Really excited that my first weekend course is starting in less that a week!
We're going to look at exciting layouts - how you can use your calligraphy for something other than recreating book pages (which is increasingly important in these days where so many people are very able to produce something good on a computer in no time at all).
We'll learn some good lettering, but we're going to bend some rules too - because that's a great way to create interesting work. I can't wait to share some pictures of what gets created!
Also hoping Anglesey's going to show itself off at its beautiful best - this was a sunset from this week. Being far west and reasonably far north, it's currently still quite light at 11pm - such a treat!
(If you're a last minute person and fancy joining us next weekend - drop me a note! Otherwise there are courses in September and October too - all welcome.)
A while ago I did a commission using Desiderata. It was a christening present, but would be something that would helpfully be a lifelong treasured possession, so we went with simple coloured blocks behind the letters, and a nice textural layout. I was pleased with it, and my customer was super pleased!
A very good calligrapher friend sent me some pictures of how her work was progressing, and in there was a Desiderata piece:
We had a really good conversation about it - she'd seen my piece once on my blog and had no idea how similar her piece was to mine. It really got me thinking about how we're influenced by a piece, and without meaning too might end up creating something that is far closer to the piece that inspired us that we intended.
It was some weeks later that I was flicking through a book and came across a picture which must surely have been my subliminal cue to create the my piece - and yet I didn't even remember seeing it.
Scary that I, like my friend, had no idea how well we'd remembered the image we'd seen.
(And now I'm kicking myself because I can't find the picture - will come back and post it if I find it.)
I really enjoy working on commissions, trying to deliver the best work I can for the customer. Even better when the customer is someone I know and love - in this case my niece Laura. Her husband wrote a poem for their twin boys called Bear on the stair - and Laura asked if I could write it out. Of course it just had to be in a concertina book that opens like a staircase - and I let myself go crazy with pretty watercolours too.
While it's great having customers who are very clear what they'd like, I love to be able to have total freedom for how to deliver the piece. This works particularly well if the commission doesn't have to be rushed - I spend several days with ideas just tumbling around in my head about the best way to present the piece, along with thinking about whether the customer is going to want to be involved in making choices along the way. Very occasionally (like this piece) I simply create the finished piece and send it off! Usually I ask some questions and maybe offer some options, which help give me an idea that I'm on the right lines.
I can only recall one occasion when I was quite wrong about what the customer wanted - we'd been sharing ideas on layout and lettering style for a poem he'd commissioned. I'd written in a selection of shades of blue, and thought this worked really well. Just before I went to write the final piece I asked if the shades of blue were to his liking - and the answer was "can I have it in a shimmery pink with a pink cloudy background?"
Well - that's what I delivered, but between you and I it was not a look I'd have gone for - it's not a piece that'll be appearing in my gallery any time soon!
Some of the pieces I create are huge family trees, and they give me huge satisfaction. But equally I love creating small pieces with wording that's really special to the person commissioning it.
There were all done last year - it's been rather good looking back over pictures of pieces I loved creating.
I'm Janet Smith, a calligrapher who loves to experiment with lettering and calligraphy.