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General Categories => Contemporary and Modern Calligraphy => Topic started by: FrenchBlue Joy on January 14, 2014, 04:06:51 PM

Title: Modern Calligraphy, Skill, and the Test of Time
Post by: FrenchBlue Joy on January 14, 2014, 04:06:51 PM
[Moderator note: This is a continuation of a conversation started under the Martha Stewart modern exemplar topic. It has been moved here for further discussion.]

(Joy's Note:  Hi guys, before you read my comments here I would just like you to understand the context in which I made these comments. We had been talking about a DIY article in Martha Stewart Weddings which said that calligraphy is easy to do and made up of very simple strokes, not difficult, etc etc. So that's what I'm talking about when I go on to say, here, that I think Martha Stewart is tapping into a major trend at the moment.  Thanks)


I wonder though, if MS isn't picking up on a something that truly is rattling around in the zeitgeist right now...  It's kind of hard to define, but there definitely surge of do-it-yourself, kind of (for lack of a better word) amateurish aesthetic that really is popular at the moment. 

A lot of calligraphy enthusiasts are not bothering to study the letterforms, not bothering to master the difficult strokes that it (usually) takes years to learn.  For example, to be able to correctly execute the universal line of beauty, which Paul Antonio discusses in this video:

http://vimeo.com/28862864  (http://vimeo.com/28862864)

It's actually really hard to master these strokes!  It takes time and practice and dedication. 

I'm sometimes confused as to how I feel about "modern calligraphy".  I love whimsy and I love originality, but I really believe the best contemporary calligraphy comes from those who have spent some time with the classics. 

Right now there's a lot of encouragement out there to skip all that, and a lot of people are running with that advice.  Perhaps Martha Stewart is just following suit. 


Title: Re: Modern Calligraphy, Skill, and the Test of Time
Post by: Linda Y. on January 14, 2014, 05:28:42 PM
Joy,

Thank you, for sharing what I've been thinking about but have been having a hard time forming into words!

I cannot agree with you more. I think it's fantastic there is so much interest in modern calligraphy - and you're absolutely right that it definitely has something to do with the DIY movement/resurgence. I often wonder though, if there's a line in the sand that you cross when a mere "hobby" turns into something more serious. Is that when a DIY calligraphy enthusiast joins their local guild, starts studying exemplars of past masters and learns from the "living treasures" that have been practicing calligraphy for 30+ years?

I have been studying with a wonderful teacher for 2+ years now, and even though friends/family/etc tell me how great my calligraphy looks (and I am ever so thankful for their encouragement), I am observant enough to know I still have a longggg way to go. I don't just want to be "good enough" to get by, I want to be a good calligrapher! In the past two years, modern calligraphy has gone leaps and bounds in terms of popularity and exposure - and my teacher has actually said she has decided not going to offer copperplate classes in the near future because "there is so much bad pointed pen calligraphy online." She often gets inquiries from people who want to "master" pointed pen in one class!

This is such an interesting topic. Would love to hear more thoughts on it.


Title: Re: Modern Calligraphy, Skill, and the Test of Time
Post by: Erica McPhee on January 14, 2014, 05:41:17 PM
This is a very good topic which definitely warrants further exploration. I'm tempted to move it to a new topic though as it is "off topic" from this one. I did want to comment though the Martha Stewart comment was from 2001! And she has done nothing but feature more and more calligraphy ever since!  ;D

There is a subtle but fine line (or a world of difference depending upon your perspective) between "modern calligraphy" and contemporary calligraphy. I've touched on that topic in a few places. Linda, I think though, it is backwards to not offer copperplate classes because of the mass modern calligraphy flying around. Wouldn't it make more sense to offer a firm foundation of classic copperplate classes to ground it? JMHO (obviously given the forum lessons!)  ;)
Title: Re: Modern Calligraphy, Skill, and the Test of Time
Post by: Linda Y. on January 14, 2014, 05:58:42 PM
Linda, I think though, it is backwards to not offer copperplate classes because of the mass modern calligraphy flying around. Wouldn't it make more sense to offer a firm foundation of classic copperplate classes to ground it? JMHO (obviously given the forum lessons!)  ;)


Exactly! I told my teacher it's even more important to offer "foundational" and classic copperplate classes right now, given its popularity. But she is more of an artist and would rather teach something she loves that's more obscure rathern than teaching something that's popular at the moment... :)
Title: Re: Modern Calligraphy, Skill, and the Test of Time
Post by: FrenchBlue Joy on January 15, 2014, 08:22:24 AM
Yes, I guess what I mean is that people who have spent time studying the classic letterforms and trying to perfect the strokes, are kind of like martial artists who have trained their bodies to efficiently and expertly accomplish a movement--  I think calligraphers have to train their bodies, too.  Even if you want to invent an entirely new alphabet, or do something completely different, whether you're writing straight up and down or at a slant, whether you're writing with a brush or a pen or stick in the sand...  The muscle memory that gets developed when a calligrapher has studied the difficult forms to the point of mastering them will always show later, even when the alphabet is totally contemporary.  Their flourishes will look more effortless, their hairlines won't be shaky... 

I'm reading a book right now about a French artist named Fabienne Verdier, who spent 10 years in China being initiated to the art of calligraphy.  Her teacher had her spend ONE YEAR drawing a simple line, until she could master it and imbue it with all the grace and perfection possible.  It wasn't until she trained for a few years, and *embodied* that training, that she began to paint her characters in a more abstract way.  The book speaks at length about the importance of studying the masters and trying to learn from them. 

Oooh okay, I should listen to that advice and do some studying!  :)  What's the rule?  10,000 hours?  We'll get there, Linda!   ;D ;D
Title: Re: Modern Calligraphy, Skill, and the Test of Time
Post by: Lori M on January 15, 2014, 02:02:05 PM
As a beginner with a former broad pen background, I admit I've been tempted to just jump in and start doing my "own" style of pointed pen calligraphy. But I hold myself back because of the old design rule:  know what the rules are before you break them, and have a good reason for doing so. I agree wholeheartedly with you Erica -- the classic forms are the place to start. And a person who has a solid foundation in the classic letter forms is going to create contemporary calligraphy that is significantly different (and most likely of better quality) from someone who doesn't.

The good thing about the DIY surge is that it is bringing more attention to calligraphy. These days, with cursive being dropped from schools, I'm grateful for anything that brings attention to script period!
Title: Re: Modern Calligraphy, Skill, and the Test of Time
Post by: Erica McPhee on January 15, 2014, 05:14:50 PM
Yes, Joy and Lori, those are good points. To me, there are really two distinct styles. Of course, now the two have become synonyms but there is a distinction in my mind.

The first is "contemporary" calligraphy which is using traditional calligraphy skills in a more contemporary, freer style which breaks some of the rules but still maintains good letterform. Contemporary greeting cards are (usually) a good example.

"Modern" calligraphy can be a variation of that but more or less uses calligraphy tools to produce a script that is either a form of the person's own handwriting or their own, untrained version or interpretation of calligraphy.

Both versions can be beautiful. Some of my favorite lettering styles are completely individual styles made up by artists with no formal training in calligraphy. I do not discourage either because to me it would be like discouraging someone who wants to be an illustrator from teaching themselves to draw or a photographer not to take as many photographs as they can in the hope to develop their own style. Eventually, if they are serious about learning those art forms, they will seek some method of formal training. But they may also discover they have this very cool style which is completely unique and beautiful and like nothing anyone has ever done!

What I don't want to see happen is what happened in the professional photography business. So many people jumped on board before they were ready to be a "professional" (whatever that means). What happened in the process was the value of "professional photography" was greatly hindered. The market is broad and many people can't see the difference in quality. It is true this creates many markets which is great. But when the market eventually becomes saturated, or hinders the perception of quality work, it hurts everyone. I have seen some very talented photographers lose their business in the past two or three years because of this.

Right now calligraphy is experiencing a huge explosion in terms of interest. Which I LOVE! So I want to encourage anyone and everyone who wants to learn it. But I also want to encourage good letterforms, good design, and not muddy the integrity of classical/traditional calligraphy in the process. And even if they don't want to pursue traditional calligraphy, learning good letterforms will always improve a modern style. It strengthens your skills, your control, and your confidence which in turn strengthens the quality of your lines.

As anyone who has tried it can attest, it takes years to reach a certain level of skill. I refrain from using the word master as very few people will ever master calligraphy. I consider myself somewhere in the middle-to-upper skill level and that is after 30+years of practice. So while I call myself a professional calligrapher and someone else who just started learning calligraphy last year calls themselves a professional calligrapher, we both offer very different products and have different customers.

Many people feel this popularity of calligraphy is a passing trend that will eventually fade away. Only time will give us that answer. I hope it isn't. But if it is, my biggest fear is that it brings the appreciation for fine hand lettering with it.
Title: Re: Modern Calligraphy, Skill, and the Test of Time
Post by: FrenchBlue Joy on January 16, 2014, 01:35:56 AM
Yes, master is too strong word to use.  Except maybe when we're talking about actual Master Penman! :)

You articulated it really well, Erica.  Like you, I just hope the super mega trend of "new" hand lettering and its particular DIY aesthetic doesn't suddenly go out as quickly as it came in, and take all interest for hand lettering away with it.  I mean, I hope it's not just a fad.  Destined to go the way of avian art and antlers. :)
Title: Re: Modern Calligraphy, Skill, and the Test of Time
Post by: Lori M on January 16, 2014, 02:36:33 AM
Quote
Destined to go the way of avian art and antlers.

Or (soon, I'm guessing), chevrons, hexagons, and foxes. (All of which I like.)

 I hate to be a pessimist, but I expect that calligraphy will not remain at the height of popularity that it currently is. It seems like trends come and go more and more quickly. But to me, calligraphy is like a classic fashion style -- it may rise and fall in popularity, but it is never really "out" of style.
Title: Re: Modern Calligraphy, Skill, and the Test of Time
Post by: kshort on January 16, 2014, 08:54:08 AM
I'm reading a book right now about a French artist named Fabienne Verdier, who spent 10 years in China being initiated to the art of calligraphy.  Her teacher had her spend ONE YEAR drawing a simple line, until she could master it and imbue it with all the grace and perfection possible.  It wasn't until she trained for a few years, and *embodied* that training, that she began to paint her characters in a more abstract way.  The book speaks at length about the importance of studying the masters and trying to learn from them.

FrenchBlue - the book you're describing sounds really interesting... could you please post the title/name of author? I'd love to read it if I can get my hands on it.
-Karen
Title: Re: Modern Calligraphy, Skill, and the Test of Time
Post by: FrenchBlue Joy on January 16, 2014, 09:14:44 AM
I wish there were a "like" feature for individual posts!  I like foxes too, Lori-- and I totally agree.  ;)
Title: Re: Modern Calligraphy, Skill, and the Test of Time
Post by: FrenchBlue Joy on January 16, 2014, 09:24:48 AM
Hi Karen (Kshort)!

Yes, the book is really interesting!  Do you read French?  It's called "Passagère du Silence" by Fabienne Verdier.  I wonder if it's been translated into English.  *off to amazon.com*

Oh, it seems to be available in English translation under the title The Dragon's Brush: The Journey to China in Search of a True Master, but amazon lists it at over $300!   :o
Title: Re: Modern Calligraphy, Skill, and the Test of Time
Post by: Perfectsettings on January 16, 2014, 10:49:47 AM
Erica, I love your analogy about professional photographers!  My daughter is a photographer that is formally trained.  She often loses wedding jobs to "Aunt Betty" that "does it on the side."  It's a source of frustration.  Before the point and clicks was the movie "The Wedding Planner."  Wedding planners were coming out of the woodwork and it was driving all the professional wedding coordinators mad.  Literally!  So I get it.  In more ways than one.  That's why I'm here.  I often get involved in a lot of learning projects because I'm a firm believer of doing your footwork and being thoroughly informed.   As I said before, I'm a forum worshiper.  I love that there are places where the REAL pros can give advice on what to and not to do. 
Title: Re: Modern Calligraphy, Skill, and the Test of Time
Post by: kshort on January 16, 2014, 01:19:48 PM
FrenchBlue,
Yikes! Unfortunately I can't speak or read French very well... I guess I'm going to have to wait until it becomes more readily available... either that or buy a French/English dictionary and translate it myself word by word haha.

Yeesh, that's really incredible - the French translation (Passagere du Silence) is only $46.60 on Barnes and Noble, and even cheaper on sites like Abebooks etc...

Oh well... C'est la vie ;)
-Karen
Title: Re: Modern Calligraphy, Skill, and the Test of Time
Post by: Erica McPhee on January 16, 2014, 02:57:11 PM

Or (soon, I'm guessing), chevrons, hexagons, and foxes. (All of which I like.)

 I hate to be a pessimist, but I expect that calligraphy will not remain at the height of popularity that it currently is. It seems like trends come and go more and more quickly. But to me, calligraphy is like a classic fashion style -- it may rise and fall in popularity, but it is never really "out" of style.

Yes - exactly - or ombre or ... One of the downsides of Pinterest and World Wide Web... anything truly unique that is decent doesn't stand half a chance at staying unique! Of course, I LOVE having instant access to all the goodies so perhaps it will just push us to be more and more creative.

However, what you say is true - it does contribute to fads tremendously. I agree with your sentiment that calligraphy is a classic and will always be valued.
Title: Re: Modern Calligraphy, Skill, and the Test of Time
Post by: Erica McPhee on January 16, 2014, 03:04:20 PM
Erica, I love your analogy about professional photographers!  My daughter is a photographer that is formally trained.  She often loses wedding jobs to "Aunt Betty" that "does it on the side."  It's a source of frustration.  Before the point and clicks was the movie "The Wedding Planner."  Wedding planners were coming out of the woodwork and it was driving all the professional wedding coordinators mad.  Literally!  So I get it.  In more ways than one.  That's why I'm here.  I often get involved in a lot of learning projects because I'm a firm believer of doing your footwork and being thoroughly informed.   As I said before, I'm a forum worshiper.  I love that there are places where the REAL pros can give advice on what to and not to do.

I laughed out loud at the Aunt Betty part! So true! And good point about the wedding planners, too. I'm sure that is how the letterpress printers felt when the L Letterpress Machine first came out, too. (And full letterpress printers has grown tremendously as well!)
Title: Re: Modern Calligraphy, Skill, and the Test of Time
Post by: Briana on January 16, 2014, 04:22:33 PM
It wasn't until she trained for a few years, and *embodied* that training, that she began to paint her characters in a more abstract way

Have you ever seen Picasso's earlier works? I was able to visit his museum in Barcelona, and I highly suggest everyone visit it if they're in the city! The exhibits take you through his life's work starting from his classical training. You can watch his style masterfully evolve from practically perfect realism to a more and more distorted and abstract style. When you look at it all in succession, cubism makes perfect sense. It's impossible to think anyone would dream of beginning as a cubist painter, because Picasso evolved there through years of hard work and study.

Speaking as a total beginner, I feel the same about modern calligraphy. While I'm playing with finding and "perfecting" a style of lettering that's comfortable and beautiful to me, I want to spend just as much time learning, practicing, and "mastering" the traditional styles. I started working through Eleanor Winter's book a few nights ago, and my form has already improved!
Title: Re: Modern Calligraphy, Skill, and the Test of Time
Post by: Lori M on January 17, 2014, 03:31:01 PM
Quote
One of the downsides of Pinterest and World Wide Web... anything truly unique that is decent doesn't stand half a chance at staying unique! Of course, I LOVE having instant access to all the goodies so perhaps it will just push us to be more and more creative.

It's definitely a double-edged sword -- I also love seeing all the cool, inspiring stuff, but I think it makes you get tired of the trends quicker.

Related to trends -- I'm wondering if calligraphy isn't benefiting from the big surge in popularity of all things handmade. There seems to be a backlash against perfect, machine and computer-made things and an new-found appreciation for the character of handmade things. I hope THAT appreciation isn't as much of a trend, and will last. (And that calligraphy will benefit as a consequence!)
Title: Re: Modern Calligraphy, Skill, and the Test of Time
Post by: Erica McPhee on January 17, 2014, 07:26:33 PM
Yes, good thoughts Lori! I think you are right. And perhaps a backlash to the whole texting thing which seems to make us instantly accessibly but somehow remote.

Briana, I absolutely love what you wrote about Picasso's work. Such a perfect example!
Title: Re: Modern Calligraphy, Skill, and the Test of Time
Post by: ekatielee on March 21, 2014, 01:30:43 PM
Quote
Related to trends -- I'm wondering if calligraphy isn't benefiting from the big surge in popularity of all things handmade. There seems to be a backlash against perfect, machine and computer-made things and an new-found appreciation for the character of handmade things. I hope THAT appreciation isn't as much of a trend, and will last. (And that calligraphy will benefit as a consequence!)

I am really enjoying reading established calligraphers' take on the trendiness of calligraphy. As a newbie, I have found myself questioning my motivation and wondering if it's fueled mostly by the trend, or if maybe seeing all the amateur stuff has given me the courage to try it myself. Either way, I definitely agree with these sentiments. Trends rise and fall so quickly access to the internet, and I have watched that play out in my graphic design work (as I look back at logos I designed with antlers and birds ;D ).

Back to Lori's statement about the resurgence of all things handmade -- I hope this is something that is here to stay. In a world where we are constantly being distracted by digital communication, it's refreshing to see something made with bare hands and pure intention. For me, calligraphy embodies that perfectly.
Title: Re: Modern Calligraphy, Skill, and the Test of Time
Post by: Lori M on March 21, 2014, 03:30:15 PM
Quote
In a world where we are constantly being distracted by digital communication, it's refreshing to see something made with bare hands and pure intention. For me, calligraphy embodies that perfectly.

I agree completely! And I think whatever your motivation for trying calligraphy, it can only result in something good. :)  I think it enriches even those who don't stick with it -- either they appreciate the art of calligraphy more, or the skill required, or letter forms in general.

I have to admit that I'm back to calligraphy myself after [we won't say how many] years, partly because of all the examples popping up on the internet. So my own motivation for picking it back up is partly due to the current trendiness.  :o
Title: Re: Modern Calligraphy, Skill, and the Test of Time
Post by: Erica McPhee on March 21, 2014, 03:49:42 PM
I so love reading all these thoughts regarding calligraphy! I wonder, too, if it isn't more about access than anything else. The internet has made even the knowledge about calligraphy accessible to anyone, anywhere with internet access. I spent most of adult life just explaining what calligraphy is - most people had no exposure to it.

So now, people can see it much more readily and understand its beauty and enjoy it and be drawn to it like those who have been lucky enough to come across it in their past. It wasn't like photography, where everyone has a camera and has been exposed to it since childhood (did you see what I did there?  ;))

I must admit, one of the things I had mixed feelings about - I loved the uniqueness of calligraphy. When I said I was a calligrapher, most people didn't say, "me, too" - they said, "What is that?" There was something a tiny bit satisfying in being one of only a few people - anywhere - that did it. However, that was largely overshadowed by not having others to share it with. I must say - it is so much better to share this love with others who love it, too!  :)
Title: Re: Modern Calligraphy, Skill, and the Test of Time
Post by: Lori M on March 21, 2014, 04:24:22 PM
Quote
When I said I was a calligrapher, most people didn't say, "me, too" - they said, "What is that?" There was something a tiny bit satisfying in being one of only a few people - anywhere - that did it. However, that was largely overshadowed by not having others to share it with.

I think not having anyone else appreciate it was one of the things that made me, as a hobbyist, drop it years ago. (Especially only knowing broad pen at the time, which seemed even more old school.) I remember when the groom of a bride I had done some bridal shower invitations for blithely said, "I guess there isn't much use for this anymore now with computers." I stupidly let his uninformed perception discourage me. Now that I'm older and wiser, I wouldn't let that happen -- I will do it just because I love it, even if no one else does. But it sure is wonderful sharing and being encouraged by others who "get it"!
Title: Re: Modern Calligraphy, Skill, and the Test of Time
Post by: Linda Y. on March 21, 2014, 07:18:25 PM
Now that I'm older and wiser, I wouldn't let that happen -- I will do it just because I love it, even if no one else does. But it sure is wonderful sharing and being encouraged by others who "get it"!

Wonderfully said, Lori! Sorry you had to hear the negative comment  :-\
Title: Re: Modern Calligraphy, Skill, and the Test of Time
Post by: Lori M on March 21, 2014, 07:58:42 PM
Thanks, Linda! I don't mean to sound like I'm whining -- it was just as much my fault for getting easily discouraged.  :P

Just noticed the tagline under your avatar -- LOVE IT!  ;D
Title: Re: Modern Calligraphy, Skill, and the Test of Time
Post by: FrenchBlue Joy on March 22, 2014, 05:24:23 AM
Oh my gosh!  Thanks for pointing out Linda's tagline-- I ADORE it.  And I 100% agree!

Glad you picked up your pens again, Lori.  I hear the same kind of thing all the time at the post office, of all places.  They're always amazed when I tell them I'm doing this pretty much full time, and that there's a market!  It always makes me laugh.  The post office workers hold the envelopes, look at them really closely, turn them over in their hands, and say things like "Mais, c'est joli, ça !"  and "Ohh là, ce n'est pas imprimé !"  (Oh hey, that's pretty acutally!  Hey!  It's not printed!")  To which I answer, "C'est de la calligraphie !" The last guy followed up with, "Dis-donc, ce n'est pas mort, la poésie !" (What do you know?  Poetry isn't dead.) 

I always laugh out loud!
Title: Re: Modern Calligraphy, Skill, and the Test of Time
Post by: Linda Y. on March 22, 2014, 01:37:43 PM
I hear the same kind of thing all the time at the post office, of all places.  They're always amazed when I tell them I'm doing this pretty much full time, and that there's a market!  It always makes me laugh.  The post office workers hold the envelopes, look at them really closely, turn them over in their hands, and say things like "Mais, c'est joli, ça !"  and "Ohh là, ce n'est pas imprimé !"  (Oh hey, that's pretty acutally!  Hey!  It's not printed!")  To which I answer, "C'est de la calligraphie !" The last guy followed up with, "Dis-donc, ce n'est pas mort, la poésie !" (What do you know?  Poetry isn't dead.) 

I always laugh out loud!

I love that!! It always makes me smile to watch people come to the realization "HEY this is not printed!!"
Title: Re: Modern Calligraphy, Skill, and the Test of Time
Post by: Lori M on March 22, 2014, 04:09:17 PM
Quote
The last guy followed up with, "Dis-donc, ce n'est pas mort, la poésie !" (What do you know?  Poetry isn't dead.) 

Oh my - that response is one of the best things I've heard in along time! Maybe I'm stereotyping, but it's so French! (I can't imagine anyone in my post office saying that!) And it's so true. That's going to be my new definition of calligraphy: visual poetry!
Title: Re: Modern Calligraphy, Skill, and the Test of Time
Post by: Sarah Foutz on January 07, 2015, 04:40:31 PM
I know this is a super old topic to be reviving from the dust, but I really enjoyed reading everyone's take on the impact modern calligraphy has/will have on the art form!! I must admit--after I missed the boat taking calligraphy in college, I never thought I'd have the chance to revisit the dream of learning it. Now that I'm at a place in my life where I have a {little} bit more free time, I feel super fortunate that the information I go searching for is readily accessible at the click of a mouse--it wouldn't have been so easy 15 years ago. Even though I cringe when I say I found things on Pinterest (because it makes me feel like I don't have any creativity and I'm piggy-backing off of everyone else's ideas!), that's really where my interest piqued again and I saw the possibilities calligraphy had to offer. I did think it would be easier to master than it has been! And I agree whole-heartedly that the "modern" flair is easier if you know traditional copperplate techniques. I didn't think I'd like copperplate as much as I have because it's so "stiff" and regimented, but it has been so rewarding seeing progress little by little.

I personally don't see calligraphy ever going out of style--it is a classic art form that has been around forever and will continue to evolve. :)

Erica, your comparison to photography was really interesting. I saw the same thing happen in the homebuilding business, which IMHO is also an artistic business. In 2007 when the building surge took place, everyone and their dog in Idaho thought they had what it took to build a home, which forced a lot of the established homebuilders out of the market, including my husband. He was fortunate enough to have a background in construction and easily transition to commercial, but we took a beating before that, including bankruptcy. His prediction was that all of the "amateurs" would go back to regular jobs when the market leveled out and in a few years there would be a need for trusted builders. His prediction was accurate and he's back in residential again, which he loves. What I'm saying is, once the "trend" of anything has passed, there will always be a need for highly skilled artists, in any field, and people will always value quality after the "quantity" levels out.
Title: Re: Modern Calligraphy, Skill, and the Test of Time
Post by: ExtrasbyAlaina on January 11, 2015, 04:23:05 PM
I too am joining this conversation super-duper late - but I have to chime in because I find the topic so interesting and loved reading everyone's thoughtful responses! This reminds me so much of being in art school and witnessing a sort of tension (for lack of a better word) between some of the established faculty of artists (who had studied the old masters and understood the historical significance and methodology of those who came before) with some of the undergrads (new artists interested in finding their voice and deconstructing established norms). In that context and in calligraphy, I think the bottom line is that there is value to both approaches. On the one hand, learning the traditional practice can allow one to honor the historical significance of what's come before and teach one to break the rules smarter, with intention. On the other hand, starting a creative adventure without the weight of history can allow one to create new possibility, move the conversation into unknown territory. I think this spectrum is what defines the current "moment" we are experiencing in calligraphy, and I think it's amazing! The existence of modern/contemporary calligraphy reinforces the value of traditional styles and now there are simply more letters to love and learn. What could be better!
Title: Re: Modern Calligraphy, Skill, and the Test of Time
Post by: Erica McPhee on January 12, 2015, 10:22:13 AM
Very interesting Sarah! We saw that happen here in Florida. And as with both businesses, many people can tell the difference between someone with experience and quality skills, while, unfortunately some can not. I believe that old adage is true - you get what you pay for - which certainly applies to both. Quality work usually prevails except in photography, we saw a whole lot of crap work wash out the market.

Sadly, in both photography and calligraphy, the potential is there to devalue the skill (I think) permanently. We already see this happening. Add the increase in skill in quality "hand-lettered" fonts and you have a definite impact on the calligraphers' market. The highly skilled and well-known will always have a small niche market but it's the regular, every day artists that will be impacted the most. IMHO.
Title: Re: Modern Calligraphy, Skill, and the Test of Time
Post by: Erica McPhee on January 12, 2015, 10:31:30 AM
...This reminds me so much of being in art school and witnessing a sort of tension (for lack of a better word) between some of the established faculty of artists (who had studied the old masters and understood the historical significance and methodology of those who came before) with some of the undergrads (new artists interested in finding their voice and deconstructing established norms). In that context and in calligraphy, I think the bottom line is that there is value to both approaches. On the one hand, learning the traditional practice can allow one to honor the historical significance of what's come before and teach one to break the rules smarter, with intention. On the other hand, starting a creative adventure without the weight of history can allow one to create new possibility, move the conversation into unknown territory. I think this spectrum is what defines the current "moment" we are experiencing in calligraphy, and I think it's amazing! The existence of modern/contemporary calligraphy reinforces the value of traditional styles and now there are simply more letters to love and learn. What could be better!

YES! So true! Back about eight years or so you could visibly see this tension in the back-and-forth arguments some calligraphers had online! There was also more tension back then between broad edge and pointed pen as pointed pen seemed to stage a renaissance, if you will, of the calligraphic arts.

As I said before, I agree there is value in both. Let's be honest, the modern calligraphy movement has breathed fresh life into calligraphy as a whole. And there are some amazing artists who are a year in who have a totally unique, awesome style that just didn't exist before them! How is that for revolutionary?! And I believe calligraphy as a whole is better off for these styles/artists as look at what it has done for the art genre itself.

We will always have traditionalists (thank goodness) which keep us grounded in the foundation of good technique. And we will have those innovators who teach us how to have fresh eyes and appreciate new and different. My only hope is the "fad" of calligraphy doesn't become the next chevron.
Title: Re: Modern Calligraphy, Skill, and the Test of Time
Post by: Linda Y. on January 12, 2015, 12:41:47 PM
Just adding some extra 2c - the comparison between calligraphy and fine art is a tricky one. In art, it's very open to interpretation - what one person calls beautiful art may be just a bunch of paint splotches to another. But when most of us do calligraphy, 90% of it is functional. We artfully draw/write text to communicate. If the addresses on invitation envelopes are not legible, they're not going to get delivered to our clients' guests. And that's my beef with many modern calligraphers who don't know the rules and thus making their letterforms "arty" but illegible. I have absolutely nothing against modern calligraphy - those of you who do modern calligraphy WELL know how much I love your work!

This doesn't apply to the masters who do "calligraphy as art," of course.

once the "trend" of anything has passed, there will always be a need for highly skilled artists, in any field, and people will always value quality after the "quantity" levels out.

Really well said, Sarah, and I hope this holds true!
Title: Re: Modern Calligraphy, Skill, and the Test of Time
Post by: elsa.d on January 12, 2015, 01:50:31 PM
My only hope is the "fad" of calligraphy doesn't become the next chevron.

Oh man, I laughed at this comment! Seriously though I don't think we have anything to worry about in terms of calligraphy going the way of chevrons and antlers. I see calligraphy as something timeless like lace. So whereas head to toe tiered lace gowns may burst into style then flameout, the tasteful use of lace is always in style even when it's not "trendy". So my prediction is that the current trend of hand lettering and calligraphy will run it's course, but won't flameout. Mass interest will likely eventually die down but I don't expect this trend to leave any disdain for calligraphy in its wake.
Title: Re: Modern Calligraphy, Skill, and the Test of Time
Post by: Blotbot on January 12, 2015, 02:17:21 PM
My only hope is the "fad" of calligraphy doesn't become the next chevron.

Oh man, I laughed at this comment! Seriously though I don't think we have anything to worry about in terms of calligraphy going the way of chevrons and antlers. I see calligraphy as something timeless like lace. So whereas head to toe tiered lace gowns may burst into style then flameout, the tasteful use of lace is always in style even when it's not "trendy". So my prediction is that the current trend of hand lettering and calligraphy will run it's course, but won't flameout. Mass interest will likely eventually die down but I don't expect this trend to leave any disdain for calligraphy in its wake.

Yes! That Spencerian fad with all those fussy swirls died out a long time ago but calligraphy is still going strong! :)
Title: Re: Modern Calligraphy, Skill, and the Test of Time
Post by: idrawletters on January 12, 2015, 04:53:10 PM
...But when most of us do calligraphy, 90% of it is functional. We artfully draw/write text to communicate. If the addresses on invitation envelopes are not legible, they're not going to get delivered to our clients' guests. And that's my beef with many modern calligraphers who don't know the rules and thus making their letterforms "arty" but illegible.

Oh Linda you really hit the nail on the head. That is my BIGGEST beef with "modern calligraphy" and all the hobbyists turned "professionals" out there. I think my graphic design background just won't let me let go of the mantra "Form Follows Function", and I feel that it absolutely applies to letters and words! So often I've tried to read something only to mistake a "u" for an "i" or an "s" for an "f", or even an "h" for a "v"! Spacing is also a big issue... the word "paper" should not be written "pa_pe_r". Sigh.

Haha okay rant over. But in all seriousness, I do think it is diluting the perceived craft and skill required for calligraphy. Especially because so many hobbyist modern calligraphers out there are then going out and teaching new students, further perpetuating the idea that calligraphy is merely the product of using a dip pen and ink, as opposed to being a discipline and traditional skilled craft. They may know how to create thicks and thins with a flexible nib, but have no idea who Hermann Zapf or Rudolf Koch are, much less the significance of Trajan's Column. Not that historical knowledge is the key to being a "calligrapher", but if you're at all interested in the letterforms themselves and studying them to perfect your writing, eventually you will come across those names. That said, I have nothing against modern calligraphy in and of itself, provided it is done well and with intention. So many calligraphers out there do such beautiful work.

Anyway... at the end of the day I'm still a student in all this, trying to do my best by the traditions of calligraphy before I attempt to break the rules! :)

Also, there's no way calligraphy is going the way of the Chevron!!!!! HAHAHA!
Title: Re: Modern Calligraphy, Skill, and the Test of Time
Post by: Julia K-P on January 13, 2015, 09:11:37 AM
Umm....I'm still working on cursive! How is Calligraphy EASY?
Title: Re: Modern Calligraphy, Skill, and the Test of Time
Post by: Sarah Foutz on January 13, 2015, 02:21:13 PM


 They may know how to create thicks and thins with a flexible nib, but have no idea who Hermann Zapf or Rudolf Koch are, much less the significance of Trajan's Column.

*furiously googling....

That's what I love about this forum--always learning! I may not have a degree in design or formal artistic training, but I'm artistic by nature and am grateful that calligraphy lends itself to folks like me who just love to write beautiful letters and are motivated to learn the age-old techniques!! Whereas I'm completely in awe and appreciative of those who have pursued a lifelong study of lettering and design, I still consider myself a life-long student of learning and I sincerely hope that I'm not diluting the craft with my personal interpretations. I think there's room for everyone here and value to be found in everyone's contributions, masters or not!!! :)
Title: Re: Modern Calligraphy, Skill, and the Test of Time
Post by: idrawletters on January 15, 2015, 03:24:00 AM


 They may know how to create thicks and thins with a flexible nib, but have no idea who Hermann Zapf or Rudolf Koch are, much less the significance of Trajan's Column.

*furiously googling....

That's what I love about this forum--always learning! I may not have a degree in design or formal artistic training, but I'm artistic by nature and am grateful that calligraphy lends itself to folks like me who just love to write beautiful letters and are motivated to learn the age-old techniques!! Whereas I'm completely in awe and appreciative of those who have pursued a lifelong study of lettering and design, I still consider myself a life-long student of learning and I sincerely hope that I'm not diluting the craft with my personal interpretations. I think there's room for everyone here and value to be found in everyone's contributions, masters or not!!! :)

Ah I hope I didn't offend you Sarah! I was throwing out extreme examples to illustrate a point and probably should have clarified :)

I absolutely don't think knowledge of history or the masters is necessary to be a calligrapher. I guess the point I was trying to make is that there are so many calligraphers out there who believe that you are one simply because you are using a dip pen and ink. Like saying you're a pro photographer just because you have a dSLR, when in fact there is a lot of technique, skill and craft (and months/years of practice!) that goes on behind every line and space. My intention was not to make modern calligraphy or admirers and practicers of that style seem irrelevant, but rather to agree with Linda's point about there being a function to writing calligraphy (doesn't apply to "calligraphy as art" pieces). I'm sorry if that came off as snarky or anything!
Title: Re: Modern Calligraphy, Skill, and the Test of Time
Post by: jeanwilson on January 15, 2015, 09:56:41 AM
Modern and contemporary are fairly broad terms.
Other terms to consider are:
naive, outsider, faux, folk, untrained, stylized, quirky, etc.
Jazzy.
If you compare lettering to music and dance, you can understand the difference between classically trained musicians, dancers, or scribes - and those who are self taught.
Or needlework.
The Gees Bend quilts are a very good example of folk art that is seen in galleries and museums of note.
Some viewers agree that those quilts are worthy - others are perplexed.

Also the word finesse can be helpful to the discussion.
There are untrained scribes with a lot of finesse - and some traditionally trained scribes with very little.

I like to be welcoming to anyone who feels like joining the activity and seldom make comments like this.
But, I do think the topic benefits from a few more adjectives.

Jean

Title: Re: Modern Calligraphy, Skill, and the Test of Time
Post by: Erica McPhee on January 15, 2015, 11:08:15 AM
Mass interest will likely eventually die down but I don't expect this trend to leave any disdain for calligraphy in its wake.

I definitely hope so! (Although I'm pretty sure the person who designed Comic Sans felt the same way. LOL! Kidding!)
Title: Re: Modern Calligraphy, Skill, and the Test of Time
Post by: Erica McPhee on January 15, 2015, 11:09:35 AM

Yes! That Spencerian fad with all those fussy swirls died out a long time ago but calligraphy is still going strong! :)

 :P
Title: Re: Modern Calligraphy, Skill, and the Test of Time
Post by: Sarah Foutz on January 15, 2015, 11:12:06 AM


 

Ah I hope I didn't offend you Sarah! I was throwing out extreme examples to illustrate a point and probably should have clarified :)

I absolutely don't think knowledge of history or the masters is necessary to be a calligrapher. I guess the point I was trying to make is that there are so many calligraphers out there who believe that you are one simply because you are using a dip pen and ink. Like saying you're a pro photographer just because you have a dSLR, when in fact there is a lot of technique, skill and craft (and months/years of practice!) that goes on behind every line and space. My intention was not to make modern calligraphy or admirers and practicers of that style seem irrelevant, but rather to agree with Linda's point about there being a function to writing calligraphy (doesn't apply to "calligraphy as art" pieces). I'm sorry if that came off as snarky or anything!

You didn't offend! (I was hoping the emoticons would do their smiley face job better) Actually, what's really cool about this is I was just reading in a calligraphy book and came across the name Hermann Zapf and I was like "hey, I know who that is now!" thanks to your previous post. :)

I was super naive about modern calligraphy in the beginning--when I saw pictures of it on pinterest I thought to myself--hey, I have good handwriting, I want to do that! As it turns out, it's much harder than I ever thought and even with the modern styles, it's very intentional. When I tried duplicating styles I admired in the beginning it was HIDEOUS. Only after taking classes and learning letter forms has my style improved, but I still feel like I have a long way to go and should use Jean's adjectives when describing my work: quirky, untrained, etc. :) But, hopefully my finesse can make up for some lack in training!! ;)
Title: Re: Modern Calligraphy, Skill, and the Test of Time
Post by: Erica McPhee on January 15, 2015, 11:13:51 AM

Haha okay rant over. But in all seriousness, I do think it is diluting the perceived craft and skill required for calligraphy. Especially because so many hobbyist modern calligraphers out there are then going out and teaching new students, further perpetuating the idea that calligraphy is merely the product of using a dip pen and ink, as opposed to being a discipline and traditional skilled craft.

Exactly this. I saw a blog yesterday on Pinterest that was 'teaching calligraphy in so many steps'. Problem is there were so many things outright incorrect in her steps, it was painful. To make matters worse, the board had over 10,000 followers! Just spreading the [bad] word. . .
Title: Re: Modern Calligraphy, Skill, and the Test of Time
Post by: schin on January 15, 2015, 01:50:58 PM
Jean: So true! Modern, quirky, traditional, doesn't matter.. as long as it has finesse and is not amateur looking.

Erica: Omg. Send me the link. I love reading these things with popcorn in hand.. LOL
Title: Re: Modern Calligraphy, Skill, and the Test of Time
Post by: riana on January 15, 2015, 03:27:47 PM
As someone who does not have an in-depth understanding of proper execution of various styles (I'm still VERY new to pointed pen calligraphy!) I would like to humbly offer that a major part of my own personal enjoyment of calligraphy comes from knowing that I can EXPERIMENT without rules. I love trying different shapes and lettering styles, nibs, papers, inks, metallics... without too much pressure that I "MUST" proceed in a certain order.  This is part of why I really enjoy creating it.  This may also stem from my artistic background, a general rebellious attitude about "just doing it myself", and the belief that "trying it" is a great method for overcoming fear!

I totally understand that through my less than proper process I have a REALLYYYYYYY long way to go in continuing to explore the discipline, proper forms, strokes, stylings... and it definitely does not diminish my curiosity about (or appreciation for) learning the proper methods! I just know, for me personally: locked into a rigidity of only proceeding in certain steps would NOT keep me AS motivated as a "break the rules" mentality of experimentation. Just wanted to offer my two cents on a beginner's perspective... :) :)

The masterful and experienced artists here on the forum keep me motivated & inspired, as well! Thank you for sharing your beautiful skills.
Title: Re: Modern Calligraphy, Skill, and the Test of Time
Post by: Erica McPhee on January 15, 2015, 09:54:02 PM
I completely respect that Riana.  :) And I know many wonderful calligraphers that feel the same and do lovely work.

As I have said from the very beginning of Flourish ... there are two approaches to take, neither one being wrong. I personally think most people will develop faster and with less frustration if they learn the proper basics for using a pointed pen first but not that they necessarily have to learn a full Copperplate alphabet before digging in. KWIM?

But... it's the teaching others before they are ready that puts a bee in my bonnet.

Title: Re: Modern Calligraphy, Skill, and the Test of Time
Post by: patweecia on January 15, 2015, 10:34:04 PM
I definitely hope so! (Although I'm pretty sure the person who designed Comic Sans felt the same way. LOL! Kidding!)

hahha erica, i completely forgot there was even a comic sans font :D
Title: Re: Modern Calligraphy, Skill, and the Test of Time
Post by: Linda Y. on January 16, 2015, 11:59:38 AM
This conversation reminded me of a great quote:

"Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist."
--Pablo Picasso
Title: Re: Modern Calligraphy, Skill, and the Test of Time
Post by: Sarah Foutz on January 16, 2015, 01:16:11 PM
This conversation reminded me of a great quote:

"Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist."
--Pablo Picasso


Well said, Linda! Er, Picasso! ;)
Title: Re: Modern Calligraphy, Skill, and the Test of Time
Post by: AndyT on January 17, 2015, 04:21:14 AM
Okay, this a bit embarrassing.  A couple of us Brits have been puzzling over this:

My only hope is the "fad" of calligraphy doesn't become the next chevron.
We're still mystified!  Anyone care to enlighten us?   ???

Title: Re: Modern Calligraphy, Skill, and the Test of Time
Post by: Ken Fraser on January 17, 2015, 07:17:55 AM
Okay, this a bit embarrassing.  A couple of us Brits have been puzzling over this:

My only hope is the "fad" of calligraphy doesn't become the next chevron.
We're still mystified!  Anyone care to enlighten us?   ???

+1
Title: Re: Modern Calligraphy, Skill, and the Test of Time
Post by: Erica McPhee on January 17, 2015, 10:56:40 AM
(Not sure if it is the word fad or chevron that you don't use over there so I'll clarify what I meant in terms of both! Especially for our English as a Second Language members.)

A fad is something that becomes very popular seemingly all at once. It is then used by many people over and over until people tire of it and it becomes no longer popular. Then sometimes people are even so tired of it, they dislike it. Fads tend to come and go in cycles. (Think bell bottom jeans!) Chevron is a pattern using wavy lines. If you go on Pinterest and search "chevron" you'll quickly understand what I mean!

This is in contrast to what we call a "classic" - something everyone loves and will never grow tired of it. Its beauty and endearment withstands the test of time.

I would say traditional calligraphy has proven its timeless appeal. However, some styles of modern calligraphy have already worn out their attractiveness to me! LOL! But the beauty of modern calligraphy is that the possibilities are endless and there will always be new and fresh approaches.

I was saying "the 'fad' of calligraphy" with tongue in cheek in reference to so many jumping on the "modern" calligraphy bandwagon.
Title: Re: Modern Calligraphy, Skill, and the Test of Time
Post by: Erica McPhee on January 17, 2015, 11:03:29 AM
Jumping on the bandwagon = doing what everyone else is doing, to follow the trend or what is popular!  ;D LOL!
Title: Re: Modern Calligraphy, Skill, and the Test of Time
Post by: Scarlet Blue on January 17, 2015, 11:15:42 AM
Thanks, Erica! We have the fads and bandwagons... but the chevron thing passed us by.
We mostly only have chevrons on the road. I was imagiining modern calligraphy besplattered all over the M25..... S'pose it would cheer it up a bit.
Title: Re: Modern Calligraphy, Skill, and the Test of Time
Post by: AndyT on January 17, 2015, 11:28:50 AM
Thank you Erica.  We're familiar with "fad" here; it was the chevron bit which was mysterious.

I wasn't aware that the pattern had enjoyed special popularity recently, but it most certainly had a spell in the limelight during the medieval period - the chevron is one of the basic heraldic ordinaries by which the field may be divided on a shield.  (Ken's much better up on this than me I imagine).  In fact, if you drive on the M1 motorway through the Midlands, you will see chevrons painted on the road from time to time: these mark the boundaries of certain ancient feudal demesnes:
(http://www.keepmedriving.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/chevrons.jpg)
and are sometimes supplemented by signs like this:
(http://blogs.warwick.ac.uk/images/juliamaynard/2005/03/04/.jpg)
This one, with chevrons or (gold) on a field sable (black) denotes land belonging to the Viscount of Giggleswick, for instance. *

So, as you say, things go in cycles - long ones in some cases!

*I might have been lying about some of that!  The basic heraldry is true though.  ;)
Title: Re: Modern Calligraphy, Skill, and the Test of Time
Post by: Erica McPhee on January 17, 2015, 11:31:08 AM
This one, with chevrons or (gold) on a field sable (black) denotes land belonging to the Viscount of Giggleswick, for instance. *

So, as you say, things go in cycles - long ones in some cases!

*I might have been lying about some of that!  The basic heraldry is true though.  ;)

Loved seeing these pictures! And reading about the chevron over there - so fascinating. And the last part is just every kind of awesome and has left me giggling!  ;D
Title: Re: Modern Calligraphy, Skill, and the Test of Time
Post by: Blotbot on January 17, 2015, 01:50:36 PM
In fact, if you drive on the M1 motorway through the Midlands, you will see chevrons painted on the road from time to time: these mark the boundaries of certain ancient feudal demesnes:
(http://www.keepmedriving.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/chevrons.jpg)
and are sometimes supplemented by signs like this:
(http://blogs.warwick.ac.uk/images/juliamaynard/2005/03/04/.jpg)
This one, with chevrons or (gold) on a field sable (black) denotes land belonging to the Viscount of Giggleswick, for instance. *

When I read "chevron"  i thought it was some esoteric reference ancient healdry that I didn't understand.   But how does the knowledge of the boundries of ancient feudal demesnes translate to modern life?
Title: Re: Modern Calligraphy, Skill, and the Test of Time
Post by: Milonguera on January 17, 2015, 04:23:32 PM
Have no fear, Andy.  I have no idea what the reference to Chevrons is, either, but then I'm not a graphic artist. 
Title: Re: Modern Calligraphy, Skill, and the Test of Time
Post by: Julia K-P on January 18, 2015, 09:17:02 PM
Chevron to me is the crest on a Praxian helm. Transformers fan ftw!
Title: Re: Modern Calligraphy, Skill, and the Test of Time
Post by: Faeleia on January 19, 2015, 12:16:37 AM
This conversation reminded me of a great quote:

"Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist."
--Pablo Picasso


OMG YES. I so agree, Linda!
Title: Re: Modern Calligraphy, Skill, and the Test of Time
Post by: Ken Fraser on January 19, 2015, 09:54:54 AM
I used to wear a couple of these on each sleeve. :P
Title: Re: Modern Calligraphy, Skill, and the Test of Time
Post by: Jakmo1935 on January 26, 2015, 02:27:17 PM
I've been hearing that calligraphy is going out of style for 33 yrs.
Title: Re: Modern Calligraphy, Skill, and the Test of Time
Post by: Lori M on January 26, 2015, 07:53:03 PM
In common usage, the pattern that I always knew as zig-zag became "chevron". But an interior design article this weekend classified them as "out". They had a good 3-4 year run in the design world (at least in the US). But they live on in their design trend successor, the arrow  ;): 

(http://s3.amazonaws.com/spoonflower/public/design_thumbnails/0207/1521/arrowsLarge_shop_preview.png)
Title: Re: Modern Calligraphy, Skill, and the Test of Time
Post by: schin on January 26, 2015, 09:49:20 PM
I HATE THIS STUPID ARROW TREND

Even just looking at it makes me furious! i don't know why!
Title: Re: Modern Calligraphy, Skill, and the Test of Time
Post by: Moya on January 26, 2015, 09:50:02 PM
I HATE THIS STUPID ARROW TREND

Even just looking at it makes me furious! i don't know why!

omg I don't know why that made me laugh so hard.  I'm gonna send you a valentine made of nothing but arrows.
Title: Re: Modern Calligraphy, Skill, and the Test of Time
Post by: Meredith S on January 27, 2015, 01:43:56 PM
*gasp* Oh no!! I LOVE the arrows. I didn't even realize they were trendy.. I thought they were always around, they've just been getting cuter lately, haha. Shows ya how out of popular culture I am.

 I feel like Dr. Evil trying to give Seth Green a hug - "I'm with it. I'm hip." *awkwardly does the mockarena* dokadokadokadoka
Title: Re: Modern Calligraphy, Skill, and the Test of Time
Post by: Blotbot on January 27, 2015, 02:35:18 PM
Once you see it in Paper Source, you know you have got a trend.  How about donuts and foxes?

So what I want to know is where to do these trends begin?  Somewhere someone does the first one, people start to buy, and somehow it is noted that people are buying.  Or is it some magazine that says its hot and everyone jumps on the bandwagon?
Title: Re: Modern Calligraphy, Skill, and the Test of Time
Post by: Lori M on January 27, 2015, 03:08:38 PM
Once you see it in Paper Source, you know you have got a trend.  How about donuts and foxes?

I was thinking the same thing! I admit, I can be a sucker for the trends. With paper, I figure I can indulge in it without a huge expense or commitment -- unlike, for example, redecorating my living room in chevrons.  :D
Title: Re: Modern Calligraphy, Skill, and the Test of Time
Post by: schin on January 27, 2015, 03:45:43 PM
Don't forget the owls! They were everywhere!
Title: Re: Modern Calligraphy, Skill, and the Test of Time
Post by: Erica McPhee on January 27, 2015, 05:02:20 PM
I've been hearing that calligraphy is going out of style for 33 yrs.

LOL! Martha Stewart declared it passe in 2003 in her wedding mag. Ha ha! It has become nothing but more popular ever since!  ;D
Title: Re: Modern Calligraphy, Skill, and the Test of Time
Post by: Linda Y. on January 27, 2015, 09:24:17 PM
LOL! Martha Stewart declared it passe in 2003 in her wedding mag. Ha ha! It has become nothing but more popular ever since!  ;D


 :o :o :o

Did she suggest something in place of calligraphy? Lavender-scented address labels perhaps?  ;D
Title: Re: Modern Calligraphy, Skill, and the Test of Time
Post by: patweecia on January 27, 2015, 09:27:40 PM

LOL! Martha Stewart declared it passe in 2003 in her wedding mag. Ha ha! It has become nothing but more popular ever since!  ;D

that's weird because they even posted a how-to-do-calligraphy entry in their website  :o
Title: Re: Modern Calligraphy, Skill, and the Test of Time
Post by: Erica McPhee on January 27, 2015, 10:22:38 PM
I can't remember Linda. I'll have to dig that issue out if I still have it. I remember it distinctly because it was one I advertised in and I was mad, mad, mad when it came out! I gave my ad rep an earful!

Patricia, I believe that was about a year later but I could be slightly off on the dates.  :D
Title: Re: Modern Calligraphy, Skill, and the Test of Time
Post by: Linda Y. on January 28, 2015, 12:10:34 AM
I can't remember Linda. I'll have to dig that issue out if I still have it. I remember it distinctly because it was one I advertised in and I was mad, mad, mad when it came out! I gave my ad rep an earful!

Oh my gosh, I would've felt the same way! I'm glad Martha changed her stance!
Title: Re: Modern Calligraphy, Skill, and the Test of Time
Post by: JanisTX on January 28, 2015, 06:19:30 AM
Don't forget the owls! They were everywhere!
  Oh, Schin, this made me laugh!  I was in a sorority in college & our "symbol" is a crescent moon (try finding one of those!!!).  My daughter pledged a different sorority in college & her sorority's symbol is an owl.  I have a sorority sister that I play a game with. - When we spot an owl (which, indeed, are currently super popular and are EVERYWHERE), we snap a photo and text it to one another with the caption, "Those damn Chi-O's!".  We're really just jealous that their symbol is popular, while ours is not!

Janis
Title: Re: Modern Calligraphy, Skill, and the Test of Time
Post by: Perfectsettings on January 28, 2015, 01:59:11 PM
I have nothing more to add other than I'm glad I never got that chevron tattoo......
Title: Re: Modern Calligraphy, Skill, and the Test of Time
Post by: Lori M on January 28, 2015, 06:36:09 PM
Don't forget the owls! They were everywhere!

Anyone wondering what happened to all of those owls that used to be so trendy? They're all at my house now:

(http://i21.photobucket.com/albums/b300/chinadollmom/owl.jpg)

I know their moment is over, but I can't bring myself to get rid of the little guy.
Title: Re: Modern Calligraphy, Skill, and the Test of Time
Post by: Jakmo1935 on January 29, 2015, 04:31:18 AM
Anyone wondering what happened to all of those owls that used to be so trendy? They're all at my house now:

I still have a macrame wall hanging owl I made in 1976.  It's living in my basement now.

Jack
Title: Re: Modern Calligraphy, Skill, and the Test of Time
Post by: Blotbot on January 29, 2015, 10:17:44 AM
Anyone wondering what happened to all of those owls that used to be so trendy? They're all at my house now:

I still have a macrame wall hanging owl I made in 1976.  It's living in my basement now.

Jack

Move that owl upstairs-- they're coming back in fashion!  One thing great about living long enough (and have good storage) is that you  can recycle!  Now if only I could still fit into the clothes I wore in high school.
Title: Re: Modern Calligraphy, Skill, and the Test of Time
Post by: Jakmo1935 on January 29, 2015, 11:30:11 AM
I also have a owl ring that I have wore every day since 1968. I saw a publicity photo of Elvis Presley  wearing it and had a jeweler in St. Louis duplicate it.  It has diamond eyebrows and tiger eye stones for the eyes.  The gold band has been cut to resemble feathers. Over the years I've had to replace a few diamonds. It has been off of my hand but a few times over the last 47 yrs.
Thanks for listening .

Jack
Title: Re: Modern Calligraphy, Skill, and the Test of Time
Post by: Jakmo1935 on January 29, 2015, 11:32:53 AM
Wow! Did we wander off subject?
Title: Re: Modern Calligraphy, Skill, and the Test of Time
Post by: supertank on February 04, 2015, 01:20:48 AM
Jumping on the train late but, as a calligraphy newbie that intends to seriously attempt copperplate in the classical sense (6+ months and counting), it even annoys me when my other friends just give up and do modern without respect to the history, fundamentals etcetera and take it so easily. Where here I am furiously trying to learn everything right! Hahaha and they're always looking at me weird/discounting my serious attempts and trivializing calligraphy somehow. It already makes me so mad also on behalf of the serious masters and calligraphers who put their lives and years into this.

That said the variety makes me happy though, and when I dabble in modern when I'm frustrated at my lack of progress and want to just run free, I think it enables me to study seriously in the long term more.
Title: Re: Modern Calligraphy, Skill, and the Test of Time
Post by: Sharon on February 16, 2015, 08:31:50 PM
Count me in on the late train too but I've found it fascinating the resurgence in interest in calligraphy. In the classes I took when I started in 2000, I didn't see a lot of women in their 20's and 30's that now seem to account for much of the students in workshops (at least those that I see posted on Instagram). 

I hope that it does continue and is not a trend (no owls, chevrons or arrows for me, I remain a cat person or I should say my cat's person!). My lessons have always been in traditional letterforms, so much so that I just can't get the hang of modern calligraphy with it's looseness. My arm refuses to do what my eyes see!
Title: Re: Modern Calligraphy, Skill, and the Test of Time
Post by: supertank on February 17, 2015, 12:17:47 AM
What sorority were you in Janis? I was in Theta, our symbol was a Kite, which are I guess, somewhat cute. Yeah Chi O's owls were a cause of envy for us too! Especially with those cute Lilly Pulitzer items
Title: Re: Modern Calligraphy, Skill, and the Test of Time
Post by: idrawletters on February 20, 2015, 01:25:32 PM
Janis you weren't by any chance a Tridelta were you?
Title: Re: Modern Calligraphy, Skill, and the Test of Time
Post by: LauraMB on March 06, 2015, 01:03:58 PM
I am a complete newbie...in fact, this is my first day as part of this forum. I want to thank you all for this conversation. I have only recently re-discoverd my interest in calligraphy that started over 35 years ago.  I find it helpful that the expectation is not that one becomes a good calligrapher over night. I figured that it would take me a couple of years to be passable/good. I knew from my feeble attempts to learn calligraphy when I was 12 that it was HARD and took much time.  Now that I have a bit of life under my belt I realize the value of hard work and perseverance. I look forward to the day that I can look at my work and say to myself, "not bad".  As it stand right now practicing my letterforms is very meditative for me. I am sure my family thinks it boring but I do not. I love the way the ink flows on the paper, the black against white. Even in these early stages I see a beauty in the art even if my letterforms/lines are wobbly.
Title: Re: Modern Calligraphy, Skill, and the Test of Time
Post by: sgast32 on March 09, 2015, 02:41:07 PM
On the flipside...because of the modern calligraphy boom, I found Flourish Forum and am in the process of delving into Copperplate! I hope many others new to the art of calligraphy feel the same desire to learn the letterforms and I am sure there are many others like me that have a new appreciation for the work and skill that goes into truly beautiful lettering penned by masters and those that have been calligraphing for years upon decades. :)
Title: Re: Modern Calligraphy, Skill, and the Test of Time
Post by: theailahkathrina on March 11, 2015, 09:33:34 AM
The very late train hopper is here! My interest for calligraphy was mainly because of ate Gail's (the_md_writes on instagram) Copperplate tutorials and videos. And yes, I am also guilty of not studying letterforms when I first started. Then I realized that I should put time and effort on studying letter forms. Now, I am studying Copperplate diligently every night. :)
Title: Re: Modern Calligraphy, Skill, and the Test of Time
Post by: arherbgm on April 04, 2015, 07:17:01 PM
On the flipside...because of the modern calligraphy boom, I found Flourish Forum and am in the process of delving into Copperplate! I hope many others new to the art of calligraphy feel the same desire to learn the letterforms and I am sure there are many others like me that have a new appreciation for the work and skill that goes into truly beautiful lettering penned by masters and those that have been calligraphing for years upon decades. :)

I am a complete newbie...in fact, this is my first day as part of this forum. I want to thank you all for this conversation. I have only recently re-discoverd my interest in calligraphy that started over 35 years ago.  I find it helpful that the expectation is not that one becomes a good calligrapher over night. I figured that it would take me a couple of years to be passable/good. I knew from my feeble attempts to learn calligraphy when I was 12 that it was HARD and took much time.  Now that I have a bit of life under my belt I realize the value of hard work and perseverance. I look forward to the day that I can look at my work and say to myself, "not bad".  As it stand right now practicing my letterforms is very meditative for me. I am sure my family thinks it boring but I do not. I love the way the ink flows on the paper, the black against white. Even in these early stages I see a beauty in the art even if my letterforms/lines are wobbly.

My long story short...

Picking up calligraphy again after years entrenched in career, raising kids, etc., I wondered what on earth could I do with it except envelopes and way too many framed quotes on the wall!  So the "Modern" thing got my attention.  But know what?  That got me back into traditional, esp. copperplate.  Then, realizing it was going to take me the rest of my retirerment years to become anywhere near as accomplished as all you FFF's (Flourish Forum Friends), I let go of any agenda and simply settled into the pleasure of writing; dipping; mixing; ordering (JNB & PIA); reading blogs; googling calligraphy; youtubing calligraphers (some leave me breathless); looking at road signs and telling my wife to look at that lettering;  driving along and scrambling for note paper to jot down the flourished capital "B" on a Budweiser beer truck;  saving so many instagram & Pinterest sites to My Favorites that it is completely unmanageable now; continuing to add to My Favorites because I just don't want to lose the reference to someone's creativity or skill that has literally caused me to whimper in delight; hiding a new color of ink or paper from my wife because she already thinks I'm a bit "over the edge"; okay...I'll stop now.

Guess I lied  ::)...  that wasn't very short, huh?  My ultimate realization: sometimes one plays the piano all alone only to enjoy it; some run miles just because it feels exhilarating; many sing along to the car radio because it's therapeutic; my grandmother was so proud of the too many tacky afghans she crocheted just to have on hand for newborn family members.  None of this to plan a business, a website, or a wedding.  Perhaps a special birthday card envelope, gift tag, or labels for spice jars can be enough.  So...I'll probably never be featured in dasherie, but I'm having the time of my life!

Anyone need a well-used afghan? It would come with a gorgeous gift tag.

Arlen
Title: Re: Modern Calligraphy, Skill, and the Test of Time
Post by: JanisTX on April 04, 2015, 08:37:51 PM
Janis you weren't by any chance a Tridelta were you?
NO! I was Gamma
Phi Beta!!
Title: Re: Modern Calligraphy, Skill, and the Test of Time
Post by: Elizabeth O. on April 05, 2015, 08:36:52 AM
Janis.  I was in Gamma Phi, too!!!  ;D ;D ;D

If only there were crescent moon and pink carnation emojis!  ;)
Title: Re: Modern Calligraphy, Skill, and the Test of Time
Post by: idrawletters on April 06, 2015, 04:38:47 AM
Janis you weren't by any chance a Tridelta were you?
NO! I was Gamma
Phi Beta!!

Lol eek! :-X

We had crescent moons too, though I guess it wasn't our main symbol :)
Title: Re: Modern Calligraphy, Skill, and the Test of Time
Post by: ericp on April 09, 2015, 02:01:22 PM
IMHO, for amateurs or enlightened connoisseurs, the subject of trends is not important.  All we want is to have fun and learn and grow.

For professionals, however, it is a different story.  The value of the work on the market may get impacted in a very tangible way.

The music industry these days is facing a similar problem:  what is the source of revenue now that no one buys music anymore, in addition to the fact that now anybody and his cousin can buy a laptop, some music software and whip up "pro-sounding" music at a fraction of the cost (did you hear? Aunt Betty also plays piano in addition to taking pictures).

In music as well as in calligraphy and photograpĥy I suppose, the idea is to have the best portfolio ever, to constantly refine your skills and keep up with the trends.  Just keep doing better than anyone else.  Impressing a customer always pays off, but it is likely (as the reach of the Internet proves) that knowledge and therefore the competition is increasing.
Title: Re: Modern Calligraphy, Skill, and the Test of Time
Post by: Erica McPhee on April 09, 2015, 04:07:01 PM
(did you hear? Aunt Betty also plays piano in addition to taking pictures).

I agree, excellent post! And that line just cracked me up!  ;D Now Aunt Betty does wedding calligraphy, too! She's so talented!  :o
Title: Re: Modern Calligraphy, Skill, and the Test of Time
Post by: Ken Fraser on November 01, 2015, 06:14:10 PM
Jumping on the train late but, as a calligraphy newbie that intends to seriously attempt copperplate in the classical sense (6+ months and counting), it even annoys me when my other friends just give up and do modern without respect to the history, fundamentals etcetera and take it so easily. Where here I am furiously trying to learn everything right! Hahaha and they're always looking at me weird/discounting my serious attempts and trivializing calligraphy somehow. It already makes me so mad also on behalf of the serious masters and calligraphers who put their lives and years into this.

Well said.
Title: Re: Modern Calligraphy, Skill, and the Test of Time
Post by: JERRY TRESSER on December 02, 2015, 10:03:13 PM
Somewhat similar to the other subject which i posted on.  Lettering is based on classical forms which developed for specific uses. the clarity becomes monumental when one looks to Roman caps chiziled into stone and reserved for Caesars. That would be the starting point. However those letter forms were manipulated with a brush. Here our calligraphic introduction was with the broad edged pen. Brush letterers were always referred to as sign painters. Not calligraphers.  That is a historically accurate description but we all know the significance of the power of the brush in contemporary works of art. 

The broad edged pen has historical implications as well. Putting aside the original book hands of the 1st century, Uncial evolved over a 600 year history as a major player in the development of defining the alphabet as it matured through the centuries. By the 8th century the world was introduced to the Caroline hand. With a fully formed lower case alphabet and yet remnants of some letters with Uncial flavors such as N, T, J.  Without going into the entire history of growth in our alphabet, by the 15th century, the broad edged pen ended its development.  Partially due to the new, never before seen, PRINTING PRESS..  The Italic hand which was the offical papal hand of the chancery also known as Italics or Chancery was living on borrowed time. 

The use of the pointed pen was arriving primarily because children for the first time were given primers or small books to learn reading and writing. On a large scale basis it just seemed to make sense and this was the rudiments for the development of a new form of writing that was not restricted to a scribe. 

Two different tools with two different objectives. One historical including documents of monumental importance. Lawed by Caesars and those who now for the first time were learning that the education was no longer limited to the aristocracy.

One really has to look back and see that the broad edged pen was developed to a fulfillment which ended due to modernization. The pointed pen developed for economic purposes. Both requiring skill and imagination not to mention competition especially with the flourishes and control . One just has to look at Fractur and some of the ornate pointed pen lettering. Both requires a very steady knowledge of the instrument, but come from two different mind sets.  This has to be taken into consideration when learning.

 The final question one has to ask is , Where does this lead me ?  Pointed pen lettering is at its best 600 years old and its still pointed pen with various adaptations in pressure.  Broad edged pen lettering covers well over 2000 years of history with development of an alphabet. 26 lead soldiers, influencing the world we live in.  Just food for thought.