North West Calligraphy

past workshops 2016


French-stitch Leather journal
Josie Brown

Port Sunlight:                    Saturday 13 Feb 2016
Lower Withington:             Sunday 14 Feb 2016

This binding is a versatile and strong structure which can be made any size or orientation. The stitching is decorative so cover and thread can be contrasted. The cover is soft and rounded so it fits in the hand comfortably, and can be made of ‘giving’ paper (that does not crease), fabric or leather. Closures can be tucked in flaps, buttons or thongs. A fun, attractive and useful binding.


Equipment and materials needed on the day by participants:


30cm metal (or metal edged) ruler

cutting mat or back of pad

craft/Stanley knife

1 piece layout paper

* awl or large needle

* bookbinding or embroidery thread,

* bookbinding/darning/tapestry needle

* button of choice approx, 1” diameter

* text paper – anything from 100 to 400 gsm (if 120 to 200 gsm – approx 9 x A4 sheets, if 200 to 400 gsm – approx 1 to 2 large sheets or 5 to 7 A4 sheets)

Tutor will bring * items for use/sale as well as Khadi paper and leather for covers.

Specialised materials or tools that may be needed and can be purchased from Josie.

Buttons threads, beads etc from 80p to £2

Text papers – varied prices, not expensive

Khadi cover paper – approx £1 to £2

Leather black or dark red – approx £5 to £9



MARCH 2016

Contemporary Blackletter

Vivien Lunniss

Port Sunlight:                    Saturday 5 March 2016
Lower Withington:             Sunday 6 March 2016


Equipment and materials needed on the day by participants:

Your usual calligraphy kit:

Nibs, all sizes
Inks and gouache.
Pencils, ruler, eraser.
Layout paper.
Good paper - smooth cartridge and hot press watercolour paper.

Vivien will look at the writing of Ward Dunham, Rudolf Koch and Friedrich Neugebauer for ways of reinventing Blackletter to create a more contemporary and less rigid form whilst retaining the texture that gave it its name.
Ward Dunham discovered the broad-edged bamboo pen in 1964 whilst serving in the special forces in Vietnam. After his return to San Francisco he met local scribe Georgianna Greenwood, who told him there was a name for what he was doing with his bamboo pens - "calligraphy".
In the 1970s, after studying with Donald Jackson, Ward struck out on his own adventurous journey of studying, practising, and focusing on Blackletter calligraphy. He worked for years in San Francisco as a Blackletter scribe, teacher, bartender and raconteur.



APRIL 2016

Black and White – Who needs colour?

Mary Noble

Port Sunlight:                    Saturday 9 April 2016

Lower Withington:             Sunday 10 April 2016

Black & white are the ultimate contrast, and we'll explore that first, black ink and white paint on white and on black papers. But mix them together and all those greys provide a lot of potential for tonal effects, which could be rather fun too. We should end up with a selection of creative designs or samples for future development. suitable for all levels - beginners don't be shy about bringing your exemplars as crib-sheets. 

Black and White

Equipment and materials needed on the day:

Black inks/ gouaches - various so we can investigate their qualities

White paints/ inks, various, for same reason

White practise paper PLUS plenty of cartridge (A4 pad is fine, A3 is better) or better paper - Rives BFK takes greys wonderfully 

Black paper

all your dip pens from very small to very big, Automatics if possible

Optional - a bit of gold gouache just in case...



MAY 2016
Double stroke italic
Cherrell Avery

Port Sunlight                           Saturday 14th May
Lower Withington                   Sunday 15th May

This workshop teaches you how to inject substance and expression into letters written with a monoline pen.  Using elegant formal italic as our starting point we add weight by creating multiple strokes.  Experiment with pressure and speed, different tools, materials and colour to create versatile and exciting letter forms.

Usual calligraphy equipment including:

You may like to try out different monoline or very narrow nibbed pens so please bring one or two of the following if you have them:

hard, non flexible /pointed (but not sharp) nibs
felt tip pen(s)-fine point, hard tip
technical drawing pen, 0.5 or 0.7 size
2mm tip zig or platignum fine felt tip pen
roller ball or gel pens
pointed or fine nib calligraphy fountain pens
coloured pencils 

(There is no need to buy these specially.  Tutor will bring some to try)



JUNE 2016
Jilly Hazeldine
Insular Minuscule
Port Sunlight                          Saturday 11th June
Lower Withington                   Sunday 12th June

Taking an historical manuscript written in an archaic script and developing it for contemporary use is an interesting exercise. We will take as our model Bede’s Commentary on the Book of Proverbs and keeping much of the characteristics of the original script, develop a modern, highly useable version. Example of Jilly's work

Equipment needed:
Usual calligraphy equipment, to include:

Decent ink (Higgins preferably)
Good quality cartridge paper.

No other specific equipment is needed.

JULY 2016
Projects Day
Not tutor led

Port Sunlight                           Saturday 9th July
Lower Withington                   Sunday 10th July

Projects Day is a new venture for the NWCA, not the usual workshop.

The day is not tutor-led but Brian Colvin will be at Port Sunlight Vivien Lunniss at Lower Withington and to provide a focus if necessary.

Project Day montage

There are two main aims for the day. One is to enjoy each other’s company as we always do. The second is to complete or begin a personal project which can either be a topic from our varied workshop programme or something that you have instigated. In both instances you will have the benefit of the support of your peers. All this without the interruption of the phone or any domestic demands.
Last year we covered diptychs and triptychs, flourishing, Neuland, geometric shapes, ruling pen, flavours of Arabia and Persia, layering, a journal, Blackletter, black and white, double-stroke Italic and Insular minuscule.

There are plenty of calligraphic delights here to inspire you to move your work forward into something personal; choosing something being the most difficult part. All you have to do is remember to bring the materials you need, as of course there is no materials list.

All are welcome and as this is a new idea for the NWCA we would be very grateful for your support as well as feedback at the end of the day.

Time and venue as usual.
Cost: Only £10 to cover the cost of room hire and the usual tea, coffee, biscuits and cake.




The Art of Adolph Bernd
Lin Kerr

Port Sunlight:                    Saturday 10 September 2016
Lower Withington:             Sunday 11 September 2016

Pearl De Chalain
Pearl De Chalain

Adolf Bernd combined crisp modern letter forms with decorative elements from illuminated initials. He did not use masking fluid  but got a similar effect and with the water colours the outcome was a fresh, very individualised result.
We will study his artwork and techniques and design a few small stylised decorative letters. Notes on colour £1 per person.


- Watercolours.  Please bring good quality paints, at least:
 Windsor and Newton Cotman’s tube or pan colours:
2 tubes of red, one warm and one cool e.g. Alizarin and Cadmium,
2 tubes of Blue, one warm and one cool e.g. Phthalo Turquoise or Indigo and Ultramarine,
1 tubes yellow (warm) Cadmium light, 1 tubes green, (cool) Phthalo green.
- Paper: approximately haf a sheet of watercolour paper e.g. Waterford NOT 300gsm, 100% cotton
- Size 0 and 3 watercolour brushes, synthetic is fine but they must have a good point
- Large and small water jars
- white plate, tiles or palate for mixing
- kitchen roll
- A4 layout paper for designing
- notebook, pencils, ruler, eraser, scalpel / cutting knife, small cutting mat.


Lombardic Versals
Vivien Lunniss
Port Sunlight:              Saturday 8 October 2016
Lower Withington:      Sunday 9 October 2016

Vivien Lunniss

Vivien Lunniss

Versals are letters used as the first letter of a verse, chapter or paragraph.  They are usually drawn larger than the text script.  Unlike their elegant and sophisticated predecessor, the Caroligian Versal, Lombardic letters are display capitals with proportionally larger stem width; their size and decoration intended to balance the increasing compression and heaviness of medieval scripts.  They can also be used in complete words and phrases.  They can be distorted and contracted to fit the available space.  Because of their generous stems width they lend themselves to gilding, over painting with abstract patterns, stylised flowers or leaves and offer many creative opportunities.  
Initially we will look at forms on the 12th century Winchester Bible (  You may wish to combine these with a Contemporary Gothic script from my March workshop or another Gothic hand.  



Making Patterns with Letters
Jilly Hazeldine

Port Sunlight:              Saturday 12 November 2016
Lower Withington:     Sunday 13 November 2016

This workshop is not suitable for absolute beginners.

All letters are pattern, but their shapes can be moulded and tweaked to make graphic patterns that can be used for cards or in larger pieces of work.  In this workshop we will play with letters, fitting them into shapes and designing new shapes.  We will use colour to enhance the patterns we have created.

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Before the workshop think about choosing two short words to work with, preferably no more than 6 letters.  You could use either synonyms or words linked in a phrase e.g. apples / pears.

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