Meetings in 2019

December 2019

In December, we exchanged holiday cards and discussed what programs would be of interest at the 2020 meetings.

November 2019

In November, members shared holiday cards they had made and received in past years, as inspiration for the holiday cards we would make and swap in December. I presented what I had learned in a two-hour lesson in Kyoto on hiragan word “arigato” and everyone tried it with brush and paper.

I shared the books I received from Annie Cicale, Julie Gray, Carol DuBosch, Barbara Close, and others in an annual artist book exchange in which I participate. So inspirational! Members shared their completed 2019 year-long projects. So wonderful!

Diana McDonough
Diana McDonough
Emily Copeland
Rose Toth


October 2019

The October meeting of Bridger Mountain Scribes will be held on Monday, October 14, 2019 from 11 AM to 1 PM at the library in the small conference room. Thank you, Rose, for making the room reservation.

Many thanks to Barb who led the September workshop!  Barb guided us in arranging our simple short lettered pieces in collage with decorative papers to make a little composition on cards or small broadsides. Look what we made!


Look what we made:

At the October meeting, Diana will share some newly acquired knowledge from the fall workshop.

Everyone should bring their year-long project in whatever stage it’s in. As always, bring whatever else you’ve been working on.

September 2019


The September meeting of Bridger Mountain Scribes will be held on Monday, September 9, 2019 from 11 AM to 1 PM at the library in the small conference room.

Thank you, Rose, for reserving the room for our next two meetings. Mark your calendar: We will meet from 11 AM to 1 PM on Monday, September 9, and also on Monday, October 14.

There were ten of us who attended our August meeting! The topic for the meeting was glair. We mixed up our paint — tubes of watercolor or gouaches — and laid down a few washes on the left side of our paper, then added a drop or two of glair to our paints and laid down a few more washes on the right side of the paper. While our papers were drying, I donned my Home Economics cap and demonstrated how to make glair. 
A couple of us shared our year-long project, and we discussed some technical problems with the book form, and came up with several solutions.
The washes we had made were now dry. We got out calligraphy pens and experimented with lettering over those washes, comparing how the paint coming out of the pen reacted with the wash layer underneath. Many of were able to get sharper lines of lettering on the washes that contained glair.


Didn’t we do some fun stuff?:

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 2019-08-11-BMS-meeting-glair-images-1024x800.jpg
Watercolor/gouache + glair trials

Here’s what’s on the agenda for our next meeting on September 9:

  • Barb will lead a tutorial on layering decorative papers with our completed calligraphy to make a card or small framed piece. You’ll need to bring a finished small piece of calligraphy, some decorative papers, a card or paper base for the collage. (What else should we bring, Barb?)
  • Rose will bring her tunnel book, which could be another future-meeting activity.
  • Everyone should bring their year-long project in whatever stage it’s in. Be prepared to talk about your process!
  • As always, bring whatever else you’ve been working on.

August 2019

Our August meeting of Bridger Mountain Scribes will be held on Monday, August 12, 2019 from 11 AM to 1 PM at the library in the small conference room.

At our July meeting we had a good time sharing all the various projects we’ve each been doing. 
Rose shared her plans for the nature journaling workshop she is co-teaching.  Diana shared several of the calendars that have been a joint project for the Las Cruces guild; we discussed doing a similar thing for our next year-long project. I shared in some detail my ongoing process for creating a daily lettering journal. This led to a demonstration of one of my favorite and most essential studio tool: the lettering liner.
Several of us shared our practice on gothicized italic and discussed the surprises and challenges of the hand. One member had had trouble getting a trailing hairline, and this led to a demonstration of the best tools for that: the Pilot Parallel Pen. 

Here’s what’s on the agenda for our next meeting on August 12:

  • Beth will lead a tutorial on the making and use of glair. You’ll need a few tubes of watercolor or gouache, brushes for mixing and loading, a broad-edged pen or two or three, and some paper that will take a wash: watercolor or mixed-media paper or Arches Text Wove. I’ll bring the glair.
  • Barb will bring a layering project that we may want to do at the next meeting.
  • Rose will bring her tunnel book, which could be another future-meeting activity.
  • Everyone should bring their year-long project in whatever stage it’s in. Be prepared to talk about your process!
  • As always, bring whatever else you’ve been working on.

July 2019

Our July meeting of Bridger Mountain Scribes will be held on Monday, July 15, 2019 from 11 AM to 1 PM at the library in the small conference room.

And while you’ve got your calendar out, also mark your calendars for the August meeting on August 12, same time, same place.

This month we are continuing to study gothicized italic. If you like, continue with the guidelines given last month. If you’re feeling confident with that practice, I challenge you to expand your study in any or all of these ways:

  1. Continue with the model but change your paper, writing fluid, and/or pen nib. If you change your nib size, you can either writing the same size for a larger or smaller pen-width size, or you can change your lettering size to keep the same pen-width x-height.*
  2. Choose another model, and rinse and repeat: trace, then copy. Depending on the size of the model, you may choose to blow up the model to fit your pen, or select a pen size that fits your model.
  3. Make a finished piece ini gothicized italic. Choose your a quotation, make a few thumbnail layouts, choose one, and do it! Remember that, because this hand is so compressed, the space between lines can also be very small.

Next month, please bring your work — practice pages and any completed pieces. We’ll discuss what is working, get answers to any questions, and mull over what improvements might be made.

And we always like to see whatever else your working, including .. the year-long project (remember that?). I’m finally making some progress on mine.

* A note about pen-width size. The “boldness” of a letter form is measured in the ratio of the pen’s width to the height of the lower-case letters. This image shows a pen-width x-height of 4, with ascenders and descenders to be written at 2 pen-widths high. The smaller number of pen-widths per x-height, the bolder the letter.

Image result for pen-width x-height

June 2019

Our June meeting of Bridger Mountain Scribes will be held on Monday, June 10, 2019 from 11 AM to 1 PM at the library.

This month we are working on gothicized italic. Here are the instructions for practice:

  1. Gather your materials. 
    Paper*: at least letter size, any practice paper (Strathmore Drawing 300 is good, but copy paper will work). 
    Pen: #1.5 Mitchell Roundhand nib or a 2.5mm Brause or Tape nib, or the 2.4mm size Pilot Parallel pen is close enough to work pretty well. 
    Writing fluid: Use ink or gouache or the ink that comes with the Pilot Parallel pen. 
    Model: the Sheila Waters page of lettering that was handed out at the April class.
  2. Place your practice paper on top of the model. Using a light box or (window in daytime) mark the baselines and guidelines in pencil and then make penciled guidelines with a t-square or by measuring down on both sides of the paper. 
  3. Using the light box again, lightly trace the skeletal forms of the lettering.
  4. With the original piece in front of you for reference, replicate the lettering as closely as possible. Make notes as you go, about what surprised you, what you’re having trouble with, what is working, what you’ve learned, and so on. Think about shape (inner and outer), spacing, ligatures, pen angles, etc. 

If you’re up for a further challenge, pencil in the same guidelines on a fresh sheet and try it again without the benefit of the penciled-in skeletal forms. Much harder, but very educational!
* If you want to begin practicing so that you can bind your practice sheets, I recommend Strathmore Drawing 300 or 400, 18″ x 24″ and cut the 18″ x 24″ sheets in half to get 2 sheets 18″ x 12″ each, and fold them into folios that are 9″ x 12″ when folded. Nest 3 or 4 of these folios to make a section. I number the pages in my sections to keep myself organized. (Unfortunately, this means that your folio folds are against the grain, but that’s not the end of the world.)
Next month, please bring your work and your working materials so we can practice together at the meeting. We’ll discuss how it went, improvements we can make, and what is working too.

Here’s an example of one of my practice sheets. I had moved on copying a sample of Edward Johnston’s gothicized italic (partially shown beneath my sheet).

May 2019

Our May meeting of Bridger Mountain Scribes will be held on Monday,May 13, 2019 from 11 AM to 1 PM at the library. Also, add June 10 to your calendar for the June meeting.

The program

  • Bling! Barb will lead us in adding some cool bling to our calligraphic pieces. Please multiple completed calligraphy pieces suitable for embellishment. Use any size, but think about where you might want to add some sparkle. The tape runs 1″ wide and comes on a roll.  Barb says: “My only comment regarding the paper is that I have not had any problems with it sticking.  It should be fine unless the paper is too porous.  It’s pretty sticky tape.”
  • Studying gothicized italic — In April I shared an exercise designed to jump-start calligraphy practice. Beginning with an excellent piece of gothicized italic by Sheila Waters, I analyzed its x-height, pen width, and pen angle and made a close copy of the piece. I talked about how I worked and what I learned. (See the April 11 email for details.) I also wrote a blog post about it here. If you’ve tried the exercise this month, please bring it for discussion at the May meeting. We will talk more about analyzing hands for study.
  • Show and share — Bring anything you’ve been working on. And how are our year-long projects coming along, eh? Bring your ideas, trials, finished work, anything you want to discuss.
The bling in its unapplied form!
Barb’s example with bling applied.

April 2019

Our April meeting of Bridger Mountain Scribes will be held on Monday, April 8, 2019 from 11 AM to 1 PM at the library.

The program

  • Painting! We’ll paint some sheets of paper using some of the techniques taught by Alisa Golden in her book Painted Paper. These techniques may be something you want to include in your year-long project, or just something for the future.
  • Show and share — Bring anything you’ve been working on. And how are our year-long projects coming along, eh? Bring your ideas, trials, finished work, anything you want to discuss.

What to bring — Please bring the following supplies to the meeting:

  • Several large sheets of 90# or 140# watercolor (any press) and/or Arches Text Wove, at least 18″ x 24 but the full 22″ x 30″ would be best. We will paint 2-3 sheets, maybe more. Other options (in case you have them on hand):
    • Stonehenge
    • Somerset
    • Nideggan
  • A couple or several bottles of any inks (especially acrylics) you have already, such as FW, Higgins, sumi, Bombay, etc.
  • If your ink bottles don’t have droppers, bring a couple of eye droppers as well.
  • Several large brushes such as hake brushes, house-painting flat brushes, etc.
  • Optional: newsprint (blank) for wet painted sheets, blow dryer

March 2019

Our March meeting of Bridger Mountain Scribes will be held at the library on Monday, March 11, from 11 AM to 1 PM.
  • The program – We will be making models of the modular book and sharing our progress on the content.
  • The 2019 year-long project —
    We are to have chosen our text and cut at least some materials to size in preparation for beginning to assemble the book. Remember that each part of the book can be done (and redone!) separately and the book can be added to at will, so bring at least 5 folios and 5 book wrappers to get you started at the February meeting. A five-inch-square book will require materials in the following sizes:
    • folios: 10″ x 5″, grain short
    • page wrappers: 10″ x 10″ square
    • spine piece: [width of finished book + 1″] x 5″
  • Show and share — Bring anything you’ve been working on. 

What to bring:

  • for folios: 6 sheets of heavier paper cut to 5″ x 10″, grain short
  • for wrappers: 6 sheets of paper cut to 10″ x 10″
  • for the spine: 1 sheet of heavier paper cut to 5″ x 5″
  • any progress you’ve already made on your year-long project
  • anything else you’d like to share with the group

What to bring:

  • aluminum beverage can (or aluminum flashing if you’d prefer)
  • heavy-duty scissors or tin snips for cutting the aluminum (kitchen shears are quite adequate)
  • ruler
  • bone folder
  • pencil, to be used as the pen staff (so not one of your favorites!) — or a dowel of pencil length
  • print-out of the Erica’s PDF tutorial (attached)
  • ink in a suitable container for dipping
  • paper for experimenting with your new pen

I’ll bring the following to share:

  • duct tape
  • 220-grit sandpaper

If you want to look at folded-pen resources online:

A few years ago, a calligrapher named Joy Deneen instituted Folded Pen Friday on Instagram (#foldedpenfriday) and showed the curated results of this in two blogs posts which I list here for your inspiration. Also, some folded-pen work by three masters. Have fun looking at these:

And finally, be thinking about what we might want to do in March. Does anybody have a technique or tutorial they would like to share?

February 2019

Our February meeting of Bridger Mountain Scribes will be held at the library on Monday, February 11, from 11 AM to 1 PM.

  • The program – We will be making aluminum-can folded pens and then making marks with them. 
  • The 2019 year-long project — We are to have chosen our text and cut at least some materials to size in preparation for beginning to assemble the book. Remember that each part of the book can be done (and redone!) separately and the book can be added to at will, so bring at least 5 folios and 5 book wrappers to get you started at the February meeting. A five-inch-square book will require materials in the following sizes:
    • folios: 10″ x 5″, grain short
    • page wrappers: 10″ x 10″ square
    • spine piece: [width of finished book + 1″] x 5″
  • Show and share — Bring anything you’ve been working on. 

What to bring:

  • aluminum beverage can (or aluminum flashing if you’d prefer)
  • heavy-duty scissors or tin snips for cutting the aluminum (kitchen shears are quite adequate)
  • ruler
  • bone folder
  • pencil, to be used as the pen staff (so not one of your favorites!) — or a dowel of pencil length
  • print-out of the Erica’s PDF tutorial (attached)
  • ink in a suitable container for dipping
  • paper for experimenting with your new pen

I’ll bring the following to share:

  • duct tape
  • 220-grit sandpaper

If you want to look at folded-pen resources online:

A few years ago, a calligrapher named Joy Deneen instituted Folded Pen Friday on Instagram (#foldedpenfriday) and showed the curated results of this in two blogs posts which I list here for your inspiration. Also, some folded-pen work by three masters. Have fun looking at these:

And finally, be thinking about what we might want to do in March. Does anybody have a technique or tutorial they would like to share?

January 2019

Our January meeting of Bridger Mountain Scribes will be held at the library on Monday, January 14, from 11 AM to 1 PM.

  • The program – We’ll explore the Pilot Parallel Pen, a well-made fountain calligraphy pen that can be used as-is or filled with any non-waterproof liquid of your choice. I’ll bring a few books which focus on the parallel pen, as well as copies of of Carol DuBosch’s instructions on re-filling the pen. If you have a Pilot Parallel Pen, bring it along. If you want to buy one, I saw that the new store on the north side of town, Paper & Grace (on East Oak), is selling them. I recommend getting a larger size rather than the smallest one. But by no means do you *need* to buy one. I’ll have several extras on hand that you can experiment with. If you want a head-start on what we’ll be doing, check out Carol’s PDF:
    http://www.caroldubosch.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Pilot-Parallel-Pen.pdf
  • The 2019 year-long project — We’ll each be making a 5-inch square modular accordion book. I’ve been in touch with Liz Simmonds, who made the Ben Franklin book, and I’ll share what I’ve learned from her about the structure. This book can be any length (which is one great feature of the structure), but I would recommend at least 8 folios. The book that Liz made had a folio for each of the 13 virtues in Ben Franklin’s list of virtues. So you will want to settle on content for your book. A list would be a good place to start, but that’s just one approach..
  • Show and share — Bring anything you’ve been working on.
  • What to bring:
    • Pilot Parallel Pen if you have it
    • non-waterproof ink if you’re bringing a pen (I’ll have walnut ink on hand)
    • needle-nose pliers if you have them
    • a few 5-inch square pieces of paper to write on
    • a compass if you have one — the kind that draws a circle in pencil
    • a few words to write in a circle; I can’t tell you how many because I don’t know what size pen you’ll be using

Also, mark your calendar for the February 11 meeting at 11 AM.