* * * * * * * * * *
Week #1
This work was done by Susan Gale Welch in 2016 in Seattle for the session “ DESIGN: Deconstructing the Grid” in
PRIMITIVE TO MODERN. In her own words:
Here are the particulars.
Type style is "Woodcut Stencil"
Background is one of the stained glass examples from your photo choices
Hot foil Pen gold dots
Punched mat gold paper dots
Design mounted on waxed paper for repositioning options
Letterforms mounted on 1/4 inch Styrofoam to provide shadow depth.
The typestyle was chosen because of the compatibility with the white line elements in the design.

* * * * * * * *
Week #2
This work was done by Gayle Waddle-Wilkes in 2016 in Seattle for the session “Primitive to Modern” in PRIMITIVE TO MODERN. In her own words:
A few months ago I caught the tail end of a radio program that asked the question, “Where do YOU find peace in wild things?” I was intrigued by this question and so I searched for the poem that inspired this inquiry. The poem is by Wendell Berry and is entitled The Peace of Wild Things. I thought it was a beautiful poem with lovely visual images and a touching message, perfect for a piece of calligraphy.

A little while later, while avoiding the Brazilwood and vellum dying homework assignment, I made various sheets of tea-dyed paper. Due to rippling while wet, one of the pieces came out of the dye that I felt suggested a marsh in hazy light. Unfortunately, this piece measured only 6 x 12 inches. Not nearly enough “real estate” to write the entire poem. So I scanned the image, cropped and stretched it so it could be printed on an 8.5 x 14 sheet of paper. I printed the image with my LaserJet printer on a few different kinds of paper. Diploma Parchment had the least color distortion from the fixative (Blair) that I applied after printing in preparation for writing on it.
I wrote with a “clipped” crow quill pen (tiny broad-edge) with gouache using a combination of raw umber and yellow ochre. The lettering style is one I created based on a sample of an unidentified Carolingian variation that was included in the handouts last year. My intention was to have elongated ascenders and descenders resemble marsh grasses blowing in the wind.

The illuminated “W” is 23k patent gold leaf with a gesso base (2 layers) and Instacol size. The letter’s background was painted with two different watercolors from the 6-well palette of Fin-Tec gold. The silhouette of the crane is the same gouache as the writing but with a bit more raw umber to deepen the color. The outline was made with a ball-pointed nib using gold pearl Schmincke Calligraphy Gouache and the edge of a metal ruler.

* * * * * * * *
Week #3
This work was done by Kathy Barker in 2016 in Seattle for the session “ DESIGN: Deconstructing the Grid ” in PRIMITIVE TO MODERN. In her own words:
Concept: The quote: "To create a little flower is the labor of ages" immediately fascinated me.. To contrast the vastness of the universe (the ages)

with the delicate creation of a flower was an intriguing, but very challenging theme for me. To be honest, it pushed me beyond my normal borders as did the

technique that Reggie introduced us to. I was grateful for the opportunity to move beyond the confines of prescribed page limits as the quote and concept seemed to require a dramatically new approach.

Technique: On the first day, as Reggie demonstrated to us, we first wrote out the words in black, using a speedball B nib. Then we explored copying the words at various sizes by reducing or enlarging on a copy machine. Further work was done to rearrange the quote exploring a contrast in sizes and position of the individual words. When this was completed, the final layout was copied onto Arches 90 lb paper. To complete this part of the project, we carefully cut around the words using a # 11 Xacto knife leaving a border of white. By using small pieces of foam core board attached to the back side of this arrangement, the quote could work as a unit that stood up in relief against a background.

The next day we created the background that did open up a whole new set of ways to think about "breaking out of the grid of convention.”
 After creating an image that would work with the quote, we explored gestural lines that would express both quote and image. These were sketched lightly on tracing paper. When satisfied we transferred these to 11" X 17" background colored prints (Hubble images or stain glass abstracts

that Reggie provided for us.) Then came the real challenge as we numbered each area to cut, then cut the lines, spreading the pieces apart to create new areas and shapes, often pushing beyond our original borders. All this was done on heavy weight watercolor paper that Reggie had prepared in advance with a waxed surface. The waxed surface allowed us to re position our pieces until we were satisfied with the final result.

As Reggie explained it was important to keep in mind that this was done for purposes of reproducing the image in different size formats. By carefully positioning the lighting, a very dramatic effect could be achieved from shadows cast by the raised letter group. An important part of our home work for the following month was to get good quality reproductions. This was a whole other learning process;

but well worth the time and effort. As always, we were grateful to Reggie "for helping us get old enough" in our calligraphic life!

Materials: 90# Arches hot press paper for the quote
Many sharp #11 Xacto blades
Speedball B nib, Moon Palace Sumi ink
11" X 17"color prints

* * * * * * * *
Week #4
This work was done by Gabi Glass in 2016 Austin in for the session “Italic and Variations” in 26 Seeds: a Year to Grow. In her own words:
In the spring of 2016, I was asked to donate a piece of calligraphy to a fall bazaar benefiting a women's guild at my old church. I was happy to do that but asked if there was a particular Bible verse they wanted me to work on. I was given Romans 8:38 - 39.

It took me until our 5th Reggie weekend to find the perfect lettering style for this piece. Earlier in the year, Reggie showed us a piece of his calligraphy on a fig bark paper and I just loved the colors and texture of it so I ordered some samples. It was stored in my flat file for a few months and I couldn't find the right project to use it for.

So when I started planning the layout of the donation piece, I pulled it out and it inspired me. I thought to mix the coffee color paper with purple and gold. I started with layout on a grid paper. I made about 7 different designs and then found the one I like the best. I didn't line the paper because it was difficult to erase. Instead, I used a table light on the back of my slant board (Used it as a light box) with a lined sheet of paper under the fig bark paper. I spray fixed the paper and mixed a purple gouache and decided to gild the word GOD with 23 k gold.
 About two lines into the project I realized how difficult the paper was to write on because of the individual bark fibers but I was determined to finish it. I lettered everything to the word GOD and then traced that word in next and then finished the verse. Once all the gouache was dry, I applied Instacoll. One letter background was more porous than the rest of the area so it took 12 layers of Instacoll to make it look a bit raised. Then I gilded it one letter at a time. I also applied some dry pigment to the finished piece in a partial shape of a cross. (see attached) When it was all set and done I was happy with the final piece but I realized I missed one line of the verse. It was imperfect but I turned it in anyways. A few weeks after the bazaar, I went to visit our old church and there it was, framed in the hallway. One of the ladies bought it and donated it back to the church. I liked the outcome so I decided to duplicate the piece as one of my homework pieces.

The process was much easier because it was a repeat of the first one and I already knew what I was doing and made a few changes to the process and added the missing line.

Thank you, Reggie, for pushing me to try new surfaces, tools and techniques

* * * * * * * *
Week #5
This work was done by Jean Ferrier in 2016 in Seattle for the session “Primitive to Modern” in PRIMITIVE TO MODERN. In her own words:
Oh my goodness, but here is a description. This was the assignment using writing as a border with gold,

and "dots". This is a part of an old speech by Chief Seattle. I tried to create contrast by using large writing on the
 left, with small writing telling the story and the illustration in the diamond, and writing with gold around the rim.

I used pen with color gouache, and watercolor with brush for the illustration. Size approx. 10” x10”.

* * * * * * * *
Week #6
This work was done by Leslie Winakur in 2016 in San Antonio for the session “Primitive to Modern” in PRIMITIVE TO MODERN. In her own words:
This is an accordion book done on 90 lb. Arches cold press watercolor paper. Although cold press is textured, I love it for ruling pen or cola pen lettering. Using a Mitchell nib or a pointed nib is a challenge, but that’s part of the fun! In this book, I used mostly a Mitchell #2 and #6. Perfect lettering wasn’t the goal, but rather turning lettering into art.

The medium used is Parker Quink black fountain pen ink. When water is applied at the edges, the ink begins to move and beautiful yellow, blue, and green colors appear. (Only the black does this.)
The white lettering is done with Dr. Ph. Martin’s Bleed Proof White. A Glaze gel pen was also used. The lettering exercises are based on the ones in Denise Lach’s fabulous book, Calligraphy. I’ve been exploring how she uses lettering to make abstract art. The text is from an e.e. cummings poem, I will wade out. The accordion fits into a hard cover portfolio, which is covered in Japanese silk book cloth, and which has end papers to match the book pages..

Click for Video

* * * * * * * *
Week #7
This work was done by Maggie Gillikin in 2016 in San Antonio for the session “Primitive to Modern” in PRIMITIVE TO MODERN. In her own words:
This book and box were completed in the summer of 2016 during the Primitive to Modern Reggie class in San Antonio. For the book, I used Arches 140 lb. cold press watercolor paper, gouache for the letterforms, graphite for the drawing portion, and watercolors (mostly Winsor Newton and Schmincke) for the paintings. The letterforms are in Carolingian, a favorite of mine from a previous Reggie class, done with a #4 Mitchell nib. The small Romans are written with a Hiro 111 nib. The images portrayed are from my own garden, my photographic collection, or from sketches done on site (such as the clock at the Musée D’Orsay). The river represented is the Mississippi at dawn.

Loose gold appears throughout, adhered to a single layer of Instacol in each instance.

The book is bound in spring green goat leather and carries a heat-transferred 24K gold leaf image.

The drop spine box is covered in green Japanese silk, with a watercolor leaf image on the front.

Click for Video

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Week #8
This work was done by Gayle Waddle-Wilkes in 2016 in Seattle for the session “DESIGN: Deconstructing the Grid” in PRIMITIVE TO MODERN. In her own words:
I always have a more satisfying artistic experience when I connect it to something personally meaningful. So when we were asked to bring a simple design to class I took inspiration from my friend Doris. She was planning a trip to Colorado so see the Quaking Aspens. This intrigued me. I imagined clumps of trees huddled together at the foot the Rockies trembling in fear. Research revealed that the common name refers to the shaking of the leaves in a light wind. The poetry of the common name appealed to me and having a “Q" was a bonus since Qs are not very common in English. Research also provided images of the trees and leaves. Since the assignment was to supply a “simple design" I refined it down to 3 leaves. These are the 3 leaves that you see in the upper left of the final piece.

From the beginning the piece was intended for reproduction. The first step was to determine the best size of the design by photo copying it in several sizes onto a transparency, cutting out each size and trying out the placement keeping mind the final size would be approximately 11 x 17 inches. Once I had a rough idea of placement of the leaves I expanded the 3 leaf design by creating more lines that echoed the outside of the leaves and extended the veining of the leaves on a large sheet of tracing paper being sure to make it large enough to fill ½ sheet of waxed watercolor paper that I knew we would be working with. After establishing this part of the design the same process was used with the words written using Reggie’s lettering example with the Latin name in a smaller size for contrast. Once the best size was determined the words were photocopied onto 90# hot press Arches watercolor paper and cut out with an ample border. Tiny pieces of foam core were attached to the back so they words would sit away from the background and create a shadow when photographed.
Next the leaf design on the tracing paper was transferred onto one of the 11 x 17 color copies Reggie provided in class. Orange and yellow was the obvious choice for these fall leaves. The photo copy was lightly pressed onto the waxed cold press watercolor paper and the design was carefully cut out with an Exacto knife with a new blade along the lines. After completing this task it was "fractured" by peeling up each piece and moving it a bit to let the white of the background create and outline of each piece. The sticky wax made adjusting the placement a breeze. This process was not precise and often small bits of the pieces needed to be trimmed and pieces of the colored paper inserted into the spaces that were gaping. A “happy accident” occurred when I discovered that there was too much white space running down the center of the leaves. By adding a sliver if the lighter toned paper (contrast again) to the middle of the leaves they became more "leaf-like".

As embellishment gold foil pen dots were applied along the outside edges of the original 3 leaves and then scattered throughout the piece. For more contrast and interest, I later added 1/4 inch and 1/8 inch gold dots made by punching them out of gold card stock.

Since the piece was intended for reproduction and not as an original piece art piece it lends itself to multiple uses. I have since made thank you cards by using this back ground and the same process with the words “thank you”.

I’m sure this project could have been accomplished on the computer, but for me doing it “old school” slowed me down and helped me physically connect with the process. I am a firm believer that the journey is as important as the destination….sometimes more so.

* * * * * * * *
Week #9
This work was done by Lisa Tsang in 2016 in Seattle for the session “Experiencing the Book as a New Structure” in PRIMITIVE TO MODERN. In her own word:
Looking back at this assignment, the biggest lesson learned is that it's all about "the process." We were shown step by step how to prepare the essentials: coating some of the pages with acrylic medium to add texture, inserting the pages, the binding, reinforcing pages, the final structure, the possibilities. But then we had to figure out the rest ourselves.

The theme, organization, and just overcoming our doubts. The individual steps are too numerous to count. I would say you just have to take a workshop to learn all the secrets but I will share how elated my parents were to receive this gift at Christmas entitled, The Journey of Three Cranes, a metaphor for their 3 children.

The only lettering I did was the title on the back (in pointed pen). I had taken a paper making class prior to our final meeting so I used some of those painted papers, one embedded with string.
I scanned and printed some iced-dyed fabric paper (piling ice on pre-treated fabric and sprinkling powdered Procion pigment over it-as the ice melts, it stains the fabric) as well as a batik. Some of the shapes were sketched in pencil and cut with an X-acto.

Nothing was thrown away, it could be repurposed in another page! Transparencies combined with cut-outs kept the reader in suspense for what would unfold next. There were many hurdles and technical questions to solve in the creation of this book. I got inspired by walking around the classroom and seeing how different everyone's book was, I borrowed some of their ideas and incorporated them into mine. Don't wait for inspiration to strike, experiment with your ideas, and just do it!

Click Here for Video

* * * * * * * * * * * *
Week #10
This work was done by Pat Daley in Chicago in 1993 just after the end of the Year Long Course 26 Seeds: a Year to Grow.:
This work was done by Pat Daley in Chicago in 1993 just after the end of the Year Long Course 26 Seeds: a Year to Grow. As you can see, Pat brought her wily, left handed sense of humor to homework assignments, as well as the levity she brought to the classroom. Professionally, amongst other things, she rendered story boards for films and commercials. Her works always let us smiling and shaking our heads. Thank you, Pat.

Click Here for Video

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Week #11
This work was done by Cynthia Stiles in San Antonio in 2016 for the session “Exploring the Book as a New Structure”, in PRIMITIVE TO MODERN. In her own words:
 Making this book as our final project in Reggie's Primitive to Modern was more fun and came out way better than I initially thought it would. Because the goal was to get as much of this complete during our time together this was a highly structured exercise, yet within the structure there was a lot of room for creative expression so everyone's book turned out quite different. We also had tremendous fun as a group sharing our creative experiences.

I wanted to present a visual expression of what the given phrase "the human heart is a theater of longing" was saying to me and was surprised by the depth of meaning that came out in using the format and materials available for this exercise.
The format of this book allowed me an opportunity to conceal as well as reveal the visual imagery and words, pauses the viewer as each image and word are revealed thereby allowing the viewer to participate in the drama and to experience what is being said along with me.

The materials used, whether paper or transparency, treated with a coating or not, with it's colors and lines and the shaping of them allowed me to convey to the viewer curtains, water, moods, and more bringing the viewer inside the theatrical production surrounding the phrase.

Without anymore ado, enjoy the video.

Click Here for Video

* * * * * * * * *
Week #12
This work was done by Amy Lear in Austin in 2016 for the session “Variations on Romans” in 26 Seeds: a Year to Grow. In her own words:

This piece was done on deep red paper with Dr. Ph. Martins bleedproof white. Inspired by the wisdom and courage of Malala Yousafzai and wanting to inspire my two daughters, I created this piece with large letters and a bold layout. I sketched the design on grid paper, with several revisions, before scanning it into the computer for resizing. I was happy with the design of each word, but their placement wasn’t quite right. On the screen, I was able to move the words around to get a final draft. From there, I printed the sketch to use to transfer guidelines to the red paper.

As I worked on the letters, I noticed that the white wasn’t as opaque as I wanted, so I went back and added a second coat of paint with a small watercolor brush.
And then… I managed to drop my brush onto the table! It fell in the middle of the word “tell” and rolled through the G in girls, and the C below it. I tried all of the traditional ways of correcting mistakes, but the paper just wasn’t having it. So, I dug through all my red paint and managed to make an acrylic one that matched (using a scrap of red paper to test). I carefully painted over the white smears of ink and repaired it.

During class, Reggie commented on the design and suggested that I scan the piece and shrink it to a smaller size. In doing that, I realized that the texture of the paper looked unclean after scanning. So, I traced the whole text to a vector in Adobe Illustrator and replaced the background with a solid red color. After printing these in 8x10 and 5x7, I was really encouraged by how successfully the design translated to the smaller size. And, now that I have it in a vector format, I am able to experiment with different colors of letters and backgrounds very easily.

* * * * * * * * * *
Week #13
This work was done by Becky Hughes in San Antonio in 2016 for the session “Exploring the Book as a New Structure”, in PRIMITIVE TO MODERN. In her own words:
The text for the book is a quote which Reggie gave to the class from “Anam Cara” by John O’Donahue: “The human heart is a theater of longing.” The text refers to the urgency of this longing.

I decided to use sharp angled lines on the cover and most of the pages. When closed, the book reveals part of a photo of a rocky shoreline with deep crevasses. The photo seemed to express the angst of the quote and also set the limited palette for the book, mostly black, white and grey.
I also liked the calligraphic appearance of the shadows and texture of the stones in the photo.

In the later pages, the shapes are less harsh, more curvilinear and the transparencies, which were made from Reggie’s stained glass images, lend a somewhat dreamlike sense to the book. I made limited use of colored and textured paper to give some relief to the harsh palette. The overlapping shapes of the pages were meant to conceal and reveal the text which is repeated as the pages are turned.

Click Here for Video
* * * * * * * * * *

* * * * * * * * * *

The answers to most of your questions regarding “Primitive to Modern” or “26 Seeds: a Year to Grow” can be found through the main page at the web www.reggieezell.com .
There are now NO openings left for 2017!
Consult coordinators in those cities to see if there are openings for individual students in those classes.

You can contact me directly at contactreggie@comcast.net  or 773-202-8321


Buy Now

Click to see several short (free) Calligraphy videos: http://www.youtube.com/reggieezell 

Purchase the DVD:

Full length calligraphy videos by Reggie:


PORTFOLIOS of individual calligraphic styles and GUIDELINES FOR CALLIGRAPHY.
 Click here for descriptions.