Celtic Script — Dr. Mark Van Stone

Dr. Mark Van Stone
2.5 days
All levels
No materials fee

Instructor Bio
Dr. Mark Van Stone likes to learn, teach, and inspire. He is a self-taught scribe, illuminator, and historian of written forms. As part of his Guggenheim Fellowship to study calligraphy of the world, he traveled to 17 countries to research and photograph inscriptions and manuscripts. In 1978, a young Ken Burns filmed him illuminating a carpet page opening, in “In the Irish Tradition – Two Artists for Boston Museum of Fine Art’s Treasures of Early Irish Art exhibit.” He also completed an apprenticeship in Netsuke carving in ivory with Sensei Saito Bishu in Kawaguchi, Japan. He has worked as a clay-animator for Will Vinton Studios and led calligraphy tours in Ireland, England, France, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, and Greece. He taught on the calligraphy circuit in 44 US states, 7 Canadian provinces, and 11 countries. His Ph.D. dissertation was on identifying individual Mayan artists by their handwriting.

Class Description
Celtic scribes in the 7th century invented the modern book design. Their sublime script is the first formal minuscule script. They invented “word-spacing,” which makes modern reading possible. (This is partly because they were the first population to adopt Christianity, and the making of books, who were not native speakers of Latin or Greek.) They designed the first amazing decorated letters, as a way to guide the reader to the important sections of a text. Because they adopted Christianity without having been part of the Roman Empire, their illumination is completely non-classical and at its best when totally abstract, full of their unique (and uniquely weird) knot work, interlaced animals, spirals, and fretwork. Dr. Van Stone is peerless in his knowledge and instruction of these design styles. This is a rare opportunity to work with these marvelous forms, guided by the master. In this class, we will study ancient manuscripts from the collection and attempt to recreate these letter forms.

Supply List
• Good paper
• Non-bleeding ink (Higgins Eternal, sumi)
• Your favorite edged pens
• Fine line pens (Pigma Micron .005 – 2)
• Ruler
• Pencils
• Eraser
• Compass (optional)
• Watercolors and brushes (optional)
• Hunt “Globe” bowl-point nib (Its sharper cousin, Hunt “Ex-Fine Bowl Pointed” nib is okay, too. These nibs are great for laying tiny solid patches of watercolor into fine ink drawings).