The Versal & The Book — Gemma Black

Gemma Black
5 days
Intermediate to Advanced
No materials fee

Instructor Bio
Gemma Black is a distinguished Australian calligrapher. She is a Churchill Fellow and an Honoured Fellow of the prestigious Calligraphy & Lettering Arts Society, UK. For over 20 years, Gemma has taught nationally and internationally. She has joined the faculty of lettering-art conferences in Australia, USA, Canada and UK and taught in Germany and Italy. Her work is held in private and public collections including the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, UK, The European Parliament, and has three National Apology documents on public display in Parliament House, Canberra. Gemma’s forte is working in formal hands yet she has fun with informal and informal lettering. Gemma also encompasses the allied arts of printmaking, bookbinding, watercolor, and painting in her classes.

Class Description
Come on a journey to explore the exquisite, yet sometimes elusive, versal form. In this five-day intensive and enjoyable workshop, we will exercise the basic versal construction of both drawn and compound letters from prime specimens. We will delve into the history of the versal and its prominence in manuscript books, then experience chronological order examples from the Grandval Bible through to Irene Wellington, David Jones, the more contemporary, and beyond. Traditional techniques will be learnt along with new and more extreme contemporary forms. Our aim will be to make some excellent forms and present them in simply structured limp bindings. The outcome of such a honed study of versal forms will leave you more confident in working with both traditional and contemporary models, giving you sound structural knowledge to build on.

Supply List
Please bring your usual calligraphy supplies and creature comforts. There will be nothing new to purchase for this workshop but make sure you include:

• Set of square edged nibs in working condition; recommended brands are Brause and some smaller sizes in the William Mitchells
• A fine black felt tipped pen (.05 or .03 or whatever you have)

• A3 (11 x 17) bond, cartridge, or layout paper (pad or loose)
• Any off-cuts (up to A3) of fine art papers you like to work on, such as Arches text wove or 90lb watercolor papers. Choose natural colors and include some black. This is a good way to get rid of all those scraps of fine art papers you have lying around.
• Tracing paper: 3 pieces of A4 (8.5 x 11)

• Non-waterproof black ink, ink stick, and stone recommended
• Gouache or watercolors you already have plus mixing supplies

Sewing supplies for our books
• Awl (there will be some to share)
• Linen thread tapestry needle, blunt tip; #22 is good but something close will do
• Special papers can be bought on campus if you wish
• Eraser, ruler, lead pencils, colored pencils, water jar, tissues/rag, notebook, blu-tac

Please note: Drawing boards are optional and please only bring what you can if you are traveling by air.