My good friend Donna Hacker and I recently attended Scribehaven, a calligraphy retreat put on by the Nashville Calligraphy Guild at Lake Barkley Lodge in Kentucky. The setting was beautiful. The company was excellent.
Views from my room:
There is nothing like 'retreating' to the woods or some other peaceful place to study and play at the art we love. In this case it was calligraphy. Most people worked on their own projects. Donna presented breathtaking slides from her recent trip to Italy. There was no formal instruction. Indeed, the closest we came to that was when Janie Cravens, former president of Iampeth, did an impromptu 'sharing' of tips and tricks. When I sat down she made me laugh by saying, "But I can't teach you anything; you're famous!" Janie had us all laughing later as she imparted her seemingly never-ending stream of ideas with great humor. One involved lettering on mats, something I have done before. Her method was faster than mine with a more light-hearted effect. She had small mats for all of us. I lettered Dr. Seuss titles on mine and gave it to my niece as part of her baby shower gift. Dr. Seuss books were among her favorites and were part of her gift registry, so I knew she'd like it, but I have also done poems and song lyrics on photo mats for wedding and anniversary gifts, and baby names and statistics for baby gifts.
Two of Janie's tips and tricks involved making portable lightboards for travel. The first was a clear plexiglass clipboard with a line guide clipped to it and a tiny but bright flashlight as the light source. You simply support one end on a book or what have you, slip the flashlight underneath and Voila! It takes up practically no room in your luggage, and also could be kept in your car for last minute placecard changes. I suggested adding a small piece of rubber shelf liner to slip under it to help prevent slippage. The other was even more genius, and ultra-modern. Use your iPad as a lightboard! Just place a line guide on the turned-on iPad and, once again, Voila! Of course, you would also need to keep pen, nibs and ink in a travel package.
At one point on Saturday we witnessed a wedding photo session. The beautiful bride and handsome groom posed right outside of our lodge conference room for some of their photos. Weddings to calligraphers are natural voyeuristic events! Here is a photo I took, purposely not too close-up to give the happy couple a modicum of privacy. You can still clearly tell how lovely the bride is in her gorgeous gown and veil. We all wanted to have done her wedding calligraphy.
The iPad also comes in handy to use as a portfolio of your work. I plan to copy many of my calligraphy and art photos to my iPad to be able to show prospective clients and others. No more bulky portfolios!
Below is a photo of the ruling pen lettered name tags we all received, compliments of Vicki Brandt. Sheryl Bracey had recently taught a ruling pen class to the guild, and Vicki made good use of her practice. (My photo was taken in the dark and does not adequately show the beautiful watercolor marks that made up the backgrounds.)
I met some wonderful people at Scribehaven and had a good time. I spent so much time talking and looking that I didn't get any calligraphy done, but I will be prepared to show and share and work more next year! Thanks, Nashville Calligraphy Guild! Thanks, Janie, Donna, Ann (great brownies!) and all others who shared so much. P.S. Lake Barkley Lodge dining hall - please do not ever change your banana pudding recipe. It is the best I have ever had - served warm! Yum!