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Re: [BKARTS] Telling of the Book Arts World



Both.
Calligraphy is art if you are creating it.  If you are  copying the work of 
someone else as did many monks in the middle ages, then its  work.  But the 
originals, made by the master scribes, the ones where the  work is done from the 
start by the master scribe and is not a copy of a  previous manuscript, that 
is the art.   If you take a look at my work  you will find I use calligraphy in 
different ways and in different hands  depending on the chapter and the way I 
feel about the scripture.  It is a  tool to express the mood. 
 
My bible is illuminated, with about twice as many  illuminations in my set of 
gospels than saint Johns has in their entire  Bible.  In Luke alone I have 22 
full page carpet pages starting the  chapters, they are insular and  I use 
calligraphy in the illuminations. The  calligraphy reflects on the illuminations 
by the style and it is compatible with  the feeling of the chapters.  You 
cannot separate the two, and it is  pointless to do so. You have to look upon the 
whole thing as one concept where  the decoration and the calligraphy enhance 
each other. Where the texture of the  calligraphy actually is a reflection of 
the content of the chapter.
 
 The Lindisfarne Gospels comes to mind as the greatest  example of this.  A 
work made by one man who was devoted to his cause, and  used the calligraphy to 
stun people and thus he created something to inspire  people to the church. 
 
If you don't have your heart in it then its not  art.  Those who copied the 
masters work to make more bibles didn't  have the chance to use that creative 
spark necessary to make a bible from  scratch.  Those bibles are copies of a 
great work, not the work itself, so  they are a copy of the creativity of the 
masters work but they don't have that  spark. You can see this in the book of 
Kells when they tried to finish the  unfinished pages and they never matched the 
work of the chief scribe, because  the vision was with him.  
    Saint Johns has had a lot of turn over  in their scribes as they copy 
their computer template,  for probably  the same reasons, does that diminish the 
work they have already done?  The  Saint John's bible was first laid out on a 
computer with a font scrolled  throughout the layout program and the scribes 
are copying each page of that  template, which they cannot deviate from, if 
they do the pages already written  will not line up.  It is an efficient division 
of labour and they have had  as many as 14 scribes working on it, to make it 
look like it was written by one  scribe. But they cannot be spontaneous, 
without getting approval from a  committee and that takes months and then they 
would have to make the other pages  already written line up.  Best not to deviate. 
 
    And if you look at other illuminated  manuscripts of the Bible made in 
the past few centuries, you will find the  passion of the artist as they made 
their works, usually by themselves, as  an expression of their faith in the 
calligraphy and the illuminations as  they did both. Something that comes from the 
heart, therefore it is  Art. 
 
 Sincerely,
 
James G. Pepper
Antiquarius Domini

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