Friday, December 28, 2018

Forty Years #37: Mike Gold Workshop

In 2014 I took my first workshop since the week with Jenny at Green Gulch Zen Center in 1988. It was called Contemporary Scripts and taught by Mike Gold. The title and description sounded right up my alley. I was nervous about taking a workshop after so many years but was encouraged by the fact that Mike had studied privately with Jenny. We had corresponded when he wrote an appreciation of Jenny after her passing for Letter Arts Review.

The workshop was perfect. Mike was a fabulous teacher. He was teaching attitude and approach more than technique. He said, "Don't just make letters. Make art." He was generous, thoughtful, and kind. He took Edward Johnston’s analysis of manuscripts-slope, scale, pen angle, spacing (between letters, between words, between lines), shape, baseline, speed, texture-and gave exercises for playing with changes.

The workshop gave me confidence in the work I was already doing and led me to new explorations. One of the styles of lettering I now frequently use combines upper and lower case. This grew out of the solstice card I did shortly after Mike’s workshop. I was using the lines from St. Julian of Norwich, “All shall be well and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well.” I wrote it in standard upper and lower case but the many double ‘l’ combinations kept the eye from moving around the page and made the composition less lively. My solution was to combine upper and lower throughout the piece.
I liked the way it looked and continued to use it. I now consider that to be the style that is most my own.

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