Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Calligraphy @ the NLA

There is something very special about viewing original manuscripts, old and not so old.
An oportunity to study the "real thing" is something so rare we grab it when we are able.

The National Library of Australia has made this possible for book lovers, calligraphers
and interested parties through their Handwritten exhibition.
Viewing the collection finishes on 18 March 2012. 





The National Library of Australia, Canberra Australia
Venue for the Illumination Workshop 19 February 2012



The NLA Foyer
... with a bookshop to lose yourself in ...



The plushest classroom I have ever taught in!
Eighteen participants fitted beautifully with room to move.


Before we got started outside my favourite stained glass windows.



My wonderful assistant on the day, Pamela Kemp!




My thanks to the Canberra Calligraphy Society and my fellow tutors Jill Robertson & Angela Hillier. Enormous thanks to Maureen Worsnop CCS Treasurer, for her tremendous monetary efforts,
Brendan Dahl from the National Library of Australia who made the day run brilliantly and all my diligent participants who had fun while learning lots about illuminated letters.


Sincere thanks to Pam for putting me up and putting up with me!

550 emails later ... phew ... I'm exhausted!


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Today ... off the drawing board




This is one of Bilbo Baggins song. It was in both Tolkien novels The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings.
I chose on purpose to use a similar style of simplified Uncial used in the film LotR.
The spirals symbolise the road going "ever on and on".

Korean stick ink, Brause nibs, designers gouache, pen-white, 23ct gold leaf and hand tooled spirals, metal nibs & brushes on 300gsm Arches hotpress paper.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Off the drawing board



Walnut ink, designers gouache, 23ct gold leaf, pen-white,
pointed nibs, dotting tool on 300gsm Arches hotpress paper

The names of the couple
and the date of their wedding are scribed in a flowing 23ct gold leaf copperplate
beneath the DP.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Apology Manuscript - take two





In the past couple of weeks I have created two more apology manuscripts
for the Federal Government. This time for the
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
One is to be presented to the European Parliament by the Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd
and the other is to hang in the RG Casey Building in Canberra.

It was, yet again, an honour to be asked to prepare these documents.




Some swatches on the two different vellums.

The vellums came from the
Vellum and Parchment Work in Kildare Ireland.
Excellent service by Joe Katz!





Wiping off the excess gold.




I had to work the Coat of Arms upside down.



The soft and delicate colours I used to replicate the 1912 official Coat of Arms were achieve by many trials. I finally decided to use Derwent watercolours to achieve the best effects.



Close-ups! Always fraught with danger. 

Sunday, February 5, 2012

A creative household


Reed makers David Nuttall, Joe Ortuso and Bettina Crimmins ... this went on all day!


Boxes of reeds everywhere!


I have found good uses for excess oboe reeds!
They make interesting toggles!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The McGregor Experience

Herewith are a few photos of the McGregor Experience.  The McGregor Summer School has been running for over forty years on the University of Southern Queensland campus, Toowoomba.  The school is now a very highly regarded ten day gathering of visual and performing arts. It is run through the USQ Artworx program.

With a full orchestra program and a multi-disciplined art program hundreds of people enjoyed the creative and learning atmosphere.  Chamber music concerts in the evening were a lovely distraction from the days teaching program.


This year my class was full with thirteen participants.


I set my classroom up "cafe style". I don't always do this. I judge the nature of the class then decide what will work best with what we are doing.  Cafe style allows for individuals to chat quietly while they work and easily share their materials if the theme warrants it.

The theme for this year's ten-day workshop was "purely pencils" and the "ampersand & other ligatures". I was excited to get out of bed everyday knowing I was going to play with pencils - and get paid for it! The "apmersands" on the other hand were seriously good fun in the illumination stakes, mystery and code cracking.


This is (a small part of) my desk, strewn with pencils, samples and deomonstration materials.



The calligraphy class show & tell tables on the final day.



It is wonderful for visitors to see a calligrapher at work. Susan Bradshaw pictured here was a real hit when she volunteered to demonstrate with Derwent watercolour pencils. The show & tell is of the participants work and is a great effort for some of them to demonstrate and talk about their work.  Most of the class hover around the tables discussing their & other's work with interested parties.

Shirley Gallagher's work - pen, ink & pencil

Susan Bradshaw's work - pencil


Trinkets for the class - graphite 2b water sketch pencil, with HB lead pencil and peircings




Linda Weil's class - Nature drawing, part only

Michael Winters' class - Painting, part only

Keith Lo Bue's class - found objects to make lettering for his class description.

The McGregor experience is not all serious art & performances. Here is a couple who won the couples prize at the McGregor Masquerade Ball. Their names were In & Cognito written beautifully on their backs in a calligraphic hand.

Friends: Laurens Otto, Gemma Black & partner David Nuttall

Proof it can be done! Someone who shall remain nameless at present balanced three golf balls one 'atop the other. And there were witnesses!

A fun, hard work, and yet somehow exhausting experience was had by all.

Visit my website too!

Visit my website too!
In-class illumination demonstration

Something about Gemma

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Blackmans Bay, Tasmania, Australia
I am an Australian, a letter designer & calligrapher. I enjoy working with letters and grounds, teaching and mixing with like-minded people.

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