The Calligrapher's Life

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Letters without Ink

Recently, I learned an interesting fact about it lettering. As I found over the weekend, this art is more than designing a letter with pen to ink…it’s about the appreciation of the alphabet in any form.

On Saturday, I had the pleasure of attending a Society of Calligrapher’s meeting in the Orange County chapter. Our guest speaker for the afternoon, Robbie Saslow is an accomplished calligrapher and graphic designer from Los Angeles, who enlightened us with an extraordinary slide show containing only letters. Actually, it’s funny because I left the meeting with a feeling like I just visited Southern Italy.

For nearly two hours, he sent us on a visual journey to Naples and its surrounding cities. As we listened intently, he shared a cornucopia of stories and history behind each photo during his year-long experience living in the popular European country.

With each slide, an unusual letter design surfaced with audience sighs and agreements, as well as, a few groans of unfamiliarity with a particular letter until it’s shape appeared. From buildings to landscapes to food, we were captivated with the portrayal of each letter in a way one normally would not observe.

Mr. Saslow’s presentation offered tips on how he assembled the photos into mini-books from the cover to interior pages and he also provided numerous examples on what to look for, in case, we planned on creating a similar project.

Before the meeting ended, he encouraged everyone who brought a digital camera to take photos of items in the room as long as they resembled a letter.

At the time, I wasn’t equipped with the best digital camera (camera phone) to take my own photos, but Mr. Saslow’s perspective on lettering without pen to paper offered invaluable suggestions for creative art projects in the future.

I think I’ve got something in mind right now. I better start sketching my idea for future use. You never know when it’ll come in handy!


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