As an introduction to calligraphy, we believe that Italic and Carolingian are the best (but not necessarily the easiest) scripts to begin with. In the days when there were still stages called “Deuxième Niveau“, having attended one session each of Italic and of Carolingian was the prerequisite for attendance at a week of Deuxième Niveau…
This italic class quickly developed a personality–the wild mix of 8-9 français (depending how you count), three espagnols, three catalans, one allemande, a turque, an Englishman and a Dutchman…
Voilà–above, Keith consulting with Maria (a Catalan, admittedly, but an Australian resident Catalan…)…flanked by David and Beatriz with Christiane at the table’s end; Sonia (hidden in the next row), Eduardo & Martí consulting each other, Almila; Anne-Marie (hidden), Albert, Petra & Blandine; Camille, Christophe, Ingrid & Laia (hidden); Catherine (fetching a cup of tea?) & Christine.Presenting italic minuscules, simply…and in their place in the long, decorative Histoire de l’Écriture lecture (traces at right) which Keith gives once a year, open to everyone, not just the calligraphy students.
Every Italic course is a little different. One thing we concentrated on this summer was Arrighi’s professional script, looking at enlargements for details of his ductus, spacing, ligatures, &c.This summer’s class reached the limit of eighteen students (well, we are two teachers). Anne-Marie, Camille, Sonia & Eduardo watching Keith, Almilla (really: keep looking. I think we must get some drawing boards as I am seeing some terrible posture here…) Jacinthe & Blandine (who escaped being photographed writing, gazing intently at Keith’s demonstration), Catherine & Christine, Maria & David, Christiane & Catherine, Ingrid & Laia (posture! posture!), Martí & Almila, Beatriz, Albert & Petra, Christophe… why do I want everyone to have several links? I like the blue and purple words among the text. (Dear students: If you have a link you’d like included, please let me know!)
Petra came with a special interest in quill-cutting, but sadly no one got close enough with their cameras to show any detail. I shall get out a small tripod and do a photo-essay on quill cutting. Soon.
No. I haven’t yet cut the lovely swan quill I received from Mabel at the Laya Point course in July. I think everyone who wanted one got a working quill this week–if you didn’t, please say so! And many thanks to Blandine who brought a bundle of feathers–admittedly some already slightly cut and inky, but perfectly re-cuttable. Merci!
Planning to hit “Publish” in just a few hours, now; when suddenly Albert has sent an e-mail with links to his splendid Flickr Album about the course which includes some short video clips of quill-curing in hot sand. He has rashly said “…use them for your website…”–I fear he meant Keith, and not this website, but until he tells me otherwise, here’s a little more visual information on quill-cutting:
& a lovely photo of Keith writing with a quill for Petra:
If only he’d got a little further with the writing. Still. (Albert has a separate photo-essay on the village and abbey of Saint-Antoine-l’Abbaye.) Thank-you, Albert!
We were reminded that a quill is not a commercial biro with a guarantee to write the first time, every time, and to keep working for months with no maintenance. A look at a few portraits of the Evangelists (famous scribes, portrayed by scribes) reminds us that quite often at least one of them is shown examining, re-cutting or otherwise fiddling with his quill. So: plan on spending a quarter of your writing time in the delicate refinement of your writing tool:
Once you have your quill cut, or your “normal” metal pen echauffée & dipped in your brou de noix, it’s time for exercises. Most of these are Maria’s because while I was helping students, she was wisely and professionally taking photos. Possibly the only photos not ©Maria Montes 2015 (used by her kind permission Gràcies, Maria!) are those Maria is in. Which were taken by me…until or unless you, très chers élèves send me your photos! I’m sure you have some! Please? Credit will be gleefully given, I promise!
As usual, Keith shows work in his portfolio. Not a portfolio in the usual sense; but pieces in progress he travels with and carries on working on on the road. An unusual opportunity for participants in our courses to see work “in the flesh” (sometimes literally–work on skin) and in progress; not only in the form of projected digital images (Anyone: is there a new quick monosyllabic word to replace “slides”, “dias”, &c.? I’ve missed it so far.) ☜
& then he presented the making of “coca-cola pens”–in our case, more often made with beer cans…for visual effects beyond Arrighi’s aesthetic….Maria’s “run” & Sonia’s “Nueva Orleans”…
Let us not forget the obligatory reminder of the excellent food.
Salads, cheese, fruit…pizza! Made by Andrea, a genuine Italian, this summer! Wonderful!
We did not fail to address the basic structures of Italic Majuscules, despite the vagueness of Arrighi’s own counsel…
It’s always good to remember what the letter IS that underlies those wild (overly elaborated?) Renaissance flourishes. Then hours of working on projects, a few downpours, leading to the end-of-stage supper being indoors, in the celebrated Salle Blanche itself…
and the culminating exhibition:
Nah, too little is visible in general views. Let’s see what we can really see–those Maria & I managed to shoot in focus, while there was still some light:
Eduardo: Sonia: Camille (aged 11):
Petra: Almila: Ingrid:
a few details–Maria: Laia: Maria: Laia:
Laia, I don’t have an in-focus image of your Arrighi facsimile looked at straight on–please send me one?
Maria: Beatriz (Brava!): Laia:
Here are, in the top row: Sonia & Ingrid (I think? please correct me if I’ve got it wrong!); middle row: Ingrid & Christiane; last row: Almila & Catherine:
Christophe: Martí: Christophe:
Anne-Marie (Brava!): Laia: whose is this?
And again, horizontal work; in the top row: David & Maria; in the centre row–is that Ingrid? & Albert; and in the last row Petra & Ingrid (thanks, Albert & Ingrid).
Please correct my misattributions! My ageing memory is fading fast.
No dogs or cats attended this course; but the “Mediévales” of the Village of Saint-Antoine l’Abbaye occurred during our session–I leave you with some members of the Communauté de l’Arche (de Lanza del Vasto) de Saint-Antoine-l’Abbaye and their children, good citizens of their village and enthusiastic participants in its fêtes.