It's that time of year when the details of new courses appear in libraries and other places - I have always enjoyed the possibilities that the booklets offer, and the great range of subjects available (sadly not quite as wide now that funding is less available, but there's still "Dissenting voices in Britain", "Gotta Sing, gotta dance: the musicals", "Food in Fiction" to pick a few!)
It's also interesting experiencing this time as a tutor - waiting to see if your class fills. A bit like standing by the chain link fence waiting to be picked for a team (although hopefully more successful for me - being picked for teams was never a huge success!)
I know that the lady who deals with the bookings for my Farndon Calligraphy courses has had quite a few people practically running up her front path to get their application forms safely lodged with her - which is very flattering!
Also bookings are starting to come in for "Making Little Books" in Newark which, while it's not lettering, is another subject I love, and I'm really hoping I get the numbers to be able to run the course.
And let's not forget Bunny Calligraphers - the group everyone wants to be in ;-)
The first bookings are in already, and I've not put and adverts up locally yet - so promising starts.
If you might want to come to a course have a look here
I think that in calligraphy, going wrong occasionally is inevitable. Sometimes the only way around it is to start again, although that might not be an option.
In fact the corrections can be a charming part of the work (not always, but sometimes!)
The magnificent St Johns Bible which was written by a team of Scribes working with Donald Jackson, by hand using traditional methods but modern interpretations. Missing a line out and realising several lines later cannot have been great. But the correction is beautiful and would never have been seen if it weren't for the mistake in the first place.
If you like lettering, there's always something interesting to look at.
In fact, when I'm driving, I'm often critically appraising the lettering on vans and lorries, even that written with a finger in the dirt!
Anyway - this was an unexpected pleasure, on a walk from Skelwith Bridge in the Lake District, at Park Farm. There was no explanation for it - it's just there!
From Creative Review
Speaking of lettering in dirt on lorrys, have you seen the promotional poster by lettering artist Alison Carmichael?
That's what we need on the road! (Actually, no lorries would be preferable, but interesting lorries would be good too.)
I've been in London this weekend for the wedding of Holly and Henry - a really traditional do at Lincolns Inn. The service was in Lincolns Inn Chapel - you felt immersed in history just sitting there. And then the meal was in the Old Hall, built in 1490. (No - that really does say 1490.)
I very much enjoyed the contrast of the monogrammed chairs, the vaulted ceiling, the priceless oil paintings, the Inigo Jones screen.... and the disco! I think a glitter ball is what the Old Hall is lacking...
Holly looked stunning, and the whole day was delightful.
I am also proud to say that the name cards I did for the couple looked very lovely in place on the tables.
As I mentioned in the last blog, I was visiting Leicestershire Calligraphers' exhibition on its last day. So.... when I was back in the car park about to leave, and I spotted someone getting what appeared to be empty portfolios out of his car, I felt it was my duty (!!) to have a chat!
We had a great conversation - turns out he is Steve Delaney, maker of "the piece I want to steal" from the exhibition!
He also runs workshops, so definitely going to see if we can persuade him along to Nottingham Calligraphers, and we're also going to strengthen links between our groups.
How's that for a good result from a bit of calligraphic stalking?!
You're not going to thank me for this.....
Yesterday I went and say a fantastic calligraphy exhibition by Leicestershire Calligraphers. For a start, the venue was charming - it's a place called Donington Le Heath, and it's a 13th century manor house full of quirky windows and tiny staircases - I definitely want to go back to see more of the building, as I was pushed for time yesterday. Click here for the website.
The calligraphy was in 2 rooms on the first floor - the lighting is excellent and there were several cases for displaying pieces. I had the space to myself which I always love, because I feel like I can take a completely random route round the exhibits if I want!
There were probably about 20 people exhibiting - and it's a pleasure to see work from those who are newer to calligraphy as well as the amazing work of those who have been doing it for years.
Whenever I visit an exhibition I always think "which piece would I steal?" This time it was a very impractical choice for smuggling out under my coat - a 1m long engraved glass panel set in a granite base, with the William Morris quote "Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful". Being a glass piece in a glass cabinet it was beyond my photography abilities, so you'll just have to believe me when I say it was wonderful! Congrats to Steve Delaney who created it and several other amazing pieces.
Now.... why are you not going to thank me for this? Because yesterday was the last day of the exhibition! I can only say that Leicestershire calligraphers do tend to exhibit each year at the same wonderful venue, and I'll try and mention it BEFORE it finishes next year!
One of the most commonly asked questions in calligraphy is "What happens if you go wrong?"
The answer (as usual...) is "it depends". There are some amazing pieces of lettering which are all the more interesting because of the mistakes that happened. One of these, very local to me, is Nottingham Gaol. I don't know what the favourite expletives were in the nineteenth century, but I suspect the stonemason will have used a few!
If you want to see this for yourself, it's on High Pavement in Nottingham, just along from the Galleries of Justice.
Onr of the commissions I really enjoyed last year was making a plain book. It was going to be used to paste in many postcards with good luck greetings to a lady who was retiring. So it needed to be big, and it needed to be thicker at the spine than at the opening edge, so that when the postcards were added it would lie flat.
It was so thick that the holes for sewing the spine were drilled through the paper - not an easy task (as the discarded version one demonstrated!)
I was pleased with it in the end, and I think the recipients were too.
It's the final session with my Bunny Calligraphers tonight.
(Yes, I know, everyone wants to be a Bunny Calligrapher! It's not quite as bizarre as it sounds - we actually meet in a charming little village called Bunny - not a fluffy tail or a long ear to be seen!)
It's almost exactly a year since I put the feelers out for running a group near to Nottingham, and it has been a total pleasure. The group has consisted of people who knew I did calligraphy and wanted to see what it was all about, those who knew me through other avenues, and those who responded to my adverts.
It's been a really fun year, and has been exciting seeing people gaining a new calligraphy skill and then finding ways to use their skill.
And we've consumed a lot of chocolate biscuits, and laughed about a lot of "real life" that people have been facing!
I'm confident that the group will start again in September - hopefully with many of the faces from this year, plus some new people too! (If you think you might be interested, do please click here to drop me a note).
I don't have many photos of the lovely variety of work that the class did, but here's a few following the week where we learned how to draw celtic knots:
What a great event for the school! A really well organised, packed event, with announcements over the tannoy every few minutes for cookery demos, dance displays etc.
The Mosaic Fairs stand looked great, with a doubling from 5 to 10 artists being represented. Sales were not spectacular for us, but it's all good practice for the all important run up to Christmas.
You can see my products in the foreground, including my new card stand which is great - really helps make the offering look professional!
And yes, that's me (dark hair) with my Mosaic Fairs partner Jane.
Her products are the fantastic animal cushions, canvases and footstools - her website gives y
I'm Janet Smith, a calligrapher who loves to experiment with lettering and calligraphy.