Meetings, Classes and Workshops

Annual Meeting Saturday, May 20, 7 pm

Election of officers and other business, plus a presentation by President Derrick Tabor about Scripsits and the Graceful Envelope Contest

Hannah Holder

(Above: Luca Barcellona)

Envelope at left by Hannah Holder, judged Best in Show in the 2015 Graceful Envelope Contest. Theme: There's No Place Like Home

Christine Tischer

rogram meetings are held at Concord-St. Andrews Church, 5910 Goldsboro Road at the intersection of River and Goldsboro Roads in Bethesda, Maryland. Meetings offer the fellowship of Julian Waterscalligraphic colleagues. Each meeting features a well-respected lettering artist who shares information, slides and demonstrations on a variety of topics. Meetings are held bimonthly from September to May (except January) and are free and open to everyone. Information about meetings and other Guild activities is published in the Bulletin.

Directions: From the Beltway (Rt. 495) take the River Road exit (39) south towards Washington. Turn left onto Goldsboro Rd. The entrance to the church parking lot is about 40 yards on the right. The Chapel (door #6) is at the rear on the left side (as you're facing the front of the church). Social Hall entrance is the first door on the left side of the church (door #7). Map of meeting location.

Highlights of past meetings


WCG Board meetings: Open to all members. At Guild Board meetings, the annually elected Board of Directors develops and carries out Guild policies as well as leads the committees of volunteers that prepare Guild activities. Many board members are relatively new to calligraphy, but devoted in their interest. Come to a Board meeting to find out how you can help the Guild grow!

Right: Julian Waters' demo for Blackletter workshop (click for larger view)


Artwork by Sheila Waters for her series of articles in Letter Arts Review magazineWCG members who teach calligraphy classes in the Washington area:

  • Sheila Waters’ private classes at 851 Boyle Road, Fairfield, PA 17320, two miles from Emmitsburg, MD (one hour from Baltimore or Rockville). Instruction or individual help on any project or hand. Sheila teaches all day on alternate Saturdays in her large studio with all her collected resources available. Independent study 9:30-noon. Demos after lunch, 1-2:30 pm, following a structural sequence of hands and design and layout principles. Sheila Waters  FoundationalA second independent study period 2:30-5 pm. Students of all levels can come and go during the independent study periods, coming for the morning plus demo period, or demo period plus afternoon, or stay the whole day. Fee is $50 per visit. Bring your own lunch. All levels are welcome and beginners can learn a lot by being exposed to work brought by more experienced students. For dates contact Sheila at or 717-642-6637. About Sheila Waters.



The Washington Calligraphers Guild offers workshops in the spring and fall, taught by internationally renowned calligraphers as well as local talent. Aimed at all levels of skill, the workshops are held at various locations in the Washington, DC area.

TO REGISTER: Fill out the registration form in the Workshops Bulletin and mail it to Kara Koppanyi, 9 Cormer Court #103, Timonium, MD 21093. Include a check payable to the Washington Calligraphers Guild for the appropriate amount. Registrants are enrolled according to the postmark date. NOTE: If you do not have email to receive notification of registration, send a self-addressed, stamped #10 envelope with your check.
Guild members pay discounted workshop fees! HOW TO JOIN.

>> Contact Kara Koppanyi 443-318-4394 for registration questions or the status of any workshop.
>> Contact Chris Tischer 301-745-4633 with questions about workshops (content, supplies, etc) or suggestions for future workshops or workshop locations.

Purchase GIFT CERTIFICATES to WCG workshops--the ideal gift for lettering enthusiasts!

2017 Workshops Schedule


>> Download the 2017 Workshops Bulletin and registration form <<

>> Download the brochure and registration form for Luca Barcellona's Blackletter Retreat <<


April 1-2 (Saturday and Sunday), Vienna Arts Society, 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

Welcome to Introduction to Persian Calligraphy, a program to get you familiar with the alphabet and elements of Persian Calligraphy. In this introductory course (Persian Calligraphy Nasta’lique Workshop) students will learn hands-on the basic Persian alphabets, how to write them with traditional straw qalams (reeds) using black ink on paper, designing the safha (page), and kurse or setting letters on a line.

Luca Barcellona:

April 28 – May 1 (Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday)
The Claggett Center Retreat & Conference Center near Buckeystown, Maryland
NOTE: This is a special Workshop Retreat with overnight accommodations.
>> Download the brochure and registration form for Luca Barcellona's Blackletter Retreat <<

Gothic letterforms have great appeal thanks to their strong and sharp shapes. This workshop offers a journey through this writing style that begins with Textura — which was mainly used for written manuscripts — to its Renaissance evolution. Fraktur — characterized by a strong decorative component with complex and generous capital letters — offers the chance to experience endless possibilities of variations that are still widely used today.

We will start by studying the historical shapes, writing with the broad edge pen. We will then write letters in a more expressive way using the twist of the brush. Finally, we will move on to the development of other more personal and modern alphabets.

This is a course for beginners, experts, and those who want a deeper study of this writing style.


May 23-24 (Tuesday and Wednesday), Vienna Arts Society, 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

In this class, the humble pencil and its relatives become powerful tools in creating many effects from subtle to stunning. We will use pencils, erasers, graphite sticks/blocks, powdered graphite and their water-soluble cousins to explore the possibilities of this medium for creating refined works of art to quickly made drawings in our sketchbooks.

Starting with basic drawing principles like line quality and shading, we will experiment with each tool to discover the marks it can produce. We will then move on to drawing letters and designing word groups, both formal and casual. The monochromatic drawn letterform forces us to slow down and relate more organically to the forms we are creating. You will find drawing letterforms with care and thoughtfulness to be so helpful in improving your design and lettering skills and in allowing for more refined and subtle attention to detail.

Further time will let us explore how to integrate our letters with their backgrounds into designs that will grab our viewer’s eye. Finally I’ll show you some of the tricks I’ve learned to save time and ensure success when working with this versatile medium.


September 23-24 (Saturday and Sunday), Vienna Arts Society, 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

This workshop begins where most others leave off!

In this workshop, we take an intense look at the Copperplate form to discover what it is that makes these letters sing. This class is designed for those students who have a basic knowledge of the Copperplate form, and who wish to strengthen their skill and knowledge of this beautiful pointed pen lettering. We will start with the basic shaded stroke, practicing the gradual pressure and shaping which gives the lettering its distinctive look. A study of spacing and letter connections will follow. We will refine the forms to achieve a beautiful grace and elegance, learning the subtle changes that can give very dramatic results. Flourishing techniques and stylized capitals will round out a course filled with new perspectives.


October 6-9 (Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday), Columbia Art Center, 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

In this workshop we leave behind the set of rules of traditional layout, as these rules may paralyze or confine the student who wants to leave the beaten paths of calligraphy. A series of well- chosen exercises will show how, by fearless experiments, we can come up with original and powerful compositions.  We’ll see that this way of working allows us to stay alert to what happens on the paper and will prompt us to find solutions for problems that appear during the process. Gradually, we will sharpen our graphic eye and learn about the hidden rules of experimental layout. As it turns out, having no preconceived ideas about the work has nothing but advantages, especially if the gesso is close at hand.

The design exercises will be interspersed with writing exercises in which the basics of interesting gestural writing and drawn lettering will be explained and immediately put into practice.


November 4-5 (Saturday and Sunday), Vienna Arts Society, 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

The tendency when learning something new, such as calligraphy, is to plunge right in and hope for or expect results with the first try. In our minds, we can envision with great clarity what the end result should be. And why not? After all, this is writing, which we do all the time--how hard can it be? The truth of the matter is that a bit more care and preparation is usually called for before we can proceed with ease and grace into producing pleasing calligraphic images.

In this workshop for all skill levels, we will go over the basic calligraphic strokes that make up the Foundational hand which is also the starting point for learning other hands such as Italic and Blackletter. You will begin to see that drawing guide lines, figuring out heights and spacing does not have to be a boring chore, but can be a meditative preparation for the work to come.  All that you will need for this class (besides what is on the supply list!) is your enthusiasm and willingness to devote some time to laying down a solid foundation and understanding for future study and the promise of much greater success.  If time permits, demonstrations on variations of the Foundational hand will also be given.

View photos and artwork from recent workshops and from older workshops.


Washington Calligraphers Guild home page  ~  About the Guild  ~  
Exhibits & Special Events  ~  WCG journal Scripsit  ~  History of lettering and type ~ 
 ~ How to become a member  ~  Freelance calligraphers in the DC area ~ 
 ~ Links to related websites  ~  Zapf fund to further calligraphy education ~ 

Anne Lane

Logo at left by Anne Lane