Not Calligraphy…

Sometimes calligraphy is not the answer to a lettering conundrum. Earlier in June I was contacted by designer Anita Bell to write several sentences on two 3 metre split and steam bent branches of Ash. The wood had been crafted by Ambrose Vevers, and was to be part of a larger sculpture, designed by Anita, that was to be installed in a contemporary office space in Shoreditch, London.
Anyhow, I met up with Anita and we concluded that my calligraphy might not be the answer… a cleaner, fresher, more contemporary lettering solution was needed…

Okay, there is no easy way to explain this other than:- Bodoni Font; tracing paper; 0000 paint brush; black acrylic paint, and 26 hours of painstaking very awkward painting…


After installation








Tricky to take a picture of…


Still tricky to photograph…

I swear that this was one of the hardest projects I have ever worked on… working out if the sentences would fit… dealing with an uneven surface… fitting the branches into my studio without breaking a window… Although when I finished the pain was worth it, it was what Anita wanted, and for me, it was an achievement. Plus, this has given me a new, and healthy interest in well designed font lettering… there may be more of this sort of thing going on on this blog!

32 thoughts on “Not Calligraphy…

  1. Darling Ms S,

    This is truly lovely. The lettering is simply perfect. Interesting enough in its own right without taking too much away from the sculpture itself. Indeed, the lettering enhances without stealing the show.

    This must have been a nightmare undertaking but what a sense of achievement you must have. The finished result is glorious. It has a great sense of movement and the words add an extra dimension. Wonderful. Bravo!

  2. Thank you, Jane and Lance! It was a nightmare undertaking… with a very tight deadline, I feel exhausted revisiting this project with this post. But, yes… I did have a wonderful sense of achievement when it was all done and dusted.

  3. Wow! What a nice art piece Miss Scarlet!

    PS: Would it be possible to add a photo of the entire work? I would like to see the overall effect of the lettered branch interwoven with the plain ones.

    • All Anita’s design, Mr Lax! I just plonked the lettering on… but a lovely collaborative project between a designer, woodsman/very skilled craftsman, and lettering obsessive!
      I have some pictures of the branches before they left me… but the branches were so long they were very difficult to photograph. Anita took these pictures after she installed the piece.
      Anita is a very clever lady!

  4. Well done, Scarlet! It looks wonderful. I am sure you are very proud of your work on this project. I am sure it was exhausting. How long is that piece you lettered?

    • Ponita – yes, it was exhausting… sort of mind over matter challenge! I did two branches that were both 3 metres long… so I did six metres of lettering… blimey!

      • I think calculating where to start, where the single word should begin so that all fits in in a an aesthetically satisfying way is pretty complicated with such a surface – it’s not a flat, horizontal, even and un-eventful piece of paper but a very thin piece of wood, bending & un-even.

        And I find it very remarkable that you use Bodoni’s font as “a cleaner, fresher more contemporary lettering solution”. Don’t get me wrong, this is no way a critique: I just bow to a master who designed this around the beginning of the 19th century – and we use this design at the start of the 21st and still understand it as modern ! That’s quality.

      • Ha Ha! Good point about Bodoni! I think Vogue magazine uses the Bodoni font… so it’ll always be classy.
        Yep, I may have had some help with the measuring… maths is not my strong subject… and it was a bit complicated.

  5. Magnifique! How thrilling it is to realised that we had much more potential inside of us than we thought. The results are remarkable.

    • Thank you, Janet! I reckon somebody who was top of their game with brush roman lettering may have stood a fair chance with it… sadly, my roman brush lettering isn’t that good.

  6. You must have the patience of angels dear Scarlet. A beautiful piece of work. Congratulations to all of ye. 🙂


  7. Oh, it’s wonderful! What a brave undertaking – I’d’ve been frightened silly to take something like that on (if I could do what you do, that is – give me a felt tip pen and someone who doesn’t care about the results every time)!

Say hello and stuff...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s