Valentine’s Day is approaching and I want to share a simple but effective gift idea! You can imagine why this would be appropriate…a celebratory toast, some sparkling wine and chocolate or even with a romantic dinner together. The Freixenet company, a Spanish producer of cava and other sparkling and still wines hired me this Fall to letter on their black wine bottles. I was a little surprised that the company asked me to letter with a gold sharpie marker, but after checking out their site, they have devoted a whole section of their website with this nifty little idea. Despite the simplicity of the tool, the impact of the gold on the black bottle is fantastic and people purchased to give as seasonal mini-gifts.
Everyone LOVES personalization on items that they buy. Whether you choose a word, a short phrase and/or names it will be a hit. See what you think from my pictures below. If you have beautiful or clever printing or handwriting, you too, can create a special “I love you” gift for your special someone. I have a tip for you below the photos.
And the tip is……
If you make a mistake, it takes a little work to remove the Sharpie marker, but if you trace over the gold with another layer of the gold marker, then take a slightly damp Magic Eraser (special sponge from grocery store), you can remove the mistake. The second layer of the gold sharpie reactivates the first layer of gold and then it’s easier to erase it. It might take a little time to completely get it off, but I found that it worked pretty well. I hope that helps you!
Hello Friend! This years Open Studio was great fun. Many new faces, everyone’s names hand lettered, multiple rooms full of calligraphy designs, a slide show of custom work that has gone out to clients, cider and churros. Below are a few pictures of the event.
Many thanks to my friends Pauline Kim, Marie Hibbs for taking orders and guest calligrapher/penman David Grimes of www.masgrimes.com A sample of his beautiful lettering is also below. Thanks to Richell Chui for sharing her photos with me. You can find her amazing peg people at https://www.instagram.com/living_mosaic_design/
If you came for a visit, it was great to see you. If not, you may make an appointment to meet concerning your calligraphy project. Mission: to feed the soul by making meaningful words beautiful.
October 15-16 (Saturday & Sunday) is the final weekend of Portland Open Studios. My studio is open 10:00-5:00 both days, and YOU ARE INVITED. Take a look at 2 rooms full of calligraphy for sale as well as DEMO’s, a digital presentation of the last 3 years of my work and a table for trying out the pens. For those interested in learning calligraphy, I have a handout full of my workshops, books and suppliers and a free exemplar that you can take home to work on. (SCROLL DOWN, FOR WEBSITES & ADDRESS). Adults, kids & grandkids welcome…..see below…..I’ll even handletter your names!
If you can’t attend, please go to www.HollyMonroe.com > CONTACT and sign up for my monthly eNewsletter. Indicate if you are a Shopper or a Calligraphy Student or both, as I have 2 eNewsletters.
On my back deck, I have a table with numerous pens for you, your kids or grandkids to give calligraphy a try, plus some cider & treats. Ask me about the handwriting book that I recommend! Kids should learn script or they miss a part of their neurological development. These two polite and enthusiastic little boys were inspired to work on their calligraphy. They loved the turkey feathers used to make quills. Great Weather!
He was a great Dad and I will miss him! Ninety-four productive years and the second generation calligrapher in our family. He mastered the art of engrossing and shared his heart through the words that he penned plus so much more. His was a life well-lived. A life of purpose, excellence and industry. From a loving husband and father, to a calligrapher, a career with the Boy Scouts, classically trained vocalist, dedicated to his faith in God, and a life of service.You can read his obituary here: CLICK (we forgot to add he was an active Rotary Member)
Dad lettering for a demo….
But this is a CALLIGRAPHY blog, so let me share some memories of my father as an engrosser (aka calligrapher) as I saw him. Cliff, grew up in Philadelphia. His father and my grandfather, Walter, was a teacher of shorthand, penmanship and business courses at a local high school. In the years 1943-1947, Walter was taking a correspondence course at The Zanerian College of Penmanship, Columbus, OH. In a 1946 letter to E. A. Lupfer, Walter asked Earl about their summer Courses. Can you believe! Six weeks of instruction was only $30. So once out of the Navy (age 19), Dad journeyed off to take 2 months of intense study at The Zanerian. Later he completed the Engrossers’ course and worked on the Ornamental Penmanship correspondence courses. Can you believe he practiced 10 hours a day back then!? He became quite good and was even asked to become a White House calligrapher (which he declined and went off to the Wharton School, U of Penn and a career with the Boy Scouts). You can read detail of his Zanerian experience here: http://www.heirloomartists.com/blog/?tag=bound-lettered
Once on a family vacation, Dad took us to the Zanerian College (mid 1960’s) and I recall meeting E. A. Lupfer and receiving a Zanerian pen and pencil set. The college seemed to be phasing out at that time. In the article (link above), Cliff/Dad shares some of the companies that he freelanced for. I do remember when the IBM certificates would arrive at our door. I was in Junior High at the time and Cliff trained me to use a T-square, to draw the pencil lines on the certificates and when he finished the names in Engrossers’ Script, I would erase the lines. A penny a line! Those were the years that my bedroom was right next to Dad’s studio. Late at night he would often be completing a resolution, testimonial or certificates and I would look over his shoulder and watch as he formed the letters and beautiful vine work. These were special bonding moments with Dad. He specialized in Engrosser’s Script, Old English and some other styles from the Zanerian Manual. I sure remember his ink, Gillott nibs, oblique pen holders, his large bottle of Arnold’s Ink, shell gold and agate burnishers.
In 1974, my Senior year, Dad tutored me for a season in the lettering styles that he knew and loved. Then he pushed me to take on some paying projects. Ohhhh! I wasn’t very good, but he insisted. The next year, when I went off to college, he said, now, you can go get a job at McDonald’s or you can work on your calligraphy skills and look for ways to make money with it. He taught me how to find clients and sure enough, I landed some work! To this day, I still work for one of the organizations.
During the late 1970’s the calligraphy world had a revival and national Conferences soon began. Dad and I enjoyed going to the calligraphy conferences together. We attended a few IAMPETH conferences in Ohio, where the penmen would dazzle me with bird flourishes and gifts of pen nibs. Later we met in cities from East to West Coast and Canada for the International Conferences. A great father-daughter shared interest, we sure had fun comparing workshops, meeting new friends and learning how to lay gold leaf together. Dad was an enthusiastic member of the Portland Society for Calligraphy, a very active guild. I would fly out and visit him for the conferences.
Part of a Portland Society for Calligraphy exhibit with William Stafford quotes. Clifford D. Mansley, Sr.
When he retired from the Boy Scouts, he and my mother enjoyed a second career with their home-based calligraphy/art studio, creating designs for hospitals, colleges, businesses and individuals. Words have meaning and Cliff always found deep and profound words to pen. He expressed his heart through his words. Always purposeful, he wanted to build character in young men, so Dad sold his designs and started a fund to keep Chaplains in the Boy Scout summer camps.
Cliff and Jean in their Lake Oswego Studio, a picture that appeared in the newspaper.
Holly and Cliff, together, in 2016, we were featured in the Centennial Edition of the Speedball Textbook.
I’m sure I can think of more, but for now, this brings me up to Cliff’s last several years. As mentioned, he went to Wharton ’51 at the University of Pennsylvania. He enjoyed going to the Alumni meetings and every August, they would host new students from the Portland area. Ben Franklin was the founder of Penn, so Cliff created reproductions of The Virtues and Precepts of Benjamin Franklin (above) and took them to the picnic. Even at 92, Cliff gave a history lesson about Ben and gifted the students with the design, encouraging them to ‘put it on your dorm wall’. 🙂
My mother had dementia and Dad lovingly cared for her. It broke his heart, when Jean Hollingsworth Mansley passed away in March 2019. Then Cliff had his own health struggles. While in assisted living, he set up his calligraphy table with pen and ink and would letter the names of his caregivers. In the last year, he attempted one last undertaking….I had recreated all of the Founding Documents of our country – the Bill of Rights, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. www.Patrigraphica.com Dovetailing with that, Dad attempted to start a speaking contest in which kids around the country would focus on an aspect of one of these Docs and learn what our great country is all about. He was not able to see this through. He fell on April 30th, 2021 breaking his clavicle and 2 ribs and just could not recover from this. He passed into Eternity on May 25, 2021. He loved the Lord and loved serving others.
If you would like to see Cliff’s work or purchase reproductions go to Cliff’s website www.HeirloomArtists.com (go to Portfolio and SHOP) or contact Holly at www.HollyMonroe.com and set up a studio appointment to see a broader range of his originals and reproductions.
What a nice surprise! Last Friday night I was awarded Best of Show at the Oregon State Fair 2017, Calligraphy Division. The cash award made it an even sweeter win.
To submit an entry to the Oregon State Fair, the calligraphy has to be created within the last 2 years. That is always a challenge for me, since so much of my work goes directly to my clients. My assistant, Heather Barton (who is also a calligrapher and prize winner), remembered that I had the ‘Achiever’ original remaining…..scroll down….
‘Achiever’ was a piece that I completed for Mason, Ohio, client Dawn Shiver this past winter. She and her husband own Shiver Security Systems, Inc. in Mason and were looking for some special awards for their top salesmen. Dawn commissioned me to rework the wording and create the artwork, which was later scanned, retouched, color altered and finally high end reproductions were printed one at a time from my Epson R3000 printer on Entrada digital paper. The original was created on D’Arches black 140# paper, with tinted Dr. Martin’s bleed proof white to help the capitals pop. Brown gouache was added to my gold Winsor New metallic gouache to give the script more of a bronzed look. Fabulous Frames in Cincinnati, enhanced the awards with beautiful frames. DesignSource in Oregon, framed the winning original.
Achiever – Best of Show, Oregon State Fair 2017, Calligraphy Division