North Redwoods Book Arts Guild

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Monday, October 23, 2017

NORBAG Calligraphy (Chancery Cursive) Workshop with Kathy Warren

On Saturday, October 14, we had our monthly meeting and workshop. Kathy Warren taught us Chancery Cursive which is based on Italian Renaissance manuscripts. As we said in our newsletter, this was developed as a "speed writing" technique for Papal scribes. Kathy mentioned that when she was in college and learning the various scripts, she learned three in one semester while Copperplate took a full semester to learn. With that in mind, we were very aware that we would be learning the most basic forms of Chancery Cursive and would need to practice at home.

Kathy supplied us with a sheet showing the basic strokes for each letter as well as the proper angle to hold pen and nib. A second sheet gave us resources to read and purchase. A third sheet showed us letter groups (letters that use similar strokes), related forms (where to start on letters, where the pen is picked up, the position of crossbars, etc.), spacing and some common mistakes. We also received several pages of lined paper for practicing. And finally, she gave us Zig Memory System Calligraphy fiber tipped pens to use in our practice.

Kathy brought an overhead projector that is ideal for this kind of workshop.
These are the materials that Kathy provided.

Lynne, Edge and Linda practiced with the Zig marker.

This is what the practice looked like.

It is somewhat ironic that we are practicing this delightful script and use it to enhance our daily writing while school children are no longer learning cursive in many schools.

Our entire workshop was done in black and white. No scissors or glue. Just quietly working with a pen and paper. For a bit of color, here is the table with the exchange books. Exchange book photos will be posted on Flickr by the end of the month.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

MINIATURE BOOKS at Humboldt County Library

On display now at the Humboldt County Library kiosk is a collection of miniature books made by various NORBAG artists. Thanks go to Lynne Gurnee for arranging this display. “A miniature book is a very small book, sized from 1/2 inch square to roughly 2 by 3 inches—no larger than 3 inches in height, width, or thickness.  (Outside the United States, books up to four inches are often considered miniature according to the Miniature Book Society.)

“These books became more popular in the last few decades of the 19th century because they were portable and easy to conceal. One could carry a vast number of books in a small case for when one traveled. Many are bound in fine Moroccan leather, gilt, and contain excellent examples of woodcuts, etchings, and watermarks. More popular topics at that time were dictionaries, language translators, religious stories and readings, and occasionally, tourist guides.

“Subjects range from the Bible, encyclopedias, music, stories, rhymes, famous speeches, and the miniaturization of well-known books such as The Compleat AnglerThe Art of War, and Sherlock Holmes stories. Many are now collectors’ items, with prices ranging from a few hundred to many thousands of US dollars.”   ~ Wikipedia

Tuesday, October 3, 2017


The October workshop will be an opportunity to learn how to add some beautiful calligraphy to your book art. Kathy Warren will be teaching us how to construct the letters, but to really develop the skill, practice practice practice is necessary. Cursive writing is based on Italian Renaissance manuscripts and is an italic form of writing. It was developed as a "speed-writing" technique by Papal scribes. It is one of the easiest forms to learn and to apply to everyday life. By adding exaggerated flourishes it can be used in art pieces or simply for adding sentiments to blank cards, names to certificates, or for addressing snail mail. Here are some examples:

Tools to bring:

  • Calligraphy pens and inks
  • Books or other example supplies if you have them, but not necessary

What will be provided:

  • All necessary paper 
  • A zig calligraphy marker for everyone to keep ($3.39 value)
  • Practice pages
  • Instruction alphabet pages and a resource page

When:   Saturday, October 14 at 12 noon
Where:  Eureka Methodist Church at Del Norte & F Streets
Bring:    See above list
Cost:     $5.00
RSVP:    YES, by October 9 to Kathy Warren (contact info in the newsletter)