Saturday, May 4, 2013

Another great day at Buderim

I am lucky to have a  great group of calligraphers down the hill, up the road and up another hill - about 30 minutes drive away.  Every now and then they invite me teach something and today I ran the workshop on"Modern Versals" that I was supposed to teach last October when instead of teaching, I took to my bed for a fortnight with the flu.

Today was much more fun!

The Calligraphy group at the Buderim Craft Cottage are talented and enthusiastic calligraphers, and always open to exploration. We talked about the history of Versals and what makes for 'modern' versals. We focused on drawing the letters, rather than writing them.  This takes a little while to adapt to as you tend to be lighter-handed when drawing letters and less firm and direct than when writing them with a pen. As calligraphers you kind of have to untrain your brain a bit and re-wire it briefly.

I have developed my own style of modern versals which I use a fair bit, and folk practiced these.

Ater lunch we talked about some of the elements that make versals modern and things we had observed and spoken about in several examples we had studied.  I asked the group to try to incorporate some of these design elements in their work, testing and checking the impact they had, working out how many you could incorporate in a line without it getting too busy etc.

In lots of ways I find Modern Versals very free-ing and very forgiving. They allow for a little bit of this and that without breaking the rules too much.

I am a strong believer that art should be of its time, and these letter forms allow us to acknowledge and respect the history, but also give them a contemporary expression, which reflects us as we are in the 21st century.

The group did fabulously well and hopefully have gone home with lots of ideas about how they could use these letters in their own work.  Thanks to the group and to some of the artists shown in more detail here - Greg, Noreen, Helen, Helen and Margaret - for allowing me to share their work sheets. .

Thanks again!


  1. Replies
    1. Indeed Ronnie. Playing around with letters can be most joyful and fun!

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks Roberta - they did some great stuff!

  3. Replies
    1. I agree Tammie-Lee; some precious and beautiful lettering here.

  4. A very good way to show that lines can be stretched or squashed to suit intent. Something often very difficult to see when shown only a formal alphabet.
    Thanks, Fiona

    1. Excellent observation Di! We spoke about how forgiving these letters can be a lot. Just to create visual balance, or to fix up an error here or there...glad you got to see how they can be used just from these worksheets.

  5. Not a calligrapher, I find these so beautiful and like Di, I loved the way your students manipulated the sizes and spaces. Your class must have been great fun as well as an excellent learning experience.

    1. Thanks Carol - we had a good day for sure, and I always love how people take an idea and take it many wonderful examples of making the words fit and the letters work together, Glad you enjoyed. Go well.


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