|"Grace", original size approximately 8" X 18"|
What is it about a looming deadline that brings clarity to our thinking? This is a piece I had been mulling over for at least a year, occasionally pulling out the quotation and fooling around with it. Then Linnea Lundquist & Ward Dunham announced they would be closing their wonderful studio, Atelier Gargoyle
, on December 4th with an all-day party and show of their students' work. This was the incentive I needed, and I knew it had to get done and delivered this week since I would be out of town most of the two weeks before the celebration.
It truly has been a gift to have access to Ward & Linnea's wisdom and expertise these last four-and-a-half years at their monthly Saturday "Black Sabbath" classes in San Francisco where we explored Textura, Batarde, Uncial, Johnstonian Italic (aka Pointed Gothic)--in short, all things Blackletter. Very early on, after Ward made some jokingly snide remarks about Pointed Pen People, I sent them a New Years card I had designed in Spencerian, knowing that I was "outing" myself as a PPP. They both responded with one of their famous postcards, enthusiastically encouraging me to work with the two styles "for ultimate contrast", and encouraging me to "look to your Bickham". "Be the one," wrote Linnea, "to combine the two with panache." I've never forgotten that, and have always been grateful.
At every Black Sabbath class we painstakingly ground our black Chinese stick ink, and occasionally used Chinese vermillion for electric red accents. With this piece I wanted to stay faithful to that. I had originally planned to illuminate the "G" but in looking at my roughs, Linnea encouraged me to keep it simpler. The diamonds on the G and B are gilded.
When Sheila Waters was in town earlier in the year, she had shown us her latest work on Pergamanata paper, singing its praises and vellum-like qualities, in particular the easy correctability. I decided then and there it must be the paper for me, and although it took some getting used to, I am now a devoted fan. It is not at all as mottled looking as in the scan above, and it seemed able to take endless scraping and erasures without complaint.
As I said, there was a deadline involved and with understanding friends and a supportive spouse, I holed up in the studio for days, finally coming through with a piece I could live with, then cutting mats for it and popping it into a frame for the show. I'm looking forward to seeing my classmates' work and getting together one last time; we've all come a long way in 4+ years and there is some amazing and varied talent in the group. It's been a great run and I'm very sad it's over.