sure that book was Foundations of Calligraphy by Sheila Waters (John Neal: 2006). Imagine how excited I was then to find myself in a class with Sheila at Calligraphy Northwest, the international conference held in Portland last summer (2012). The course, lasting 2 ½ days, was called The Double Primary Palette, and represented an introduction to many aspects of the magic of colour, through practical exercises and reflections by Sheila drawn from her lifetime of work as a calligraphic artist and famed teacher. Unlike most of the classes at the international conferences, this one did not lead to the production of a finished piece of work, but focused instead on experiment, listening and practice in class—a relaxed approach which made every minute of the class a pleasure. Although, since she is well over 80, Sheila taught mostly while sitting at her table, talking and demonstrating, her teaching was interactive and she was very involved in helping us understand the many aspects of the art and craft she was presenting. Her warmth, humour, and fund of stories and examples based on her life experience made for an unforgettable class. One evening I had volunteered for “gallery sitting” at the faculty art exhibit. The days and evenings at the conference were stimulating to say the least—conversations at every meal or break with calligraphers from Texas, Japan and all over the world, displays of inspiring art work everywhere, evening lectures by people like Denis Brown, and shopping at the two conference stores (!), not to mention the actual classes. As I slumped in my chair, worn out from the day’s activity but trying to keep an eye on the visitors to the gallery to make sure they wore the white gloves provided
What a way to learn the historic hands—from the actual manuscripts themselves! Calligraphy at the Royal College was taught by Dorothy Mahoney, who had been the chief assistant of Edward Johnson (18721944), the man who revived the study and practice of calligraphy in the modern English-speaking world. Mahoney met her students in Johnson’s former classroom, and her teaching gave Sheila Waters a direct link to Johnson and his teaching.
while handling the hand-made books and didn’t lurk off with any of the exhibits tucked under their raincoats, I saw Sheila Waters arrive with her son Julian, who was also teaching classes at the conference. With a sprightly step, Sheila toured the room, poring over her colleagues’ work and chatting or speaking intensely with the various visitors to the exhibit. Although clearly the oldest person in the room, she exuded the most vitality, and stayed until we had to put the lights out at the end of evening. Born in England in 1929, at the start of the Great Depression, Sheila lost her father when she was only five, and learned early the qualities of selfdiscipline, determination and focus which lie behind her calligraphic achievement. Condensing four years’ work into three, she graduated from the Medway College of Art and then was accepted as a student at the prestigious Royal College of Art in London. In those very different times, to help her study of early writing she was permitted to handle and directly copy from a number of the rare and incredibly valuable medieval manuscripts, such as the 7th century Book of Lindisfarne in the British Museum (now the British Library).
Even before her graduation from the RCA, important commissions began to come Sheila’s way, including work for museums, royalty, libraries, publishers and collectors. A long-time fascination with maps led to many map-making jobs, including a book for Macmillan publishers with 73 maps illustrating the campaigns of Napoleon, and maps for a number of Penguin books on different counties in its celebrated Buildings of England series. Her marriage to fellow student and brilliant bookbinder Peter Waters was by all accounts one of great mutual support and collaboration. Julian Waters writes of his parents, “During their remarkable fifty years together…Peter and Sheila helped each other with almost every project and neither would have achieved what they have without the other.” (Scripsit, p.1, see my end note) Peter would offer design suggestions and critique Sheila’s work, but judging by the warmth and frequency with which she still refers to him (he died in 2003), the critiques were truly appreciated! When in 1971 Peter was appointed Chief of Conservation at the Library of Congress the Waters family immigrated to the USA. As well as continuing to work on calligraphic commissions and raise three sons, Sheila began passing on her knowledge and skills in her new home. She instituted a program in calligraphy at the Smithsonian
Institution, founded the Washington Calligraphers Guild, which now has over 500 members, and began travelling regularly all over North America to teach at the annual international conferences such as the one in Portland. Every summer for many years Sheila has given workshops in her teaching studio at her home, overlooking the Blue Ridge Mountains. Students are privileged to eat and sleep in the house, as well as receive individual instruction from the woman who has often been called “the Queen of Calligraphy.” One quality of Sheila Waters’ work that especially appeals to me is her appreciation of poetry and sensitivity to the meaning of the words she writes so beautifully. Although she has lived in the United States for so many years, she still sounds very English and that traditional British schooling perhaps lies behind her interest in and ability to interpret literature from many different time periods and parts of the world. Examples in the Gallery section of her Foundations book include not only poetry by Shakespeare and Gerard Manley Hopkins, and two quotations from the King James Bible, but also passages from Sanskrit writings, the work of medieval Jewish philosopher Maimonides, and lyrics by British folksinger Ewen MacColl (“The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face”). Each of these pieces is given a distinctive, unique treatment, the exquisite letter forms supported by a sure and imaginative approach to design and a rich, highly skilled use of colour. A sensitive response to diverse texts underlies one of Sheila’s masterpieces, the Roundel of the Seasons, reproduced on the cover of her Foundations of Calligraphy and also available as a print. This stunning work of art on the subject of seasonal change includes quotes from the King James Bible, 17th century poet John Donne, a medieval English song, an Egyptian hymn from 1400 BCE, and the modern French existentialist Albert Camus. Sheila estimates that the Roundel of the Seasons entailed 14
for her over 1,000 hours of concentrated work. It incorporates many different elements within a strong central design of multi-hued circles within circles, all contained by a plain white square decorated with fine calligraphy. The largest circle of all is formed of letters with long,
beautifully flourished headers that help to create a sense of motion around “the circle of time.” Within the inner circles are the months, miniature paintings of the zodiac signs, names of the seasons, more quotations, and delicate flower paintings. The initial, overall impression given by the work is pleasure at the gradations of colour which move around the colour wheel reflecting the changing seasons; in this rich and subtle work with complementary colours I can see the ideas about the palette she discussed and demonstrated in the class at Portland, here transformed from exercises into art. We viewers can readily respond, too, to the lively effect of the letter forms within its splendidly balanced design. Despite this immediate sensuous appeal of its colours and fine writing, however, the complexity and delicacy of the Roundel make it a piece of art not just to glance at but to pore over, and to keep coming back to in order to find more and more of its subtle beauties. Another of Sheila Waters’ most celebrated works is an entirely handlettered and illustrated book of Dylan
Thomas’ radio play Under Milk Wood. Commissioned by a wealthy collector in England, the original was later purchased by Sir J. Paul Getty, Jr. for his Wormsley Library in Oxford, one of the world’s great book collections: the title-page of Waters’ book is featured on the Library’s web page, alongside a priceless medieval illuminated manuscript. Sheila worked on the book for 17 years, from its commission in 1961 until its completion in 1978! In her Foundations she describes her choice of an adapted Carolingian hand to do the 73 pages of lettering; the hand is open, very legible, and at the same time both refined and unpretentious, as suits the village life evoked in Thomas’ funny and poetic “play for voices.” As well as using some colour banding in the lettering, the book also contains 25 small and delightful illustrations that capture the shifting moods of the story. It is an extraordinary achievement. Sheila says, “I realized that this major work would outlive me and in another 500 years I would be evaluated as an artist by the quality of the work alone.” (Scripsit, p. 32) Beautifully reproduced facsimile copies of Sheila’s Under Milk Wood can be purchased through John Neal Books/ International Letter Arts Press, and Warmlanders are welcome to have a look at my own treasured copy if you wish. I purchased it at our International Conference, Island Magic, in 2007, never thinking I would eventually have the opportunity to take a class with the calligrapher herself. Note: Some of Sheila Waters’ work, including reproductions of the Roundel, can be seen on several websites, by googling her name. High-quality prints are also available through the John Neal website. Foundations of Calligraphy is in our guild library, which also has the double issue of Scripsit Fall 2009/ Winter 2010, a Sheila Waters Retrospective, which contains many fascinating examples of her life work and gives a good sense of the character and experiences of this remarkable artist.
February Program with Betty Locke Submitted by Lucy Hylkema the fact that an 8 does not have to meet in the middle. Number 9 was allowed to extend below the baseline, which complements a zero that is just ever so slightly higher than the x height. The subtle changes in the shapes of these numbers allowed us to think of their forms freed from the constraints of typesets. Betty chafes at the false restrictions that technology
comes to calligraphic numbers. There is no shame in precisely written address numbers, and if you want to make sure people show up at your wedding at 1 p.m., not 7 p.m., make sure there is no room for confusion. She mentioned that usually the person’s name is the most important, and you can go wild with that (I am paraphrasing).
Betty using Elmo to demonstrate numbers.
The February Program was given by Betty Locke who gave us some pointers on how to create calligraphic numbers. She gave us quite a few pointers in fact, despite some technical difficulties with our new Elmo projector. As the lesson progressed, Betty’s enthusiasm for beautiful numbers became more and more noticeable. It turns out that Italic numbers are a relative newcomer on the calligraphic scene, and historically have a bit more freedom around x heights than the accompanying letters. This may be because the Italic style was introduced about five hundred years ago during the relatively freewheeling Renaissance. Italic numbers come out of the historic humanist miniscule style and fit well with Betty’s idea of the humanity that we find in calligraphy. With Italic calligraphy we are allowed to create numbers that can play outside the lines, so by the time we got to the number three, it was elegantly tailing off below the baseline; numbers 4 and 5 were also exuberantly ignoring the baseline, and number 6 was just clearing the x-height. There was debate about whether a 7 should have a crosspiece, and some discussion on
Charlotte Whiteley and Leslie Healy
has imposed on numbers. Technology came up fairly often during the presentation since Elmo seems to need someone around with a science brain to figure him out, and we had forty-two creative brains available. It was starting to feel like one of those jokes that starts, “How many calligraphers does it take to get Elmo to show numbers the right way up?” Betty persevered, and demonstrated different ways of writing numbers so that they would match the calligraphic alphabet that they were being used with. We were then given two exemplars at the end of the lesson; they are available on our website. I think this is a good time to remind people that our website is a great resource (as is Betty!)
Betty lending a helping hand.
Betty actually mentioned quite a few things during this program, and not everything was about numbers. There was some reminiscing about the Olden Days, before everything became Fontified (I think Betty made up that word). There was also a brief discussion about when it is actually okay to use felt pens, which is generally only when Betty says it's okay (not often, believe me). All in all, despite some struggles with Elmo, this was a classic lesson with Betty, where we laugh and laugh, and somehow she sneaks the learning in while we are still giggling.
Numbers do not show up a lot in classic calligraphy, but they do show up often on envelopes, invitations, and cards. Betty reminded us to be aware that sometimes clarity is more important than creativity when it Karen Dods, Pat Davis and Martha Fraser
Submitted by Jane Taylor
The challenge this month was to create a piece using complementary colours, utilizing a tool or skill that is new to you and use any background of your choosing. There was a great response with a total of 23 pieces. Betty Locke facilitated and led the critique.
After splattering her paper first Mieke van der Vliet learned that it is very difficult to write over paint. She used a hand she found on the internet. Betty liked the compactness and height of the letters. As the piece is quite symmetrical it was suggested that the accreditation should be centered to maintain the symmetry. This is Joyce Gammie’s first time doing a detailed graphic for a piece and what a wonderful first! She did it a little backwards to what is historically recognized as the general order, by doing the drawing first. It is usually easier to adapt the drawing to the lettering. Joyce had a hard time deciding on the lettering. Betty loved the claws on the dragon and the serifs, which she felt were very applicable to the piece and tied in well with claws. She loves it when the text and illustration go together.
On her second piece Mieke van der Vliet did the masking for the lettering first and then the painting. She found the colours did not blend as she expected they would. It was suggested that the paint may not have been wet enough. She had trouble getting the masking fluid off. Betty liked the hand, which reminded her of a stencil; something you don’t see very often.
The inspiration for Pauline Thompson’s piece came from feelings she experienced as she observed the results achieved by her peers during her first attempt at making paste paper. The lettering was done using the tines of a fork and the red dot is Sheaffer’s permanent red ink.
Gillian Mouat used a new glass pen and nib she bought in Montreal to create this piece. She found the pen very limiting as it only writes in monoline due to the length of the nib and the way it is scored. It is a bit ‘toothy’. Gillian also used acrylic ink for the first time. She found it worked best with this nib. The pen itself was a piece of art..
Betty thought that Denise Rothney’s piece had beautiful colours and that the red and green leaves on black were stunning. For Denise, using Finetec Artist Mica watercolours and painting on black was a first. She found she had to use a lot of paint to make her work show up on the page. She combined gouache and watercolour to achieved her desired results. In order to make the leaves appear less flat she curled some of the tips.
Anne Berens used the initials of her name to create her piece. It was a first for her to do the writing on a curved line. She has produced a lovely clean piece using a beautiful Neuland hand..
Marilyn Boechler has created a very ‘subtle, suggestive and beautiful piece of art, Marilyn did a lot of practising on newspaper using her Japanese Happy Dot brush. This was the first time Marilyn used embossing in a piece. It was suggested that a very diluted drop of green on the undersides of the fish would give them more roundness and help to relate the colours. Betty said Marilyn should be very proud of her results.
Charlotte Whiteley produced a ‘pretty exciting piece.’ She made her luscious looking letters using FW Pearlescent liquid acrylic ink in shimmering red and genesis green. The lettering was done using a No.6 brush and then a bit of soft pencil crayon was added. It was suggested that the paper could be a little larger. The G in golden should have a very wide back to be more in sync with the other letters. The P and L have lovely serifs.
Pat Wheatley’s piece is called Fractured Memories and is made up of entries Pat copied from a journal kept by her mother. Betty loved the texture of both her foreground and background. Pat used her finger to help create the background and to smudge some of the lettering. This was a first for Pat. She told us the writing done in a ‘bastardized Roman’ hand flowed quite easily.
Cutting pieces out of foil in complementary colours was new for Marion Craig. She found gluing the foil and creating balance in the piece to be quite a challenge.
Linda Yaychuk creates wonderful contrast with these complementary colours and mirroring the lettering in this piece. For Linda, the new was working with acrylic paint on canvas which she hasn’t done for years, and using a diamond glaze on the O and the W to create the illusion of droplets from a rainfall. She did the layout with a Neuland type hand and made a stencil in cardboard and then one in acetate for the second word. There was a lot of forethought and work involved in creating this piece .
Leslie Healy has written her piece in a beautiful hand which looks like Gwen Weaver’s, but not quite. She has used beautiful geometric shapes which are opposites, just like complementary colours. The even number of shapes works because of the size variations of the shapes. This is the first piece Leslie has ever written in her own words. Betty loved the X, and the two S’s in unless.
Anne Atkinson has created her piece with paste paper The little window is an example of fenestration. (I had to look that word up in the dictionary.) The writing was done using a felt pen. Betty commented that ‘Anne is to be admired for her continued contributions to our gallerias as she is rarely present to hear the many accolades she receives for her work.’
Susan Miller found this month’s challenge to be ‘very challenging’. She did a lot of mixing of colours before she got to a brown she really loved. She started with cheap watercolours which she found were awful and then she tried gouache. Susan learned about complementary colours and mixing paints to create colours. Tall people is a term used by First Nations people in reference to trees. Betty thought it was ‘a lovely soft and gentle’ piece. and that it is interesting to see the struggles a person goes through to get to their final product.
Ida Marie Threadkell’s piece is ‘a work of art’ said Betty. ‘It is beautiful and so soft-spoken’. Ida Marie was trying for split complementary in her piece. She actually used four new things to create this work: using acrylic paint with a brush, Schmincke copper powder, a new hand called elegant script and embossing. She had only used pastels once before. Betty Locke incorporated an achromatic colour scheme (black, white and grey) into her piece. She enjoyed the muting of colours in her work. Betty used her foil pen for the first time in this piece to create those delicate dots of glitz.
Marilyn Lundstrom has created ‘a piece of art with wonderful, vibrant colours,’ enthused Betty. Marilyn used gouache for the first time and found she had mixed an awful lot of paint. She then wet the paper and let the paint ‘go’ so it would just blend. The white areas are where the paper was not wet. She made a number of attempts before achieving the desired results. The quote was chosen after she did the painting. ‘This is an excellent example of working without preconceived ideas and letting the piece come to you.’ Marilyn really practised these casual Roman letters before doing the final piece. All of her hard work and effort has resulted in ‘a stellar piece’ to quote Betty.
Marion Craig displayed both creativity and resourcefulness in doing something for the first time. She scanned a floral dress and printed the image for the flowers at the bottom in this piece,‘The War of the Roses’. She included red and green in the roses and orange and blue in her castle.
Lenore Le May created a mini reference book on colours. For the cover she used a straw to blow wet paint to create graphics or “flowers” for the first time. Betty liked the tininess of the book which contained so much information.
Lenore Le May was not happy with the flourishing in this piece. She felt there was too much going on and that the body of lettering was not big enough for the size of the heart. Betty felt the two hands of Tight and Flowing went beautifully together. Both lettering styles were new for Lenore. The guild members liked the piece above best. They liked how the blue writing was within the other writing. The members felt the piece above was more powerful.
Some of Marion Craig’s piece was done using a Bic brand black felt marker which bled terribly. This tool was new for Marion, and adding wavy lines was a new process. Her piece was done in Neuland and Italics. She just ’kind of let it happen’.
Words, Words, Words “The Lost [?] Art of Handwriting” Submitted by Gwyneth Evans As calligraphers we devote ourselves to calli graphia or “beautiful writing,” but what about ordinary handwriting. Is it becoming a lost art? Do you write as much by hand as you used to? Unless you’re one of those increasingly rare souls who doesn’t use a computer, a little reflection will probably reveal that, apart from grocery lists and post-it notes, your hand-written communications are fewer than they used to be five or ten years ago—probably considerably fewer. (Please let me know if I’m wrong!) How about letters and post-cards? Do you send and receive as many Christmas cards as you once did? (Jackie Lawson’s cleverly animated e-cards and the price of stamps are not wholly to blame here.) I’m trying hard to keep addresses and calendar dates on my computer and wean myself of the trusty, tattered address book, so once again I’m replacing my own with typed-in text. Most of us know children who can text like lightning but have trouble writing a legible sentence—and can’t really see why they should have to. Is this a problem? If anyone cares about handwriting becoming a lost art, presumably we calligraphers should. At the Calligraphy Northwest conference in Portland last summer, one of the most intriguing evening presentations was by two calligraphers who have developed a series of workshops on improving one’s own handwriting—workshops aimed at doctors! We know doctors, busy at their work of diagnosis and treatment, tend to have terrible handwriting, but why would that matter? Oh, yes; oh dear! Misreading an illegible prescription could lead to a lot of trouble. These handwriting workshops have been popular with the doctors, even though many, like my own GP, now print up prescriptions on their 22
office printers and avoid handwriting altogether. Still, miscommunication as the consequence of poor handwriting is a problem not just in the medical profession but in many areas of life. For a frivolous example, does anyone remember the young, hapless Woody Allen trying to rob a bank in Take the Money and Run? He passes his holdup note through the wicket, only to be scolded by the teller: “What’s a gub? This note says ‘I have a gub.’”
Quite apart from such mishaps, a person’s handwriting conveys her individuality, as a printed text cannot. How often do we keep an old letter or recipe card written by someone who is gone, feeling their presence in their handwriting there, even more than in a photo. While we might feel skeptical of the more extreme claims of graphologists to be able to read character through handwriting, seeing the writing of someone we know can certainly remind and give us a vivid sense of the whole person. It’s fascinating to look at original manuscripts by well-known writers, with all their corrections and crossings-out, the hand itself clear and precise, or wild and unruly. Does this handwriting seem to reflect the subject of the poem or letter, and does it match with the character of the writer as we’ve interpreted it?
Philip Hensher, an English novelist, has just published what sounds like a very appealing book entitled The Missing Ink: The lost art of handwriting (and why it still matters). Looking at, among many other topics, the Copperplate manuals put out in the 19th century, Henscher points out that in teaching this hand we now find so purely decorative and elegant, the old instructors were focusing instead on its practical values, and on legibility and speed, as indicated by the use of terms such as Business Writing and Secretary Hand. Before copy machines and electric lights, when all correspondence including legal copies and business documents, had to be written out by hand…my eyes are starting to hurt too much for me to be able to finish this sentence! After reading Mr. Henscher’s book, however, I will pursue this ordinary, but no longer to be taken for granted, subject of handwriting in a future column.
P.S. I do have to tell you that despite the encouraging and puzzled glances the MacBook on my desk was throwing my way, I decided to write this article first by hand—just to see what it felt like, once again. It felt good.
March Program Janet Peters gave a demo on how to lay gesso, and brought enough supplies for each of us to experiment. This is a media that was quite new to almost all of us, and we were curious to see and learn what gesso can do. It turns out that gesso can do quite a lot, and Janet's advice was to “dabble and play.” Janet has a fairly relaxed approach to using gesso, and her presentation opened up a number of possibilities for its use.
Janet Peters showing an example
We started with gesso on paper (which needs to be at least a 90 lb.), and Janet mentioned that you can also use it on fabrics, that art canvasses are primed with gesso before paint is applied, and that ancient Egyptians used it on wood and walls. This is versatile stuff! Not only does it make a beautiful surface to write and paint on, it can also be used to add texture to your piece, or cover up your mistakes. Gesso is made by a number of different companies, and the consistency can vary from liquid to paste. But gesso is not to be confused with paste to make paste paper. This is an entirely different media (which Janet also knows a lot about.) Drying times for gesso can vary, and generally the thicker your gesso, the longer it will take to dry. You do not want to be in a rush. It took our gesso
Submitted by Lucy Hylkema at least an hour to dry, and it can take longer. A thin coat will dry faster, but a thicker coat gives you more options for texture and application. Janet had us use old credit cards to spread thin layers randomly on our paper. She mentioned that any number of tools can be used for this process, including older brushes, but advised us to rinse them thoroughly immediately after the gesso has been applied. You can use a credit card to “scribe” patterns into the gesso. Actually you can use almost anything to make patterns. And there is no reason to limit yourself to just one layer of gesso. Janet had us bring our paints so that we could experiment with how it reacts to the gesso once it is dry. She is quite enthusiastic about this “experiment and play” type of learning, and seems to think it is very difficult to make mistakes (I beg to differ!) And if you don't like what you've created, you can just paint over it with gesso, and start all over…kind of like artistic white-out! She also supplied us with diaper wipes that she uses to remove, or move, paint that is on gesso. It does work best on paint that has just been put down, but if you leave the diaper wipe on for a few minutes you can just wipe the paint off. The wipes can be used with acrylic paints as well as water colours, but make sure they are fresh out of the package and still quite moist. Water colours work beautifully, but differently, over gesso compared to plain paper. They give a fairly subtle change to how a painting looks, and Janet mentioned that the gesso allows heavy applications of water colour to “float” on its surface and then dry in interesting ways.
that do not take lettering easily, like some of the rough water colour papers, canvas, fabric, and many of the handmade papers. In one last demonstration Janet showed how you can add small bits of ripped paper to the gesso before it dries, and create a type of collage effect to your pieces. She was using decorative rice paper with flower inclusions, but it will also work with magazine pages and other types of paper. At this point the class was busy experimenting and sharing their discoveries with each other, and what I noticed was how unique and varied the artwork was. We had about forty participants, some creating very delicate and subtle pieces, others where the entire paper exploded with intense colours. Some people played with texture, and others preferred it as a beautifully smooth surface. Janet also mentioned that you can buy black gesso, which opens up yet more possibilities. There is a huge range of artistic expression that gesso can support, and I can understand why Janet was so enthusiastic about teaching us about it. In closing, I would like to thank Janet for introducing gesso to us because I think it has opened up a world of possibilities. She put an incredible amount of time and energy into planning the lesson, and supplying us with the necessary materials. From the chatter I overheard, and from my own experience, this was a huge success, and I think we will be seeing gesso used in more of our galleria pieces from now on.
It is worth remembering that there is no need to cover the entire surface of your piece with gesso. You may just want the areas you are writing on to have gesso laid on them, and your accompanying artwork can just overlap into the area. This allows you the opportunity to add text onto surfaces Gwyneth Evans and Marion Kelbrick
Submitted by Alane Lalonde
This month’s galleria challenge was to do a black and white block of text in a square format. The critique was done by Betty Locke.
In this piece by Judy Lowood she says she sketched it with pencil first and finished it with Dr. Martin’s white ink. Betty says that this is beautiful and she enjoys the iris and the Gwen Weaver writing with no serifs. The words which go into the writing are a wonderful idea. Betty commented that when you put a name on a leaf or on a living organism it looks like a worm!
Lenore Le May’s use of Gothicized Italics added a lot of wonderful things to her piece. Betty thought the use of this lovely hand was like gravy at the end of the strokes and she liked the beautifully drawn flowers as space fillers . Betty stated that when a word is not high in value, it can be made smaller as illustrated by Lenore’s use of the word ‘an’ .
Betty stated that this piece from Marilyn Boechler was a great piece which worked well and that she enjoyed Marilyn’s use of thick and thins.
This piece done by Leslie Healy is taken from a verse sung by Colton Dixon. Betty stated that it is pretty easy to read even though we have lines divided. It is nicely accredited with almost a little scribbling. Betty says that Leslie chose a wonderful word to end it with and that the piece says melancholy.
At first Pat Wheatley’s piece looks like confusion, but when she explains to us that it has to do with an official memorandum regarding the annual bird count, the way in which she does her piece makes total sense. Pat was trying to use Bookhand and this was a huge amount of text. Betty says that there is a beautiful melding of the whole thing where the text resembles ripples in the sand.
Betty is charmed by Linda Yaychuck’s piece and thanks her for accrediting it from somewhere else as Linda says she got the idea from a calendar, using capital letters in an unusual space and using a tool “B” nib makes an interesting monoline with no thicks or thins. Linda says she used a dot between the words because they were close together. Betty stated that the body height is very high and has worked well. Linda said she would do the illustrations darker later or at another time. This piece done by Betty Locke shows her flair for her artistic sense. She enjoyed working on her piece, but it took her a while to get there. She said that she white chalked the back of her piece and then did guidelines. She didn’t like the fact that she did the moon in silver.
Betty really appreciated Charlotte Whiteley’s piece and the use of some of Judy Matheson’s workshop ideas. She states that Charlotte’s first two blocks are more successful than the third and there is a lovely use of line fillers and illustrations. Using bigger capitals might have worked better. Black ink is too dark and brown ink would have a warmness. Charlotte’s use of a speedball pen and the lovely Batard hand works so well. Anne Atkinson’s piece is designed like a small booklet. Betty says that Anne went way beyond the call of duty with her piece. Her piece is so philosophical and beautiful.
Ria Lewis used Uncial in her piece. Betty says that this is a most interesting take on the guidelines. It is within the parameters (a block) giving us something like music within forms. Betty stated that the design quality is there as if Ria has had her way with her piece. Betty stated that it was, what isn’t there, in Susan Miller’s piece that is so neat. Things are waiting to be filled with extraordinary stuff. Betty suggested that if the tab with the name on it were to be cut off, Susan’s piece would have kept within the galleria challenge parameters.
This piece of Marion Kelbrick’s was done in the Uncial hand. Marion says that she wrote it as the poem goes. Betty says there is a slight diagonal where it should be more of a block . Betty suggested the use of more paper might have worked better for the piece.
Marion Craig used a “ B “ nib in her piece. She said this assignment was very hard as there are open areas and spaces needed to be filled. She cut out each line and word to position, align and organize her piece to make everything fit. She added text on the side in which it frames and gives the piece verticality.
In Ida Marie Threadkell’s piece she said that she tried to use Roman and Uncial hands and that she repeated lines of her piece at the end. Betty stated that the differences are beautiful saying it is a lovely block, enjoying open forms full of nature and texture even though it wasn’t the assignment. Her linear space on the left goes along well with the piece.
Betty loves this piece done by Anne Berens. Betty states that even though the parameters are not done, Anne’s piece seems like how a teenage girl would write. It has that feeling about it. The girl is thinking of someone while doing a lot of Math in her mind. Anne said this was a tribute to her new pet dog. We are charmed.
Editor’s Message As I've said before we have a wonderful newsletter team. Not only are they pleasant to work with but are also hardworking and creative. At our last guild meeting I was taken aback when a new member volunteered to be part of the newsletter team. I’d like to thank Rocke Wightman for offering to help. I know he’ll be an asset to our team. Next year we will be going back to publishing three newsletters. I think I can speak for the others when I say that we have a little more confidence
in our abilities knowing that there is always a helping hand somewhere. I’d like to thank Janet Peters, Barb Qualley, Denise Rothney and Charlotte Whiteley who were right there when we were crazed and confused. Putting the newsletter on the website has caused a number of changes in its production as well as to the guild. We still have some wrinkles to iron out but in time everything should fall into place. Besides, challenges make life more interesting don’t they?
Welcome The following people have recently joined our guild. Margaret Kells Ruth Rutledge Richard Chilibeck
Frank Boyd Debbie Craig
There are no descriptions written up for the pictures in the April Galleria. We have had comments that some members prefer this approach. We will take a vote at the September General Meeting to see which layout the majority of members prefer and we will use that form in future newsletters.
The Executive for 2013-2014
Back Left: Workshops– Marilyn Boechler, Betty Locke, Webmaster– Barbara Qualley, Treasurer– Muriel Heggie, Library– Patricia Wheatley, Membership– Judy Lowood, Newsletter– Linda Yaychuk, Front Row: Vice President—Lucy Hylkema, Secretary-Marilyn Silver, President– Joyce Gammie, Programs– Denise Rothney, Past President-Marilyn Lundstrom Absent: Secretary– Trish Peebles
Exposé - Pauline Thompson Northern Labrador for the next six years. In 1971 they moved to British Columbia and since 1973 Pauline and Dave have resided on Vancouver Island. Dave’s job as a heavy duty mechanic and later as a driller blaster took them to many places but the move to Vancouver Island has been their best move, says Pauline.
September of 1942 saw the birth of Pauline Thompson in Burton-uponTrent in central England. Right after the war, when Pauline was only three years old, she immigrated to Canada with her mother and younger brother. Her dad would join them later after he was discharged from the British Services. To date, Pauline has not had the opportunity to visit Burton-uponTrent. She has little impetus as her English relatives are now deceased. Pauline and her family lived in Toronto until 1947 when she moved with her parents and grandmother to New Brunswick. Shediac, N.B. was home for many years where the family expanded to include another brother and sister. Today brother Larry lives in Armstrong, B.C. and her sister Penny, a favourite and the youngest amongst the siblings, lives in Agassiz. Another brother, Norman, lives in Watson Lake. When Pauline was twelve years old, the family moved back to Ontario where she remained until she married Dave whom she had met through a friend on Christmas Day in 1959. Later, with an infant son, they moved to Hialeah in Florida. After six months living in the United States, Pauline and her husband decided that Canada was the place they wanted to be and shortly thereafter moved to 28
Submitted by Ria Lewis Calligraphers. She also is a member of the Kaatza Art Group where she has held the position of treasurer since 1994. A friend from the same group showed her how to do pysanky, the art of Ukrainian egg dying.
Dave and Pauline celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary last May. They have four wonderful children, all married to equally wonderful partners. Pauline and her husband count among their blessings ten grandchildren and the first great grandchild is due this June. Three of Pauline’s children Barry, Chris and Karen, live nearby in Nanaimo and one son, Shane lives in Ontario with his family. Other members of the family include pets, Patches, a four-year-old Shi-Tzu and Poppy, a seven-year-old Lhasa. Pauline claims they are the true masters of the house. Special memories held dear are when Dave and Pauline renewed their vows in front of their children six years ago as well as some of the trips they have taken together: to Florida last year to visit relatives and to Disneyland a few years ago. Pauline’s work both paid and as a volunteer includes being a First Aid Attendant in the forest industry and being responsible for accounts payable and payroll in Nanaimo. She was the Unit Officer for the B.C. Ambulance Service in Port Renfrew for fifteen years and she volunteered with the Junior Forest Wardens. Pauline enjoys doing many arts and crafts. While creating her own Christmas cards in 2007, she talked to her neighbour, Leslie Healy about the desire to learn how to write “fancier.” The following January, she attended her first calligraphy meeting as a guest and promptly joined the Warmland
Glass etching is another art form Pauline enjoys. Barbara Qualley’s class gave her a start and while she still uses acid, she also has a new tool for engraving patterns into the glass. Another class by Carolynn Dallaire enabled her to create several star books of which she is very proud. These days one can find Pauline and Dave, both retired, creating art in their studio. Dave creates pictures in wood, intarsia, while he also enjoys acrylics. Pauline keeps busy with water colours, glass etching, pysanky and of course, calligraphy.
By sharing aspects of your past, you have given us another fascinating look into one of our member’s life stories. Thank you, Pauline.
April Program Shirley Johnson taught the April Program using gel pens to demonstrate a monoline alphabet, and also to decorate a simple drawn capital. Her exemplars are available on our Warmland Calligraphers website, and Alane was busy taking photos for this article so that you can actually see what Shirley taught us.
Submitted by Lucy Hylkema The alphabet that we learned is one that Shirley learned in a class she took with Kathy Guthrie, and is based on two shapes: a small sloped loop and a “leap” or arc. The ascenders are very upright and straight, about two times regular height, as are the descenders, and it is written using only lowercase letterforms. The alphabet is both striking and legible, which lends itself nicely to addresses and cards. Don't limit yourself to just that; it could easily be used in more “arty” pieces too. If you are interested in other types of lettered alphabets (done with gel pens and other implements), there is a book by Lisa Englebrecht called Modern Calligraphy and Hand Lettering that Shirley mentioned is a good reference for alphabets, and offers plenty of inspiration. We do have the book available in our Guild library. She is worth googling for some great videos and images.
separate piece of paper and mount it on the inside of the card. It looks professional, and allows you to make a few mistakes until you get a good copy to put inside. To finish her lesson, Shirley handed out small pieces of watercolour paper, an exemplar with drawn capitals for us to trace, and lent out her gel pens, so that we could all try using this new technique. As always, the range of techniques, colours, and textures that people created was astounding. There was no “copying-off-your-neighbour” happening in our group. The range of gel pens available is also remarkable, and many people shared the ones they had with them, so that we all got to try them out. Shirley did remind us that you can also use coloured pencil, and paints with gel pens. Just remember that gel pens are not waterproof, and many are not archival, but they sure are a lot of fun!
Shirley enjoys using the Sakura brand of gel pens, available at most art stores. I have been frustrated trying to use cheap gel pens; the Sakura brand works much better than the gel pens you find at the big box stores, and they have a variety of sizes, colours and effects. One of the effects that Shirley demonstrated, using the increasingly popular Elmo projector, was something called a “shadow” pen. She prefers the medium sized pen over the fine one, and they do come in a selection of colours. The pen line is initially a solid colour, but within a few seconds divides into a metallic centre with a coloured shadow. Seeing it happen at high magnification on Elmo was super cool!
Shirley also introduced us to using gel pens to decorate drawn letters that could be used to make a lovely card. There were many examples of cards that Shirley had made using one decorated letter that she had mounted on a piece of folded cardstock. It turns out that a standard piece of 8½ by 11 inch cardstock, cut in half and folded, will fit into a standard sized envelope. If you have a dark coloured envelope you can use your light coloured gel pens to write the address, which is guaranteed to impress the recipient (and the letter carrier.) Shirley uses the basic UHU glue stick to mount her decorated letter to the front of the card, and mentioned that you can also write out the inside message on a
Thanks, Shirley, for a great program.
Well done, Charlotte !
Submitted by Alane Lalonde This monthâ€™s galleria was based on a quote by Kahlil Gibran
Lenore Le May
Betty Locke Ida Marie Threadkell
Mieke van der Vliet
Marilyn Boechler Marion Craig
Leslie Healy Charlotte Whiteley
Peter Thornton Workshop The Colourful Letters of Adolf Bernd Submitted by Liz Moss and Pat Wheatley not the only one who records “Peterisms”. One of our favourites is, “When you look at your neighbour’s work you see it for what it is. But when you look at your own work, you see it for what it is not.” He went on to explain that it is nearly impossible to like your piece when it’s in competition with what’s in our mind’s eye which is the inner vision we are trying to realize on paper. He insisted we all do this and went on to say, “When you’re looking at your own
until you are ready to understand.” He and Betty credited each other with, “The most beautiful things in the world are the most useless.” But the one I came home with this time was from Irene Wellington, “CLARIFY YOUR INTENTIONS.” He repeated this in many different ways (or was I just ready to hear it?).
“ If you never did you should. These things are fun and fun is good.” Dr. Seuss’s wonderful words are the best explanation of why I would attend a Peter Thornton Workshop
These are some of Peter’s letter forms.
“Know where you’re going.” “What is it you want to do?” Do you want to decorate? Emphasize? Convey emotion? He kept saying, “Don’t keep dipping your pen into the inkwell of hope.” When your intentions can be understood by the viewer everyone wins.
Marion Craig and Lucy Hylkema work on letter formations.
Judith Lovell lays out the design for her letter.
any time there is one on offer. Yes, I suppose the subject being presented is relevant, but not really. Peter falls into that rare category of “no matter what’s being taught you will learn something that will improve your calligraphy skills.” With more than three decades of experience and work behind him he just overflows with pithy comments and penetrating suggestions. Judging by Betty’s introduction to Peter, I am
work, you are too young. Put it away for a while, let time pass until what you were aiming at has evaporated (age definitely an advantage here as it gets easier and easier to forget) and you will be amazed and delighted by how much better it looks!” Another ‘Peterism’ to sew into your book, “If you insist on uttering negatives, you must finish each of them with the word, YET.” To Peter, negatives are just giving ourselves permission to fail. Another comment was “The good stuff will wait around
We began our introduction to Adolf Bernd’s methods with our watercolours and Peter’s favorite paper, MBM Ingres, a very textured paper with faint lines on one side. We folded and ripped it into many 6 ½ x 10” pieces to work on. When finished we would have a book to document our progress. We first drew a pencil line cross, and then filled each ‘square’ with a colour without touching the lines. We made each square slightly darker as we filled in the larger square. The result was a beautiful white cross between the colour cubes. This introduced us to Bernd’s style of painting large colour washes of subtly different shades separated by unpainted ‘white’ lines forming incredible designs of 33
harmonious colour. Our palette was limited to a ‘warm’ and ‘cool’ version of each primary colour ensuring harmony through having to mix any variations in colour we needed. Vivienne Bruce’s wonderful notes from a past workshop advise keeping the point of the brush toward the pencil line and turning the paper to facilitate this. “It gives more control and a crisper edge to the colour patch.” I found these notes of Vivienne’s useful for the exercises she describes and recommend looking them up on the Warmland website. We also painted progressive squares of mixed colour to get grays of different hues, and progressions of more diluted shades of colour. Finally we painted many squares of various hues taken from a natural object Peter had brought in. In regards to this very meditative exercise (which I highly recommend) Peter told us how he had copied this exercise from Bernd himself. He asked Bernd’s widow if she ever helped her husband with his art. “No”, she replied, “but he would paint from the flowers and plants I picked.” This insight goes a long way to explaining Bernd’s colour choices which were often neutral or very subtly different as in nature.
thus enhancing harmony. Also, when in doubt, look for a unit (diamond, spiral, square, etc.) in the piece that you’ve already used and repeat it unifying and harmonizing the whole again. Again a very appropriate quote from Peter of Marc Chagall: “All the colours have friends for their neighbors and lovers for their opposites.” Peter also commented that there are really no pure colours . All colours lean towards the others. When you’re painting, keep a sheet to test your colours on first and it’s always good practice to have them labled on the back or margin for the record. We continued painting the spaces between letters forming words and looking forward to the next day’s work on versals. As usual from a Peter Thornton workshop, I came away inspired with a million things to Google and try for myself. P.S. This is an interesting bit of information regarding Bernd’s Monoline ‘bow’ signature in the lower right of his work. Peter said the bottom two lines are the A and the top two triangles are a B on its side. The whole symbol resembles a bow because he always wore a bow tie. On the second day of Peter’s
This is one of Peter’s pieces that we were able to admire.
Ruth Rutledge was a keen participant in Peter’s workshop.
With regard to colour in our work, Peter recommended ‘picking up’ color already in the work and repeating it, 34
workshop we put away our paints and brushes for a while to draw letters. Peter revised the basics of Roman proportions and spacing. Continuing to use our pages of MBM Ingres D’Arches paper and an HB 2 pencil, we proceeded to draw versals, paying attention to narrowing the counter
space in rounded letters. This was done by drawing a central line and making a figure eight on either side. To space the next letter a measurement was taken from the inner line of the oval. The class chose a short word to practise on and Peter demonstrated embellishment with curved vertical strokes crossing each other to create spaces for colour. Straight lines became angled with some flourishing and the blocked letters were given slight curves for added interest. Tiny diamonds and irregular edging also broke the uniformity and added spaces for colour. Then out with the paints again. Remembering—no more than two colours needed; add dark colours to light; always keep the brush pointed to the drawn line by turning the page; dark colours side by side need wider white space; vary size of gap and darker colour in the centre. These were yesterday’s rules! We chose one letter. It was drawn and then “framed” within a square or diamond shape. Before adding any colour, the letter could now be outlined with a fine pigma or Zig pen and pencil lines erased. Exemplars of versal letterforms and the decorated letter were distributed. Breaking up the shapes of the letters with fluid lines was particularly helpful. Peter had some wonderful examples of his work on display and for sale. The workshop was a fascinating journey into the work of Adolph Bernd. It was particularly helpful on the use of subtle colour. The whole two days were presented with humour and generosity of spirit. Thank you, Peter.
Jottings From the Library Submitted by Pat Wheatley Written records date to the 3rd Millenium in Babylonia. The first book repositories were in Greek temples, established for the schools of philosophy. The encyclopaedia says that a library is a collection of information resources, in print or in other forms, that is organized and made accessible for reading and study. Organized—yes, well, I would like to make finding what you want a little bit easier. Our little library has books, magazines, DVDs and instructional templates. Calligraphy is such a huge subject that necessarily includes not just the scripts themselves, but a multitude of diverse topics such as paper, all manner of colouring techniques and the tools used to apply the colour. To that end, we also have books on rubber stamps, scrapbooks, origami, quotations, greeting cards, book binding and decorated envelopes. We have books that deal with every category of script and their history and “how to,” books that discuss pens, inks, the use of gold leaf and everything in between. Our library has it all—BUT it is not always easy to find. Therefore, I am toying with the idea of colour coding, that is to say,using coloured dots to identify subject matter. Don’t hold your breath, but this is what I see in the future. Another mini-change is that the two periodicals carded for lending out, Letter Arts Review and Bound & Lettered, will not be included in the general catalogue, but have their own designation—PER .01 etc. The periodicals already in circulation will remain numbered as before. These two magazines have been re-ordered for the next three years. Back issues for the past year have also been ordered; they are more expensive than current issues! (That will teach us not to let our subscription lapse again.)
Newsletters we have received: Bow Valley Calligraphy Guild describes their “year-long adventure.” Inspired by Betty Locke’s teddy bear, (read all about it) eight members met on a monthly basis to expand a theme of their choice. It’s wonderful, with so many lovely ideas. Bound & Lettered contains an outline of a Bow Valley year. An article by Annie Cicale on Fibonacci and his Golden Proportion includes instructions on how to make your own gauge. The golden mean, section or proportion is seen in nature in the seashell or sunflower. Large scale lettering on a church wall is another very impressive story. There is more—make sure you read this issue! Letter Arts Review contains a wealth of information. The work of Ciu Fei, a Chinese artist living and working in New York, gives us something completely different. She uses bronze castings, and whatever nature provides. She is truly unique. The creation of The Thousand Prayer Project by Larry Thomas is described in detail. The vertical display of a Buddhist mantra in Uncial form is a display using a huge variety of techniques; it is not just a visual display but engages all the senses. Lawrence Wheeler walks us through the Portland conference and talks about all the excitement that it generated. These are lengthy, detailed articles well worth taking the time to read.
The British Library, founded as the British Museum Library, contains 6,500,000 volumes and 75,000 MSS.
Thomas Aquinas said ,“Beware of a man of one book.” Book means knowledge—a shepherd will know more about sheep than the wisest man of books; do not argue with a specialist!
Before the invention of paper, the thin inner bark of certain trees was used for writing on. In Latin—liber, which came to signify a book. Hence, library—the place for books. The art and craft of calligraphy is a bottomless well. Fear of attempting work is huge, not only as a beginner calligrapher, but also trying new techniques when one is comfortable with stuff one knows. Ansel Adams said, “To require perfection is to invite paralysis.” Every time work is done, knowledge is increased. In a book I read recently, Art and Fear, it stated, “For you, the seed for your next art work lies embedded in the imperfections of your current piece.” Such imperfections are your nonjudgmental guides. As Nike says— Just Do It!
The Broad Edge from Langley, and The Fairbank Calligraphy Society News keep us up-to-date with their newsletters. Facts & Fun • The Vatican Library, erected in 1588, contains 905,000 volumes and 60,000 MSS.