Author Topic: Why Spencerian?  (Read 33204 times)

Offline Denise R

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Why Spencerian?
« on: May 20, 2014, 12:30:45 AM »
I've noticed that there are many members who are interested in Copperplate and Modern Calligraphy, as well as others, and the interest in Spencerian seems rather small by comparison.

Why do you like Spencerian? Is it one of several hands that you've learned? Where did you first learn about it?

The calligraphy books I've found in stores make no mention of it at all. I first saw Spencerian online, although I don't remember where. I just know that I instantly fell in love with it and knew that I had to learn it.

I think I'm drawn to the oval shapes and the slant. It looks so neat and organized. Maybe that has to do with being a system, rather than a typical alphabet, as I understand it. I know that I'm drawn to it strongly enough that I've made a commitment (to myself) to put in the time to learn it properly and thoroughly. It's obvious that the amount of time this takes will not be insignificant!

Looking forward to learning from all of you and seeing more of your work,
Denise

Offline Brad franklin

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Re: Why Spencerian?
« Reply #1 on: May 20, 2014, 01:14:46 AM »
Your right, none of my books even mention it. Although it may have several differnet styles of Copperplate. At first I did not think I would have attempted to learn it, but I am trying now. I am learning it from scans of lessons from a website of an old American Penman magazine. It's a very neat style.


Offline Moya

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Re: Why Spencerian?
« Reply #2 on: May 20, 2014, 01:17:08 AM »
I want to learn Spencerian because it looks like beautiful handwriting, rather than calligraphy (except when it's beautifully ornamented!) and I think it's more readable than Engrossers' or copperplate for things like longer letters?  At the moment I'm writing letters to my penpals just in my chickenscratch handwriting because I don't have a steady enough hand with copperplate, and I don't know any Spencerian yet.

But it's so nice.  And a little bit less formal for things like writing greetings in cards at the office, or addressing envelopes, maybe?  I don't know, these are just half-baked impressions ;)

Offline schin

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Re: Why Spencerian?
« Reply #3 on: May 20, 2014, 01:29:45 AM »
I never had an interest in broad pen, and only a meh interest in copperplate. But then one day I saw an example of some ornamented Spencerian capitals (I think it was ladies hand) and I was like HOLD UP WHAT IS THAT

I am drawn to it because it is so free form and nature-like.. it reminds me of the things I love in art and life- flowers, gentle wavy long grasses, flowing ribbons, oval rocks, rose petals, waves in the sea, ripples on a lake.. I can see all this in the letterforms. A well executed ornamental spencerian page is like a graceful butterfly fluttering on a page, or a gentle song humming along on a page.. it ebbs and flows.. so it was like a mini winged PR Spencer shooting an arrow into my heart and I was in LOVE!

I also like how spontaneous and one-shot it is. Some other scripts need meticulous touching up that it's more like a drawn letter, not written.. that's boring to me. I would know the artist went back and touched up many times to get a perfect A or B or whatever. On the other hand, a well executed spencerian letter has to be done in one go and everything has to be *perfect*.. one imperfect oval or one badly placed line or a weird shade and the whole thing looks bad. That's why a beautiful perfect page leaves me breathless.. I know that the writer did it all in one go, in a very short time and the serendipity needed to get all the elements right is just so satisfying. That's why I'm kinda obsessed with collecting old specimens from the masters.. I want to hold it in my hands and to trace with my eye all the perfect lines without touchups.. shivers!!

It's not just me who feels this way right?? Any layman reading the above would think I'm nuts!
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Offline Moya

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Re: Why Spencerian?
« Reply #4 on: May 20, 2014, 01:45:32 AM »
That makes sense to me, Schin!   :)

Offline Roseann

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Re: Why Spencerian?
« Reply #5 on: May 20, 2014, 02:54:35 AM »
Exactly!
Roseann

“The world is so full of a number of things, I’m sure we should all be as happy as kings.”   R. L. Stevenson

Offline AndyT

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Re: Why Spencerian?
« Reply #6 on: May 20, 2014, 05:35:39 AM »
Schin puts it so well; I also agree wholeheartedly with Moya that it's essentially handwriting rather than calligraphy.  A well written page of Spencerian looks so spontaneous and unselfconscious, with all that airy negative space dotted with seemingly random shades.  Of course, it becomes evident very quickly that achieving the "dashy" look is no easy task!

I also particularly like many of the Ornamental capital forms, which are often actually less fussy and more legible in their essence than the classic Spencerian ones.

Offline Denise R

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Re: Why Spencerian?
« Reply #7 on: May 20, 2014, 01:31:45 PM »
You captured it beautifully, Schin! It's so graceful, sometimes it can nearly bring tears to my eyes. I think of it as art, not merely communication.

It's been a long time since I've wanted to grasp something so perfectly, so completely. I love learning new things in my 50s, and to take on something that requires a long term commitment is exhilarating!

No, you're definitely not the only one who feels this way! And people think I'm nuts regardless of what I'm talking about, so I'm good there :)

Offline Moya

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Re: Why Spencerian?
« Reply #8 on: May 20, 2014, 08:52:18 PM »
Schin puts it so well; I also agree wholeheartedly with Moya that it's essentially handwriting rather than calligraphy.  A well written page of Spencerian looks so spontaneous and unselfconscious, with all that airy negative space dotted with seemingly random shades.  Of course, it becomes evident very quickly that achieving the "dashy" look is no easy task!

I also particularly like many of the Ornamental capital forms, which are often actually less fussy and more legible in their essence than the classic Spencerian ones.

"Spontaneous and unselfconscious" is exactly what I wanted to say but couldn't get my words in order - thank you, Andy!!  It seems a little less - forgive the vulgarity - a little less wanky, when you're just writing in a card for an office friend or someone you love.  A bit less show-off-y. 

Not that I don't love showing off...

Offline Erica McPhee

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Re: Why Spencerian?
« Reply #9 on: May 21, 2014, 12:39:26 AM »
What a great thread Denise!

I first saw Spencerian in a Victoria magazine in 1992. I was over the moon! I had to learn it! I had never seen anything like it up until that point (see what I did there?  ;))

The artist was Maria Thomas an I contacted her right away. Her studio is in MA and I was in ME. I was hoping she could give me lessons. I desperately wanted to learn it to do my wedding invitations for my wedding in 1994. She couldn't do the lessons as she was so busy with brides but directed me to Michael Sull. I called him and he was so kind! He was working on his book "Learning to Write Spencerian Script." Well, I must have sounded pretty desperate as he actually mailed me a copy of the manuscript!

And that is how I taught myself Spencerian. Maria's hand is a bit modified with a touch more shade than usual but I have always loved it. I have one of her invitation sample packets and the paper is literally worn through I have looked at them so many times!  :)

To me, this style of writing is like a window - you can see the beauty in someone come pouring out onto the page.
Truly, Erica
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Offline Denise R

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Re: Why Spencerian?
« Reply #10 on: May 21, 2014, 02:41:30 PM »
Erica ~ that was just lovely! I can feel the love for the script in your words. Thank you!


Denise





Offline Scarlet Blue

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Re: Why Spencerian?
« Reply #11 on: May 22, 2014, 05:57:58 AM »
I am obsessed with thick and thin strokes - in both broad nib pen work and pointed nib work. Recently I've become aware that the downstrokes in my copperplate are becoming thicker and thicker, so I have bought a set of the Spencerian workbooks to help me regain control over my shades!
I think it's going to be a very steep learning curve, and I'm going to have to be in the right frame of mind before I get started with it! I reckon my first attempts are going to be pretty dreadful.

Offline Sharyn

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Re: Why Spencerian?
« Reply #12 on: May 23, 2014, 07:22:10 PM »
I'm singlemindedly Spencerian also, although I enjoy looking at all the examples our many talented members share of all the hands.
I wish I could remember what brought me to it, but alas, it was sooo long ago :)

Offline FrenchBlue Joy

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Re: Why Spencerian?
« Reply #13 on: June 04, 2014, 02:32:23 PM »
Schin and Erica-- just beautiful!!!!!

As for why Spencerian gets less love these days?  I think just because it's so much HARDER to do!   ;D

Offline dailyblossoms

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Re: Why Spencerian?
« Reply #14 on: August 02, 2014, 10:28:08 AM »
I guess most books don't talk about spencerian because it's not so ancient. Some books don't even consider copperplate...
I find spencerian very beautifull and got to it after some copperplate class, I didn't like it so much at first, but when I started writing it just found out I couldn't stop...
It just fits so well my personality... and thanks to IAMPETH you have like a gorgeous lybrary to study from... it's amazing.