Monday, July 12, 2021


 Our July workshop was a little bit of a trip down memory lane to back when we were practicing penmanship in grade school. Australian book artist and paper engineer, Jean Kropper, got us thinking about how we can modify our own style of writing to make words become part of our art. More than 50 of us from England, Canada, and across the U.S. came together via Zoom to explore how our writing can play a significant role in design. Many thanks go to Jean for getting up at 4 a.m. “down under” to teach this workshop.

Jean showed us that we don’t need to be expert calligraphers. By changing such simple things as how we hold our marker, using unusual or different sized markers, changing the space we use between lines, printing versus cursive, or even not using our dominate hand can give a whole different look and perhaps a different meaning to our writing. We practiced printing a simple paragraph using both upper and lower case letters while trying to write in even, straight lines with tight spacing. Then we tried it again with a loose, haphazard style before attempting the same paragraph in cursive. When you compare the look of these samples you definitely get a different feel for the words.

Margaret's sample

Bonnie's sample. 
The top right sample was done with her left hand
 which gave a VERY childish look to the words.

More than one person had a hard time writing in a straight line without lines being drawn on the page. Jean showed us ways to solve that problem by using a light box or even writing against a window. One participant said she changed how she held her pen but then couldn’t figure out how to start forming an “s” or which side to make the circle for a “b”. Experiences like that got us laughing at ourselves. We certainly learned that it takes practice to control the different ways to write. Thank you Jean, for reintroducing us to the art of the written word.

Museum Exhibition

The following photos are from the new rotation from the Cynthia Sears Artist's Books Collection at the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art. The theme is Every Day & Special Days, "a journey from daily delights and mundane activities to once-in-a-lifetime events. Time is marked through postcards or weather observations, holding ceremonies, or simply surviving a pandemic."

Shared Illusion by Bryan Kring

The Land by Deborah Greenwood

One rhododendron bush in May 2020
by Aimee Lee

A Mealtime Blessing 
by Bonnie Thompson Norman

Quiescent Temple by Karen Stahlecker

Local Conditions by Chandler O'Leary

This is a close-up of one possible assemblage
in Chandler's collection shown above. 

Like Small Birds Singing
by Shane Miller

This collection of books on exhibit will continue throughout the summer.

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