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J U N E  2 5 — J U L Y  2  •  2 0 0 6

Trinity Lutheran College • Issaquah, Washington

Charles Pearce was born in England in 1943, graduating from art school in 1965 with an MFA in Calligraphy and Lettercutting. He was elected a Fellow of the prestigious Society of Scribes and Illuminators of London in 1970, and emigrated to America in 1980. While living in New York City, he was the first (and thus far only) calligrapher to be awarded Artist-in-Residence status by the city.

He is widely respected as one of the world’s leading calligraphers and is the author of a number of books including The Little Manual of Calligraphy and The Anatomy of Letters. He has taught widely throughout Europe, North America and Australia, and was employed as a design consultant at American Greetings. His calligraphic work is in a number of public collections as well as several private ones, including those of Queen Elizabeth II. In 2003 he moved to Arkansas, where he has built a studio and residence just outside of Eureka Springs. He is also involved in a matting and framing business in Little Rock.

Current work projects include several large canvas pieces, and he is toying with ideas for a major installation if he can find funding. His Shakespeare series is now available as giclee prints, and can be viewed on his website, www.charlespearce.com

From the sublime... • 2 and 1/2 days workshop

Detail from the Ramsey Psalter;
click to enlarge

At the beginning of the 20th Century when Edward Johnston was first formulating his Foundational hand for the teaching of calligraphy, he took as his model the Ramsey Psalter (Harley 2904). It was Donald Jackson who first coined the term “forensic calligraphy” and far be it from me to try to change both the term and its sense.

In this workshop we will first dutch and cut quills and then, having armed ourselves with the tools, do an in depth study of the letters which first so appealed to Edward Johnston. There are now so many variations of the Foundational hand that we really owe it to ourselves to go right back to the source, and, through the miracles of modern technology (I have been able to get digital images of two pages from the Ramsey Psalter from the British Library) we shall be able to do just that.

We shall be working as close to actual size as practicable in order to be able better to understand the problems (and the rewards) that the medieval scribe enjoyed.

  • Tools and materials:
    A selection of goose, turkey or swan wing feathers (from the left wing if you are right handed and vice versa}
    A quill knife which should be ground on the right side when pointing the knife awayfrom you. (A knife can be ordered from Lee Valley Tools, catalog #06D04.08; www.leevalley.com 1-800 871-8158. This knife will need to be ground after purchase.)
    Chinese Stick Ink or Sumi and Ink stone
    Two or three sheets of reasonably good paper such as Arches 90lb Hot Press

...To The Ridiculous • 2 and 1/2 days workshop

Click to enlarge

Edward Johnston once said, in a lecture, “The angle of the pen remains constant”. Actually, that was the sum total of the whole lecture! However, later on, one of his students noticed that EJ’s pen did, in fact, change angle and made some remark to that effect. Unfazed, Johnston put this down to “sleight of hand”!

Much later, Arthur Baker developed his own approach to pen manipulation which has given us as calligraphers a totally new outlook on our art. While some of Mr Baker’s letters are not too practical for general writing purposes, the techniques which he has espoused open up whole new avenues for us to explore and experiment with.

During this workshop we shall look at how to achieve these different effects in our writing; how we must change our body positions and even the positions of the pens in our hands, in order to make these different letters. There will be plenty of demonstration of different alphabets with one-on-one instruction.

  • Supplies:
    You will need to bring lots of ink, paper and large pens (Coit, Hiro, Automatic Lettering, etc., (I recommend Coit) not smaller than 1/4" and preferably larger than that). You can also write on old newspaper if you wish to save a little money on materials, but you will need to find and ink or paint which will work on newsprint!

  • Katherine Malmsten & Karen Kant, Co-Directors
    Contact: Katherine, 425-821-7919; or Karen, 253-589-3994
    bwconference@hotmail.com