Friday, March 13, 2009

Calligraphy anyone....

Today is the birthday of the true queen of modern day letter arts. Sheila Waters turns 80.
Sheila's pure talent and skill have inspired legions of those in typography, letter arts, calligraphy. This is her rondel of seasons, this low res image doesn't do her justice, but still magnificent and no photoshopping or indesign tricks present.


Yet she is still humble to the core even after being commissioned for work by the Queen (though she lives outside DC). One of the truest skills in design to me is constructing a letter by hand, then to do another and for them to be consistent. No finer hand- eye skill.  My first chore in design school after learning how to draw a straight line, was constructing a classic roman letter. I once said it was equivalent to constructing the Eiffel Tower. 

In every art there is a respective bellwether. In cooking, my dear french Grandmum said it was pastry (she agreed with Julia Child). The skill in making pastry is so refined and disciplined if you can succeed at that, then you could cook anything. In design (arts end), it is lettering. Sheila is a master. 

To me, I have a list of people I collect, the ones I talk about share a major trait in common beside being good at what they do. They encourage others in their field as wells as educating the public to their craft. (Just like in the image above). Sharing wisdom is key. Her best student and most loved, and I won't be jealous, is her own son Julian. A master in his own right.  Sheila always has an open door and has answered my most foolish questions. So today, cheers to Sheila, hope you wish her well too.

If you don't have Sheila's direct e-mail, send wishes via mine and I will forward. You see I didn't ask her before I posted this, didn't want to blow her e-mail account.  red@realexceptionaldesign.com



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