Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Rosie Kelly! Books! Fun! Calligraphers! Rosie Kelly! Books! Fun!

The Rosie Kelly book workshop a friend and I were headed to was worth enduring the rigors of the drive. The ride from Louisville to Memphis took 8 hours! Roadwork, a self-imposed detour and heavy, heavy rain caused delays. (Thankfully the trip home took more like 6 or 6.5 hours.) Shirley Sawyer and I met our other friends that evening and ate Thai food at a wonderful restaurant near Emily's condo. Donna Hacker's daughter was so sweet to let us use her premises while she was out of town. The nasty weather held throughout the weekend.

We only noticed the depressing weather when we were out in it. When we were inside the classroom with Rosie and other friends, or dining out in the evenings, the cold rain outside was a non-issue. It was all sunshine indoors.

The Memphis Calligraphy Guild hosted the workshop, with Rosie Kelly coming in from Chicago. Rosie is a wonderful teacher. She gives you just enough instruction and encouragement to let your own creativity take wing. (She is always around if you need advice, however, and her models are always inspiring.) In addition, there is an aura of creativity surrounding all the participants. What fun we had!

And what work we produced! I took over 300 photos, and when re-visiting them today I had a hard time in many cases telling which were Rosie's books and which were students'. Enjoy these photos:
The above are collage pages we did as our first exercises. They were a great warm-up to what was to come.

Some class books done on the third workshop day.

A classmate's book on day one. Yes! Day one! I think this is Mary Lou Sherman's.
(Can't forget the adventurous Mary Lou lettering on the toilet seat covers she snagged from the lady's room - unused, of course.)

Rosie's lovely abstract book. I want to play with this idea!

Another Rosie Kelly book.

And here are my books:

Here's my day three accordion book; the next photo is the same book opened. I did the cover of this book as one of day one's exercises to fill papers with lines and marks. These marks were made with a tongue depressor pen I'd made many years ago.

This is my first book from day one. Wonderful Sharon gave me the closure idea and wonderful Deb gave me the little square brads...round buttons just wouldn't have worked.
An inner page of the above book. This one has an attached quote done in black on black with Sumi ink. (Some were calling me a glutton for punishment for lettering the hard-to-see black-on-black, but I naturally preferred Rosie's complimentary term: elegant. When I prepared those pages, I had been working on wedding envelopes and used my usual wedding calligraphy style to letter this enclosure piece. I used other bits of black on black, black on white, white on black and also some white on white writing in this book.
The little triangle cut out on this page may have been the class favorite in my book. It was a sweet little surprise.

Another page from my first book. This one incorporates snippets of a page I did in Judy Melvin's Neuland workshop that I took last year in Indianapolis.

My little pink book. I did the lettering first then came up with the cover paper, a small doodle sheet I had in my 'stash'. Using it for the cover left only a little scrap left for collage elements in the book, but I had just enough, I think. When asked, "How little is too little of a piece of paper to save for 'stash'?" Deb replied, "When there is nothing left." We were making lots of jokes about our friends' stash elements and there was, I have to admit, a little coveting going on too. Peggy Kunkle had some gorgeous little pieces, and Leslie Barnes from the St. Louis Calligraphy Guild had to take first prize for the amount of stash* (*the papers we brought with us from home.)

I really like the way this delicate little pink book turned out. I selected two complementary quotes with an eye to the small amount of space I would use in lettering them in pencil in an informal pressurized Roman style. I love, love, love the way the embossing makes the pages pop in all the books. Unfortunately that hasn't translated too well in my photos. I can hardly wait to make more books. It's so much fun! (Read more about it on my website in the Handmade Books album, and on my Jan Hurst Letterlady blog. .)


  1. Hi, Jan. It was good to see you. Thanks for posting the photos.

  2. Jan, wow isn't Rosie's class so much fun!! I took her class in Pittsburgh. Love the books you created.

  3. mmm..mmm....good! Thanks for sharing Jan! Wonderful books.
    See? This is exactly why I have a hard time throwing anything away!