Thursday, August 13, 2015

Thursday Thoughts...

“By all means break the rules, and break them beautifully, deliberately and well.” 

Robert Bringhurst

I have always appreciated this idea and I often use the mantra when I teach - "you have to know the rules to break the rules". When I started to take my calligraphic journey seriously, I was fortunate to be taught be Gemma Black.  Gemma is highly skilled and a great teacher, and also keeps you focused on getting the fundamentals right.  At times you wonder if you will ever achieve any sort of accomplishment over a serif or an arch, or the ellipse in an o, but you just keep practising and practising.

I love expressive and abstract calligraphic art. I really don't like cheap efforts to be expressive that are simply ugly to my eyes.

The difference for me is always that somebody has learnt the rules about the rhythm of writing, of good letter forms, of spacing and weight and balance and layout, and then they have broken them. Deliberately and well.

Which in my mind is different to ignoring all the rules and just doing  your own thing.

I did a wonderful workshop with calligrapher Massimo Polello a few years ago - he is a true master at starting way back with the original scripts (15th century or so) and then busting them open to create beautiful expressive, abstract calligraphy.

This is a work sheet he did - from Sydney to...Sydney!


  1. your work has such good bones Fiona!

  2. Oh. My.

    How do I learn to do that?

    1. Massimo is a wonderful teacher - if he is ever in the States... or else I could share with you what I have learned and see what happens next!


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