Calligraphy and Architecture – in harmony with a beautiful setting
Beauty in calligraphy consists of evenly-textured lines of fine writing which carry the reader’s eye down the page. As an American calligrapher interested in many kinds of lettering, I recently began studying the drawings of American architect Frank Lloyd Wright. His exquisite architectural renderings and floor plans were labeled with titles drawn in precise capital letters. These architectural drawings are from the early twentieth century, yet both lettering and renderings are very modern and timeless.
It is a simple task to copy the architect’s letterforms with a pencil on grid paper. However upon close study, their mathematical proportions (ratio of height to width) are a bit different from traditional Romans capitals with which we calligraphers are familiar. After copying the forms, I began to use them in longer passages of writing. It was then that I started to see a connection between the rectangular letterforms and the architect’s stone, block and masonry patterns. The architect's knowledge of stone construction could even have influenced his lettering style.
Basically, we lettering artists are building up patterns of line on paper, creating a two-dimensional version of a masonry wall. The best wall is strongly built and made of beautiful materials. The wall is well-situated in the natural outdoor landscape, or as part of an edifice. If all our letters are well-made, the patterns are well-drawn, and they sit comfortably on a beautiful surface, then the overall page is beautiful. One could compare it to a classic Wright building in harmony with a beautiful setting.
“The Bed Book”
Used by permission of author Isabelle Allende. Handmade book. Arches text paper, walnut ink, watercolor, Mitchell pen, hand-quilted fabric cover by Sharon Bottle Souva. 23x68 cm (open), 2008
Mitchell nib, graphite pencil, watercolor, bleedproof white on Arches paper, 2009
Mitchell nibs, gouache, colored pencil, acrylic paste on Arches text wove paper, 43x32 cm, 2006