Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Tuesday-7:15am-Calligraphy class

Pink and blue cloudy morning sky yesterday. We did see sunlight come and go.
The wind was so boisterously gusty that I had to weigh everything down on the table and Karma was too spooked to sit at her spy post at the window. She disappeared a couple of times. Eventually I will notice that I haven't seen her for hours (which is unusual). I mean, come on! This is a small one-bedroom apartment. There are only so many places she can hide--LOL! I think she likes me to go looking for her--will not let out a peep as I call for her--and she is always sitting there calmly observing me when I do find her.
The first time she was lounging inside her stroller where it was parked in the bedroom.
The next time I moved the chair and found her where she had been sleeping under my desk.
It's not like these places are unusual or anything--just that I haven't seen her in her stroller when it's in the bedroom for maybe a year or two. Same thing with lounging under my desk. I guess she likes variety like her owner and eventually rotates her activity choices around given enough time. ROFL!
Speaking of...I did get out all my old calligraphy stuff. My classroom binder...
...stack of instructional books...
...and my one year's worth of Tabellac Ansatae magazine for calligraphers and bookbinders. Been a few years ago and I discovered that the name of the magazine has even changed. It was put out by John Neal Booksellers and is now called Bound & Lettered.
I have purchased bookbinding supplies from Volcano Arts. A tricky site to navigate, but worth the time. And Paper & Ink Arts carries calligraphy & bookbinding supplies plus all kinds of delightful goodies to drool over.
I thought maybe you'd get a kick out of some of the class info. Our teacher's name was Mrs. (Jean) Heidenreich and she had been a professional calligrapher for all her adult life. She did the usual--wedding invitations, certificates, wall art--and had worked for a greeting card company for decades. I never thought about greeting cards sayings having been originally hand written. Computers had pushed her out of a job (this was close to 20 years ago) and into early retirement (she defiantly announced, grey curls bouncing, that she wasn't yet 65). But you can see why. Here's a sheet she handed out about common faults.
As you can see by her alphabet sentence on the bottom of the page, her italic calligraphy is so nearly perfect that you wouldn't know it wasn't done by a computer. She was, shall we say, a strict perfectionist. We started out with about ten people and ended up with four of us because the others had dropped out by the third class. One man packed up and walked right out the first night as soon as he discovered she did not allow the use of calligraphy pens and we were required to use dip pens, nibs, and bottled ink. (Quite arrogant for a grade school principal!)
The "alphabet" sentences--so cool! Everyone has probably heard of "The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog"--well, she had this whole sheet of crazy ones! I loved practicing these and had forgotten all about them until I dug out my class binder--hehe! My favorite one is "He jokingly removed the porcupine quills from the zebra's back with wax".
Remember I mentioned that she insisted we write using an easel? We met in a drafting classroom so that each table had a built in easel. She actually encouraged us to have the easel at a higher angle than shows in this handout. Took some getting used to, but I couldn't believe how it helped with proportions.
Mrs. Heidenreich had a personal table easel that she brought with her each time. Soooo cool! It had a wooden frame with a clear acrylic base. I asked her about it after class. Hers had been handmade to her specifications by a friend and she actually contacted him for her easel-enamored student. He was older and retired, but he did agree to make me one and that is how I purchased my very own personal, handmade, awesome table easel! I guess I should take pictures of that to show you, too, eh? ;) I have used it for a lot more than just calligraphy since then.
Anyways, here's an example of an assignment I did. Mrs. Heidenreich would make her corrections in pencil so you could clearly see your black ink mistakes. I had a terrible, terrible time with consistency. (Always been a personal failure of mine in numerous areas of my life.)
Our final assignmnets she went over individually with us and didn't mark with pencil so that we could keep our best work pristine. We all worked on these same two projects.
Centering was difficult, too! It's pretty obvious that even after six weeks and a lot of practice my work most definitely would never be mistaken for a computer font--ROFL!!
The class was challenging, informative, frustrating, exciting, and fun! After several weeks Mrs. Heidenreich told me I could call her Jean outside of class (had a difficult time with that). And after the final class (I was always first to arrive and last to leave), she informed me that I "had potential". I was thrilled with such high praise coming from such a tough lady. :)
I am dreadfully out of practice--but now I have rediscovered the silly alphabet sentences--aha! Fun! I confess that I have cheated since our class all those years ago and have mostly used calligraphy pens since then. Mrs. Heidenreich would be so disappointed in me.
I'll get pictures of my beloved easel for you. I promise!
Hope you are having a good week. :):)
"Consistency is contrary to nature, contrary to life. The only completely consistent people are dead."
Aldous Huxley


  1. We've seen some strange looking skies around here lately. Most of the time, there are storms lurking in the distance, but even those clouds look pretty awesome. I like your shot.

    Karma is just trying to keep you playing hide and seek with her. LOL

    Calligraphy has always looked so elegant to me. I've never tried it, and probably never will, but I think it suits you. :) I think Mrs. Heidenreich was right...you had potential. (i'm envious) :)

    It's chilly here today. So chilly in fact, I sit here with a sweater on and I'm cold. I've been thinking about turning up the thermostat so the furnace will kick on for awhile.

    I hope you're having a good week, too.

  2. Silly Karma playing hide and seek! ;)

    your calligraphy class sounds like it was really good. I hope you enjoy having the stuff out and practicing it all again!

  3. Love the quote on consistency! You got to have the last word! I admire you for sticking out that class! But what beautiful writing! And I can't wait to see a picture of your specially ordered easel!

  4. AliceKay--So funny! Karma actually does play hide and seek with me, at night. She loves to leap out at me and scare me, but doesn't take it as well when I manage to scare her--LOL!
    I don't think I care as much about being perfect with the calligraphy as I did 20 years ago. These days they tell you to make it look imperfect so people know it is hand written. How times have changed, eh?
    Still chilly, dark, and damp over here.

    Tori--Karma is silly! ;)
    It is fun to get all the supplies out again and look over the various books I picked up since the class. I might have to get out a dip pen--hehe! :)

    Carol--I thought it was the absolute perfect quote--LOL!!
    I took pictures of the table easel yesterday! So soon! :)

  5. Love Karma!

    My cat does the same thing - she ends up in the weirdest places. What really makes it strange is she's blind - I have no idea how she finds these places!

  6. Donna--So even a blind cat can easily hide on you--LOL! Doesn't surprise me, but good to know. ;)

  7. I love that first picture :o)

    I would love to learn me some calligraphy it looks so pretty, maybe one day :o)

  8. Lynn--I loved the pink and blue clouds, too. :)
    I know--I have so many things I want to try, too. Have to live to be 200! ;)

  9. Desi--Thanks, Lady! :)

  10. I always admire nicely done handwriting - probably because my own "chicken scratches" are so ugly. I recall being "scolded" in first and second grade that my handwriting was "miserable" and that I needed to work on it. Even then I seemed to know that computers were coming I guess.

    So I admire your pen-person-ship. No "potential" about it - you have beautiful writing - your teacher taught you well - and her writing is incredible.

    How was today's hide and go seek game with Karma? Did she say, "nah nah na nah nah! I won again!"?

  11. Iggy--From what I hear they don't even teach penmanship at all anymore in grade school! I don't think kids should be chastised for bad penmanship, but they should at least teach it! I guess they figure everyone will be typing on keyboards so why bother? Hand writing is really difficult for a lot of people. Dagan always had a hard time and has to concentrate for his to be legible--Leah, too. I got the penmanship genes from my mom. She has beautiful handwriting!

    Actually Karma did just get me! I have some boxes in the hallway I haven't taken out to the dumpster yet and she leapt out at me last night in the dark and gave me a start! She was quite pleased with herself. ;)

  12. I heard the other day that they were considering discontinuing teaching cursive writing in schools. I think that is very sad. Beautiful penmanship is becoming a lost art. Your calligraphy is beautiful. It really is a lost art! I'm thinking that I'm not too old to learn it. As soon as I catch up on life, I'm going to check into area classes and see if anyone is teaching it.

    Karm is a hoot.

  13. Deanna--Yes! That's what I heard, too. And that a lot of schools have already dropped penmanship or cursive writing! What a shame.

    Never too old! You could practice it just by yourself if you can't find a class. There are a lot of books out there and I bet there are lessons on youtube someplace--LOL! I haven't looked yet, but there seems to be just about everything on youtube. ;)

    Now I feel like I will be practicing a nearly lost art. Figures. I'm getting closer to being an antique myself--LOL!! ;)

  14. Any chance of a photo of the easel?


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