Monday, July 17, 2023


 The library where we often exhibit our work is so popular that it takes two or three years to book the space! We had a month just at the start of the Covid epidemic and now our next booking had finally arrived.  This is just a sample of what we put up on the wall. As you can see, not the easiest wall to hang on. You have to stand on two steps each time you hang a piece of work! With all the sky lights, there is a lot of glare. There might have to be two blog posts here as it takes a bit of work to attempt to lessen the glare on each piece.

More to come! 

June 2023 Making PASTE PAPER

 May was a beautiful month, as was the start of June, but in a stroke of a bit of bad luck, our Saturday meeting day dawned with drizzle, sometimes rain. To a group making paste paper, nothing great was going to come from that!!  We were working outside, under cover but the atmosphere was still humid and not very warm.

We had scrambled to find the Elmer's Art Paste - seems it is a discontinued product now. Such a shame as it works so well for paste paper. Cyndi was the most successful in finding the paste, even found some 400 miles away when she was visiting her parents. 

Remembering exactly how we made paste in my class at Rendez-vous 2019 International Calligraphy Conference with Pamela Paulsrud, I was very careful mixing a gallon of paste the day before the class. It immediately went into clumps of paste and refused to relax into the smooth paste we were able to mix without too much effort in the classroom!! Yuck! now what should I do?! I let the bucketful of paste sit overnight but sadly, there was no change in the morning! Luckily we had more than one package so I mixed a second gallon. A very similar gloopy mess happened! Using a whisk, I attempted to stir vigourously and break up the globules of paste that resembled bubble tea. I worked to a degree but it still wasn't the lovely, clear paste I was going for. I felt it was borderline useable and we had lots of members showing up in a couple of hours!  At least we had good paper, having purchased the last 20+ sheets of Text Wove from the local art supply shop.

Was our paste too thin to take the pigment? Were we using pigment that wasn't strong enough? At least the acrylic ink gave us a strong colour. We also mixed in some Daniel Smith metallic powders. It wasn't all a perfect match but the other problem we ran into was that weather with a lot of humidity hinders drying and we really wanted to do both sides! Even with drying racks, we were still transporting wet papers home. 

We did have paste left over so I decided to try again. Amazingly, the paste seems to take several hours to relax - maybe even 3 or 4 days or more because when I went back in to the air tight bucket, the paste looked like it should! Using the Liquitex acrylic ink as it was easier, I tried again a week or so later. It worked well! Note to self, the instructions of the packaging should include that you can't actually use the paste in 15 or 20 minutes like it says in the instructions. Try mixing a week before you need it! Is this because the products we are finding to purchase now are old stock because it has been discontinued? That doesn't really make sense because as far as I know, this is just methyl cellulose which used to be wall paper paste before they were prepasted. 

Our assignment was to make an artist book using our decorated papers. I have enough to choose from and must get busy! If I want to add words, maybe some sacred geometry, etc. I need to get going!

I think everyone had a good day and it was our first in person meeting for a very long time!

Thank you to Sherry for all the photos she took during our day!

Friday, June 30, 2023

MAY 2023 Writing your own words for lettering

We looked at different formulas for coming up with your own words to use in our calligraphic art. 

Ask yourself questions, your answers will truly be your words. Examples of questions to ask yourself: 

a. what do you see when you look outside your studio window? describe. 
b. thinking aout a walk in a forest, how did you feel? did you change the longer you spent time with the trees? 
c. what is your favourite flower? describe it in detail.
d. where have you travelled to that you would return to in a heartbeat? why is it special to you? 

Not the entire answer to any of these questions will appeal to you but there will be phrases that will want to letter. 

Another way to come up with some words is to just sit and start writing whatever comes into your head. Read through what you have written. Very often, you will have written short phrases that speak to you. 

A third way we explored was to be conscious of having all parts of speech in your sentences. Make sure to have nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs, etc.

A phrase that came to mind after a walk in a local forested park:
'A day spent amongst trees connects you to the earth. We need more connections to this planet.' 

Some short quotes that came from trying the second exercise: 
'Early morning light through the space in the curtain.' 
'Sunshine is hiding herself for the right moment.'

Thursday, June 29, 2023

April 2023 An introduction to SACRED GEOMETRY

After the Rendez-vous 2019 International Conference in Sherbrooke, QC, and the week long class with Pamela Paulsrud's class, Bev has been studying Sacred Geometry. It is a very relaxing topic and quite consuming! The more you use the compass, the more you want to do.

February 2023

We concentrated on the cards participants received in the Valentine's Exchange and shared our work from Suzie's workshop in January.

January 2023 - The Magic of the Parallel Pen - Beyond Letters with Suzie Beringer

For anyone who has taken a workshop with Suzie or has followed her on Instagram, you know that whatever she works on, is pure magic! Her journals are amazing and her work using parallel pens is fantastic. The examples in this post are Suzie Beringer's.
We learned some of her secrets in our two day ZOOM workshop. Suzie likes to work longer than the two hours per day we have become used to on ZOOM. We wondered how we would survive but the weekend flew by in what seemed like minutes.
We used the 6.0 mm nib primarily with gray inks and watercolour. The hunt was on for the perfect gray ink! I think one of my favourites ended up being APRIL SHOWERS from Ferris Wheel Press.

Saturday, June 24, 2023

Catching up - 2022 - 2021

The Covid 19 Pandemic has a lot to answer for! 

Not the least of which was not allowing groups to meet in person. We had ZOOM which gave us a great advantage but it wasn’t the same. We tried to keep busy with monthly meetings a few workshops, all online. 

This post will show the Guild activity from the latest to what we were doing in late 2021. 

Still not having in-person meetings, in DECEMBER 2022, we received a wonderful Holiday Gift from the Guild. A mini workshop with ANN PURDY from Calgary Some of us were lucky enough to meet Ann at the Rendez-vous conference in 2019 in Sherbrooke, Quebec. She is delightful! Working with pencil, Ann led us through techniques that are sure to stay with all those who attended the ZOOM presentation. Here are some samples of Ann Purdy's work from our workshop.
SEPTEMBER 2022 We finally did the big reveal of the pieces created during the last 6 months in the manuscript challenge. Shirley's page was a wonderful example of what one can do when given some of the techniques required. Well done Shirley!
In JUNE 2022, Sherry agreed to give us her presentation about BEAM PAINT. See for more information. We were told to listen carefully as there would be a test at the end. We had some questions and the winners were given a PAINTSTONE from Beam.
MAY 2022, we had a slide presentation “All Manuscripts were not Created Equal”. It was a look at a couple of the manuscripts that Bev has been fortunate enough to be able to look at, handle and photograph over the years of her travelling to the UK.
In APRIL 2022, we looked at LOMBARDIC VERSALS and their use in Medieval Manuscripts.
MARCH is often cancelled as it coincides with the Yellow Point Retreat with the Fairbank Calligraphy Society in Victoria that several of our members attend. It is a wonderful time to relax, walk in nature, enjoy the company of many friends, eat too much and get away for a few days. Who wouldn't like to spend time by the Salish Sea?
FEBRUARY 2022 we had a discussion of what pages those who are participating had decided to work on. A demo of GOTHIC TEXTURA was also part of the meeting, considering so many manuscripts were written in Textura.
December was really the start of our MEDIEVAL MANUSCIPT PROJECT but JANUARY 2022 was back to the basics of how it was all done. The demo on the CLASSICAL PAGE LAYOUT was a suggestion of how to set up a page on a piece of paper when working through this project. Janice's finished page also shows the page layout.
Not having access to our regular meeting location, what better treat for a DECEMBER 2021 meeting than a Holiday Gift from the Guild! Suzie Beringer demonstrated flat gilding for us.
In NOVEMBER 2021, we made paper stars for decoration for the upcoming holiday season. If only this person had a bone folder! 

In OCTOBER 2021, we were treated to a great workshop with BENOIT FURET in France. His signature FILIGREES was the topic chosen. Here are some samples of Benoit's gorgeous work. We were lucky to have met him at the conference in Sherbrooke and very privileged to have him teach for us.
At the beginning of Covid, we started with ‘challenges’ sent out to entice members to continue with their lettering and show us what they had been doing. Then we started sending out the challenges prior to a meeting and encourage a show and tell of what participants had come up with. One of the Challenges was to come up with Peter Thornton like letters when given a sample of his lettering.

IYKYK – Peter’s lettering is very distinctive and not easy to reproduce! This learned lettering scholar is amazing and I am very glad we have been able to have him teach for us several times over the years. These are Peter's letters that we shared with our members as a challenge. 

We are very lucky to have Cyndi on our executive. She came up with an idea for a card or postcard exchange that has kept many of us creating and then guessing who created the treasures we have all been receiving. Some of the topics we have signed up for are: Valentines Bling Bling – use as much bling as the card could hold! You have no idea! May Flowers Butterfly Double Double Toil and Trouble – we cast a spell on our recipient with our lettering! (not really!) St. Patrick’s Day Easter Letter Challenge – we used the recipient’s initials Recycled – using old practice pages, technique, papers. 

It has been a fun, ongoing exercise and keeping the sender secret has given us lots of discussion at our meetings when we show what we have received and then we all try to guess who did the work. 

With guilds around the world having trouble keeping interest up and some folding, how does your guild manage to keep going? Are you too experiencing apathy amongst your members? We are a small guild and manage to attract maybe 1/3 of our members at any given meeting. It is disheartening for those of us who keep trying to come up with something different to do together. It is not easy in a world where everyone desires instant gratification when you come from a lettering background where letter forms were the top concern and all the arty details were second. Very few seem to be interested in the history of lettering, the old ‘hands’ such as Italic (15th century) don’t really attract many learners. Will that pendulum swing back again or will it be too late?