. . . the journal of the Washington Calligraphers Guild

Logo by Michael Clark

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In Scripsit Vol. 39, No. 1 (2017), Editor Michael Clark continues his focus on The Pointed Pen from his 2015 issue. This new volume contains different people, different pointed pen styles, different applications as well as a sampling of different techniques and letters. Featured artists: Mike Kesceg, Heather Victoria Held, Keith Morris, Don Marsh, Hoffmann Angelic Design, a gallery of other talented contributors plus a look at how Christopher Held creates and decorates his custom pen holders.

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Pens & Protocol: The Calligraphy of Official Washington, Volume 2 (Fall 2016) features the elegant work of: White House calligraphers Pat Blair, Debra Brown and Becky Larimer; Inauguration luncheon calligrapher Sammy Little; calligrapher to the Vice President Lee Ann Clark; State Department calligrapher Jen Nicholson; Interior Department awards by Marta Legeckis; as well as Mohamed Zakariya's presidential commission in Arabic and his Eid postage stamps for USPS; and stamps by Julian Waters, Jessica Hische and Michael Doret. This 44-page issue by Lorraine Swerdloff displays 140 full-color images of certificates and awards; invitations, menus, and place cards; greeting cards and more.
View cover

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In the Summer 2016 Scripsit, Julian Waters has produced a magnificent retrospective of Hermann Zapf: A Life in Letters. In 76 full-color pages, we see his work as a consummate calligrapher, prolific book designer and creator of beautiful typefaces. Waters, who was a student and close friend of Professor Zapf for 35 years, said, "Zapf was the 20th century’s preeminent virtuosic calligrapher, a quiet trailblazer whose influence runs so wide and so deep that it cannot be quantified."

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The pointed pen is the focus of Scripsit Vol. 37, No. 1 (2015). Editor Michael Clark features the work of Pat Blair, Lee Ann Clark, Harvest Crittenden, James Fazz Farrell, Maximiliano Sproviero, Tamara Stoneburner and Rachel Yallop, as well as a gallery of art by other noted pointed pen calligraphers. Michael selected the participants, who display and discuss their work in 34 full-color pages, for their different approaches.

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The Fall 2014 Scripsit (Vol. 36, No. 2), devoted to the Graceful Envelope Contest, features full-color reproductions of 141 selected winning envelopes from 2009 through 2014. Editor/designer Lorraine Swerdloff is the coordinator of the annual competition, which encourages participants from around the world to incorporate the given theme in a creative design while using artistic hand lettering to address the envelope. Rounding out the issue are comments from contest judges about what makes a successful Graceful Envelope and two pages of winning entries by high school students.
Artists in this issue

 




Nine contemporary book artists are featured in Scripsit Vol. 36, No. 1 (2014): David McGrail, Suzanne Moore, Nancy Leavitt, Elizabeth McKee, Yukimi Annand, Marina Soria, Eliza Holliday, Carol Barton and Susan Smith. Along with 36 pages of color images, editor/designer Michael Clark provides explanations from the artists about their techniques and design processes.

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Edited by Michael Clark, Vol. 35, No. 2 (2013) showcases the artistry of Marsha & Larry Brady as well as these talented international calligraphers he "met" through social media: Sergey Shapiro of Moscow, Russia; Patrick Leung of Hong Kong, China; Marina Marjina of Ekaterinburg, Russia; James Fedor of Kansas City, MO; and Rachel Yallop of Great Britain. The lettering artists display and discuss their work in 32 full-color pages.

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In producing Vol. 35, No. 1 (2013), Kate Irwin drew on one of her favorite quotations -- "Every artist dips his brush in his own soul" -- to ask these calligraphers how their personal experiences inspired their art: Carrie Imai, Anne Cowie, Charles Pearce, Annie Cicale, Katherine Malmsten, Laurie Doctor and Iuean Rees. Their insightful responses plus stunning artwork equal 36 pages of artistic inspiration.

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In Vol. 34, No. 2 (2012), Michael Clark has produced another issue of creativity, excellence, experimentation, innovation and devotion to letters. In 32 full-color pages, these international lettering artists both show and discuss their work: Iskra Johnson (illustration and informal scripts with pointed brush and pen); Izzy Pludwinski (Hebrew and western letterforms); Carl E. Kurtz (letters as texture and form); Peter Thornton (compositions exploring texture, lettered with pencils); Michael Clark (lettering with ruling pens and other tools); and the Memorials by Artists network (letter carving).

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Scripsit ManuscriptsThe July 2012 issue (Vol. 34, No. 1), designed and edited by Maryanne Grebenstein, focuses on collections of illuminated manuscripts that reside in the United States. Four collections are featured: The Morgan Library in New York; The Walters Art Museum in Baltimore; the New York Public Library; and the Boston Public Library. The full-color, 32-page issue features images of manuscripts as well as a directory with information about manuscript collections that can be found online. This issue is a valuable resource for anyone interested in studying illuminated manuscripts. Copies can be purchased from:

 


Vol.33 No.2Edited by Michael Clark, Vol. 33 No. 2 (2011) is an issue about "creativity, excellence, experimentation, innovation and a celebration of letters." The full-color, 32-page issue showcases seven international lettering artists: French calligrapher Michel D’Anastasio, whose letters are Photoshopped to produce dramatic effects; Carl Rohrs of Santa Cruz, CA, who brings his unique energetic style to each commission; Martin O'Brien, a woodworker who collaborates with John Stevens in Winston-Salem, NC to carve letters in wood and stone; France's Claude Mediavilla, who specializes in gestural calligraphy and abstract painting; Sophie Verbeek of Switzerland, who experiments with free gesture calligraphy; the beach calligraphy of Andrew van der Merwe of Cape Town, South Africa; and Israel's Malla Carl, whose specialty is the Bible in art and lettering. Copies can be purchased from:


Scripsit - 35th Anniversary ExhibitAll 65 calligraphic artworks displayed in the Guild's 35th Anniversary Exhibit are reproduced in full color, as well as five of the 60 pieces from the "Nice Rendition" companion exhibit. Such acclaimed calligraphic artists as Diane von Arx Anderson, Eliza Holliday, Hermann Zapf, Jean Larcher, Kristen Doty, Carl Kurtz, Marsha Brady, Larry Brady (whose art appears on the cover), Sheila Waters, Julian Waters, Pat Blair, Mike Kecseg, Reggie Ezell and Tim Botts are represented in this 48-page issue. Edited by Lorraine Swerdloff, the magazine (Vol. 33, No. 1) also reviews highlights of WCG activities from 1976 to 2011. Copies can be purchased from:

 


Scripsit Hand & HeartTitled Hand & Heart: Calligraphers Embellish Family Celebrations, the Summer/Fall 2010 issue (Vol.32, Nos.1&2) features wedding and event calligraphy by Lee Ann Clark, Patty Leve, Joan Machinchick, Tamara Stoneburner and Christine Tischer. Includes family trees, certificates of marriage and Jewish wedding contracts (ketubot), wedding invitations, reply cards, menus, seating charts, guest books and more. This 48-page double issue by Lorraine Swerdloff contains 100 full-color images plus a bonus back cover--an invitation by Patricia Blair. Copies can be purchased from:

 


ScripsitA major retrospective exhibition of Sheila Waters' artwork was held in the Washington, DC area in 2009, and this Scripsit reproduces 300 pieces from the show in full color -- a fitting celebration of her lifetime as a calligrapher, artist, teacher and author. The issue, which includes Sheila's commentary on many pieces, was edited and designed by Julian Waters, who created a typeface based on Sheila's Carolingian hand that is used for the first time here.

The Fall 2009/Winter 2010 Scripsit (Vol. 31, No. 2&3) is a special double issue, running 48 pages plus covers. Copies signed by Sheila and Julian are available directly from Sheila Waters or Julian Waters. Unsigned copies can be purchased from:


cover envelope: Ruth KorchThe Spring 2009 Scripsit (Vol. 31, No. 1) is a 24-page issue featuring full-color reproductions of 64 winners of the Graceful Envelope Contest from 2006 through 2008. Each year contestants were encouraged to incorporate the given theme in a creative and artistic way, while using calligraphy to address the envelope. Entrants interpreted the 2006 theme--A Fine Line--with lines of every description, from bee lines, clotheslines and fishing lines to line dancing and even felines. The 2007 theme--A Mailable Feast--inspired a banquet of culinary creativity. In 2008, entrants fulfilled the theme "C's the Day" with words and phrases that begin with the letter C. Edited and designed by Lorraine Swerdloff, who produced Graceful Envelope Scripsits in 2002 and 2005 (see below).
Artists in this issue


 

The Fall 2008/Winter 2009 Scripsit (Vol.30, No.2&3) is a hefty 52-page double issue titled Washington, DC's Calligraphic Underground: Interviewing its Instructors and Professionals. Editor T.M. Stoneburner conducted candid and informal interviews with some of the area's most regarded calligraphic instructors and professionals: Carolyn Behnke and Caroline Gillin (instructors for the Smithsonian Resident Associate Program), stonecarver Ann W. Hawkins, Alana Maubury Hunter, Anne Mackechnie, Caren Milman, Jill Norvell, Ann Pope, Peggy Shields Schiefelbein, and Ingrid Weber. The issue includes more than 150 images by these artists, 100 of which are in full color.

 


 

Titled Pens & Protocol: The Calligraphy of Official Washington, the Fall 2007/Winter 2008 issue (Vol.29 No.3/Vol.30 No.1) features the work of White House calligraphers Patricia Blair, Debra Brown and Rick Muffler, State Department calligrapher Jennifer Nicholson, and WCG members David Hobbs, Marta Legeckis, Sammy Little, Mary Lou O'Brian and Julian Waters, whose lettering for the federal government, Postal Service and Smithsonian Institution is integral to Official Washington. This 48-page double issue by Lorraine Swerdloff contains more than 150 full-color reproductions.
View cover     View title page

 


The June 2007 issue (Volume 29,  No. 2), edited by Lee Ann Clark, showcases selected works from WCG's 30th Anniversary Exhibition, which was on view at Letterforum 2006 (the 26th International Gathering of Lettering Artists) and, joined by works from Letterforum faculty, was exhibited October 20 to November 4, 2006 at The Mansion at Strathmore in North Bethesda, Maryland. In addtion to 24 pages of artwork (12 in full color), the issue includesreminiscences from several long-time members on the 30th anniversary of WCG and "a last word" from Sheila Waters, the guild's first president. (Cover art by Jean Larcher)


 

A special double issue of Scripsit commemorated Letterforum 2006 (Vol 28  No.3 and Vol 29 No.1), the international gathering of lettering artists hosted that year by the Washington Calligraphers Guild. Editor Rose Folsom captured the spirit of the week-long conference, with photos of participants and faculty, artwork from the many exhibits and remarks by noted speakers.

 


Hand-lettered holiday cards is the theme of the Winter 2006 Scripsit (Vol. 28, No. 1), featuring the creations of a dozen members of the Washington Calligraphers Guild. In addition to showing a delightful assortment of creative cards, the editors, Ella Jankowiak and Jordenne Ferrington, sought to showcase the work of a representative range of the membership, from hobbyist to professional. "We hope these ideas will inspire others to begin creating their own calligraphic expressions," they wrote. The issue features a 4-page full-color tribute to Muriel Parker, who, for the 15 years prior to her death, designed Christmas cards to be assembled into ornaments for the recipient's tree.

 



The Fall 2005 Scripsit (Vol. 27, No. 3) is devoted to the Graceful Envelope Contest, which was created by the Smithsonian Institution's National Postal Museum in 1995 and now is administered by the Washington Calligraphers Guild. The 24-page issue features full-color reproductions of 65 of the winning envelopes from 2003 through 2005. Each year contestants were encouraged to incorporate the given theme in a creative and artistic way, while using hand-executed calligraphy or fine lettering to address the envelope. Inventive relationships between the postage stamp, the envelope design and the lettering were encouraged. Editor Lorraine Swerdloff also wrote a history of envelopes for this issue.
Artists in this issue

 


The Stephen Rapp August 2005 issue (Vol. 27, No. 2), edited by Michael Clark, looks at a wide variety of contemporary professional lettering work, including greeting cards, rubber stamps, commercial design, invitations and logos. The issue features work by Stephen Rapp, Rose Folsom, Ann Alaia Woods, Pat Blair, and Name Brand stamps (Dini Stewart and Linda Abrams). Packed with images, it also provides the artists' insights into their creative process.Name Brand stamps The issue includes a commentary on the future of Speedball by its CEO.

Scripsit cover 27/1


The January 2005 issue (Vol. 27, No. 1) showcases the work and careers of the Washington Calligraphers Guild's four honorary members, Sheila Waters, Charlie Hughes, Ieuan Rees and Hermann Zapf. Editor Mary Lou O'Brian sent each a questionnaire covering numerous aspects of their art, education and experience. The issue prints their intriguing responses with dozens of examples of their lettering.


Ivan Angelic and Andrea HoffmannIn the June 2004 Scripsit (Vol. 26, No. 3), editor Michael Clark urges readers to look for "nuances that provide insight into the letterform" in 24 pages of lettering by French calligrapher Jean Larcher, the Canadian design team of Ivan Angelic and Andrea Hoffmann, Irish letter carver Gareth Colgan, Belgian calligrapher Yves Leterme, and New York lettering artist Bob Boyajian.Yves Leterme

 

 


Jean Larcher

The January 2004 Scripsit (Vol. 26, No. 2), produced by Michael Clark, explores the many ways calligraphers can approach the same text--in this case, the words "Ich Bin" (from Exodus 3:14, meaning "I am"). The issue reproduces 28 calligraphic treatments by renowned lettering artists. (Right: Jean Larcher; below: Richard Lipton.)

Richard Lipton

 

 


Julian Waters coverTitled "Lettering Design: Sketches to Final Art," the 24-page Sept. 2003 issue (Vol. 26, No. 1) by Julian Waters tracks his creative process from commission to completion. Ever wonder how a commercial lettering artist works with clients to create logos, magazine titles, signage, awards and other major commissions? In this issue Julian details his process with instructive text and images, including preliminary and revised sketches he presented to clients and their development into the final art.



Graceful Envelope coverThe December 2002 issue of Scripsit (Vol. 25, No. 3) is devoted to the Graceful Envelope Contest, which was created by the Smithsonian Institution's National Postal Museum in 1995 and now is administered by the Washington Calligraphers Guild. The 24-page issue features full-color reproductions of 60 of the winning envelopes from 1995 through 2002. Each year contestants were encouraged to incorporate the given theme in a creative and artistic way, while using hand-executed calligraphy or fine lettering to address the envelope. Inventive relationships between the postage stamp, the envelope design and the lettering were encouraged. This Scripsit showcases 60 of these stunning envelopes by artists from across the U.S. and abroad, all in full color.
Artists in this issue


Typefaces created from the hands of commercial lettering artists is the subject of two Scripsits titled "Letters: From Written to Digital Forms" that were compiled, edited and designed by Michael Clark (Vol. 23, No. 3 and Vol. 25, No. 2—June 2002). Each page provides an example of a font and the handwritten form that inspired it, with comments by the artist about the challenges of conversion.
Stephen Rapp lettering Stephen Rapp fontFor instance, artist Stephen Rapp explains that his font Tai Chi (right) was based on sketches he did with a skew-edged marker (left). As Michael Clark observed in his introduction to the June 2002 issue, "Creating typefaces born out of our own forms is an interesting way of studying letters in a new light."
Commented artist Robert Slimbach: "Although one may never fully duplicate the subtleties of handwriting in digital type, advances in font technology continue to give designers greater freedom to better replicate the variety of form found in spontaneous writing."


Artwork by Gwen WeaverThe February 2002 Scripsit (Vol. 25, No. 1) examines some of the pieces in the Washington Calligraphers Guild's 25th anniversary exhibition (including the piece at right by Gwen Weaver and below by Mike Gold) through the eyes of two respected art critics. David Tannous and Nancy Ungar bring fresh insight to calligraphic art as they hash out their impressions of what they saw while touring the exhibit.

Artwork by Mike GoldThe Scripsit published in Fall 2001 (Vol. 24, No. 3) also celebrated the Guild's 25th anniversary with coverage of the 25th anniversary exhibition and recollections by members. The issue reproduces eight of the exhibited pieces in color and 28 in black and white, plus 12 of the Graceful Envelopes. As an added bonus, a full-color print of Sheila Waters' "How Do I Love Thee?" is inserted in each issue, suitable for framing.


by John Stevens"A Chronology of the Lettering Arts from 1850 to 2000" was produced by Paul Shaw jointly for the Washington Calligraphers Guild and the Friends of Calligraphy in San Francisco. The double issue (Vol. 24, Nos. 1&2) covers individuals, events, organizations, publications, typefaces, tools and materials, exhibitions, and other information helpful in tracing the transformation of the lettering arts since the late 19th century.

Shaw notes that the chronology "is concerned with all varieties of lettering—with the key exception of type design" and that it "includes not only calligraphers (principally defined as those who work with the broad-edged pen or brush), but also penmen (those who work predominantly with the pointed pen), engrossers, letterers (both those who work with the pointed brush as well as those who draw letters), signwriters, lettercutters, handwriting reformers and a smattering of artists, illustrators and designers for whom handmade or handwritten letters are an integral aspect of their work."

Shaw concluded by expressing the hope "that this chronology, despite its idiosyncrasies as the product of one person's prejudices, will provide the basis for future histories of aspects of the lettering arts." He welcomes additions and corrections at paulshaw@aol.com.


Artwork by Hermineh Miller
Vol. 23, No. 1 presented Eastern ideas that can be beneficial to practicing calligraphers in the West. Being "in the flow" is a place we all want to be. Yoga, meditation and Ki work can help us to be in that place. By being still and listening to those voices that are usually drowned out, by aligning our bodies and our spirits, by working with breath and energy, we can access our inner core, freeing us to express our authentic selves.

Edited by Hermineh Miller, whose art appears at left, the issue explored such concepts as flow and energy, and discusses how to bring the benefits of Yoga, meditation and Aikido to creative expression.



by Arthur Baker

Another Scripsit edited by Michael Clark explored the abstract side of letterforms, with astonishing examples from calligraphers Arthur Baker, Susan Skarsgard, Carl Kurtz, and Silvia Izi working in a variety of media on paper. (Although the example at right by Arthur Baker looks like a three-dimensional sculpture, it is in two dimensions, created with a chisel-edged sponge brush and gouache.)

by Silvia IziIn assembling the issue, Clark sought to dispel the notion of abstract as intentionally obscure. "It is much more demanding to use a single stroke, a letter, a word or a series of words to create a visual that defies being read, but gives meaning and purpose to the paper upon which it rests," he explained.

One thinks of abstract calligraphy as expressive mark-making, but "abstract" can also refer to the ambiguous meaning of the word being lettered, as in the example above by Silvia Izi translated as "Closeness." Izi expresses the "e-motion" of a word in the motion of her brush.



The Calligraphic Tradition in Blackletter Type was the subject of the Summer 1999 Scripsit, written and produced by calligrapher Paul Shaw. In 48 pages packed with calligraphic and typographic examples, Shaw demonstrates how the basic varieties of Blackletter type—Textura, Rotunda, Bastarda and Fraktur—emerged from manuscript models. Zapf Textura

The Textura example at left was hand lettered by Hermann Zapf and printed in his book "Feder und Stichel" (Pen and Graver), which displayed his versions of major historical styles. Scripsit also shows examples of Zapf's "Blackletter" typefaces, such as Gilgengart and Hallmark Textura.



The Spring 1999 issue, "Collaborative Discoveries," explores the creative interaction that occurs when two or more calligraphers work together on a project. Editor Joan Machinchick discusses the book of poetry she produced with Lynne Carnes and Suzanne Heany and an ongoing calendar project she does with five other calligraphers. Marta Legeckis and Jane Coates each shared her perspective on a piece they created together called "Conversations."


Artwork by Stephen RawIn the Winter 1999 issue of Scripsit, calligrapher Michael Clark asked several of America's top lettering artists to address a specific tool or alphabet. "The how's and why's of an individual piece of lettering provide insight into not only the work itself but the artist's process," Clark explains.

Among the topics covered are: John Stevens on the brush; Julian Waters on Italic; Ward Dunham on the chisel-edged pen; Peter Horridge on combining illustration and calligraphy; and Michael Clark himself on the ruling pen.

 

Past issues of Scripsit are available for purchase, such as the Winter 1998 issue titled "The Living Word." (The title at left, which appears on the cover of that issue, was drawn by Stephen Raw for a book cover. He also lettered the "Jazz" title below for the cover of an anthology of jazz.) Artwork by Stephen Raw


Also compiled by Michael Clark, this issue featured the work of Peter Thornton, Werner Schneider, Stephen Raw, Gudrun Zapf von Hesse, and Christopher Haanes.



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