Copperas Cove Public Library holds calligraphy class
By DAVID J. HARDIN
Several local residents came out this past Wednesday night to the Copperas Cove Public Library to learn about medieval calligraphy and illumination.
The class was put on by The Stronghold of Hellsgate, the central Texas branch of the Society for Creative Anacrhonicsm. The class is one in a series of classes dedicated to medieval subjects like armor making, which has been held at the library in the past.
Wednesday night, several people learned about medieval calligraphy and illumination, but a few had already had a working knowledge of the subject.
Everyone practiced writing letters different ways and painted designs on parchment paper that accompanied those letters, such as a thank-you card.
Medieval calligraphy and illumination dates all the way back to the tradition of Western calligraphy and its offspring, calligraphic art, dates to the Roman Empire. The letterforms created then are the ancestors of present day letters, whether they are calligraphic hands, typefaces or computer fonts.
Copperas Cove Public Library Director Kevin Marsh was on hand for the workshop.
“The medieval history club in the area known as The Stronghold of Hellsgate asked me if they could hold classes at the library of the Calligraphers’ Guild. They have been offering these types of classes for a while. These classes are open to the public,” said Marsh. “One of my goals is to have many diverse groups holding meetings or classes at the library on a wide array of topics. Calligraphy is a very interesting subject, and is a fun thing to do to be creative; we should try new things.”
Wendy Marsh is also fascinated by medieval calligraphy and illumination.
“I started learning calligraphy when I was a small child; my parents introduced it to me hoping, that it would improve my handwriting,” said Marsh. “I started really getting into the illumination aspect because when my daughter was four years old she was fascinated by all of the colors and designs, and had observed one of my friends doing these designs and parchments using paint.
“My friend taught my daughter to take raw pigments and mix them with egg whites in order to make a gouache, which is a method of painting using opaque pigments ground in water and thickened with a gluelike substance.
“Therefore, I started learning how to grind the pigments for these. We do these for awards for our group, and each one is hand painted individually.”
Brad Crochet came to the event to learn more about the subject because he is fascinated by calligraphy and the history of western civilizations,
“I think that penmanship is a dying art,” he said.
Kate Young has been fascinated by medieval calligraphy and has practiced the art for about five years.
“I have always liked calligraphy and mostly the form of it, and how it looks pretty. What I was most interested in was how many different ways in which you could write or draw letters. “
Lindsey Pickard attended the class because she has been interested in the calligraphy for several years. She attributes her interest in calligraphy blooming while bored in physics in college.
“There is a video game called Myst and in it you are an archeologist and trying to solve puzzles. In there was an alphabet system called D’ni, an elaborate form which also included a numbering system. So in order to practice learning D’ni, I wrote all of the names of the Pokemon in number order. The key is to slow down and understand what you are writing.”
The Copperas Cove Public Library offers these kinds of classes on a regular basis as well as many others on a wide array of subjects, with the monthly calendar of events on their website http://www.copperascovetx.gov/files/library/calendar.pdf.