My quotation for the 2013 Heart to Heart calendar was a delight to have on the drawing table last month. Over the years of contributing to this calendar, I’ve experimented with inventive layouts or calligraphy variations, sometimes trying out the scrawly “handwriting” style that seems so popular these days. But for this quotation, it seemed fitting to return to my own source, the foundational hand most calligraphers learn at the start of their study. Termed foundational by Edward Johnston, it is based on a 10th century bookhand found in the Ramsey Psalter in the British Library (click through to find beautiful closeup images of this manuscript). It is clear and legible, and most resembles our printed letters that were modeled on this and later humanist bookhands when type came on the scene during the Renaissance. Its simplicity belies the challenge of doing it well; it is much easier to hide problems in looser, interpretative calligraphy. This finished piece was not arrived at quickly, but over three days of writing, writing, writing it until it was the right size, spacing, and rhythm. The final calligraphy was written with a Speedball C-2 dip pen. I kept my digital cutting and pasting to an absolute minimum, wanting to respect the integrity and rhythm of the pen work.
Above is a “flower” I made with all my practice sheets. This was time well and joyfully spent, in a quiet studio with just my pen, ink and paper, meditating on the source of many things in my life, and the value of returning to my roots.