Sunday, May 8, 2016

Black Beauty

I am home on the mountain after a wonderful day teaching a bunch of talented and enthusiastic calligraphers down in Brisbane.

I had the most delightful day and really enjoyed watching them experiment and explore and develop their books.

Black Beauty was all about exploring the beauty of working wth black paper; seeing how different colours, different mediums (media?) worked on black; and then developing a sample book for future reference.

Surprisingly for us all, it was a day of hard work; but the results were more than worth it.

The title page in my sample book.

Everybody worked with different mediums/media - these are Graphitint pencils, and Desma chose circles for her swatches. I almost swooned when I saw these - so gorgeous and gentle.

Everybody did a page of swatches/samples and on the opposite page of the opening did an example using the medium; and they had 40 fabulous 6th - 16th century ampersands to choose from. Such fun.

Here are some of Helen I's ampersands.

And here are some of Jo's ampersands.

We used watercolour pencils and such; and therefore most people did two swatches for each colour: one dry and one wet. Here Donnie had blended them into a single swatch - very nifty.

Carla was well into the spirit of it all and made lots of swatches. We named or numbered the colours so we could repeat them in future.

I must admit, the brilliant purple in this sample by Barb almost took my breath away - stunning!

Jenni had a grand time with some of her metallics - her large circles here looked like every sort of moon I thought.

At lunchtime I did a quick demonstration of how gelli plate printing can work on black paper, and then how you can add calligraphy to it.

And after lunch we tried to complete our samples and examples, and then stitch a book. Phew.

I forgot to take more photos of everybody else's work so that was bit sad, I seem to have gotten carried away in the moment...

My demo book in preparation for stitching.

My sample book and demo book at home. It involved a basic 4 hole Japanese Stab binding with a little bit of extra decoration.

A display of all the books we made together today. What an astounding effort!

 Thanks once again to the Calligraphers of South East Queensland for inviting me, for their hospitality and their enthusiastic participation on Mother's Day.

We got through so much in that short time, and I hope everybody loves their sample book.


  1. what a good exploration of a favourite medium

    1. It was just that Mo - a day of exploration. Amazingly tiring for all, but enjoyable.

  2. I love all those black sample books on the table at the end of the session. What a wonderful day from all perspectives and a reminder to try that colour on black idea. I thoroughly enjoyed graphite on black paper and now I'm thinking what other means might be employed. If only I could have been a fly on the wall!!

    1. Weren't they great Lesley?!?! It is a really good tool and remidner - watercolour offers beautiful moody things; not all gouaches are created equally and metallics always shine unblock. Such fun - hope you ge too play sometime.

  3. How lovely! There is something about colour on black paper. This is so inspiring. I would love to have been in the class. Would you mind if I had a go at it myself?

    1. It is really worth doing Lyndell - and of course, go forth and play!


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