Elaine Witton workshop
23-24 November 2019
Elaine’s inspiration for this workshop began when, through a family connection, she was given a box containing the calligraphic samples and work of Ismar David (1910-1996), a prolific German calligrapher, type designer, illustrator, architectural designer and educator. Elaine was attracted to a script which David simply labelled “a seventeenth century script”.
David had trained in the decorative arts in Berlin in the 1920s and early 30s, emigrated to Palestine in 1932 to undertake a book design project. He stayed on another 20 years before moving to New York in 1952, living there until his death in 1996. He is remembered for amongst other things, designing a Hebrew typeface. Further information about the life and work of Ismar David can be found on the Ismar David Archive at www.shunammite.com/idea
The workshop began with each participant tracing the lower-case letters of the exemplar, having made their own choice of nib. The class then split into small groups to carefully examine the exemplar. We noted the pen angle, the shape of each letter, the several alternatives for each letter, the white space (negative space) in counters and loops, the exaggerated ascenders and descenders, the appropriate x height, inconsistencies in slopes or shapes, the fine straight hairline uprights, contrasting bold downstrokes and so on. We had much to choose from as David had provided both a flowery, spidery version, and a more chunky, more dense version of the script. David had suggested that the script could be used with either a pointed pen or a broad nibbed pen.
A full class of calligraphers brought their practice calligraphy sheets and other attractive papers to make a book to keep documents or tickets in. Many participants added pages to make a journal or notebook. The number of books made was astounding.
At our latest workshop we were treated to a workshop led by Narelle Jones. She introduced us to an alphabet inspired by Brody Neuenschwander that used Gothic principles showing that these principles don't necessarily apply just to Gothic. It was a great workshop.
What a great workshop. Jenni Cole treated us all to a delightful afternoon. She kept us both busy and interested. We used everyday chalk sharpened to a point and pastels. We had the use of three different boards generously provided by Jenni. What a treat. Jenni also showed us different ways to use the chalk including pot plants and old frames to jazz up blackboards to use around the home.
A most enjoyable afternoon was spent with Jill Robertson leading a workshop on Medieval Line Fillers.
Before we embarked on this Jill demonstrated how to create a feather paintbrush with a very fine tip, which would be capable of producing extremely fine details such as those seen in medieval manuscripts. This was the very Australian version made with Cockatoo feathers.
We then commenced our main project for the afternoon, the goal of which was to produce a set of bookmarks featuring a decorative panel in medieval style and some writing in Gothic script.
This was an interesting and most enjoyable workshop.
The Canberra Calligraphy Society was lucky enough to have Yves Leterme from Bruge as a tutor for a two day workshop. The workshop we chose from a number of interesting workshops was titled, 'David and Goliath - A Calligraphy Workshop on Contrast in Size'.
The workshop exceeded our expectations which were high. Yves was a very patient tutor who shared his expertise and knowledge evenly among the participants.
Yves notes were comprehensive with a number of exercises and assignments. So well prepared.
What a fantastic workshop!
Our first workshop of the year found Pam Kemp leading fellow calligraphers in the bookbinding craft of Japanese Stab binding. Several styles were explored. This type of binding is great for single sheets such as calligraphy pieces.
The Canberra Calligraphy Society received this greeting and request from our colleagues in Canada. Erin Neilson wrote:
Greetings from Rendez-vous 2019!
We are extending to you a personal invitation to participate in Rendez-vous 2019, the 38th International Calligraphy Conference being held at Bishop’s University in Sherbrooke, in the beautiful Eastern Townships, east of Montreal, Québec, Canada. The conference will be held from June 29 until July 6, 2019.
Rendez-vous 2019 will be providing Welcome Bags to each conference attendee, instructor, volunteer etc. - about 450 in all. Each Welcome Bag will contain useful and creative goodies such as art and/or calligraphic supplies, as well as items useful to all participants while attending the conference and beyond.
Unsurprisingly, providing an exciting Welcome Bag to 450 people can be challenging. Because of this, we are asking for your help! The entire calligraphy community is asked to consider making a contribution to the Welcome Bags. This is your opportunity to showcase your guild and the creativity you wish to share.
The Canberra Calligraphy Society rose to the challenge. After a short discussion a decision was made to attempt 450 eucalyptus eco-printed bookmarks! Evocative of Australia as well as Canberra.
The project is nearly complete and we are very happy to be able to contribute 450 bookmarks to our fellow Canadian calligraphers.
Below are just a few of the eco-printed bookmarks before they are wrapped in cellophane with a calligraphic greeting inscribed on each one.
The Christmas lunch was again very successful with the usual good food and great company. As is the tradition every year, Christmas cards were exchanged to the delight of all.
A great weekend was had by all the participants in Olive Bull's workshop on ruling and folding pens. Olive is repeating the workshop today and tomorrow! What a dynamo!
Day one saw us using ruling pens exclusively. Learning how to use the pen correctly was an interesting exercise for more than one of us. Olive very generously allowed us to use her very special pens including the gold plated Brody pen. Many envious calligraphers would have like to take it home with them.
Day two of the weekend workshop saw us exploring Folded Pens. Olive had very generously made four pens for each of us, donating Frank Bull’s bamboo garden stakes for one of them. Thanks Frank!
Many of the participants’ heads were still buzzing from the Ruling Pen’s workshop of the previous day where most of us had learnt many new skills. Surely, we thought, Olive would agree that we had all worked very hard and allow us a quiet, easy day. But NO! This day was just as full on, with Olive cajoling, encouraging and spurring us on. Thank you, Olive, for being so generous with your time, resources and equipment including the very precious Brody pen.
We started the day making marks with the four pens Olive had made us. These included a bottle top pen, a clarinet reed pen and two pens that rival the Luthis pens. There was a general agreement that the best marks were made on the layout paper and couldn’t be reproduced on ‘proper” paper. Isn’t that always the way?
Next was using our folding pen of choice and scribing a word (taken from a quote) in large letters in the middle of a page. This word was then surrounded by the rest of the quote in smaller letters. This David and Goliath layout was very effective for showcasing expressive folded pen lettering.
We moved on to developing our very own alphabet. This is a challenging exercise and I think that I unintentionally ‘made up’ an alphabet that looked suspiciously like some other alphabets I have seen. We then used these letters to write a quote of our choice to see how the letters fitted together or if some adjustments needed to be made to the letterforms.
Just when I thought we might have a lull we were actively encouraged to experiment with either the ruling pens or the folded pens or both together to produce pieces and patterns with or without colour.
Then it was “clear the decks!” and time to turn all these examples into a Japanese style book.
To Olive’s credit all but one person finished their book for the final display. What an achievement! And how lovely to have a resource that can be used and referred to as well as potentially being added to in the future.
Thank you, Olive, for another memorable workshop.
Canberra Calligraphy Society Inc.
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