Studies in Contrast: Exploring Juxtaposition in Letter Design — Suzanne Moore

Suzanne Moore
5 days
Intermediate to Advanced
$18 materials fee

Instructor Bio
Suzanne Moore is a printmaker, painter, and lettering artist whose eclectic interests fuse in the diversity of her artist books. Born to a family of gifted inventor-engineers and raised in post-Sputnik middle-America, her aptitudes in math and science channeled her into those areas at an early age. She made her way into the world of art at 20-something, and earned a BFA in Printmaking and Drawing in Wisconsin. Suzanne melds word and painted image with form, content, and structure into spaces which invite the reader to engage, examine, and inquire. Her books blend distinctive design, color use, and surface treatments with textual content and contemporary lettering to create work that obscures the line between word and image, legibility and abstraction. The physical, sensual, and architectural aspects of books and the musical/rhythmic, sequential, unfolding narratives of bookworks are a multi-dimensional parallel to the way imagery and letterforms move across surfaces. Moore sees books as interactive spaces: portable places created to offer the ‘reader’ new perspectives. Recent work has included: singular bookworks on the the concept, tumultuous history, and mystery of Zero and Faces of the Void; a pair of large format manuscript books with monotype imagery presenting Bob Dylan song lyrics; and a primarily visual response to and interpretation of the seven movements of the Holst symphonic suite, The Planets. Suzanne’s work is exhibited widely and her books have been acquired for private and public collections in the US and Europe. Among them are the Pierpont Morgan Library, The Library of Congress, and the rare book collections of Smith College, Wellesley College, Yale University, Harvard University, and the University of Washington. She lectures and teaches in the US and abroad on contemporary manuscript design and techniques, conceptual thinking in book design, and on painting and collage techniques. She is one of three Americans on the team who created contemporary interpretive illuminations for the St. John’s Bible, the Wales-based project lead by Donald Jackson. Commissioned by the Abbey at St. John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota, this is the first handwritten and illuminated Bible created in 500 years. The seven volume work is lettered and painted on vellum, a true 21st century illuminated Bible.


Class Description
classical / experimental . . . legible / abstract . . . riotous color / muted tones . . . grainy / fluid . . . tiny / grand . . . mysterious / clear . . . chiaroscuro / mono-toned . . . defined / loose . . . dense / open . . . fine / rough . . . constructed / cursive

Each aspect of lettering design is key to the success of the whole, and exploring areas of contrast can give a design distinction and depth. Just as voices singing in harmony or musical instruments in a quartet, band or orchestra, each of the parts offer a distinct contribution to the sound, so do the elements of a lettering design… each play a key part in the success of the whole. Through a series of specific exercises, we will explore ways to apply contrasts in designing a series of pages, to be housed in a portfolio or simply bound into a book. A broad selection of tools and materials – pastels to fluid acrylics, for calligraphic drawings, to brushes and big sticks contrasted with work in tiny pointed nibs – will provide opportunities for lettering and design applications unique to each student.

Supply List
• Pencil
• Ruler
• Triangle
• Water container
• Palette
• Selection of wet and dry media
• Few sheets of favorite papers
• Brushes, flats and pointed, a couple sizes each
• Sumi ink
• Nibs, pointed and broad, with holder(s)
• Folded pens
• Sticks
• Etc.