Brushing up with Jenni cole
April 2018 workshop with Jenni Cole
Eleven participants left their pens, ink and good papers at home and came along with cartridge paper (for practice) and acrylic paints.
The aim of the workshop was to complete two small projects, the raw materials for which were supplied by Jenni. The first was script on coloured card which the participants were invited to take this home and turn into an A 3 size document folder. The second project was script on a handsome piece of spotted gum, to be used as an outdoor sign.
Jenni’s demo made it look easy. But it proved to be difficult.
Many of us blamed our failures on our brush or our cheap paint. And Jenni agreed that a really good brush (sable / ox is the best you can get) and really good paint (Jo Sonja’s is nice and creamy) will assist to make uniform and consistent shapes. The correct technique was to use pressure to make the thick strokes and then ease off the pressure and twist the brush slightly to make the tapered thin strokes. For some participants, working with the paper on an angle helped to get a consistent diagonal slope. Wetting the brush before dipping it into the paint, using a light grip, holding the writing hand high and not resting on the paper were other useful tips.
Next we practiced upper case and then lower case in a script Jenni called “Free Style Script” which looks a little like a brush version of copperplate – but more relaxed in look and feel. The capitals are complex and flowery, whilst the lower case proved generally simpler and easy to master. We could cheat a bit by painting over draft penciled letters. The script has no defined stroke order, and advanced scribes may use a flowing ‘running writing’ technique whilst beginners usually favour building up each letter with several strokes.
Everyone went home with the materials for their document folder and a wooden sign appropriate for a workshop, garden shed, vegie patch or car space. All it needed was a slurp of varnish to make it waterproof.
Thank you Jenni for the workshop, the materials and for the lovely little ceramic brush rest she gave to each participant. We barely even noticed that in reality it was a chop stick rest. A lovely gift! And I need hardly mention that the afternoon surpassed our usual standard.
Canberra Calligraphy Society Inc.
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