. . . the journal
of the Washington Calligraphers Guild
WCG members receive the latest issue as a benefit of membership and
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(If the issue is not listed on the ordering page, it is no longer available)
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.
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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,
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,
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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The 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:
Edited 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
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:
All 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:
Titled 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:
A 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:
The 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 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. The issue includes a commentary on the future of Speedball by its CEO.
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.
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.
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
"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.
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
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. 2June 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.
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."
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.
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.
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 letteringwith 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
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 email@example.com.
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.
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.)
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
typeTextura, Rotunda, Bastarda and Frakturemerged from
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
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."
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.)
Also compiled by Michael Clark, this issue featured the
work of Peter Thornton, Werner Schneider, Stephen Raw, Gudrun Zapf
von Hesse, and Christopher Haanes.
~ Washington Calligraphers Guild
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~ Links to related websites ~
Zapf fund to further calligraphy education ~