Week #1
This work was done by Carolyn Lueders in Boston, in class during the last session, 2011 "Experiencing the Book as a New Structure". In her own words:

“The human heart is a theater of longing” I was not relating heavily to this particular quote, but when Googled, I found whole excerpts from John O’Donohue’s book that fleshed out the meaning for me in a really helpful way. So when it came time to go to the copy shop, I armed myself with a load of digital options both personal and copyrighted. The book was only for my personal use and when I thought of longing and connection, Picasso and Van Gogh (among others) hollered out. Reggie, thanks for the beautiful stained glass images as well.

The copy shop experience was very worthwhile for me because I tend to stay away from modern technology.

I was determined to complete as much as possible during class knowing that I would probably not take the time to work on it once class was over, so I took it all home Saturday night. This allowed me to formulate some ideas for the cover and for page layouts. Much of those ideas changed during class on Sunday, but those extra hours enhanced the Sunday process.

Somehow, I could not find a way to incorporate transparencies or the textured papers into my final, much as I loved them. And I have more images to include, too. Generally, I did not attain as much of a non-verso/recto feeling as I would have liked; for me, all of the previous would require way more additional time and thought. Attaching the binding cloth to the pages was fun once you got used to the pernicious behavior of the gaffer’s tape!

11.5x18in, book board, gaffer’s tape, white gel pen, glue stick.
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Week #2
This work was done by Gail Turgeon in Boston, in class during the last session, 2011 "Experiencing the Book as a New Structure". In her own words:

The typical book is experienced sequentially: we begin with page one, proceed to two, and so on. The books produced in the sixth class of Primitive to Modern were anything but typical. The words and their images unfold more like a flower than a printed volume. Pages, which partially obscure and partially reveal other pages, can open from the right, the left, the top, and the bottom of the book’s base.

Step one involved constructing this base. We were given a rectangle of gator board measuring 17 1/2 by 11 ½ inches.“ Using a template and our electric drills, we drilled two holes on the left and right ends of the board. On one side of any page we planned to affix to the base, we added gaffer tape, taping two pieces together and simultaneously sandwiching1/2 inch of our image between the pieces. We punched holes in these gaffer tape binding which corresponded to the holes of the book’s platform. Pages of the book could be now joined to the base using screws and posts.

Where to go from here was the question. I answered it with a picture of our galaxy taken by the Hubbell telescope. This photo, reproduced on an 11 by 17 inch piece of paper, would serve as the last page of my book. From this point, I assembled the pages which would precede this final image.

The text of our book is an excerpt from Anam Cara by John O’Donohue. We were asked to take the first line of the excerpt, “The human heart is a theatre of longing,” and to break in into three segments. Each of these segments would become sections of our book, and each section must include at least four layers. When creating a book with this process, it is important to remember layering. The individual leaf is part of a something bigger as well as an image in itself. Our pages were constructed, for the most part, using photos of stained glass that were reproduced in color and black and white on both paper and transparencies. We also added acrylic gel medium to various papers, thus creating textured materials to use in the project.

I liked how overlapping hearts created spaces of interest into which I could insert text or parts of text. For example, noting that the worked heart contained the word art allowed me to position the text “the human heart” in such a way as to reveal this inner word.

My cover was fashioned using black mat board that I textured with the acrylic medium and cut into spaces to represent the top and bottom of a heart. The bottom overlaps the top when closed, forming another heart shape.

What I completed in Boston is but a chapter in my book. The longing to create is eternal, for it originates in the human heart.

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Week #3
This work was done by Eileen McAllister in Boston, in class during the last session, 2011 "Experiencing the Book as a New Structure". In her own words:

"The human heart is a theatre of longing," were the words of John O'Donohue that Reggie gave us during our weekend session of "The Book as a New Structure." The experience he orchestrated was interesting, fun, confusing, frustrating, chaotic and mysterious, and frequently several of those things at once. Sometimes it was a little like a treasure hunt or game--our collecting of materials carefully laid out on the back tables, the directions to do and measure certain things without knowing exactly why the instructions were important, the choosing of color prints or transparencies before some plan formed in our minds--leading to an understanding of how his Everest book evolved.

My book, in process, is 17 1/2" x 11 1/2" closed and 36 3/4" x 11 1/2" open. So far, I've used some of my photographs, printed at my local Staples, and some of Reggie's beautiful stained glass photos, as well as some Hubble images. I started with the idea of using one of my flower center images toward the beginning of the book, and a close up of a tree trunk ring toward the back. I remembered something about heartwood as being the center part of a tree and that made a loose connection with the quote for me. I thought those images would also lend themselves to a feeling of motion and movement which I liked as a metaphor for longing. With those wisps of ideas, I and my classmates cut, glued, drilled, hole punched and taped all weekend!

After a few days at home, I looked at the book again and was surprised that some new ideas occurred to me. I also realized that setting up the book with the pegs and playing with the sequencing reminded me of an animation class I had taken many years ago, and that the last minute cutting and arranging I had done in class with the words was a lot like the hand work I did with type when I was a graphic designer. While I was in class, I knew something felt familiar about parts of the work, but couldn't put my finger on it until a couple of days passed.

One tip for anyone else who has a lot of corrugated to cut on a curve--my Tajima LC-501 utility knife with the snap off blade worked great as I worked on my intricate cover mock-up!

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Week #4
This work was done by Dave Flattery in Boston, in class during the last session, 2011 "Experiencing the Book as a New Structure". In his own words:

This was done during the last weekend of the Primitive to Modern year long course. The title "Experiencing the Book as a New Structure" could , and should , be interpreted in two ways. On the obvious structural side , the book opened up from both sides and the pages were not all the same size nice neat rectangles. On the not so obvious side the "story" didn't unfold in a normal sequence. The book became an adventure of discovery, We all used the same quote "The human heart is a theatre of longing.", In my case , not until opening the three pages that made up the cover , then two more inside pages, was the word "heart" revealed,,not until opening two more pages did you get to read "the human".
Reggie gave us a disc of images taken from close up photos of stained glass. We used those images to make color and black and white copies on paper and transparencies for our book pages. Through shapes, cut outs, textures and transparencies the reader was drawn into the book..never seeing everything at once and being anxious to see what was coming next..
Actually assembling the book was a whole different aspect. Reggie gave us very specific instructions for this book . If you have never made multiples of anything that needed to be assembled from parts it was a great eye opener. If you keep an open mind and use your imagination you could take concepts from class and create your own jigs , patterns and templates for your own projects with your own dimensions.

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Week #5
This work was done by Claire Griffin in Boston, the fourth class session in 2011: "DESIGN: Deconstructing the Grid". In her own words:

This piece was done as homework for Reggie’s Boston Primitive to Modern class. After working on the in-class project, I was excited about returning back to my desk at home to start another piece on my own. I inserted the cd of stained glass images Reggie handed out at the end of the weekend into my laptop. The images were incredible, and I must admit, a bit overwhelming, with so many to choose from I had to take a moment to just think about what I wanted to do. After working on some ideas I came up with the quote, “Each day comes bearing its own gifts. Untie the ribbons.” I then returned to the overwhelming stained glass selection on the cd and picked out the colors and textures I thought would work, especially a gorgeous red/blue mix that I chose for the ribbons. Then came the really fun part. I got out my waxed piece of Arches paper (thanks to my great classmate, Eileen!). I took the exacto knife and said to myself, “Let the cutting begin!” And begin it did. By cutting and “exploding” the image piece by piece, the image became more and more alive and glowing like a stained glass window. WOW!

I lettered the quote with a B3 nib and copied it in different sizes, choosing a layout that felt right to me and cleaned up the edges, sharpening everything with my 005 pigma. I wanted to achieve the shadow effect when I photographed the piece, so I took little rubber spacers and raised the lettering that I had cut out and trimmed with @1/16th” of white all around. I also trimmed out some of the counters so the background would show through. Using the hot foil pen that I ordered on ebay (cost more to ship than the price, but it was worth it!) I added the foil dots as an accent and let them flow between the quote and the Earth, plus some larger silver and red dots for good measure. DONE... not quite.

Now to photograph the piece and achieve that magic effect that Reggie inspired us to seek was much harder than I expected. But with my trusty lights camera and step stool I found the effect I was looking for, as pictured here. I printed the piece on a good quality, heavyweight photo paper and then breathed. DONE... really.
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Week #6
This work was done by Lois Rossiter in 2011 in Boston for the fourth month's class "Primitive to Modern". In her own words:

"Still working on the grid...and off it: simulated purple-dyed vellum via paste paper and pigments; graphite pencil; Schminke gold pan watercolor ; ruling pen; ball point nib; Fons & Porter white pencil; Prismacolor pencils. Writings of Robert Henri; 8 x 10 "

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Week #7
This is a work I did myself last year for the fourth month's class "Primitive to Modern". It serves as a teaching example for the
processes, techniques, and materials used in this project: background watercolor manipulated in computer, watercolors, sumi ink,
Dr. Martins Bleed proof White, mica powders, pastels, "B" nibs, pointed nibs, brushes, spray fix, acrylics, 23 kt. gold leaf, lemon gold, shell gold, 9" x 12".

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Week #8
This work was done by Victoria Langsford in 2011 in Atlanta. Her web site is:  http://www.victorialansford.com/

In here own words:

The Falcon

Eastern repousse bound, one of a kind, long stitch book
Copper, hand lettered and mixed media over printed photo montages of original collages

5-3/8" long x 3-3/8" wide x 1-5/8" high

Ancient alchemists sought to transmute the plain into the precious. My modern day version of that quest similarly seeks to transform the simple into the complex...the mundane into the beautiful...the ordinary into the extraordinary. Materials unformed, crafted into two or three dimensional explorations of time and space, express the vulnerability and passion of the human spirit, paradoxically contained within the seemingly timeless elements of metal and mineral.

This project was extremely significant to me because it represents the complete merging of my metal and my calligraphy worlds in a single inseparable work. Until 2011 those worlds remained seemingly discreet ever vying for my time and attention. Since completing The Falcon, I feel far less divided as a maker of things.

I created the relief on the front cover of The Falcon using an ancient Egyptian technique called, Eastern repousse. This technique involves the raising or pushing out of shapes from sheet metal by alternately hammering the front and back with specialized tools over semi flexible materials for support. THERE ARE NO MOLDS OF ANY KIND. It's just my design, my tools, and me.

For the book cover I first hammered the entire design on the front on the sheet with a line tool, which looks like a dull chisel. Next I hammered the metal from the back with oval shaped tools with the metal sitting on a block of plasticine for support. It took approximately 7 rounds of this back and forth hammering to get the height and shape of the wing. In between each round I annealed the piece by heating it with an acetylene torch to about 1100ºF to return the metal to a malleable state.

To achieve the look of the letters sitting on top of the wing, I first delineated their outlines from the front with my line tool while the piece was supported from underneath by warmed pitch (pine tree resin) so that the echo marks of the line tool would allow me to see the letters' location from the back side of the metal. Next I put the piece face down on plasticine again to hammer the letters out from the back with the oval shaped tools. It took four rounds of hammering this way from the back to achieve the height of the letters, again annealing in between in each round.

One I had puffed out the letters, I began hammering the metal from the front over pitch with tiny rounded tools and the line tool to create the details of the feathers and the peaks and valleys of the word, Falcon. This final step of refining the shapes and letters took days. Eastern repousse is a long but rewarding process that cannot be duplicated by any other smithing technique.

The text of the book is William Butler Yeats' politically charged poem, The Second Coming. I used Photoshop to create a continuous digital montage from larger mixed media collages and drawings that I had previously created and printed it on Arches hot press watercolor paper using an Epson R1900 ink jet printer. I used various paints and pastels to enhance the printed images then lettered the poem over the top in the Carolingian hand and variations of it with Japanese stick inks and a snipped Brause EF66 nib. As always, there was much spray fixing in between the steps.

I bound the book as a long stitch French fold with glassine that folds down over each right page to protect the pages from rubbing against each other. The spine is made of copper leafed handmade paper to match the covers. I attached the copper covers by folding the edges of them over the extended tabs of the book block's stitched spine.
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Week #9
This work was done by Nita Padamsee in 2011 in Boston for the second session's homework, "Lettering on Vellum". In her own words:

Man's relationship with trees transcends the beauty, form and canopy they provide, among a multitude of other things. It is a deep symbiotic relationship by which we are connected & in fact, what we inhale, the trees exhale & what we exhale, they inhale!

When I came across this verse by Kahlil Gibran, I was so moved by the poignant beauty that his words evoked about mans wanton waste by felling down trees to immortalize their empty miseries that it felt so apt for this assignment. It would have been ironic if this piece were rendered on ‘crushed bark’ rather than on calf skin vellum.

The assignment was to combine word & image on calf skin vellum. All the color is done with W & N gouache. For the gold I used 23K patent gold that I had bought in 1988. I have found it easier to use than loose leaf gold. Waste is minimized & static electricity doesn’t play any part in the gold flying away!! It is believed to be not as “shiny” as loose leaf, but when you are covering a small area, one doesn’t see that difference at all.

Ah, the OptiVISOR! I had bought it & it was sitting for over a week on my steps, in its unopened box. I guess I was not ready to admit to myself that I was not young anymore & needed it badly. However, once I put it on, there was no turning back! Size: 3 1/2 X10 in.

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Week #10
This work was done by Jan Boyd in Boston in 2011 for the first session's homework, "Blackletter: Modernizing a Traditional Calligraphic Hand". In her own words:

This piece was done as homework for the second session of Primitive to Modern. After being introduced to many variations of Gothic lettering during the first weekend of class - from traditional to very modern and swashy - the challenge was to do a piece incorporating some variations. Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah seemed to me to be a perfect vehicle, a relatively modern lyric with an ancient theme. The lettering was done with sumi ink on Arches 140 # hot pressed paper, the image was then inverted in Photoshop and printed onto Arches Text Wove. Size: 9 X12 in.

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Week #11
This work was done by Lynda Jolly in Tulsa in 2010 for the fifth session "Design: Deconstructing the Grid". In her own words:

This piece is one that pushed the boundaries of “comfortable” and is not something I would have done on my own. However, with “gentle” encouragement from you-know-who, it was fun to do. Using a mirror image of the quote, I also contrasted colors and line-types. Of course, there were not enough gold dots, so I continued to add, and add, and add… I like the lettering style and have used it again; I did have to purchase a waxer so I can make my own backings for this kind of art. Techniques and knowledge learned in Reggie’s classes last forever and, as a result, there is always more stuff that I need (want?). Thanks, Reggie!?

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Week #12
This work was done by Eugenia Uhl in New Orleans in 2010 for the fourth session, "Primitive ti Modern". In her own words:

I love art nouveau designs and decided that was what I wanted to use
for the design on my red vellum. I copied a piece of a larger design
from a book called Art Nouveau Designs. I chose the word poppies,
because the design reminded me of poppies. The letters were based on
some that I saw in a Charles Rennie MacKintosh book about flowers. I
drew the lines around the words and the symbol to unify the piece.
I loved it and it is sadly missed.
Oh and the symbol was in raised gold using instacol and 23 karat gold
leaf. And the word/lines were done with that japanese gold that comes
in the shallow dish. I chose that because it was a little darker.

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Week #13
This work was done by Bonnie Houser in San Antonio in 2008 in the fifth session "Design: Deconstructing the Grid". In her own words:

This was my last piece of homework accomplished in Reggie's Primitive to Modern class, 2008. In addition to
using the photocopied papers used in previous assignments, I supplemented them with other collage papers
from my "stash". The shapes were inspired by the quote itself and by studying some postcards of artwork by
Hundertwasser. One in particular, "The Path From You Back To Me", gave me the domed shape to work
with. It also had a "hand" and a "circle" in it... so therefore a hand and circle was included and became parts
of a morphed human??? I knew I needed some white space for the lettering (brush) and additional white was
added as detail in areas I'm sure the "bulls eye" was not the best placement choice.. oh well... forever learning .
The whole process became a joyous adventure...

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Week #14
This work was done by Bob Zuranski in Chicago in 2009 for the first session "Blackletter: Modernizing aTraditional Calligraphic Hand".
In his own words:

“My original thought for this project was to create a simple three layer layout where each layer was on its own plane. In this case the three planes were plates of glass. A fourth panel of black acetate served as a back drop. The panels were spaced one half inch apart and mounted on a cedar 2 x 6.

The predominant panel was the largest one, placed behind two subordinate smaller panels. Fractura (or a reasonable facsimile thereof) was used on each panel. The lettering was done on a scrap of Fabriano and taped face-down onto a sheet of contact paper which was adhered to the back side of the glass panel. Letters were cut out on my light table with 30 x-acto blades, 7 bandaids and a gallon of brandy. I remember it as a happy project. The etched letters were colored with gold colored pencil; it was easier and more cost efficient then using Rub n Buf.

The obvious contrasting elements included letter size, weight, orientation and pattern. The less obvious contrasting elements included overlapping subordinate layers vs the unobstructed predominant layer and using the glass edges of the subordinate layers to interrupt each other vs using them to define the text area of the predominant layer.

‘Grace’ is the theme of the piece and each layer represents a separate thought in that theme.”

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Week #15
This work was done by Corinna Taylor in Chicago in 2009 for the second session, "Lettering on Vellum". In her own words:
It’s approx 5 x 7, sumi ink and 23k gold leaf on vellum. I used Instakoll. The pebbly texture comes from forgetting to dilute it first. The Hebrew letters were inspired by the work of Ismar David, and strongly resemble the Jerusalemite style based on the Dead Sea Scrolls, about the time of Hillel.

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Week #16
This work was done by Chris Orsolini in Kalamazoo in 2009 for the first session, "Blackletter: Modernizing a Traditional Calligraphic Hand". In her own words:

This piece was done on a sheet of paste paper I'd made some years ago. The variations of background color were formed by laying wet sheets of paper over the lightly colored page and stenciling the shapes by going over those areas with deeper colors.
We'd been practicing different forms of Gothic lettering in class. The text, from Hamlet, seemed to lend itself well to the letter forms. I used a different variation in each of the sections of the paste paper, including dark letters over the dark center of the page.
I used McCaffery's black ink in a Parallel Pen for the larger black letters, and dropped a little McCaffery's black (not sumi) into the red. I used sumi ink for the black-on-black section. For the letters on the left section I dabbed black onto the corner of the nib filled with diluted red. 13" x 19".
Chris Orsolini
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Week #17
This work was done this year by Victoria Lansford in Atlanta for the first session, "Blackletter: Modernizing a Traditional Calligraphic Hand". In her own words:


"Learning can only happen when a child is interested. If he's not interested, it's like throwing marshmellows at his head and calling it eating." - Barbara Lamping

These have been words for me to live by in the journey of unschooling (child led homeschooling) our 12 year old son, Skyler, so I wanted to create a complex piece using this quote. My first idea was to take a photo while throwing marshmellows at Skyler. While the results were comical and memorable (and tasty, according to him) , they lacked a certain clarity. Instead I opted to draw a portrait, based on a photograph I'd taken of Skyler last year.

I'd recently seen the images of a re-discovered portrait probably by Leonardo da Vinci, which is of a young woman, drawn in ground pigment sticks and ink on vellum and believed to have been cut out of a book. Drawing in ground up homemade pigment sticks was too involved even for a process junky like me, so I created the original drawing in Prismacolor and graphite on goatskin vellum. The process was incredibly fun! Friction from drawing causes the wax base of the pencils to meld like hard oil pastels, and the translucence of the vellum adds a luminosity to the pigmented areas. I scanned the image and extended the color of the vellum in Photoshop so that the image would be wide enough to fit behind the lettering. I printed it out on Arches hot press watercolor paper with an Epson R1900.

I lettered the original quote in stick ink on Nideggan paper and traced the outlines of the lettering, adjusting the spacing and line breaks to make the letters touch wherever possible, and adding flourishes and connections as needed. After scanning and enlarging the lettering, I transferred it to Arches black cover paper and began the long slow process of cutting out the counters, negative spaces, and finally the window for the portrait with an X-acto knife. Although this paper was a good choice for strength, it was not easy to get clean cuts. I had to go back and recut each interior corner to remove the fuzzy fibers that clung onto almost every letter. I placed small pieces of cover paper on the backs of some letters and flourishes to make the lettering paper stand up off the portrait paper. I secured the portrait behind the lettering with gummed linen tape.

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Week #18

This work was done by Maria-Helena Hoksch in New Orleans in 2010 for the first month's

class "Modernizing a Traditional Calligraphic Hand". In her own words:

White on Black in Gothic Script 10"x7", Dr. Martin's white on Black Canson paper,
speedball C nib, pointed pen.
This is the first bit of homework I ever did for Reggie's class. It
was done after first month class, after exploring Gothic variations.
So this is my version of Gothisized Italic. I had decided to take at
least an hour to create a piece of homework for the next class, as I
had seriously promised myself I would do homework this time around. So
I sat down one night, too lazy to create even a draft or initial
layout, I just played around with my pen, and that's what came out
that day. No planning was involved whatsoever. The quote is obviously
a part of a famous saying from Bible that drifted into my mind.
Interestingly, I think sometimes we just have to create something
mindless to get the creative juices flowing, to prepare for something
more serious and devoted to come. That is what this piece did for me.
There was much more homework to come. So that's why I really treasure
this worthless little thing...

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Week #19
This work is by Jo Miller in New Orleans in 2010 from the last session, "Experiencing the Book as a New Structure". In her own words:

One of the great things about Reggie is that he pushes his students outside of the box, sometimes while they are kicking and screaming to stay within the comfort of that box (haha). But once outside, you realize how confined and uncomfortable that box really was.

One of these experiences for me was the task of creating 'the book'. Now don't get me wrong, I love 'me some book making'. But this was not a the usual book construction and these were not the usual supplies and the quote, well . . . But then Reggie gave a little more about the origin of that quote and I loved the line ...There is a divine restlessness in the human heart, and from there I embraced the project.

The book was constructed to open from each side allowing the content to be discovered through the layers. Words are partially revealed through the journey allowing the meaning to grow in the viewer's mind.

Materials: 1/2" foam core, black matt, lace papers, stain glass images, galaxy images, and abstract Photoshop designs printed on fine velvet art paper, gaffer's tape and hardware to bind the pages.

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Week #20
This work is by Lois Rossiter in Boston in 2011 from the fourth session, "Primitive to Modern". In her own words:

Inspired by the class demonstrations of using 'borrowed' images and working the grid from another perspective, I chose a line from Alice in Wonderland: " Either the well was very deep or she fell very slowly, for she had plenty of time as she went down to look about her and to wonder what was going to happen next."
Inkjet print of Internet image imported into Photoshop, warp filter; printed on watercolor-washed arches text wove paper; Bleedproof white; B6 nib; Prismacolor pencils; Schminke Aquarelle silver; 4 x 10"

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Week #21
This work was done by Nita Padamsee in Boston in 2011for the third session, "Illumination on Vellum". In her own words:

Asked by Reggie to render our version of the Codex Aureas, I used the words IMAGINE & PEACE. My inspiration was John Lennon’s song ‘Imagine.’ For me it was only appropriate to render this in true 70’s style!

It was a fun project, but extremely challenging to cover the word ‘Imagine’

with gold. The piece is approximately 11” X 6.5”, done on calf skin vellum.

For the gold, I first applied gesso and then the instacol, before laying down the gold leaf. You have to make sure that the instacol covers all the gesso by using the OptiVisor or a magnifier. In spite of that, laying down the gold so that it would adhere to the instacol was tricky to say the least. I had to apply several layers of gold and still had a hard time making the gold stick. Personally, I prefer just using the instacol without the gesso. In this case however, I wanted to have the word ‘Imagine’ have a ‘raised’ look and therefore put down the gesso as the first layer.

The color work was done with Winsor & Newton gouache and I used the black Micron marker for the outlines. I used a ruling pen for the lines of the staff.

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Week # 22
This work was done by Janell Wimberly in Dallas this year. In her own words:

A major church in Dallas has sponsored a juried art exhibit for the last 5 years, and I have managed to pursue the creative muse and come up with entries for the last four years. This year over 150 pieces were entered to vie for the 94 spaces available, paintings, drawings, sculpture even video presentations were entered.
The themes are always chosen from Biblical references, and this year it was the "Passion and the Promise", revolving around the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ. Three themes and Bible verses are offered to chose from.
They always give plenty of notice, several months, but I just couldn't get the themes in mind or "see" my vision. I had just about given up; but while preparing to teach a class about "writing in the round" I started practicing and just happened to try using the seven last statements that Christ uttered while on the cross. As I practiced and played with the blocky gothic letters, I realized that I had "found my muse"!
Keeping with the theme of royalty, passion and death, I would have wanted to dye vellum the rich purple that Reggie has showed us in his teachings. Well, no vellum, so I opted to dye some Arches Text Wove to mimic the dyed vellum... hmmm not bad... I like it!
I used Dr. Martin's bleed proof white and several pen nibs from automatics to Mitchells to execute each letter size on it's individual "round". The theme, of course, is "He Is Risen" and I chose to do that boldly using instacol and 24K patent gold.... Now we're cookin'!
The more I worked it, the more excited I got about the effect and result! The "cross" was kept simple and rough, a darker purple stain. The mats were cut specifically to accommodate the extensions of the cross
Although it didn't win top prize for the theme I'd chosen (The Cross), it was accepted and then won one of the 13 coveted "special award" spots. It was good to show everyone that calligraphy IS an ART and not just for addressing envelopes!
Couldn't help but think it would have fit right in with the classes on using gold and Gothic letters that Reggie is presently teaching.

The Last Words of Christ

Janell Wimberly

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Week #23
This work was done by Tina Cronkite in 2009 in Kalamazoo in the fourth session, "Primitive to Modern". In her own words:

The size for mine is around 10 x 22. I used bleach with the Ruling Writer pen on black Arches for the alphabet for the first round. Then rubbed pastels in between the letters. I love the way the color pops! Then added the “Zentangly” marks with pen and also added colored pencil. The whole piece was pretty spontaneous, testing how pastels work on black, bleach…

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Week #24
This piece, which I titled "The Straight Line is a Man-Made Danger," (a direct quote from Hundertwasser) was inspired by Hundertwasser, an Austrian artist of pre- and post-WW II. I've admired his work for a long time, since it's a very spirited combination of art and architecture. The assignment was to use a grid, and I had a comic book sort of grid in mind. I began with very loose pen and ink (I drew with black acrylic ink, using the dropper that came in the bottle as my "pen" ) drawings of faces, thinking sort of self portraits, though they're really not recognizable as such. And then I added the rice papers over that, using a thin coating of watered down Golden acrylic matte medium as my adhesive, because it can be written or painted on without disturbing what's underneath it. Then I added the watercolor parts of the faces and the words. I did the lettering, such as it is, with a #6 Mitchell nib and the same black acrylic ink, writing over the rice papers. The surface was rather rough and helped me get the wild look I wanted. And I used primarily my own handwriting as the lettering style, because I felt that it best suited the self portraits and the text. The text is excerpted from some writings and lectures by Hundertwasser, in which he expresses his belief that the straight line is unnatural and ungodly. At one point in his career, he designed the facades of a number of mid-century institutional concrete buildings, adding bright colors and curving lines that make the buildings appear to be works of art. Those were the inspiration for my concentric wavy lines around the faces. All in all, I found the assignment great fun, and I found it an enjoyable challenge to try to do something of my own but in the style of an artist I admire. Size: 10 x 15.

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Week #25
This work is by Carol Gray in Atlanta this year for the second session, " Writing on Vellum". In her own words:

At our second Primitive to Modern Class, Reggie had a lovely assortment of vellum off-cuts for purchase, and something about the 30" long, irregularly-shaped one really appealed to me. It reminded me of a mountain range and I loved the subtle coloration. It is 9" tall at the highest point and 5" tall at the lowest.

One of our assignments was to make a book, and I have always loved accordion books for their ability to display the whole book but also divide it up comfortably...so I thought I could fold the vellum into four panels. In hindsight, I probably should have tried it with a thinner piece of vellum, as the piece I have is quite thick and tends to have a mind of its own!

Reggie had encouraged us to choose subject matter that we felt passionate about, so I decided to turn my book into a sort of journal and write about the pond we have in our backyard. Since I wanted to do a mock-up, the first thing I did was trace my vellum piece onto a sheet of Parsons Diploma paper and then began laying out the wording on that. I love miniature illustrations, so I researched pictures of dragonflies, water lilies, frogs, goldfish and pitcher plants. After sketching the illustrations in, I began writing around them, using my most comfortable gothic style and black Moon Palace Sumi ink. After the writing was completed, I went back and used watercolor pencils to color in the images. Once the mock-up was completed, I turned to the actual vellum.

I wanted a look that was reminiscent of an old document, so I decided to use burnt sienna ground pigment to letter with.
On a small piece of test vellum, I tried the watercolor pencils but wasn't as happy with the results (perhaps if I had treated those areas of the vellum a bit differently? Wiped them down? Sanded them a bit more?) So, I decided to use fairly dry, iridescent watercolors to color in the illustrations. It looks more subtle than the original mock-up but I was ok with the results.

The large H at the beginning of the journal is 23kt patent gold leaf. The book boards for the cover were cut in the same irregular shapes as the vellum and then covered with some light green Hahnemuehle paper. The title was written on the Parsons paper, in Walnut ink with some Dr. Martins green ink dropped into it while wet, to give it a variegated effect. The edges of the paper were torn. This was then mounted onto the light green paper.

This was my first experience writing on a large sheet of vellum, but it won't be my last. I've learned quite a bit and I've already purchased another piece for my next project! I am glad that Reggie challenges us with these homework assignments!

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Week #26
This work was done by Marijo Carneyin 2009 in Kalamazoo for the first session "Modernizing a Traditional Calligraphic Hand: Blackletter".
In her own words:


It was January 2009, and the gloom and doom of the economic recession seemed to surround me at every turn. In response, I created this layered collage piece to reflect the spirit of the times and what I was feeling.

I used a piece of round handmade paper to represent our world and placed it on a 17” x 11” rectangle of thin Japanese made paper that had gestural marks as part of the paper. I used colored pencils to make letters in a variety of earthen tones to surround my paper “world” with the headlines of the most current Wall Street Journals. I added a round piece of white D’Arches hot press paper with torn edges behind the “world” so the lettering would have more contrast and thus be more readable. All this was placed on a piece of dark grey Canson paper 14” x 22” with edges torn before framing. (This grey Canson is not visible in this photo)

Using an exacto knife, I cut the word “hope” out of black paper, sprayed the back of it with water, wrinkled it, and glued the now 3 dimensional word to the composition to convey the feeling that my “hope” was battered.

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Week #27
This work was done by Victoria Lansford in Atlanta this year for the second session, "Writing on Vellum". In her own words:

"Don't Panic"
One of the joys of having a child who is geeky like his mom is getting to share and enjoy again some of my favorite bits of British humor. My son and I now trade bits of these comedies back and forth (or I should say I quote them, and then he corrects me right down to the exact accent and intonation of how they are "supposed" to be said). One of our favorites is the line from Douglas Adam's book and TV series The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, which describes the guide's being popular because, "It has the words Don't Panic inscribed in large friendly letters on its cover."

Of course rather than being a sacred manuscript on vellum, to survive traveling through the galaxy the Hitchhikers Guide is supposedly like a 1970's concept of a Kindle and is regarded by spaceship stowaways as something of a cross between a Bible and a Lonely Planet Guide. My goal was to juxtapose these very different concepts of holding onto the comfort of books in the face of our fears of the unknown.

To me the spontaneity and fluidity of lettering that can be done with a Pentel Brush Pen equals large and friendly, so I used one for the lettering design for the gilding and lettered around this area my favorite passage from the book about humans and our obsession with our lack of happiness. The piece is on a 9" x 12" sheet of goatskin vellum with a quill used on the Carolingian, a snipped EF66 on the vertical lines of text, and a Gillot 303 on the flourishing. The materials were dry pigments (all the text), 23k patent gold ("Don't Panic"), watercolor (around the gilding), pastel dust (the top and bottom bars of muted color), and Finetec gouache (filigree flourishiing over the bars of pastel dust). It is a gift for my son.

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Week #28
This work was done by Reggie Ezell this year in Chicago for the fourth session "Primitive to Modern". In his own words:

In two of my favorite films, Charlie Chaplin's City Lights and Charles Dickens's Great Expectations we are asked to look deeper than we might want, to discover who our true "benefactors" are in life. Throughout my 30 years of travels, teaching, and staying in households there have been more "angels" than I can number. This quote, Hebrews 13:2, has had continued resonance in asking me not only to discover the nature of the soul who stands before me, but question who I might be as well.
The background started as a watercolor wash. I took a digital photo of it, then did extensive manipulation of it in iPhoto. It is printed on archival paper with pigmented inks on an Epson 4880 printer. During the process of doing the work several watercolor glazes were applied.
The image of the angel is a sculpted acrylic base with two gold leafs applied: 24 karat loose and lemon. The bands of "Strangers" and "Angels" have multiple layers of smooth acrylic base gilded with moon gold, a deep rich pewter color, and atop it is stippled a textured lemon gold.
The lettering is based on a typeface by Renee McIntosh, done with B nib, pointed nib, and Dr. Martin's Bleed proof White.
The design process I teach in my Year Long Classes, the use of transparencies atop one another to make decisions, was employed here.
It was a relief to finally do this quote myself after so many years of assigning it to my students!
Size 13 x 15

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Week #29
This work was done by Claire Griffin in Boston this year in "26 Seeds: A Year to Grow", Session three: Drawn and Pressurized Romans. In her own words:

While attending Reggie's 26 Seeds Class here in Boston I've been surrounded by ROMANS.
I have drawn them with pencil, pressurized them, monolined and studied them in every imaginable shape and size.
I've tried to save Romans in need of TLC. I've performed autopsies on Romans that I killed with too much pressure, not enough body and broken "bones".
The 26 Roman letters have invaded my soul and live in my every waking moment. Let's just say that learning about Romans has been the life and near death of me.

That said, I've decided to incorporate one of my other favorite things into a new twist on my beloved Romans.
Using techniques from "Zentangles" (thanks to Maria Thomas) I decided to start "tangling" my letters.
I drew the letter with a pencil, then ran a line through it to create spaces.
Using a micron (01 or 005), I filled the spaces with different patterns and words, just letting the design build itself.
I've done 7 of the 26 letters so far, and each time I finish one I feel like I've created something special.

The Letters "A" and "B" were picked for this post.
A nice start to what I hope will be a very creative relationship.
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Week #30
This work was done by Elissa Barr this year in Boston In "26 Seeds: a Year to Grow", Session three Drawn and Pressurized Romans. In her own words:

While I was practicing my drawn Romans I had done a number of them on
tracing paper and they were loosely piled up on my table. I became
intrigued by the way the letters were overlapping. So since this was
all a "jumble" on my desk, I started playing with the word "jumble",
creating more and more overlaps of the letters. First I was using
tracing paper, then I put them on transparencies and later I scanned
them into Photoshop Elements so that I would be able to print out my
designs with out having to retouch out lines from the transparency
pieces. I printed lots of variations on 8 1/2 x 11 Arches Text Wove
and then chose several to play with. In the first image I painted in
everywhere a letter did not overlap another letter. In the second
image I used shades of gray and red gouache to paint in the letters.

I liked this approach because I drew the letters, created the designs
all by hand and then used the computer to facilitate getting the look
I wanted on the paper. Photoshop also allowed me to tweak the image
size so that the images fit nicely on the 8 1/2 by 11 paper. My
printer is a Canon Image class 480 laser copier.

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Week #31
This work was done by Linda Floyd in Nashville this year for the third session Pressurized and Drawn Romans, in "26 Seeds: a Year to Grow". In her own words:

We were knee deep in Romans when I came across this quote on the internet. I wish I could claim it, but I will have to say I laughed out loud when I saw it and knew I wanted to make it for homework. The quote is a play on words from the old Eric Clapton cover of Bob Marley's classic "I Shot the Sheriff (But I Did Not Shoot the Deputy...)." Given my intimidation of Romans, it expressed my feelings perfectly at the time.

This was a great exercise in drawn Romans for a beginner like me. First I plotted the large 'S' on grid paper, playing endlessly with the placement and structure of the bullet hole. Once I was satisfied I traced the 'S' and placed it on my waxed layout paper. Next came the 1 inch Romans, which I drew on my layout paper, traced, cut out separately, and experimented with various placements around the 'S.' I was happy with the dropped, right justified design, so I traced the whole thing. Next I used Saral to transfer to a large piece of Arches Text Wove. I used Sumi ink and a brush to paint the large 'S', and a Mitchell #2 to VERY CAREFULLY write the 1 inch text. Whew. Talk about nervous! Then I used my trusty EF66 to make the serifs, fill in all the ragged edges, and shape up the large 'S.' The whole piece is approximately 11"x 13".

For something so simple looking, I learned a great deal. This was the first time I had played with layout on waxed paper, the first time I had used Saral transfer paper, the first time to draw Roman letters, and the first time to use an EF66 for exquisitely detailed (and much-needed) touch up.

Now if I could just get that song out of my head...

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Week #32
This work was done by Nita Padamsee in Boston this year for the first session of "26 Seeds: A Year to Grow", Monoline Romans.

In her own words:

This piece which is 7" X 13.5", was done for the first month's assignment for 26 Seeds.

I was at the store Paper Source looking at paper for another homework assignment,

when saw this vibrant wrapping paper. Of course I had to buy it!

On my return home, against the bookshelf in my daughter's room, I came across

this poem. Inspired to "Be Creative" I decided to use it as my background.

Being recently introduced to Neugebauer's work, I chose to use this style for the mono line lettering.

The background was enlarged to 300% on arches text wove and spray fixed before I wrote on it.

Since the original wrapping paper was so vibrant, the contrast and brightness needed some tweaking

(on the copy machine itself) in order for the letters to be legible.

I used a #2 Micron marker for the lighter weight letters and a Sharpie marker for the heavier ones.

I have to give my son credit, as he came up with a math formula that

helped me fit this poem in the line length that I had set.

Yeah! all those math lessons are paying off!!

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Week #33
This work was done by Victoria Lansford in Atlanta this year for the third session, "Illumination on Vellum". In her own words:

One of the challenges I face as a metalsmith is the often monochromatic world in which I work. The shininess of the metal and the gorgeous colors of patinas and stones don't happen until the very end of a piece, so the matte gray (silver), yellow (gold), or orangey pink (copper) of my metal is the only one I can play with for weeks or sometimes months on a single work of art. In a fit of rebellion, I once wrote the illuminated sentence and had drawn the Fraktur letters with the idea of making it into a copper book cover. As I began imagining ideas for a Codex Aurius inspired piece, the sketchy form, taped above my drawing, table jumped out at me to be illuminated.

The top layer is a calfskin vellum off cut. I altered the design to curve in a way that fit the odd shape as well as to soften the rigidity of the blockiness. I laid 2 layers of gesso under 2 layers of Instacol. "Give Me," and the negative space of "Color" and "and" are 23k gold, a layer of patent leaf, topped with a layer of loose leaf. "Light" is 22k Moon Gold. After gilding "Color" I used a tiny piece of SotchBrite pad to randomly sponge on a thin layer of Instacol over the 23k gold and gilded again with Moon Gold to give the word a shimmery effect.

The blues, reds, and blue-black outlines are dry pigments. I laid a line of masking fluid around the whole design and sponged Diane Townsend pastels between the masked line and the edge. The flourished filigree and the dots between the outlines are Finetec gouache with pointed pen.

The image behind the vellum is a Hubble photograph of the Orion Nebula, one of my most favorite things in the universe because of its colors and shapes. In order to keep the piece from looking too flat, I mounted the vellum to Bristol Board with PVA behind the opaque areas to build up the thickness of it before adhering the photograph.

The size and square shape of the piece (7" x 7") were dictated by the requirements of the Participants' Exhibit at the recent Calligraphy Northwest conference in Portland. I was just lucky that piece of vellum would work. Alas, the then not quite finished piece traveled across the country and back with me without being completed or hung. Working on it after the conference was good therapy. Sometimes odd constraints push creativity in positive ways even when they turn out not to have been necessary.

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Week #34
This work was done by Maria Turk in Atlanta this year for the third session "Illumination on Vellum" in PRIMITIVE TO MODERN. In her own words:

“Golden Rules"

Codex Aureus is Latin for Golden Book - my mind translated this to Golden Rules…. I was contemplating that this would be my first true piece using gold on vellum and I wanted something important and lasting to design for it, something worth having as a constant reminder - my own “golden rules” to live by. For two years I have been on a personal journey of self-improvement, a search for a new direction to use and improve my artistic skills, and trying to be mindful to enjoy the ride along the way. Coincidentally this timing paralleled with Reggie Ezell’s classes. As I looked for a quote that would bespeak my quest, I discovered Kevin Ngo’s motivational quote, “Love Life. Do Good. Live Well.” Simply stated, this summed it up.

I prepared the 6" x 9" calfskin vellum using an orbital sander and 220 and 400 sandpapers. I created a layout similar to the Codex Aureus exemplar but with a modern twist – starting with pressurized roman letters, but then enlarged and redefined the shape in my own style. The tree of life, monkeys, and the hour glass were found in clip art then reduced to fit. The gilding was completed first, using Instacol and 23 kt. patent gold leaf. I carefully protected the gold by covering it with tracing paper while rendering the remainder of the design with a very fine Grumbacher 000 brush, an EF66 nib and a Hunt Globe Bowl Pointed 513 EF nib using W&N watercolors and Dr. Ph. Martin’s Bleed Proof White Ink. (I had recently taken a watercolor journaling workshop which may have helped me refine my detailing skills on the monkeys!) Straight edges were accomplished using a ruling pen, parallel bar and triangles.

The red, blue and green borders around the words mimic Ngo’s favicon (favorite icon) from his personal logo. The designs I chose for each set of words had symbolism too:

LOVE LIFE - The Tree of Life idea came from Reggie’s suggested movie “The Fountain”

DO GOOD - The monkeys speak for themselves

LIVE WELL - The hour glass symbolizes Time…Live Well before we run out of it!

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Week #35
This work was done by Lydia Batten in Boston this year for the third session Roman Variations in 26 Seeds: a Year to Grow.
In her own words:

I set out to work on black paper, since I hadn't finished that part of the homework for the June session and still wanted to do it. After finding the Whitman quotation about summer for our Vermont Study group's July project, which coincidentally suited itself to black paper, I set out on my 'journey' to a finished piece. I started on white paper for practice and layout of built up Roman caps (based on what we had played with in the June session and what I was finally reconnecting with from previous studies), then moved to black Strathmore Artagain paper, and then finally, the Arches Cover black. Somewhere along the way I decided I wanted to write black on black to give emphasis to the stark yet rich description in Whitman's poetry. I settled on Ziller's Glossy Black (all the blacks I tried looked great wet, but then, sadly, dried flat...). Since part of working on black paper is to lay down a layer of white first and then apply colors atop it to make them 'pop', I wondered if this would also hold true for black???? Experiments and models followed--several of them! I started out on the Arches cover and immediately made a mistake--as usual! When I tried to scrape it, the paper looked so gouged, I scrapped it. And besides, it seemed to uniformly black. Hmmm, what else did I have for 'black' papers???? I began rifling through the drawer with my hoarded pile of paste papers from years gone by and found this sheet of black Ingres (I believe) paper on which I had attempted a 'night sky' motif. But honestly it was the most hideous paste paper in the collection--truly awful--what made me think that white and pink were good colors to use on black paper for a night sky???? And as I was preparing to put it away, I noticed quite by chance, some interesting bleed-throughs of the white color from that hideous front appearing on the back side. This bleed-through created the subtle changes in black that I had seen in my head, and even the star rubber stamp images I had pressed into the front faintly appeared on the back too, only much more subtly--I experienced a moment of serendipity! I had found my piece of paper! So, this piece measures 12 1/2" x 17", which, I believe, is a half sheet of Ingres paper (within the 11 x 17 I had originally intended for the project).

I spray fixed the back side of the paper, laid down the guide lines, mixed up the white gouache, took MANY deep breaths, then using my drafts as models, began lettering! I used Mitchell 4 nib for the smaller lettering, Mitchell 3 for the mid range size, and Mitchell 2 for the last word 'night', all the while combining both double stroke techniques and pressure to get the effects I wanted. It looked great. I sprayed again, then began applying the Ziller Glossy black with the same series of nibs and strokes (this was much more time intensive). I even surprised myself at how nice it looked. When I came back the next day I saw that the black had crackled... it looked like distressed leather and I thought it would add texture, until, after handling the piece and doing the gilded stars, I saw that the black crackles were flaking off here and there (I think I laid the gouache down too thick underneath). That's when, in frustration, I walked away from the project... and when I came back a few weeks later I did what I knew I had to do--spray fix and add another coat of black (another 2 1/2 hours of work). It paid off though. Then I added more stars, another gilded one using the dame Moon Gold, on top of two layers of Gesso and a coat of Instacoll (I had four and was promptly told it had to be an odd number--4 was the number of death in Japanese design...yikes), and some smaller ones that I applied using a combo of black gouache and WN Iridescent Medium mixed in on top of which I applied Liquitex Pour Acrylic Gloss Medium to give them some shine. The dots in the first lines I created with Golden Glass Bead Gel and a toothpick. Walt Whitman's name on the left side of the lettering was done with the same black/iridescent mix I had used on the stars with a Mitchell 5 nib. I opted to not use the Pour Acrylic on the name--it was too viscous to apply and I wanted the name to be more subtle.

What I learned: yes, white underneath does make the black pop on black paper (just use it a bit thinner); using spray fix during HUMID weather causes problems (if only I'd read the caution on the label!) which this time were to my benefit--the small random flecks of white here and there when I sprayed that second coat on a really hot, humid day created the night texture I was seeking but 'ruined' the pure blackness of the Arches Cover I also sprayed; perseverance pays off, especially in light of unexpected difficulties, and contributes to a very worthwhile learning experience!

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Week #36
This work was done by Dan Mooney in Boston this year for the third session Roman Variations in "26 Seeds: a Year to Grow".  In his own words:
The "Three Passions" piece is 20x30, 24k patent gold and moon gold on top of 3 layers of Instacoll on 110 lb. Farbiano HP watercolor paper. The background is a watercolor wash. I decided to do a bright to dark gradient in the background to enhance the emotions of "love" to "pity". There were no feelings connected to the words of this piece for me.

This was an exercise in discipline and letter form. Realizing that this piece would be one of those pieces you glance at and not read the entire text, I decided to use gold Roman caps to grab attention to the piece and how they danced with the color. For the long text, I used a Uniball Signo broad pigment pen because it is so easy to work with. The layout was done with In-Design on my mac to achieve the justified borders.
This is actually the second version of this piece. The first background was a mixture of the same colors mixed with a thin coat of gesso for some texture and covered with acrylic mediums and a glazing medium. It was beautiful and very shiny. When I applied all the gold on top of the 3 layers of instacoll, it became a lesson on how nicely gold sticks better to a glazing medium than to Instacoll.

Several attempts to remove the stray gold was pure frustration, so I recreated the second piece with background colors using just watercolor, and sprayed with a coat of fixative. Mistakes make me learn so much.

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Week #37
This work was done by Nancy Galligan in Boston this year for the third session "Roman Variations", in 26 Seeds: a Year to Grow. In her own words:
The actual size of this piece of Arches HP watercolor paper is 15" x 18". I had painted the watercolor background onto it years ago. I used gouache for the writing as well as the symbols which have some Schmincke gold added for pop. I used three Speedball B nibs - #2, #4, and #6.

I chose this piece of paper for this homework assignment because of the three distinct colors choices predetermined by the original watercolor wash! It was a challenge to match gouache to the watercolors of the background but the biggest challenge was to figure out how to get this massive amount of text on the page in a pleasing, legible, attractive manner.

I originally thought to write with guidelines but found them too constrictive/restrictive. The letters seemed stagnant to me and I decided to write without guidelines which, I hoped, would result in the liveliness and movement that I imagined for the piece.

I worked my way around and down the page, feeling pretty satisfied, until toward the end of the quote, at about the word LIFE, my paintbrush ejected a big blue blob of paint (where the lower left symbol is now located). Blotting, scraping, erasing - nothing removed it. I finished the quote and set it aside, pretty discouraged.

After a period of time, I came back to it and thought of symbols, a la Koch, as a means to cover the blob and chose some Native American symbols of life, home, hearth, etc. To balance the design, I drew a few to move and dance across the page. I traced the symbols onto the Arches with the Saral transfer paper and painted them in with gouache and the Schmincke gold with my Princeton Monogram brush.

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Week #38
This work was done by Gail Turgeon in Boston this year for the third session "Roman Variations",
in 26 Seeds: a Year to Grow. In her own words:
 This piece was completed as part of the homework for session 3, Roman variations. I liked the monoline font of Hans Burgert in which the S's "recline" and the O's are voluminous compared to the other letters which are quite compressed. I penned the first stanza of Frost's "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" using this font. For contrast and to balance this block of writing, I embossed the word SNOW, using letters created by Tom Perkins.  Then I penned trees "behind" these embossed letters. I liked that the calligraphy, especially the embossing, reinforced the poem's meaning. The large SNOW filled up the space around the penned trees (the woods). Lastly, I wrote the author's name across the bottom to unify the work. All of the writing and drawings were done with a 01 Micron pen.

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Week #39
This work was done by Michael Smith this year in Atlanta for the third session "Illumination on Vellum" in
In his own words:
 Using Reggie's 'great tip' of downloading free "fantastic" images from the Hubble series, I found an image that simply held my attention for its grouping of elements, and still had a relatively consistent color range. I had come across the Abraham Lincoln quote earlier, and wanted to use it in an appropriate setting.
As we were exploring the design techniques of Codex Aureas for home work, I printed the Hubble image on Canson 90 lb drawing paper at 8 1/2" x 11" and spray fixed the ink-jet print before I started.
The line breaks were worked out with several "dry runs" until I found the one I liked best and the size to make them. The ladder was transferred to the print using Saral transfer paper, then the main body of text written out in the Neugebauer style monoline caps using a Speedball B-series pen and Moon Palace sumi ink.
Afterwards, the letters were 'sharpened-up' with a Brause EF66 nib. Dr. Martin's Bleed Proof White was then used to outline the letters and create a drop-shadow for them, as well as an outline for the ladder (around the Saral transfer line). These were then filled in with white color pencil, which just defined the letters and made them jump off the page.
I needed a simple image to represent KINDNESS, which was my theme, so I took a cell-phone pic of my hand and created a line drawing of it, which I sized and transferred (with Saral) to the print. Dr. Martin's B/P White was again employed to make it pop.
K-I-N-D-N-E-S-S was written out between two upward curved lines (to suggest a warm smile) with the negative spaces creating the solids. I then laid down Instacol in these areas to accept the lighter Lemon Gold (loose leaf) that I wanted to use. (I have to admit that I waited too long to apply the gold leaf and had a hard time making it stick.) Nevertheless, I was pretty pleased with the end result.

p.s. I would never have believed that such a "seemingly" simple piece would have so many moving parts, and be as demanding as it was. Great lesson... it looks simple!!!

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Week #40
This work was done by Claire Griffin in Boston for the third session "Roman Variations" in
26 Seeds:  a Year to Grow.  In her own words:
I did this piece as an assignment for gilding on a sculpted base, but as one can see, that empty nest thing was clearly on my mind. Earlier this summer, as if to hammer the nest thing into my brain, a lovely robin built a nest which was perched on above a post on my back porch. Everyday my college bound daughter and I would check on the babies waiting to hatch, much to our enjoyment.

One morning as we were heading out for another round of dorm shopping I caught this moment. The mother robin was just leaving the nest to pickup some nice bugs or berries for her little hatchlings. I grabbed my Iphone (love that camera feature!) and, much to my delight, captured the image that became the background for this piece.

I loaded the image into Photoshop and manipulated the color and texture to enhance it. Printing it on a nice parchment and a nice spray of fixative was the next step. Then came the layout, which was a challenge. I knew I wanted to gild the nest, so I got out the Golden Texture Medium and built up a base on which to lay my instacoll and 24k gold leaf.
 I wanted the lettering to go to the right of the porch pillar, but had to improve the background to hold the letters better. Out came the pastels and my sandpaper. I masked the area around where the letters would go and created a more muted section with those magical pastel powders and my trusty cotton balls. Success!

Now for the gouache and a mitchell nib to do the calligraphy, a bit of a poem from my childhood that I adapted to fit my message. Finally I enhanced the robin with a little gouache and a touch of gold leaf. Finished.

This piece is near and dear to my heart, almost as much as the days raising my daughters, who have flown into adulthood before my eyes. Thanks for looking.

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Week #41
This work was done by Victoria Lansford this year in Atlanta for the third session
"Illumination on Vellum" in PRIMITIVE TO MODERN.
In her own words:
"Piercing the Mundane"
The beauty and complexity of illuminated manuscripts are what have made me always want to learn calligraphy. After Reggie's "Codex Aurius" session, I was at long last able to dive into the process like never before.

Among Reggie's handouts was a copy of an 8th century Spanish manuscript page that was filled with wild vines and animals, wrapped around drawn undulating letter forms. I couldn't stop looking at them and wanted to create my own set of letters based on their quirky lusciousness.

I started with the word 'creativity' as an exercise. When it turned out well, I began looking for quotes in which I could use the design. (Yes, a backwards approach!) I discovered Bill Moyer's quote, "Creativity is piercing the mundane to find the marvelous," and knew instantly on what piece of "pierced" calfskin vellum it would be perfect.

My obsession with drawing the word 'marvelous' in this style kept me company on a long day of rerouted travel after teaching out of town. (Drawing letters is a great way to forget I'm nervous on puddle jumpers.) Many layout sketches. and many many hours later, I had the design that had seemed to come together so quickly in my head.
In my eternal quest for smooth gilding (I'm a metal smith even when I'm working in leaf), I applied a slightly heavy coat of gesso, a coat of Rolco gilding base, and a layer of copper leaf. On top of the copper leaf I applied a coat of instacol, a layer of 23k patent gold and a layer of 23k loose gold leaf. The idea of gilding twice came to me when I had to correct a mistake on a previous piece and noticed how much smoother the result was when the instacol was laid over leaf. I highly recommend this method if you have an extra 3 days to spare. I might even try it again myself one day.

The colors are a combination of dry pigments and watercolors with egg to add a little glossiness and more permanence. The images, showing through the windows in the vellum are from a NASA photo of the Lagoon Nebula with a bit of Photoshopping. I attached pieces of Dura-Lar over the areas of the photo that I'd selected and cut out and then painted light watercolor washes on the film to enhance the depth of the images' colors and make the windows look less like I'd stuck photos behind them

I mounted the vellum with acid free foam core spacers behind the opaque areas and then to a sheet of Art Again paper. I slid the window images underneath and attached them with archival mounting tape.

It was an intense labor of love but one which makes me want to do more.

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Week #42
This Work was done by Eileen McAllister in Boston this year for the third session "Roman Variations"
in 26 Seeds: a Year to Grow.
In her own words:
This piece was done in response to #1 in the assignments for the third month of Reggie's 26 Seeds class. I found the St. Teresa of Avila quote, "Christ Moves Among the Pots and Pans," a while ago and thought I would like to do something with it for this assignment. I pictured it as an illustration of pots and other kitchen items with gilding used for the metallic highlights.

I experimented with small watercolor sketches and some minimal gilding, but had trouble with the composition. At that point, I was using hanging pot racks as source illustration material and the imagery was too modern and floated in the rectangular frame I pictured. I then saw a couple of beautiful black and white photos of old pots and pans on a rugged stovetop by Dorothea Lange in a book of mine, and thought the soft and reflective mood conveyed in the photo matched the words of St. Teresa of Avila.

Putting copyright concerns aside for the moment, I scanned the photo, put it in Photoshop, did just a little bit of alteration and printed it. I fixed the copy with workable fixative and tried to gild, but had a terrible time with the Palladium. I finally gave up and figured I'd bring it to class as is.

I then did a watercolor based on the black and white photo. I had used yellow Saral paper to transfer some reference points of the image. I let some of the yellow show through the paint and liked the way it glowed through the watercolor. I used a limited palette of WN cobalt blue and burnt sienna and when I was satisfied with the painting, I scanned it and printed it on Arches 90# cold press watercolor paper and fixed it with workable fixative.
For the lettering portion of each of the tries, I used the David Mekelburg lettering on page 13 of the third month's packet as a guide. I first tried working from the Donald Jackson sample on page 6, but thought the David Mekelburg letters gave me the opportunity to put more "bounce" in the layout. I had worked through the "How to Analyze a Calligraphic Hand" sheet, page 3, and practiced with both before I settled on the Mekelburg sample.

When I was satisfied with the lettering layout, I traced it very lightly onto the prints using my lightbox. I applied the Instacol and two layers of Moon Gold in stages, and had much more success with the Moon Gold than with the Palladium. On the watercolor version, I then gilded some 24 Karat looseleaf gold onto a few of the highlight areas. I like the subtlety of the gilding--I think it captures the simplicity and gentleness of the quote.

I nearly gave up a number of times with this piece. I wrestled with the imagery and the technical part of the work and felt like I was going in circles most of the time, but I tried to put pride aside and decided that doing bad job was better than not doing it at all. In the end, I wound up with something that may not be perfect, but gives me a lot of satisfaction and pleasure to look at!

Materials: WN watercolors, Moon Gold, 24K looseleaf gold, Arches HP 90# watercolor paper

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Week #43
This work was done by Nita Padamsee in Boston this year for the
fourth session "Carolingian and Variations" in 26 Seeds: a Year to Grow.
In her own words:
Bombarded by news about the shootings in Bengazi on September 11, 2012, I felt compelled to exemplify the convergence of where East meets West.

The layout of my piece is often seen in Islamic manuscripts, Qurans and broadsides throughout the Middle East and many parts of the Indian subcontinent.

The assignment was done for month four of 26 Seeds, ‘Carolingian Variations’, and is

16" X 12". The Carolingian script lent to the feel of an Arabic script with its dense 'x' height letters, yet graceful ascenders and descenders, which were improvised to look like those seen in Arabic manuscripts. The Kufic script (Arabic geometric script in gold at the very top) reads, 'In the name of Allah the most beneficent the most merciful' from right to left. The large medallion to the right, also in Kufic script, reads 'Allah', the title of Longfellow's poem. The smaller medallions interspersed within the text were traditionally used at the end of a verse or paragraph.

The gold is 23K patent. The very top Kufic script, the large medallion on the right and the three geometric patterns at the bottom, were laid down with Instacol that was loaded into a ruling pen and then filled in with a brush. The medallions within the text were laid down with Miniatum ink.
The little floral patterns at the bottom were done with Dr. Martin's Spectralite gold applied with a brush. The rendering above and below the word Allah, were done with an EF 66 nib. The three colors seen throughout the piece, simulating lapis, turquoise and garnet, were all done with W&N gouache. The poem is written on 90lb Arches HP water color paper. The paper around the poem, which is called 'vellum' is from Paper Source.

Originating in the 18th century from a German poet and then translated by and stylistically incorporated into Longfellow's work a century later, this poem echoes the pluralism of the past and offers hope for the future. The previous embrace of intertwining cultures has become rigidly detangled, and this piece seeks to recover a union by merging two cultures through language - English words written with the feel of an Arabic script. I pray that we may achieve peace through understanding and respecting each others’ differences.

My daughter has always been my 'editor in chief' for all my pieces here on Reggie's ‘Pic of the week.’ I am blessed with talented and wonderful children and a very supportive husband. I couldn't ask for anything more. Thanks for viewing my pieces.

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Week #44
This work was done by Javier Alfonzo in Boston this year for the fourth session "Carolingian and Variations"
in 26 Seeds:  a Year to Grow.   In his own words:
This project was created as part as the homework assignment for Session #3 where the inspiration was taken while studying Neugebauer Roman Caps. After I saw a sample book that Reggie had brought into class, I decided to create my own "Neugebauer Caps book". The simplicity of his strokes being just monoline, yet highly contrasted by different weights and sizes inspired me. I had done a few sketchbooks using Japanese and coptic binding style before, so I chose the basic 4-hole Japanese stab binding with a "twist".

These pages are part of the book acting as "End-papers" and "Center Piece", which add a more interesting look to the design.

The pages of this manuscript are known as Iyoo Glazed Japanese Hand-made paper, so to be able to work on them, guess what? I had to apply spray fixative for more control of the ink and to avoid bleeding :-) The End-Paper illustrations are based on the work of Visual Artist Clara Liue, whose experiments with sumi ink and washes captivated my attention; soon enough I began my own experimentation with her so called "One-stroke brush", and after many, many....many tries, I was able to improvise my version of a One-stroke brush.
Black ink stick was used, a medium size Japanese Brush made of horse hair was previously damped in water, then half of the brush was dipped into the sumi ink to accomplish the one-stroke technique. To complement the design, I added a quote by Khalil Gibran, "Rest in reason, move in passion" where only pencil lead was used, the letter form is a Roman Caps variation.

As for the center page, my inspiration came from a previous class with Peter Thornton based on textured letters. He had an example made with different Roman Caps, obviously in pencil, but I turned them into wreath of forms. I used Arches Black Cover, and different tools and pen nibs, like Brause EF66, Mitchell #3 and #5, White gel pen and to provide a more delicate design, I used Fine-Tec watercolor Gold to the outer ring Roman Caps.

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Week #45
This work was done by Lydia Batten in Boston this year for the fourth session "Carolingian and Variations" in 26 Seeds: a Year to Grow. In her own words:
I have always been intrigued by this song, 'A Whiter Shade of Pale', especially the stand-out refrain, ever since I heard it as a young child. Recently, on my morning commutes, I called up my Annie Lennox CD on my iPod, on which she recorded this as a cover, and just enjoyed the song and sang along (when I could make out the words). Then, I started thinking that this would be great to do as a calligraphic piece… so haunting, so lovely, so confusing… and then when I remembered the black-on-black piece I had done over the summer, I thought this would be a great complement to that: a white-on-white piece! Then I was really intrigued…

Fast forward to Google and how easy it is to find lyrics there--and they were strange, no wonder I could never make them all out! Another click brought me to Wikipedia where I read some background on the band, Procol Harum, whose two lead members wrote the song, and even saw a music video' they did of it… (60s flashback!) And another click brought me to background on Chaucer's 'Miller's Tale'…

Now to the drawing board… Of the four stanzas in the original song only two were actually recorded, but I wanted all four. LOTS of text. Now how would I approach the white on white, incorporate all the text, and capture the haunting, ghostly aura of the song… I tried writing white on off-white charcoal paper--looked pretty good, but not much contrast. So, based on words in the song that refer to the sea, I took out a slate blue sheet of Canson pastel paper and started to rub white pastel on it. Funny how the pastel would NOT adhere to the pastel paper! Nuts! How could I get a muddled white background????
In frustration, I took a China White Pencil and just started writing in very loose cursive writing the lyrics of the song until the whole sheet was filled up (thank you, Laurie Doctor!). That pencil has a bit of wax in it so I wasn't sure if the white gouache would lay down smoothly over it--no time to worry because it was 'crunch' time, so I lined the paper with the Fons Porter White graphite pencil, took some deep breaths, and just started writing the lyrics using a compressed/pressurized Carolingian hand, a Mitchell 5 and some Holbein Pearl White gouache with a touch of white added. Yes, it laid down smoothly!!!! Once dried, I spray fixed and waited till the next day to continue. The large lettering in the center of the piece was next. I used the traditional Carolingian hand, the Horizon 5/16" nib and white gouache mixed with Dr. Martin's. When dry, I noticed it had crackled--again (this had happened on my black-on-black project too--I'll figure that out later…). So, I applied more to 'fill in' the cracks. Good, it worked.

The last lettering to go on was the cursive Carolingian. I used the snipped EF 66 nib and WN Permanent white gouache for these. I had originally intended to write these lines of the refrain only once, between the large text lines. After I did that though, I quickly realized there was too much open 'negative' space left over. So, I decided to just repeat each cursive line, (many deep breaths…) above and below the lines I had just put down, and (thank you, Universe!), it all fit quite nicely on the page. As much as I worked out closely some of the details of this piece, there were equally as many 'details' where spontaneity, reality-hitting-home, and just going for it came into play! It's a great first try, and now that I've done it, I have many more ideas on how to do it again…

I highly recommend listening to this song--it's actually one of the all-time top rated rock songs in England today (thank you, Google)!

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Week #46
This work was done by Carol Gray in Atlanta this year for the fourth session PRIMITIVE TO MODERN. In her own words:

Reggie's Raucous alphabet has intrigued me from the beginning. I find it very satisfying to do, with it's clean strong capitals, easily stacked and with a bit of a whimsical look, when you mix some of the alternative letters.

A client in Nashville had used the Rilke quote as her tag line and I just loved it. I decided I would try lettering it as a gift to myself and to her. I started playing on layout paper, using 4 different sizes of the Speedball B series nibs. Although I wanted the lines centered, I thought they might have more energy if they weren't completely straight, so I tried lettering with and without guidelines.
Reggie has shown many beautiful examples of lettering done on grids, and I thought the lines might help the design, so I drew those in in pencil to see how it looked. I also did a larger version on a sheet of 18" x 20" arches text wove, without lines, to play with later.

I remembered that I had some color copies of photographs of the night sky over Utah's canyons, by Salt Lake City photographer Royce Bair. I pulled out one of those and used it to make the image that you see here. It is 8 1/2" x 11".

I considered all of this to be work in progress, but during our class critique decided to share what I had and was encouraged enough that I think I will continue to play with it.

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Week #47
This work was done by Nita Padamsee in Boston this year for the fourth
session "Carolingian and Variations" in 26 Seeds: a Year to Grow.  In her own words:
This assignment was done for month three of 26 Seeds, ‘Roman Variations’ and each panel is
5" X 7".  A common saying found on mugs, magnets and t-shirts, emerged from its 2-dimensional encasing, with each anchoring word taking on its own personality in this piece. Liberated from a previous monotony of font and a lack of dynamics, I provided each word a distinct character, in hopes of invoking particular emotions associated with the words through a play with color, script, texture and dimensionality.

The word 'DANCE' was originally done in gouache; however, drawing inspiration from Nancy Galligan's cut-paper alphabet, I implemented this technique and re-did this panel using shapes cut out of paint samples from Home Depot. The thickness of the samples lends itself to the effect of relief letters, thus exemplifying the silhouettes and movement of dance.
The word 'LOVE' was rendered with 'Inktense' watercolor pencils in Neuland script.

'SING' was done with Moon Palace sumi, emulating Tom Perkins letters, and the background was done in Inktense also.

'LIVE' utilized the lively lettering of the Belgian calligrapher Liesbet Boudens done in Moon Palace sumi and the the background was rendered with Cotman pan watercolors.

The paper used is 140 lb HP Arches watercolor. In order for the black ribbon not to show through the paper and to make the piece a little sturdier, black card stock was adhered to the back.

This piece was so much fun to work on. Thanks for viewing my pieces.

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Week #48
This work was done by Dan Mooney in Boston this year for the fourth session in PRIMITIVE TO MODERN.
In his own words:
For many months I had been thinking about the concept for this design. I wanted to construct a tree made from a collection of words that describe the aspects of a loving relationship. The challenge was two fold. First was the placement of the words to actually look like a tree without drawing a tree, and the second was the lettering choice.

After months of roman lettering classes, this design did not look very good in all caps, so when the assignment was to create a piece using a variation of carolingian/foundational, this was perfect. The leaf design is a result of about a dozen or so leaf sketches. I wanted simplicity, so decided on a pointed oval shape placed somewhat randomly between the words. The tooling on each gold leaf is done with a sharp stylus and the area around each leaf is de-bossed with a rounder stylus to make each leaf look even more raised.
The words were written with black stick ink. The leaves are 24k gold on instacoll. The background is a watercolor wash on Fabriano HP watercolor paper with a bit of pearlescent powder through the dark green watercolor section. Because of some unfortunate results in the past, I learned how important it was that the color background needed to be sprayed thoroughly several times with fixative before any lettering or gilding was done. As a result, the gold only adhered perfectly to the instacoll and not at all on the background. That lesson alone was one of the most valuable lessons I learned from this class. Thank you Reggie! Finished size is 18"x24"

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Week #49
This work was done by Carol Hall in Nashville this year for the fifth session “Italic and Italic Variations, in
26 Seeds:  a Year to Grow. In her own words:
This piece was done for the homework for Session 5, a short quote in three italic variations. The quote is by Mary Oliver, whose poetry I have grown to love through her introduction to me in Reggie's class. The materials are Arches Black Cover paper, dry pigments: Titanium White with a tiny bit of Cobalt Turquoise, and Cadmium Red #2, and a Mitchell #4 nib. The alphabet I fell in love with for this piece was constructed from Reggie's handout with the quote "The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord." My challenge was to come up with the w, u, and y, which were not in the quote and although I begged Reggie to help me, he simply replied, "You can do it!." And so I learned. 8” x12”.

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Week #50
This work was done by Meshelle Callahan in Atlanta this year for the fourth session of PRIMITIVE TO MODERN. In her own words:
This is a homework piece done for Reggie’s Primitive to Modern 5th month class. After experiencing a busy weekend packed with excellent instruction on this design process, I could not wait to get started with my homework. The quote was chosen with my two kids in mind. I was blessed for many years to wake up each morning to the beautifully peaceful sound of little voices singing from their cribs. As my children grew, I continued to be blessed with morning melodies, a voice echoing from the shower, or exuberant singing in the car. I knew early on that music was engraved in each of their souls. My childrens’ love of music is still booming and reflected through the instruments they play.

This 11” x 17” piece is lettered with a B3 nib using Moon Palace sumi ink and a Pentel Hybrid Tehnica pen. After lettering the quote, copies were made and edges cleaned up. Eventually more copies were made at different sizes onto transparency film. I cut the words from the transparency and rearranged the various sizes of words according to my vision. I then focused on colors, textures and images I wanted in the piece.
The cd of stained glass images given by Reggie provided an excellent source to choose from. I was especially excited to use one image in particular from the cd that had a look similar to the wood grain of a guitar.   My goal for the piece was to make it very vibrant and bold and I felt this was mainly accomplished through the color scheme I focused on. I then needed to make my own backing to adhere the design to. I did not have a waxer and instead used repositionable glue made by Modge Podge. It worked well but did have a little bit more tack making it hard at times to reposition without tearing the paper a little. Although the glue worked fine for the purpose, a waxed background would have been ideal. Once I finished designing, cutting and rearranging like a crazed fool, I kind of went nuts with the hot foil pen adding gold and metallic blue dots emphasizing the instruments. I love this tool! I felt the use of it really gave the overall piece that added lift needed to accomplish the bold and vibrant statement I was working towards. Thank you to Reggie for the top notch instruction, tools, direction and vision!

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Week #51
This work is by Victoria Lansford this year in Atlanta for the third session “Illumination on Vellum” in PRIMITIVE TO MODERN. In her own words:
Before I was able to learn Fraktur from Reggie I taught myself the hand based on exemplars from various books and then lettered this personal declaration on a 7 foot span of wall in my dining room. The letters were definitely quirky and the spacing a little challenging, but the flourishing made me happy. When I began the homework for the Gilding session, I decided to recreate my design on a smaller scale with the style of Fraktur that I had learned more formally in the Modernizing Blackletter session. The calfskin vellum off cut is 7" x 4-1/4" and lettered with Indigo stick ink, using a goose quill. I used two layers of instacol for the flourishing and gilded with 23k patent gold leaf. To make the gilding pop I drew around it with Derwent metallic water soluble pencils and blended the colors with a Pentel water brush. The back piece is matteboard that I covered in metal leafed washi paper. I embroidered the vellum to it with silk button hold thread using a chain stitch.

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Week #52
This work was done by Maria Turk in Atlanta this year for the fifth session “DESIGN: Deconstructing the Grid” in PRIMITIVE TO MODERN. In her own words:
“Seed of Love”

Inspired by the P2M Month 5 class on Stained Glass Backgrounds, I first worked out several small sketches that would go with quotes I was considering. About the same time, I happened to take a local one hour art class that led me to create a stained glass effect on black paper using colored pencils.

I continued to dabble with my small original designs but using the black paper and colored pencils. These were all small sketches, only 3x5 inches, but they gave me the courage I needed to get started on the homework assignment!

My initial concept was to have the piece look like stained glass. I researched designs from the Arts and Crafts period, as well as the shapes of the glass pieces in those designs. I also researched styles of lettering that were popular in that time period. I found several styles which I practiced until I decided on the one to use with the piece.

I started by asking for permission to use a photograph of a sunrise taken by a friend in Ohio. The colors looked like the jewel tones of stained glass and were perfect for my “sky”. I cropped it using Adobe Photoshop Elements 6.0 creating a vertical or “portrait” image from a landscape image to make it fit my 11 x 17 layout. While the top third of the photo was perfect for my design, I needed a different image for the bottom third to create the “ground” the seed was planted in – something with interest and texture.

I found it in a photo of real stained glass that Reggie had provided for our optional use. I saved the images on a flashdrive and had the local copy center print them at 11x17. I laid tracing paper over the enlarged photos and sketched until I achieved a stained glass effect.

I sprayed repositionable stencil adhesive on thick black paper to use as the background. A light table enabled me to copy the design onto the enlarged photos with a Sharpie. I used a #11 Exacto blade to cut out all the shapes and stick them on the black paper background.

The quote and the heart were added last, just before photographing. They are raised with foam core board strips to float the words above the piece and create shadows. The lettering was done with a B-3 nib and Sumi ink on graph paper, then cleaned up with micron pens, printed out on Transparency in multiple sizes and “played with” until I felt comfortable about the layout – then copied onto cardstock, and cut out with an Exacto.

After the final photo was taken, I enhanced the yellows slightly in Photoshop to give the heart further definition. This homework assignment was really fun, and I shall be ever grateful to Reggie for sharing this process!

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Go to All Picks for 2013

The answers to most of your questions regarding PRIMITIVE TO MODERN can be found through the main page at the web www.reggieezell.com  Reservations are now being taken for next years classes. You can also contact me directly at contactreggie@comcast.net  or 773-202-8321.

There is now ONE slot left for a city in 2013. Thanks, Reggie

Return to Home:  http://www.reggieezell.com/
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