Monday, February 03, 2014

New Project

On Monday 15th March 2010 St Mary Church in March was set ablaze to the cost of £120,000 of damages.
The remembrance book was just one of the victims of the fire:

At the end of 2013 I was recommended and honoured to accept the commission as calligrapher for the replacement book. 

I have always loved the process of writing, as a child I would spend much time writing and re-writing letters so the font was unified and elegant. My Mother bought me a calligraphy set when I was about 13 and I enjoyed many hours trying to perfect the art over the following months. 
Just last year I found my old Calligraphy set in my parents loft, I popped a cartridge in worked! Once again I dabbled with it to write out the Serenity Prayer for my Brother, the same prayer I gave as a sample to acquire this very commission.
As an artist who has always been passionate about churches, I dreamed of having some creation of mine in a church like the masters in Rome.

It's strange how things work isn't it?

I am not a master! 
I am a self taught artist and I have quite nice handwriting...but...I am determined, passionate, meticulous and thrilled to be doing this.

Selecting tools for the job:
A pen I feel comfortable with...While I love the graduation of ink that a traditional dip pen can only give, I have decided the risk of an open ink bottle on my desk at the same time as the book is just too much for my nerves. So I have chosen a Lamy Calligraphy pen with a refillable converter.
Ink to stand the test of time...I have chosen Noodlers ink. I already work with Noodlers in my sketchbooks so I am familiar with it. I also decided on Lexington Gray rather than black to help try to create some of that wonderful graduation I loved when using the dip pen.

A lot of time has been spent on practising a font I could be comfortable with. I have no idea if it's a 'real' font but it flows quite naturally from me.

The header page:
The original book was a masterpiece! I can only dream of one day being as skilled as the original calligrapher (whose surname was also Davies I might add), I have flicked through it's fragile pages in awe. The header page in particular caught my eye so I decided to re-create it and add a little something of my own to it...a way to honour the Master that went before me and combine our efforts for the church. 
I realised early on that research was important and ran my new additions by the Vicar in a recent telephone call. I then added my Fleur des Lis, Lillies and Rose to the original Diocese of Ely symbol to create this design:

Which I finished adding colour to today:

(I am still undecided on the central cross)

Ruling the book out has taken time; feint guidelines for my pen work have had to be put into place so I can remain straight and true with the writing that follows. With each group of 4 lines I have created for each entry I have marked the first capital letter also in pencil...a way of double checking I am entering the correct name in the correct date as I go....there is no room for error here...Tippex just won't cut it! 

The project so far has presented many aspects one might not consider when viewing a Remembrance Book, I am thoroughly enjoying every one of them!


Lisa at Greenbow said...

I have always admired this kind of art. I am thrilled for you to be recognized with this commission. I know you will do, and are doing a great job.

Sue Marrazzo said...

Great looking work!

Anita Davies said...

Thank you!

Joan T said...

Congratulations on the honor of this commission. You are off to a wonderful start with this page!

It is always great to come over and catch up on all your sketches. You are inspiring.

Capt Elaine Magliacane said...

Congratulations on getting this commission… you will do a fabulous job and hopefully your book will be a part of the church for years and years. What an honor to be allowed to work on this.

Russell Parry said...

What a great opportunity and honour! It will be absolutely fabulous. It sounds like you may feel a little apprehensive because you are not used to this kind of thing, and are not 'a Master'. No need to feel like that; you are a very skilled artist and you have a real passion for this work. It will show. It will better than if a Master did it, but just as another bit of work. I don't know much about calligraphy and illumination, but I know about church wood carvings and I am sure the same principles apply. Btw I did not realise you were particularly drawn to church/medieval things.