PICK OF THIS WEEK - Week # 13
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This work is by Lindsey Hook.
The poem is "The Hill We Climb" by Amanda Gorman.
She was the inaugural poet for Biden. I read a piece about her and how she was selected a few weeks before the 20th, and was curious to see her speak, so I watched her read it live at the inauguration. I was more than impressed.
I've been wanting to do more multi-page compositions. This seemed like a perfect text for one, so I hunted down the transcriptions as they were released and compared them with the audio from her reading until I was pretty sure I
had an accurate version. It ended up taking me about a week to lay everything out and do the calligraphy. I really enjoyed the whole process and am pretty happy with how it turned out.
I haven't figured out how I want to bind it yet, so for now it's just seven pages of text arranged front to back on 4 sheets of 9"x12" JNB deluxe black paper. The main text calligraphy is where I'm at right now with Italian hand. I used a
straight holder, I think with a gillott 170 nib. For the ink, I chose finetec interference gold, as a nod to the bright yellow coat Amanda was wearing at the inauguration. I thought about doing yellow, but the gold just seemed better.
The border is schmincke vermilion red gouache, done with a ruling pen. I chose the color again based on her outfit and the bright red headband she wore.
I first discovered Italian hand through a CCC workshop with Heather Held. I was really drawn to the graceful, almost lyrical, quality of the script with the delicate line weights punctuated by occasional blob forms, clubbed ascenders
and reversed descender loops that characterize Heather's variant of the hand. I later discovered the work of Jan van de Velde, which opened my eyes to how it was used in context in manuscripts. More recently, the pandemic has granted me the time to dig into the many copybooks dating back to the 16th century that can now be found online, and the numerous examples of Italian hand, and Italienne contained within them. I was surprised to find the style dated back that far, and it's interesting to trace its variants through the centuries.
For the poem, I dropped using any heavily clubbed ascenders, and left my ascender and descender loops mostly open so that the text hopefully wouldn't feel too dense on the page. I added a bit of shading to the letterforms though, to give them a bit of presence. I didn't want them to disappear into the page, especially with the gold on black. I think even with these adaptations, the writing still maintains the essence and character of the hand.
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