Fantastic Flourishes Workshop

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June 4-5, 2022 – 10-5 EST – Instructor Holly Monroe – Online My second Fantastic Flourishing (broad-edged pen) workshop is coming up. Some have asked, why in the world do calligraphers flourish? Well now, that’s a good question to ask. There is just something about beauty, something about decoration and detail that delights the eye. […]

How to make GLAIR for Calligraphers, Illuminators, Artists

Until the 14th century, manuscript miniatures were painted mainly using glair, made from egg white. It was used as a glossing or waterproofing agent in the paints. In my calligraphy studio, I use glair to reconstitute Cennini Gesso, to dilute Liquid Gesso (J. Tresser’s), and as a binder for gouache or powdered pigment.


  1. Crack eggs (4), strain off white by toggling yoke between shell halves leaving whites in mixing bowl
  2. Put yolks in a separate bowl, set aside for some other use. 
  3. Beat egg whites to stiff peaks – like a merengue. 
  4. Tip mixing bowl on its side and let drip into another bowl overnight – (or let it settle in original bowl).
  5. Pitch foam and reserve liquid. 
  6. After about 12 hours, strain (get rid of unwanted stringiness.)
  7. It can be used 2 ways. Try both!
    1. Full Strength
    2. Dilute with glair/water > 50/50 

8.    Save capped for 1-2+ yrs (stays clear). Date the container. Restrain after it sits for awhile

     TIPS:   • Stinky if stored room temperature. That’s okay. Traditionally called ‘la putrido’.

    • Preserve in refrigerator or out. (lasts longer in the frig).

    • For certain gilding purposes, glair must be aged. As glair ages, it becomes an adhesive.

    • Glair becomes waterproof in 24 hours

Beat eggs whites to stiff peaks
Stiff enough that it holds it’s shape
I get an 8 cup Pyrex measuring container and tilt my Kitchen Aid mixing bowl on it’s side. Allow it to sit there overnight. It will ‘weep’ into the glass bowl. That is your glair.


Titanium Dioxide Liquid Gesso – 1-2 drops should do it, but you can thin liquid gesso with glair to the consistency needed. Fresh glair is fine.

Cennini Gesso – Holly’s measurement to reconstitute powder > 1/8 tsp powdered gesso to 15 drops glair.  6-9 month (aged) glair is best for this recipe.

Dried Pigment or Gouache– Add 1-2 drops full strength or diluted to dry pigment or gouache. Clove oil or honey can be added to make colors richer/shinier.

**Glair, a natural product can be added to a variety of art mediums

Gold Leaf Workshop

Hello all of you Gold Leaf lovers!  I’m presenting a 1-day GOLD methods workshop on November 20, 2021. ONLINE. 10am-5pm EST. Sponsored by the Ocala Calligraphy Guild in Florida.  Their website is and you can head on over to their Workshops section to download the official flyer as well as making payment there. There is a ‘page 2’ to the first page that I’m posting below – with more description and a supply list. We would love to have you join us. The workshop focuses on pre-made sizes such as Liquid Gesso, Instacoll, Illuminators Bole, Gum Ammoniac plus more, with Patent Gold. Some methods are optional, if you don’t want to buy all. Feel free to contact me or the Ocala Guild for more information. If you are interested, you may want to jump on board quickly and get your supplies lined up. For this low price, you will get a boatload of information! This is designed for Beginner/Intermediate, but anyone can join in. Calligraphers, Lettering Artists, Artists, Crafters…

You will need to make Glair for this workshop, as well – I have easy instructions. Look for it as I will be posting a little video of how I make it. See my next Blog.

NOTE: The website for the Ocala Calligraphy Guild is wrong on this flyer, but correct in my text above.

Calligraphy Cruise February 2016 to the Western Caribbean



Come join me and others as we sail to the Caribbean for fun, sun and to enhance your calligraphy repertoire of skills. Calligraphers and NON-Calligraphers, all welcome -Friends and Relatives, spouses and significant others. We are changing cruise lines this time to Royal Caribbean as Holland America sold out the route and week we initially chose. Details are on my flyer above, which can currently be seen on my FB page and in the SHOP on my website. Correct information will soon appear on my CLASSES section. The wrong date is on my Home page and will be corrected. The correct sailing dates are February 20-27, 2016.

                              $100 deposit will hold your place in the class.                             Book early for best cabin selection.

Calligraphy in California!

September 2014 – I continued my summer fun by heading out to teach in San Diego and Huntington Beach! Wendy Watson-Diedrick worked her little fingers to the bone arranging a fabulous line up of classes for me to teach as well as a talented group of people to study with. She also opened her home to me and drove me to Huntington Beach. Gracias! As you can see from the picture below, the San Diego crowd was a large one. Thank you to Terry Bajo for taking over the workshop duties, and to Victoria Kibildis for hostessing me at Wendy’s house, when Wendy had a family wedding conflict. A big thank you to Linda Mirth who orchestrated the Huntington Beach class…found the venue, rounded up the students, the housing and fixed a delightful lunch for Wendy and me at her home.


Back to San Diego. What you can’t see is that we started on a Friday afternoon with a 10 person “Business of Calligraphy” seminar. Topics in the session ranged from copyright, to workshops and retreats, taking the orders, pricing and scheduling our day. We all grew by sharing our insight and expertise.


Friday evening, the guild hosted my “Calligraphy Today” digital presentation to a group of about 25. I walk you through my personal calligraphic background along with pictures of my studio, my father’s and mother’s work and later, I promote colleagues of mine, by showing select pieces of their work with different applications….lettering on glass, clay, tables, walls, violin, logos, greeting cards, books, etc. The lettering arts are still alive and well in this current day and age. Nothing can replace the human artistic touch!

PastedGraphic-1The weekend’s 2-day workshop was my popular Fantastic Flourishes class. Students learn the basics of flourishing on Saturday and then create a circle or a spiral, interlocking the flourishes on Sunday. What seemed to help most was, thinking-out-loud as I penciled in the flourishes on a circular design. I walked away without calligraphy pictures from this class (so San Diego…send examples to me when you can!)

IMG_2877Above, hostess Victoria introducing me to a San Diego beach! Glorious! Below is her penciled spiral complete with interlocking flourishes. Great job Victoria….now to finish!



Monday, Wendy and I drove up the coast to Huntington Beach, where we met with Linda Mirth, who graciously orchestrated the evening Decorated Letters classes there. It was hot, hot, hot! Still there was a wonderful attendance of about 18 students, putting their hand to creating beautiful letters. Here are a few…..first, Wendy’s decorated S with Seashells…..IMG_2986A very clever shoe makes the crossbar of a G, representing a family’s initial and interests…I need the name of the talented designer!! One of their exercises was to illustrate the letter.


Nancy Kazanjian created this lovely “H” below….she is planning on adding another ‘musical’ layer to her creation. This exercise was exaggerating a part of the letter.


Below, Carole Johnson created this flourished “B” combining a more Fraktur looking B with flourishing….


Stephanie Chao worked through the exercise of decorating “on” and “in” the letter. There were more, but these are a few of those who created the letters in about 5 hours or less.


And below is Stephanie, Carolyn, Chris and Wendy smiling in the front. Here we were in Huntington Beach. Thanks to all of them for a wonderful California calligraphy experience!

IMG_2981IMG_2876IMG_2980At the front table, Sandy and _________. Back from L to R, Linda Mirth, ______ and ______