Happy New Year, everyone! My holidays have drawn to a close and I’m very ready to jump back into everyday life feet-first. This year’s going to be a good one – I’m sure of it.
The more that I learn about calligraphy, the more that I see how much I have to learn. It really is the craft that never stops giving – there’s always more to learn, further to go. In comparison to where I want to be, I sometimes feel like a toddler fingerpainting on the walls. So I spend all my free time learning and studying and thinking about lettering to the point of just being a little bit too obsessed … but I’m happy.
I was lucky enough to spend the past week studying the Italian hand of Bennardino Cataneo with Gemma Black at the Sturt Summer School in NSW. I could have flown up there and saved myself the drive, but I really wanted to be able to carry all my gear, so I hopped in the car around 4am on a chilly Sunday morning and hit the highway. I sort of love long drives, or long train rides, or long bus rides; there’s something very peaceful about being on the road.
And I learned so many things over the week! A lot about Bennardino Cataneo, and the 1545 manuscript we were studying; a lot about handling a pen and making decisions about where to place words on a page; even some rudimentary bookbinding. I had a fantastic time – it was fully catered and the accommodation was on campus, so it really was just a week of rolling out of bed, being given all your meals, and doing nothing but art every day. I wish it could have gone on for ever.
One thing that I am learning over and over again as I study: an hour with a good teacher is worth about a week of studying at home. Although the studying at home helps! I feel like I also made some strides in understanding how to analyse a script this week, and now I need to attack my books all over again and look at all the manuscripts I can find and learn them all … it never stops. And I never want it to.