The scribes, Grand Haven’s Jane Ewing along with Marijo Carney, Kim Dixon, Tina Lee-Cronkhite, Christine Orsolini, and Karen Vosburg, are members of Pen Dragons Calligraphy Guild in Kalamazoo. Marijo, Jane, Tina, and Karen are members of Chicago Calligraphy Collective. For their project, they adopted the name Scribes Six. The piece, titled The Power of Words, was accepted by the Grand Rapids Women’s City Club to be exhibited for ArtPrize 2012, from Sept. 19 through Oct. 7.
Using brushes and metal nibs to write quotations, the calligraphers applied to vellum age-old pigments, such as Sumi, walnut, and hand-ground Chinese stick inks, graphite and gesso. Pure shell gold and 23K gold leaf were gilded onto some letters for illumination. The pigments were applied on three full-sized deerskin vellum pieces. Vellum was chosen in order to emulate the way monks created manuscripts and harkens back to a simpler time, hundreds of years ago. Preparation of the raw skins involved scraping, sanding and dying. Materials used in this project are archival.
Engaging and compelling quotations were chosen to address how words affect life’s issues, inviting the viewer to interact with the work of art. Letters were executed in a broad range of styles, methods and tools, reflecting personalized expressions of letterform, from classical to contemporary. The overlapping layout of the quotations resulted in a painterly, modern composition. The writing was done in a variety of hand-lettered scripts, including Gothic, Roman, formal Italic, cuneiform and gestural strokes. Layering and positioning letters resulted in an artistic design.
The three skins were stitched onto a wooden base, which was layered with canvas, gesso and paint. Jack Carney designed and built the custom base and a large wooden carrying box to protect and transport The Power of Words.
The group would like your vote. Voting takes place beginning Sept. 19. If you cast your vote by Sept. 29, it will count in the tally for the top 10 winners. You must sign up in person to be eligible to vote, according to the rules at artprize.org.
To view the artiwork, visit artprize.org/the-scribes-six/2012/the-power-of-words