I am so honoured to have work selected – for the 4th consecutive year. My fellow English calligraphers who were selected were: Cherrell Avery, Gaynor Goffe, Celia Lister collaborating with Clare Whittaker, Tom Perkins and Jan Turner. No-one from South Africa this year or last year. Cherrell has been working in etching, but rather than taking prints the copper etched plate is the finished result. I’ve asked her if she’ll send me some more samples of her work to show on the blog.
This is a first time for Jan. I have watched her calligraphy develop over the years as she started form scratch with no art training. Watch this space! I chatted to Clare about how she and Celia are working together – from opposite ends of the country!
Rope of Words is still an exciting project. We have had lovely reviews in Forum from Letter Exchange, The Edge, SSI and I’ve been invited to write articles for SSI and Bound and Lettered. Megan and I gave a talk at Oxford Scribes and we will be exhibiting at the Wantage Literary Festival as a solo exhibition. This latest accolade is the cherry on the top! We have sold well over half the books.
Back to LAR. If you have never had work accepted perhaps it is because you have not ever entered your work! Maybe its too scary. On the other hand noone knows if you entered and didn’t get in – along with the other 330 entries. This year 72 entries out of 400 got in. So what are the judges looking for?
Bear in mind that LAR are trendsetters and are committed to a high standard of lettering. So while innovation is good, it can’t be at the expense of sound letterforms. I suppose that sound letterforms means that the letters work in harmony within the piece. Sometimes they can be quite whacky – like my pebble letters, but they still need to have tension and work well with their fellow letters. While the computer is allowed as a tool, it should not dominate above the “hand and eye”. Expressionistic work and mark-making is very popular, but the judges said “This is Letter Arts Review, not Mark-Making Review”
Last year, my piece that was selected was the Petrified Forest and the year before it was Nautilus. I can’t remember what was in the previous year (my copy is in the loft) I usually send in 4 entries and this is the first year that all four have been accepted.
Some names appear year after year and for good reason like Nancy Leavitt or Hiroko Shimizu. Many of the people who are often featured do quite diverse work (not always a good thing) but Joan Gerswell is just her wonderful self and has been featured for years and years.