I had been researching the design of versal letters used in the Lombardy region of Italy for a different project when I needed a design for a family wedding present. The Lombardic letters have an interesting and distinctive shape that work very well as initials. I experimented with various ways of using watercolour paints to create the initial letter. The watercolour style adds a flowing watery element to the strong but also flowing lines of the Lombardic letter outlines.
Framed with their names and marriage date, the letters made an ideal wedding present, and was very well received. These would also work well for anniversaries such as silver, golden and ruby celebrations.
I have since created single letter versions for births, christenings, birthdays and anniversaries.
The painted letters and frames can be any colour, but I have found that mixtures based on complimentary colours work best. These painted letters (framed or unframed) are now available in my Folksy Shop.
I have finally got my workshop sorted out and ready for business. Looks great with newly painted walls and floor. I have also found a home for my sixteen-foot long shop sign!
With the help of a local cabinetmaker, I have got the sign up with the glass in position.
The sign is made of one piece of hardwood 16 feet long by 2 feet tall. The lettering is cut into the wood in classic roman style and gilded with gold leaf. The black glass has clear glass letters allowing the gilded wood to show through. The glass is 8mm thick and in 3 sections, 2 of which are over seven feet long.
In 1983, I was working for an ad agency group in Regent Street (central London) and would often walk to their flagship agency in Covent Garden. I would pass a boarded up shop that still had its early 20th century front including the glass sign across the top. One-day builders had moved in and were dismantling the shop. A quick word and a cash exchange secured the sign. The sign grew in length as it came down to pavement level! How could I move it and get it home? Help!
One of the agency’s art directors, Haydn Morris, came to the rescue and we carried the 16-foot (5 metre) sign across central London. Eric Sykes’ The Plank comes to mind as we make our way through the narrow streets of Soho and try to cross Regent St with one of us at each end of ‘the plank’. Having got back to the agency the only place we could put the sign was in reception, needless to say I didn’t work there much longer!
Very interesting workshop with Lin Kerr at the North London Lettering Association. More to do with colour exercises than calligraphy. Adolf spent over 15 years of his retirement painting large initial letters (400 x 600 mm) using an unusual palette of colours. We recreated this range of colours by mixing complimentary colours together. We used the resulting tertiary and other colours in the middle, furthest from the two original colours. These were used to paint small letters (30 x 50 mm) in the style (sort of) of Adolf Bernd.
Something rather different: writing out place name cards at Sainsbury’s in Luton. I was part of an evening event to help invited customers plan their Christmas table settings and decoration. A while-you-wait calligraphy service!