Fantastic Flourishes a Workshop

Flourishing adds elegance to a calligraphers repertoire, both with the broad edged pen and the pointed pen. It’s like dancing on paper. The Saint Louis Calligrapher’s Guild kindly invited me to lead them in their opening workshop as they created their beautiful flourished spirals of words. September 2013.


My example above, on genuine vellum and a page from my Book of Hours project, caught their eye. So we set out to not only flourished individual letters, words, and lines of words but also a spiral or circle. Their finished projects were delightful!

Leslie Barnes, Holly Monroe

Leslie Barnes, Holly Monroe

Below are class members Denise Gerstung, Joanne Kluba, Esther and ________

HollyMonroeWkshop Guild




HollyMonroeWkshop (64)Class3StLouisFlourishing

Special thanks to calligraphers Leslie Barnes (contact), Carol Savage (hostess), Susan ______(Friday night lecture & display hostess), Kathy Orf (advertising) and the entire group for making me feel comfortable and welcome. It was my pleasure to enjoy the weekend with them!

A Modern “Book of Hours” on Calfskin with 23k Gold Leaf

Have you ever lettered and painted on genuine calfskin? Laid 23k gold leaf on a handmade gesso base? (Italian recipe). For over 5 years, I’ve been working on a very detailed, modern day Book of Hours – 144 pages in all.  Creating miniature designs with these materials, the best of the best for a calligrapher, has been a delight!

BookOfHoursOne Christmas, when I was wondering how I was going to manage financially, a new client took an interest in my work. He is a lover of handmade books and asked me to make his third. It’s a book of quotes that speak to Ron’s heart and soul…that celebrate Time, Seasons of the Year, Season’s of Life and Eternity. This unique, one-of-a-kind little book is about 6.5″x 9″ in size and only the facing pages completely harmonize with each other. A high end ‘picture book’ of sorts. “Make each page as ornate as you can conceive,” he said. “This project is a gift,” I said, “I’m grateful.” The pages are ornate, but I think if I went as far as my mind could truly conceive, I would never finish. Applying the tiny little strokes with my Winsor Newton Miniature brushes takes hours and hours. A labor of love, for sure!

One of my specialties is Flourishing. I just love working the lines/shapes until the design says ‘extra special.’  Below, see the first page of my client’s
personally authored quote about TIME, enhanced with modernized italic flourishes. (There are 3 additional pages to his thoughts.) He is quite the Renaissance man.

TimeIsLifesVitalCoinThe roundel design below is at the end of the first chapter, pondering Time. Recently, calligraphy guilds have asked me to teach workshops focused on ‘flourishing in the round.’  Come join me sometime!

GodShakesHisFistThere are about 30 more pages or so between the little roundel and the title page to the Seasons chapter that you see below. This is one of my more lively pages–it was lots of fun to think up all of the little seasonal details. (The horizontal gold bars on a page indicate the beginning of a chapter.)

ThereIsNoSeason2A previous article in my Blog shares a bit more about the Book of Hours. Also,
The Greater Cincinnati Calligrapher’s Guild met in my studio to check out my initial progress on the book and to discuss gold, vellum and design. Thanks for taking a look! I’ll post more designs in the future….