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[BKARTS] faith and skill



Re: the discussion of James Pepper's Bible, and to James himself:

On Jan 18, 2006, at 9:00 PM, BOOK_ARTS-L (James Pepper) wrote:

I studied these scripts, looking at originals when I have
the opportunity, and it took a long time to figure out how to write them, in
a manner where it is natural to write and not something that is applied.
That way I can concentrate on the inspiration and not the technicalities of
writing in a particular hand.

Ah, this explains the extreme lack of skill. I'm not sure what you mean by "something that is applied"? In my experience it is quite necessary to apply myself to learning the "technicalities" of a hand so that it will look most "natural."


Inspiration alone will not make good looking letters. And similarly, the use of a broad-edged pen does not automatically make writing calligraphy.

If we refer to the classical definition of calligraphy, it means "beautiful writing". Not to denigrate some of the interesting experimentation going on these days with other kinds of marks, but I think the basic definition still holds.

Your faith is your faith. It does not follow that your letters or your artwork will be beautiful, no matter how many times you have it blessed by guys with pointy hats.

I'm a little weary of your comparisons of your work to the St. John's Bible. There you have a team of world-class scribes and illuminators working in the modern equivalent of a scriptorium. Between them they have decades of training. Their results speak for themselves, as do yours.

Thanks to Sally for the arduous process of untangling your mangled presentation of history. She is absolutely correct in all her points. I hardly knew where to begin.

As for medieval pattern books, how about the Gottingen Model Book? If you Google it, you will actually find samples of its pages online - most amazing!

And lastly, regarding alphabet books, I have recently had the very great pleasure of studying Hermann Zapf's "Pen and Graver." This must be one of the most beautiful books ever made, and is essentially nothing more than alphabets, written by a true master. And even Ben Shahn found the alphabet a worthy subject, in his "Alphabet of Creation." Some of us find alphabets quite fascinating.

Cari Ferraro


++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Prose and Letters by Cari Ferraro Calligraphy, Illumination & Design www.proseandletters.com ++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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