Calligraphy and bookbinding

Good lord, I totally forgot about that one! In true anorak fashion, I studied calligraphy and bookbinding full time at Roehampton Institute in London (apparently the very best place to do so) when I first moved over. Intensely obsessive. A little too obsessive for me personally, in actual fact. But that wasn’t what propelled me onwards – it was the flatness of it. I really tried my best to break out of the page, and to a degree that was successful. But it wasn’t quite enough for me, I want the full spatial experience.

My specialism became freehand calligraphy, sometimes on a big scale, which resembles dance as a record of movement through space with a narrative dimension added. Of course that quickly takes you out of ‘useful’ (as in greeting cards, book covers and other more pedestrian applications). The choice of text becomes very important, adding a dimension (and complications), as it tends to be more literal than dance. I contemplated doing this as bona fide performance art, but that is still pending.

I still have a huge soft spot for the tools of the craft, and the extreme sensitivity one has to use when choosing material (paper, writing tools, inks, colours, etc). And I know how to prepare and cut quills. How’s that for a party trick? (I always was a closet nerd.)


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