CLIFFORD D. MANSLEY, SR.

April 26, 1927 – May 25, 2021

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.

Reproductions available.

A DELICIOUS BUSINESS WITH A BIG HEART – MEXICO

Las Mermeladas de Beatriz, Las Galletas de Elena and El Licor de Ricardo

Back in November of 2020, my client Alfredo Taborga touched base requesting a handmade calligraphy design, predominated by a decorated letter as the focus…product labels for his new start up company. Alf was sheltering in Mexico, after being grounded from his business travels due to the pandemic. Being the smart man that he is, he shifted gears towards alternative life goals 2 and 3. Goal 1, career. Goal 2, take seminary courses. Goal 3, start a business to help struggling women in Mexico earn a living. It was my honor to create the labels as part of his Goal 3. Below, I will share my pictures and process. Alf’s website/email at the end of this blog entry.

Prototype Vinyl label with Decorated Letter for Las Mermeladas de Beatriz

Alf requested that I first design the jam labels for “Las Mermeladas de Beatriz,” as he has 10 flavors. I typically start with pencil sketches for all of my clients. As you can see, all of the wording is in Spanish.

ABOVE was my first sketch, which was the most influential to the final design. As the design evolved, Alf decided that the B should be in a circle with the ‘wild’ vine work around the letter. (Later you will see the other two product lines represented – E (Panadaría) and R (Licor).

ABOVE, we rejected the script, too hard to read on a label. Border – too stiff.

The ABOVE design won the award for shape, so although we made a circular wreath of fruits around each letter, this shape worked best on the jar. At the time of these sketches, I did not know there was going to be additional lettering on the label.

Final sketch….I reduced the large sketch to the approximately 2.75″ in height to see how it would fit on the wide jam jar. It is tiny, but legible.

The watercolor work begins. The fruit represents a few of his flavors.

ABOVE, this image shows the hand lettering around each circle, in black, and the gold gouache in the R and E, which came after the B was designed. I was able to ‘Photoshop’ them into the original “B” design, retouch and add color to the lettering.

BELOW, we tried a variety of background colors, but the ivory won out. It will look lovely on top of the colored mermeladas. It took quite some time, to clean up the original artwork’s background, so the background color would be flawless. I applied the Bevel & Emboss feature in Photoshop.

The two images ABOVE show what the label will look like in general. The printer needed the artwork in Adobe Illustrator for work flow and so my invaluable designer friend Greg Eckel, DesignCrew, Cincinnati, OH helped me finalize the images. He positioned the cut and safe lines and placed the arch. His digital assistance and coaching has been invaluable. The image BELOW, shows you the black layer that I had to create in Photoshop, to show the printer where the gold is to be placed. There was a black layer on the file for E and for B. Clicking off of the black layer reveals the gold layer.

BELOW, you will see my shiny vinyl labels. Sorry about the glare! Francis Printing, Oregon, did a great job directing me to this type of label. Water proof! Any stray jam can be wiped off and the label is stable. Alf wanted gold. This process, prints the design on a silver film, which once the PMS metallic gold is printed, it shimmers.

This is just a little peek at a hand cut label. The printer will die cut them all to the correct shape so the little pink cut line won’t show. The labels look beautiful, when you see them in person. Something good out of 2020!

Alfredo is a delight to work with, so I am happy to promote his business and share contact information. His website as of early February is still under construction but when up and running, you may ORDER his delicious offerings at www.LasMermeladasDeBeatriz.com, email is up and running now ventas@LasMermeladasDeBeatriz so get on his list and support his business with a great big heart!

Bible Dedication Page with Calligraphy

Over the years, clients have requested a short dedication lettered in the front of a Bible, they are gifting to a special person. This Christmas, I was asked to letter in The Message Bible, which didn’t have a specific page with the “To” and “From” lines in it. In a way, I was so glad, because publishers don’t always plan those pages well for the calligrapher and the ink. They are often slick paper, don’t take pencil guidelines well and don’t erase well, if you do add a pencil line. Very frustrating. I would love a matte finish on this type of page.

This Bible, referred to the client because it is a very easy to read version, has wonderful end papers with a delicious color. It took pencil lines well, too. I used liquid metallic gold acrylic (so it wouldn’t smear when dry) and lettered directly on the crimson end page with Engrosser’s Script, a style that I learned from my father, who studied with Lupfer, of the Zanerian College. I went off script a little with the flourishes. The oblique pen – which was hand made by Dao Huy Hoang, is made of holly wood, so as you can guess, I bought it because my name is Holly. This simple entry was well received by my client and his sweet recipient.

CUSTOM WEDDING DOCUMENTS

Weddings, weddings, weddings! This is the time of year when preparations are being made. I receive phone calls for numerous types of wedding documents. I will picture them below with brief explanations. Perhaps you’ll get a few ideas….

This first picture is a framed GUEST SIGNATURES gift. The brides father, my client, requested flowers indicative of Colorado in all 4 corners, their names and space for a certain number of signatures. He also specified the colors.

At first, he wanted people to randomly sign. He came back to me later and said that he wanted the doc to have a more organized feel and would like penciled lines. I gave him a Mars Staetler eraser so he could remove the lines later. (I will do that for you, but he was in a creative career, so he could handle this!) For those who want the lines inked in, that is definitely possible. I either place them with a ruling pen and ink OR a Zig or Pigma Micron Pen. These are fade proof, water resistant and archival so I recommend that guests sign with them.

This next piece is a the WEDDING WISDOM that the pastor shared with the couple at their wedding…..flourished and simple. Italic lettering.

The picture below is a Quaker Marriage Contract.

It includes the bride and grooms name and other important information. This one more traditional in feel with the flourishing, Old English and Engrosser’s Script. (Older technology leaves me with a less vibrant copy….sorry about that!) I could email you a close up of the script, if you’re interested. Bound & Lettered, Volume 10, Number 4 has an article about creating these documents.

 

Wedding Vows

couple wanted the Three Sister’s Mountains with a border of Juniper and another of Sage which was reminiscent of their outdoor wedding. The borders divided their vows in three sections. A lovely burled frame finished the look for their home. They had sweet words, but didn’t want the world to see! I wanted you to see the layout and the borders. The elements were in the setting where the wedding was held.

And then there was this little piece. Silver and black on handmade paper.

A sweet little gift from groom to his bride….

So many options for calligraphy related to weddings. You are only limited by your imagination! Calligraphy expresses your favorite words to your ‘most cherished’ and creates an heirloom of your love for the next generation.