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Re: Learning & sharing


Yes, I did do a lot of calligraphy 15 years (plus) ago--a lot of commission
for people wanting bible verses and illumination.  I do/did mostly half uncial
and did the illumination and laid gold.  Actually, I still do it, but am
preferring to work with art pens rather than nibs, although I still have them.
And I'm enjoying different hands--experimenting with italic and some other
forms--seems easier some how.

Practice is everything, but you already know this.  A good place to look for
calligraphy classes is in the Recreational Ed/Fun Ed/Open University
opportunities that each city has; also, Adult Ed sponsored by the counties in
many areas provides affordable classes in calligraphy.  There are also
Calligraphy Guilds in most areas also that will teach classes in specific
hands or on specific subjects--like making your own pigments for illumination,
etc.  Membership is not terribly expensive in these groups.

Although books are helpful, I, too, am lost--very--when I don't work with a
teacher or a group on a process that I've never met before.

Etching involves chemicals that are toxic, and although there are ways to make
the process safer, I haven't been able to get all toxic chems out of my
studio.  I still use ferric chloride to etch the plates and asphaltum (which,
while it stinks, I'm not sure is toxic unless I eat it), etc.  However, I
don't work in my garage studio without the door open--in fact I have made it
so that I can't get to the table where everything is without the door being
open!  I wear gloves; I use spray paint for acquatint outside on the driveway
to the garage--everything is outdoors.  So--because of the toxicity, I would
take classes, just to get an idea of how things are supposed to be.  However,
you will be able to see how to make things safer in your own studio as
sometimes the teachers will teach what is safe but do things differently!
yikes!  Our community college teaches one printmaking class; I'm sure you can
find a class in your community, too.

Most importantly, have fun!  And, yes, heaven is being sent in small bits!

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