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calligraphy class

When I first knew I wanted to learn engraving, but before I had the resources/tools/teacher to begin, I started practicing my letters. I was aware that lettering is a big part of engraving for the jewellery trade and figured that learning with a pencil, ruler, and eraser was an OK place to start. Since then I have spent many, many hours studying and practicing letterforms and layouts; thicks and thins, spacing and centring, mostly from books and information sourced online.

Recently, I had the opportunity to take a class in copperplate calligraphy taught by professional lettering artist, Renée Alexander, at Emily Carr University. It was pretty great! Copperplate calligraphy is the original engraver’s script; every line is informed by the tools that were used at the time- the same tools I use today.

One of the more interesting things I learned about is the relationship between writing (left brain) and art (right brain). Letterforms can be drawn into pretty shapes, but they also have to say something! Calligraphers make a lot of spelling mistakes because they are often more focused on the task of perfecting letter shapes rather than spelling actual words. Historically, scribes would work in quiet rooms called ‘scriptoriums’; silence being key to accomplishing precise lettering tasks. I wish I could have a scriptorium. Where is my scriptorium?

Calligraphy practice

Practicing with a pointed pen.

Learning lettering process

I was the only keener practicing with a pen and a graver!

Engraving a lettering quote

We lettered a quote and flourished a word. I used my name with the idea of someday using it as a logo!

Flourished Name