Welcome to the Cincinnati Book Arts Society Blog

Please use and visit our blog!
Questions? Curious? Email CBAS at: cbasinformation@gmail.com

Monday, March 14, 2011

March 12 Study Group meeting

Eight members of the CBAS Study Group were guests of the Greater Cincinnati Calligraphy Guild on March 12 for a visit to master calligrapher Holly Monroe.  Surrounded by the beauty of Winton Woods, Holly's house is full of her exquisitely detailed work.  The focus of the morning meeting was on the enormous undertaking of creating a modern day illuminated manuscript, a Book of Hours which she is creating letter by letter, beautiful illustration by beautiful illustration, on vellum, the same material used by illuminators in the Middle Ages.   

Example of Holly's calligraphy
After showing a whole piece of vellum (calf skin), Holly described the process of preparing the skin for use, discussed the painstaking process of first designing the book (a 2-year process), and then spent considerable time comparing the various materials she uses, including watercolor, gouache, and gold leaf.  Before heading downstairs to Holly's studio, everyone had time to look at the completed manuscript pages spread on the dining room table.  Comments ranged from "look at the amazing detail on these leaves" to "this tree is just beautiful" to "I can't  even imagine the patience Holly must have."  In short, her work is so jaw-droppingly beautiful that some of us couldn't even find words to describe what we were seeing.

In the studio, Holly showed the group one of her other current projects, an enormous family history book that will no doubt be as beautiful as the Book of Hours.  She then demonstrated the intricate process of applying gold leaf, showed us some of the tools she likes best (there was great admiration for the rolling ruler), and discussed the relative advantages and disadvantages of the different types of gold leaf.  The studio was filled with hundreds of examples of her colorful and beautifully designed work.

Thanks to the Calligraphy Guild for including us in this program.  Holly Monroe is truly a treasure in this community, and it was an inspiration to see a master artist at work.

No comments:

Post a Comment