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Open Flourish | General Discussion / Re: Ink Academy's IndieGoGo campaign
« Last post by AndyT on Today at 08:36:31 AM »

Perhaps I may reproduce a few quotes from the IndieGoGo page?

Ink Academy exists to save a threatened artform ...

... there is a huge risk in diminishment in maintaining the integrity of thousands of years of the past.

... there currently are no comprehensive calligraphy programs anywhere in the world offering specialization in a wide variety of calligraphy styles.

I do not recognise this description of calligraphy as an endangered activity - on the contrary I cannot recall a time when it was in better health.  Educational opportunities abound, whether with individual teachers or with institutions like the Society of Scribes and Illuminators, CLAS (Tom Kemp was a founder member, let's not forget) or Sheila Waters' alma mater, the Royal College of Art.  Those three examples are all in my little country, and there are many more elsewhere.  Let me say as tactfully as possible that the European tradition of the last couple of millennia is in very safe hands - in Europe.  Surely it doesn't take a great imaginative leap to see how this billing of Ink Academy as the saviour of a moribund artform is going to play with all the other people who have put in so much work?

I am happy to acknowledge Mr Sull's influential work as a proselytiser for American vernacular penmanship, but the implicit suggestion that he is the fount of all wisdom is unsustainable.  Another quote, this time from Barbara Calzolari's Facebook page, and unconnected with the Ink Academy as far as I know:

Ladies and gents, it's my honour and proud to announce you that @michaelrsull is on his way to #London! 😁
        For the first time in the history the highest representative of the purest #Spencerian #penmanship style will be in London to teach a 2 days basic spencerian #workshop.

We're all ignorant barbarians over here, aren't we? - including the two very well known active teachers of Spencerian based in London, not to mention that retired Master up in Yorkshire who is still regarded as the first among equals by many of his IAMPETH peers.  This sort of hyperbole is sowing any amount of bad feeling in the wider calligraphy community, with waspish emails flying from country to country, some of which get cc'ed to me.  It's depressing.

I'm sorry if this comes as news to you, Suzie - and I suspect that it does.  Lord knows there have been flare ups before, but if there has been anything like this I haven't heard about it.  It's a matter of presentation, and could have been avoided with a modicum of tact.

Just signed up! Erica, FYI, the "state" entry is obligatory in the sign-up form, and for those of us in countries without states we have to put in some sort of *NA* in order to submit the entry.
Kind Critique / Samples of what I've done
« Last post by brandonC on Today at 07:28:17 AM »
These are a few pieces I tried out.   Please be brutally honest.   I know the tips aren't squared. 
Open Flourish | General Discussion / Re: Which browser do you use?
« Last post by KrzysiekS on Today at 05:36:11 AM »
Firefox on Linux desktop and Android tablets; Chrome on Android mobile.
Hi Erica,
I definitely don't want to miss this wave. Will soon sign up.

The Catch A Wave Exchange sign ups are now open! Ocean, Sea, River, Lake and all the accessories: mermaids, fish, sailboats, anchors, or pirates – Show us what you love about the water.

You must be a registered, activated member and have made at least one post, introductory or otherwise, in order to participate. Come on - don't be shy - we love new posts! All it takes is one.

You must register at this link: Catch A Link Sign Up Form

Sign Up Deadline: Monday, May 15, 2017
Post Mark Deadline: Saturday, June 3, 2017

As always, the following guidelines apply:

1. Although the cards do not have to be individually handmade, some kind of calligraphy should be used.
2. You will send a card to every member on your list (typically 7-9 members).
3. Must be related to the theme.
4. All skill levels welcome!
5. If you end up not being able to participate, please contact me ASAP. If you don't send your cards after the list has gone out, you will not be able to participate in the next exchange.
6. You must sign up before the deadline. No late sign ups.
7. You may want to take a photograph of your finished envelopes prior to mailing.

Contemporary and Modern Calligraphy / Re: Bounce Scripts- Help!
« Last post by tiffany.c.a on April 29, 2017, 08:06:25 PM »
I took a modern calligraphy class with Kathy Milici (her Modern Storybook class). She teaches that letters can bounce, but that some part of each letter needs to touch the "midline" so that it looks fun but stays grounded. (Imagine: the space between the baseline and waistline is divided by a midline.)
Maybe you can take a class with her one day, if you haven't, or with some other knowledgeable calligrapher.
There is also the book Modern Calligraphy by Molly Suber Thorpe.
Open Flourish | General Discussion / Re: Ink Academy's IndieGoGo campaign
« Last post by suzietwig on April 29, 2017, 06:09:33 PM »
Just to clarify, the primary goal of Ink Academy is to create an online multi-disciplinary school that specializes in calligraphy, penmanship and hand lettering; we are not building this to simply "promote calligraphy."

If I can geek out for a second, I think it's important to look back to the full story of why there were such spectacular penmen back in the day--and to do so within historical context.

The decline of these "amazing penman of the past" lived in a very different culture/era. Calligraphers and Penmen were actually vital to both the professional and legal realms. The amount of time each of these penmen spent writing was enormous. Way more than any of us could do today in modern society. These pros actually competed among themselves to chest thump, creating challenges to show who was best.

--There was an abundance of penmanship education in primary, secondary schools. This boost was a solid foundation for fostering further study on an adult and professional level. Elegant penmanship was a reflection on the person's social status, a source of pride and was ubiquitous within the educated circles.

--Penmen used the books as constant guides, sure, but unless they were in the middle of nowhere--their education was directed by professional mentors and through "business school" education. As you surely know, they were at it all the time, creating both simple and incredible certificates, forms, receipt books, professional stationery, business cards, advertising, packaging. This learning certainly wasn't done alone in a room with a book. There were plenty of instruction in "business schools" and excellence penmanship was required and feircly studied.

--Even going back to the earlier centuries, let's think about it. There was no other vehicle even for laypersons to communicate in writing. People were USING penmanship ALL the time. Writing letters to friends and family far away, writing memoirs/journals, writing out their resumes, recipes, writing out checks, notes of debt, notes of agreement. There was no "practicing" unless you were 7 years old. That was the time to practice. After that, it was just something you did, all the time.

Sorry, one more geek-out moment here that might need clarifying: IndieGogo is a "crowdfunding" site. The purpose is to offer a "perk" in exchange for a contribution. It's not a retail store of sorts, and often the value of the item is the exclusivity or the limited edition aspect COMBINED with the desire to sponsor a project that you would like to support. Just like when you donate to NPR (our US-based listener-sponsored radio station) will carry out a fundraising campaign---they will offer something like "with your $100 donation you will receive a set of 2 cd's with our top 12 episodes." (Not that most people use CDs anymore!)   

Oh, and btw, that $499 Tyrian ink is actually worth a flipping fortune! And we'd ONLY make it for this campaign as it's just not a product that is "mainstream"  :o

And as for the art—the value of it is what the buyer is willing to pay. And wth paintings out there going for millions post-humously, $49,999 could be a great investment for someone! Who knows?!  ;) ;)

And finally (!!!) and exciting part you might like! We totally believe in keeping the past integrated with the present and future. We'll be building a HUGE archive of online access for members. It will contain hundreds of works that Michael Sull has collected over the decades and has had scanned for us. They are amazing examples of penmanship, flourishing and such. And we won't stop there. We'll be acquiring as many historical volumes as we can get our hands on and also scan those for online access and for students to download at will. We're so excited about this feature!! And this is clearly one of the reasons we need funds to move enrichment projects along at a healthy pace. We will literally need a small staff just to handle this archive aspect alone. I wish there were magic wands out there, but it's just one thing at a time at human pace!

Hope this helps, Fennec. I know you knew all of this already, but it's fun just to review these geeky things together, right? It's so much fun to roll your mind back in time and pretend you're a fly on the wall, watching all of this happening. The penmen competitions, people writing late at night in a freezing cold room with a fire ablaze in the fireplace behind their desk--the oil lamp all aglow. Then I snap out of the fantasy and realize we have it pretty freaking good these days :)


With respect to promoting calligraphy, the excellent publications put out in the 19th and early 20th century have no equal today, just as the great skill of the penman then has no equals today in terms of quality of execution of work.

One of the best ways of promoting calligraphy today would be to produce hi-quality reprints of some excellent books and/or materials from that time at different price points.This would allow people to benefit from close and careful study of the finest examples of calligraphy at their leisure, without the problems inherent with videos and internet communications. People in the past were able to achieve the greatest heights of skill by studying and working from books, and there is no reason why this cannot be done today. Books have been around for thousands of years before you-tube and I believe, having worked at a university, that books are better as a learning tool than videos and e-mails &c.

With regard to titles, I believe that works of calligraphy should be able to speak for themselves without needing titles attached to the people who made it. So that said, the title of "Professor of Calligraphy": Is that formally given by the university? Because looking at the website of that univeristy I see that Giovanni De Faccio's title is something that translates as "assistant", and he is not specifically listed as a professor:

With respect to Master Penman , IAMPETH was founded in 1949, but the "Master Penman Society" associated with IAMPETH was created in 2001 by one person, and closed in 2015. The title/society has always attracted controversy as well, since it was created by just one person who decided who could be part of the club, and calling oneself a "Master" is a vast and far-reaching claim to make, especially when there are people of equal or greater skill who do or did not use such a title.

With respect to prices, on the indigogo $449 for "rare handmade ink" is a remarkable price for 25ml of ink, as is $49,999 for "An Original Masterpiece 16x20" by Michael Sull or Barbara Calzolari.
Open Flourish | General Discussion / Re: Ink Academy's IndieGoGo campaign
« Last post by AnasaziWrites on April 29, 2017, 06:03:20 PM »
Well, this thread has certainly generated some interesting comments on tangential issues/questions, some of which have been discussed here (eg. the Master Penman designation), and some that would make worthy threads of their own (eg. What the best way is to teach penmanship/ bring a skill level to the master level, are today's master penmen as skillful as those in the golden age of penmanship in the US, and so on.). I'd be happy to discuss these things and hear the varying opinions, but in the interest of keeping to the topic at hand, I'll limit my opinions and observations in this thread to the Ink Academy program and its efforts to raise money. No offense intended to anyone with differing views.

Motivation. Is Ink Academy just in it for the money, cranking through any and all through the program just to make a buck? In a word, no.
The entire tuition for the first class of master penman (say 25 students) is less the $75000. That is less than the annual mean wage of hundreds of other occupations of a single person, much less the entire faculty and staff.

 I would go so far as to say, if these folks were in it for the money, none would be in this occupation at all. They pursue this objective of creating a school from the heart and at great personal sacrifice. The little treats they give to thank contributors to the Indiegogo fund--where do they come from?--the faculty. Michael Sull is willing to make 100 pens to thank contributions at one level. Those Zanerian printing blocks?--from his personal collection. The other lagniappes?--all from the faculty, from least to most. A personal sacrifice.

Is the program expensive? I would say it's a bargain, recognizing the fact that not everyone might be able to easily set aside this amount at the moment, but many could--it's a matter of priorities. If one is still in school, for example, saving $60/week for a year might not be possible. So save for two years if necessary and if it is important to you. This is a Harvard level faculty. Know what the tuition is at Harvard for a masters program?

Will everyone who joins this program be the new Madarasz or Lupfer upon graduation? No. Each will enter the program with a different level of skill and leave the program with a different level of skill. There will be standards to be met along the way in order to progress, of course, and graduate, but just how far you go is really up to the student--how much effort and time you put in. The faculty has the knowledge to guide your way, but the student has to walk the walk.

Why not just save the money, get an instruction book from an 19th C. master, and teach yourself to the master level? Well, it can be done, as many did in the 19th C. and at least one member currently on the forum has done (whose copperplate rivals the 18th C. masters in Bickham's UP he admires), but it is a lonely road that way for most of us. A teacher can smooth and speed the way for most people.

I hope the people on this forum will support this program. It's such an opportunity, now and in the future.
Oh! Thanks Erica :D

I've seen the English version of Sacker's but not the Italian. It is super close. I was pretty sure the invite in the photo was engraved, but was also pretty certain I'd seen a font adaptation of it (which seemed more likely to be findable with a full alphabet).

Lucia was as far as my client got with their printer before they gave up and found me :)

I'll probably share a full version of the script I've worked out based on the original sample once I'm done with the project. I think it's really lovely.

@Erica McPhee
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