Meetings in 2017

December 2017

In December, we met at Little Star Diner for a holiday lunch, where we exchanged holiday cards. The previous month I shared my copy of the first volume of Adolf Bernt’s painted letters, a project of Peter Thornton, and we made a group order of the second volume. We enjoyed looking at our new books as well.

November 2017

Our November began with a celebration of our year-long project. The final October session had been such a marathon that we waited until November to share our completed portfolios with one another.

October 2017

What a marathon our October meeting was! But we did it! Here’s a photo of the completed portfolios which I’ve also included (as a black-and-white image) in the next issue of the state guild’s journal, Nota Bene.

September 2017

We had a sort-of-confusing but ultimately, I hope, educational meeting today. Diana shared the Gemma Workshop on Versals. Justine and I shared what we did in the one-day workshop the day before: “Retro Deco”.

Then we got down to the business of working on our portfolio enclosures. In a cut-and-paste epic fail, I had given bad information about the materials we’d need, but we finally got that straightened out, and I think we’ve got the information necessary to prepare materials for the October meeting.

These were some of the items under discussion today:

  • book cloth — there is some available at the MSU Bookstore, but you can make it yourself
  • modern tech method: regular fabric + Wonder Under + kozo paper
  • traditional method: regular fabric + starch paste + kozo paper
  • filled paper: regular fabric + wheat paste brushed on both side and set to dry on a piece of Plexi
  • the importance of grain direction and how to determine it
  • why the gutter between the 2 boards will be 3 board thickness + the height of your stack of papers
  • how to determine the height of your paper stack with a “paper ruler”

August 2017

In August, we spent time sharing our progress on our ABC portfolio sheets as well as other personal projects. We also began making plans to host the Big Sky Scribes Fall workshop in 2018, exploring dates and instructor choices.

July 2017

In July, we experimented on black paper with white and metallic media. We had coordinated in advance so that each member brought different art media to share. Some of the media we experimented with: Schmincke gouache; Finetec, Luminarte, H20, and Daniel Smith metallic watercolors; Ziller and Speedball inks; various metallic gel pens. Some of the results are shown here. We learned a lot from our own experiments, but also from the comments of fellow calligraphers as they experimented alongside us.

June 2017

We had a lively June meeting. Some of us shared our progress on the year-long portfolio project, as well as other work we had done.I shared a couple of calligraphy new books I’ve gotten over past couple of months. I thought I’d include the details here:

  • Alice: A Survey of the Calligraphy of Alice. Jerry Kelly was the driving force behind this book showcasing the long career of Alice Koeth, a New York scribe. Available at John Neal Bookseller now, I bought it at a discount when it was a Kickstarter project.
  • Rachel Yallop’s copperplate tutorial book. She has self-published the book, and I purchased it from her for $28 by clicking on a PayPalMe link that she sent. If you’re interested in buying a copy, you can probably get a link from her by requesting it via

Then we explored pencil ribbon lettering. Rose, Justine, Donna, and I learned how to do this from Amity Parks at the fall Big Sky Scribes workshop in Great Falls this past October. We had a good time, and made these, shown at right.

Diana shared some things she learned this winter in Las Cruces. She had taken a workshop with Connie Furgason which focused on experimenting with white and metallic media on black paper. This looked like so much fun, we decided to conduct our own experiments at our July 11 meeting. We’ll bring white and metallic media to share and experiment with on black paper. The easiest black paper to obtain locally is Strathmore Artagain, available at Michael’s as a pad of paper.

May 2017

In May we shared with the guild another exercise we learned from Amity Parks at the fall workshop of the Big Sky Scribes. Working with pencil and paper, we developed a variety of layouts using one short quote, looked at some problems that arose with initial layouts and considered options for solving those problems. In June, we will be working on another exercise from the fall workshop, this time how to make ribbons of the strokes of our letters.

We’ve committed to making the portfolios for our year-long project at the August meeting. In the meantime, let’s get some serious work done on the contents of that portfolio. In June, bring sketches, drafts, in-progress pages, complete pages, any problems with project that you’d like to discuss with the group. Emily has finished hers, and Teresa is more than halfway through her very substantial project. Just sayin’.

Also, bring anything else you’ve been working on.

April 2017

In April, I shared a little bit about the pencil and some capitals which Amity taught at our spring BSS workshop. This morphed into a mini boot camp on Roman proportions, and then we looked briefly at the Amity’s approach to developing a layout and tried it ourselves. It was a jam-packed meeting!

March 2017

In March, we explored Neuland as a paper-cut alphabet. Before the meeting I shared a Pinterest board devoted to Neuland, and at the meeting I brought some materials that had great examples of the hand. The best examples are Neuland may be found in a spectacular issue of Alphabet (the journal of Friends of the Alphabet in southern California) which Carl Rohrs edited, complete with a die-cut black cover of a Neuland alphabet by John Stevens. We line-locked and letter-locked our Neuland letters so that the result could be a single sheet of paper that held together on its own.

February 2017

In February, I shared an exercise that Yukimi Annand had given us at the fall workshop a couple of years ago. We each devised a hand from a few rules and then rendered it on a sheet at graduating x-heights. It was interesting to the variety of hands that were developed.

January 2017

We had a small but interesting meeting. We explored one of the exercises that some of us learned in 2014 at the BSS workshop held here in Bozeman and taught by Yukimi Annand. Using the sawed-off end of a craft stick or the end of a piece of balsa, we developed an alphabet. Then we used our alphabet to layer a quote in four squares, turning the paper 90 degrees for each layer.
In February, we explored another exercise that Yukimi taught in the “Text and Texture” workshop. For about 20 minutes, we came up with as many variations of the letter “A” that we could imagine. Then we chose a favorite variation and developed an alphabet from it. Finally, we we used our newly created alphabet and a quotation to make a pattern of steadily larger lines of letters. An example is shown here.