Monday, May 2, 2011


What makes you feel like a kid at Christmas?

For me it's the annual calligraphy conference, Letters of Joy.

And when it came last Saturday I was overjoyed to study under the chief calligrapher for the White House, Pat Blair.

Pat's class was called "A Flurry of Flourishes." And flourish we did!

Pardon me for the quality of the photos... the lighting was awful and I was too overcome with the calligraphy to concentrate on the camera settings.

Time whizzed by, filled with discussions of such things as which nibs we like (and don't) which inks are most dense and why McCaffery's gloss black sticks so badly when the matte doesn't. The benefits of Moon Palace Sumi ink over Yasutomo ink were debated,  and we talked about whether Sergeant Major nibs are better than the more flexible Brause EF66...

Such fun to be with other people who find these things endlessly fascinating.

Pat's letter forms and flourishes are so fluid, her smile so genuine. We were captivated and found her presentation absolutely stellar. I grinned all day. 

I am reminded of a quote from William Arthur Ward: The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires. 
I left the conference inspired by a wonderful calligrapher who is also clearly a great teacher.


Diane said...

Sharyn, what a treat!!!
XO Diane

jane maday said...

Wow, very neat! I haven't seen a nib like the one she uses before. I'm so glad it was a good experience for you!

Debbie said...

That looks like it was a great day. Can't wait to see what her inspiration brings out in you. Have a wonder-filled week.

Christen said...

What beauty.

Sharyn Sowell said...

Leslie says:
wow! that is totally amazing!
What skill and what patience!!

Mary Lou says:
thank you so much for that post. what talent!!!!!!!! it must have been a sheer joy doing that work with such an expert. i have never tried calligraphy but totally admire those with the patience to do such beautiful creations. i know you are super busy getting ready for surtex. i hope you do well.
thanks again,
mary lou

Linda V. said...

I look forward to seeing your new pictures as the Blog comes to me. this is so beautiful to see the talent shown with the calligraphy. Makes me want to find all my supplies from the classes I took froma professor at Utah State University, and see if I can practice.

Caroline Simas said...

Looks like such fun! Amazing calligraphy!