New classes beginning in January 2019

I’m planning to teach two 6-week classes beginning mid-January in Bozeman. To make it as inclusive and accessible as possible, I’ve set up a poll to discover what you are interested in learning and what time day on Mondays you could attend. If you’re interested in taking the class, please fill out the form at the bottom of this post to let me know what interests you and when you could attend.

In response to some questions about the class, here is a little more information.


  • The Monday afternoon class will take place in west Bozeman and I will take a maximum of 10 students. The cost will be $80 per person for the 6-week course.
  • The Monday evening class will probably take place at the Emerson, and I will take a maximum of 6 students. The cost will be $140 per person for the 6-week course.
  • Students are welcome to bring what they have that would work. I am happy to provide a beginner’s kit for students on the first day of class for the cost of the materials. This has typically run about $20. (I assume people will have basic office supplies on hand, such as pencil, eraser, ruler, etc.)
Class structure and assignments:
To give you idea of how I run a class, check out this link to the overview and one week of a class I taught in 2016. At the bottom of the class you can see syllabus and assignment for week 1; I add to this, week by week.

LXV – artist book of Stephen Crane’s poem

Long time no post! We’ve been traveling, and I’ve been Instagramming, and … well, honestly, inspiration has been sparse on the ground. Anyway, remember this artist book I was working on? I mostly finished it shortly thereafter, but never posted any photos. I had a few binding chores left on the last couple in the edition, and I worked on that recently … which reminded me that I had never properly photographed it. Here are some images from the book.

A variable edition of 12 manuscript books; 4 are still available. The books are small at 1-5/8 in x 3 in x 1/2 in, and lettered in gouache with a metal pen.

The structure is a modified version of a flat-piano-hinge non-adhesive book described by Keith Smith in Non-Adhesive Bindings.
The clean, strong imagery of this text appeals to me. Indeed, the visuals were so strong that I endeavored to make the letters themselves illustrate the poem, which describes so beautifully the preciousness of words as well as our tenuous hold on them.
The text:
Once, I knew a fine song,
—It is true, believe me,—
It was all of birds,
And I held them in a basket;
When I opened the wicket,
Heavens! They all flew away.
I cried, “Come back, little thoughts!”
But they only laughed.
They flew on
Until they were as sand
Thrown between me and the sky.
LXV artist book in its wrapper 
LXV artist book, opening 3
LXV artist book, opening 4
LXV artist book, opening 5

post-workshop Spencerian practice

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of attending Harvest Crittenden’s workshop hosted by the Big Sky Scribes in Helena. The subject: Spencerian script. I had never studied this hand before. Harvest is very organized and clear, and we learned a lot in a short time. Now all we have to do is … practice, of course.

Spencerian script practice with pencil and 0.3-mm ball-point pen, on B&R layout paper and Crane stationery.

I haven’t been as regular about it as I could wish, but yesterday I sat down to practice in earnest again. I began with 2 pages of warm-up exercises designed to build kinetic memory. After the page of cross drills, I decided to simply trace, in pencil, a letter written in the 19th century in Spencerian. It helped to teach myself the rhythm of the script, and I was surprised to discover by that method a few things I had been glossing over. Then I wrote a letter in Spencerian using a ball-point pen. I have this lovely ball-point pen with a 0.3 mm point, and I didn’t want to get out ink.

Spencerian practice using a pencil and ball-point pen on B&R layout paper and Crane stationery.

A little work/play in the studio

Deadlines are looming and inspiration is elusive. I tidy my studio, clear out some old practice sheets .. and make some more. It’s a never ending cycle.

To entice the muse, I sit down to play a little. I’m thinking of another little book (and just now remembering I’ve never posted the last little book), so I experiment with a number inks/paints and a #6 Mitchell nib. The lettering is 1.5 mm x-height.Experiments with small lettering

In anticipation of the upcoming conference, and the class that will be taught by Carl Rohrs, I get out a brush and do … something. It’s not much, but it reminds me what a pointed brush feels like in the hand. I feel some of the kinetic learning of a recent Spencerian workshop creeping in. That’s good.

Seattletters – envelope contest

Made for John Neal Books envelope contest — gouache+sumi mixture and gouache mixture; Speedball “B” nib and a flexible pointed nib clipped to a tiny broad edge; envelope made from 80# Strathmore 400 Drawing paper.


Here’s my submission to the envelope contest that John Neal Books hosted in association with Seattletters.  The deadline was April 20. The gray lettering is a post I read in a calligraphy group on social media. I surrounded it with text from an 1888 article by A. J. Scarborough which had been posted in 2000 to the Cyberscribes discussion list.  I like the contrast in approaches 🙂

I penciled baseline guidelines 2mm apart for the small lettering, making the x-height about 1mm. I clipped a pointed nib (a blue Esterbrook of some sort, I think) to make a tiny broad-edge nib. Seattleletters address is #5 Mitchell nib, I think.

After all that work, I couldn’t bear to send it through the US Mail unprotected, so I made another envelope, just ¼” larger in each direction, to house the submission.

Prairie Spring by Willa Cather

“Prairie Spring” – Text by Willa Cather. White ink and metal pen on paste-painted paper ground. Framed to 14 in x 18 in.

This piece, “Prairie Spring”, is currently on display in “The Horse” exhibition at the Ryniker-Morrison Gallery of the Rocky Mountain College in Billings, MT. The text is a Willa Cather poem of the same name.

I have arrived … in the Letter Arts Review

The back cover of the current issue of Letter Arts Review

I’m so pleased to have been selected for inclusion in the annual juried review issue of the Letter Arts ReviewAnd to be included as a tile on the page cover (top right)!

I realize that although I have posted a process image of the piece , I never did post a final image. Here it is, shown below. I’m also honored to have “Fragment” included “Formation,” a juried exhibition of the Guild of Book Workers which will travel to Minneapolis, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Boston, and Philadelphia in the coming year.

“Fragment” – poem by Amy Lowell. Paper mosaic cut from a single piece of paste-painted paper.

Homegrown Trajans with Yves Leterme

I’m taking my very first online calligraphy course. “Homegrown Trajans” is taught by the wonderfully clear and thorough master Yves Leterme via Harvest Crittendon’s site, Acorn Arts. It’s as rigorous as anyone could wish for, and I’m already just a tiny bit behind. Week 3 posted today, but these are my worksheets from week 1 (complete) and week 2 (not quite complete). I think some of these students have no other demands on their time! Or perhaps I’m just incredibly slow. Either way, I’m buckling down tonight and catching up.

Those gestural brush alphabets

I do like to return to the gestural brush alphabet from time to time, especially when I pair with a contrasting element. This particular one was made to put in the solo exhibit in Missoula last fall. 

Having embarked today on Yves Leterme’s online course, “Homegrown Trajans”, I can predict that I won’t be doing anything like the above in the near future. Unless … it’s as relief from those demanding Trajan Romans.