SHAPING YOUR STORY: Calligraphy and other artistic approaches

September – December 2022

You have a story that needs to be told. We all do. Calligraphy is the perfect way to bring your story to the world. This workshop is about finding that story and giving it shape. This is an emotional process. You will go deep. You may need a handkerchief in one hand, a pen in the other.
We need time for this process, so this workshop is spread over four series. You will learn to write a story – your story. This text will guide you through four months of exploration. We will use expressive marks, abstract writing, and calligraphy full of visual associations to create the raw material for a book. This book will then become a collection of exercises and experiments all intended to bring out the deeper meaning of your story. Trust me when I say that THIS workshop is the key to your most personal and artistic calligraphy.

PART ONE (SEPTEMBER)

I believe strongly that calligraphers should write their own words whenever possible. You don’t need Shakespeare or Schiller to create a profound work of calligraphic art. You need the language of your own heart. In the first of this four-part series you will be helped to write your story in just a page or two. You will learn to put your own words down on paper, plain and simple. You will receive a detailed “homework” assignment that will help you to plot out the basic lines of your story and then to tell it from different points of view. With this short story you will explore how words can radiate many levels of meaning, all of them coming from deep inside you. After this workshop you will not have to rely on another writer to say it for you!

PART TWO (OCTOBER)

How do words and images interact? Where does meaning come from? Am I in control of the process? In “Shaping your Story Part Two” we will look at these questions. You may think you cannot draw, but together we will manage it. We will find ways to illustrate your story, to attach words to the illustrations and to let the meaning take care of itself. This can be a moment of real revelation. We will look at contemporary artists’ books to see how text and image work together or keep to their separate spaces. At every step your book will become richer, and your understanding of your story will become deeper.

PART THREE (NOVEMBER)

We all need to go beyond our boundaries every now and then. Just this once, you will not be a calligrapher. You will dream of faraway artistic lands. You will consult with friends and fellow artists. You will tell your story in a way you have never tried before. This series is designed to do get you there with a gentle nudge, not a push. I have used this technique for many years and ALWAYS been astonished and delighted by the results. The results of your dreaming will go in the book that is still growing.

PART FOUR (DECEMBER)

It’s time to pull your book together, adding the complete text and a couple of surprise pages. Here is where we go back to our roots: legible calligraphy and good, solid design. After all your experimentation you will create a flow through the book with letters that express the emotions of your story while remaining easy to read. We will talk about how to bind the book if you choose to do so. But you may also want to use all you have learned to create new broadsides that combine some of the things you have developed through the series. The result will narrate your personal story in a unique and personal style.

This online course will consist of three Zoom sessions per month for four months:

  • September-December: First live lesson of each month will be a demonstration and an assignment for you to do in your own time.
  • September-November: Second live lesson of each month will be a demonstration followed by a special presentation.
  • December: Second live lesson with demonstration followed by a discussion on the future of calligraphy.
  • September-December: Third live lesson of each month will be a demonstration followed by a live crit session in which work posted by students will be reviewed.

* Sessions will be recorded and made available to students for a period of 4 months.

Material list

  • Variety of pens, from very wide to very narrow (cola pen, quills, brushes and other favorite tools also an option)

  • Black India or Sumi ink, variety of gouache colors

  • Pencil, ruler, scissors

  • 10 sheets of good quality paper with a bit of texture, weight 160gm – 220gm (Rives BFK, Fabriano 5 and Saunders Waterford are good options).

* HANDOUTS will be sent a few days before the series begins.

Dates & time

  • September 5, 12, 19 2022
  • October 3, 10, 17 2022
  • November 7, 14, 21 2022
  • December 5, 12, 19 2022
  • 8:00pm Brussels time
  • 2:00pm NY time

  • Sept: 4:00am next day Sydney time
  • Oct: 5:00am next day Sydney time
  • Nov-Dec: 6:00am next day Sydney time

* Sessions last approximately 2 hours

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