|Thanks to Bill for this great photo in my studio!|
Calligraphy is usually a solitary pursuit, which is why I take workshops as often as I can.
The spirit of the community that develops in the attendees comes from the heart. The energy and encouragement radiates from one to another. I participated in a writing retreat last weekend where I was one of 120 people who gathered at a conference, Letters: California Style, put on by the Society for Calligraphy in Southern California.
For 3 ½ days we played and practiced calligraphic forms. Some classes seemed filled with ancient scribes bent over their sheets of papers, writing line after line of various alphabets, developing the skills needed to produce incredible calligraphic pieces. (Take a look at the Passionate Pen website to see some examples:
Others, like Pamela Paulrud's class, Sounding the Inner Landscape with Handwriting, Mark-making, and Image, played with various tools and abstractions of alphabets and created wonderful fluid works. At the end of the workshop, we walked through the informal exhibit of each person's work. One of us talked of her mother while tears trickled down her cheeks, another spoke about her struggles this year. In the time we had together, we let go of the negative thoughts that creep into all of our brains and experienced joy in creating.
We marveled at the Southern California winter weather: dry as stone, neither hot yet nor cold, with crystal blue skies and rugged mountains running from one end of the horizon to the other. Yet we stayed inside to work on paper after paper. Finally we picked some pieces to make into booklets or broadsides. When the workshop was over, we clasped hands together, and enjoyed the electric connection we had with each other.
|This is the booklet that I made that opens up |
to reveal more and more of one small piece,
until finally you open the booklet completely
to reveal a drawing called "Dance."
If you would like to experience the energy of a calligraphy workshop, I would highly recommend taking a class with Pamela Paulrud. You can find more about her at her website: