Monday 5 July 2010

Learning to write

What a beautiful place...  Up the drive we drove and were greeted by a mansion with a large porch and a setting to die for - what a place for a course.  West Dean College in Sussex is just perfect for a calligraphy course - you must go and take one of their many courses in an enormous range of subjects just to experience the house, views, gardens and courses.

We settled in on Friday evening and met all the others on the course - 12 in all and the tutor Gaynor Goff.  After dinner she gave an overview of calligraphy and what we would be learning the next day.  Sadly not Copperplate but a choice of either Uncial or Foundation .  If we worked hard she would let us start the Italic hand.

Saturday morning began at 8.45am in the College art shop for those who needed bits and pieces and we added to our collection, too.  Lessons started at 9am and with breaks and meals (very good food by they way!) you could carry on until 10pm at night.

It's strange (depending on one's age) how one doesn't remember how difficult it was to learn to write when a child.  As an adult learning a new script it was a real challenge and very rewarding, if rather frustrating! 

After dinner, on the second evening, when lessons had finished but the tutor was available to help and demonstrate writing in colour and dusting our beautifully (?) written quotes with chalks in rainbow colours, I asked Gaynor is she would look at a couple of the Brandauer pens I had with me.  One or two were not suitable for the scripts we were learning but one from the Clan series was perfect.  To watch a calligrapher writing with a Brandauer pen was quite amazing and then Gaynor used a different one to write in Copperplate which was a real treat.  To see something that is generally viewed as old-fashioned in the hands of a master creating perfectly formed letters with a Brandauer product will be something I shall always remember.

On the final day of the course I wrote using a Brandauer Clan series nib and was able to write in bright colours - pink, red, blue and purple.  What fun it was to write with a pen produced by my ancestors - though they probably didn't write in such crazy paint colours!

The weekend course was an inspiration and when you see what can be created by modern calligraphers it makes one want to learn more.  The course flew by as we practised our alphabets and slowly and carefully my Brandauer pen created words, phrases and meaning across the paper.

Go on - have a go...

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