Saturday, June 4, 2011

Day 1 at Buderim

We have made it thru day 1 of the Winter School at Buderim Craft Cottage and have come out the other side with lots of lovely things happening. We focused on my heartbeat script today and it was such a delight to teach something I had created myself. We spoke about developing our expression of ourselves and of taking the next steps forward with calligraphy for ourselves.

©2011 Fiona Dempster - heartbeat script, interlinear variations
I really enjoyed watching other folk enjoy my little script - and making it their own. Where people felt a letter form didn't quite work for them - they struggled with it or rebelled against it - I encouraged them to find a way to make a letter that worked for them yet remained true to the spirit and form of the script. As a result, we had some new "q"s appear and the occasional new 't" amongst others, which is nice to see.

I think if people enjoy the rhythm of writing the script; the words will flow and it will be full of life. If they struggle with it; work too hard to make a perfect copy of what I have done; then I think that drains the life out of the work a bit and can make it more stilted and appear sort of lifeless.

I was amazed at how well everybody did with the script, from beginners to experienced calligraphers - there are some fabulous, high quality versions about the place now, and I hope it becomes a script people enjoy using.

Here are some photos of practice sheets, exemplars at work and some proper pages.

Thanks to Julie, Noreen, John, Helen, Greg, and Yvonne for the use of their work here.

Tomorrow we tackle a single page binding - taking the pages we made today and turning them into a beautiful book.


  1. There is something vaguely Arabic about those lovely letters Fiona.

  2. yes jo - arabic....

    I don't know if you've ever seen it fiona (and others), but there's a wonderful older calligraphic book by jacqueline svaren (circa 1986) called 'written letters' - in it she has a couple of interpretations of ernst schneidler's typeface - legend - with reduced 'x'-height etc etc like your 'heartbeat'- all that give letters that middle eastern feel.... if you haven't seen the simple book I really recommend it (if you can find a copy somewhere!)

    hope the binding goes as well as the calligraphy! have fun!

  3. Struggling with letter forms has always stopped me in my tracks with calligraphy/text work and made the work tighten up and then come to a grinding halt. It's SO great to hear you say "find a way to make a letter that worked yet remained true to the spirit and form of the script." Inspiring. Thanks.

  4. Oh Fiona,If you could only transport yourself across the world and teach an ungifted left hander that script... it is so fluid and well spaced. Great results from your pupils and look forward to seeing the books. Lesley

  5. Jo - I agree; when I was looking thru books to show folk I used some arabic examples to show the rhythm.

    Ronnie - thanks I hadn't come across that book (nor the typeface) but have found that I can buy it so shall set to!

    Annie- I still struggle to get italics right and comfortable and am always squeezing tight as I do I like the idea of a relaxed and heart-felt hand.

    Lesley - it would be such fun to work out how to do international online play days!


I appreciate your thoughts and comments; thanks for taking the time.