I just returned from a week or so in Oregon, where I took a 2-day brush lettering workshop with Carol DuBosch and then toured around Oregon.
As one calligrapher in a town which contains two (and, in the past 25 years, has never contained more than about five at any one time), it was simply amazing to me to sit in a classroom in a sold-out calligraphy workshop with 23 local calligraphy students. Sure, I've sat in a class of 20+ calligraphy students before, but they've always been a collection from around the state or around the country or even around the world -- a Florida retreat, or a week at Camp Cheerio or a class at the annual international calligraphy conference. I had lunch with a pediatrician who was taking this annual brush lettering workshop for the second time; she has taken weekly calligraphy lessons for several years (ten? or was that someone else in the workshop?). Imagine. I've had exactly one opportunity to take weekly calligraphy lessons, and that was in 1988-89. And then Beth McKee, my first long-term calligraphy teacher, who had arrived from Ottawa to spend the school year here, took off for Bangladesh, and that was that. From then on out -- except for a year of 2-day class meetings to which I drove 3 hours each way each month -- my education has been a series of trips to learn from quite famous calligraphy teachers for a week here and a week there.
My education compares to the education of Portland students as an annual gourmet meal compares to weekly community potluck. My meals may be exotic and glamorous, but theirs have been healthier, more regular and filling. Not that I'm knocking my exotic, glamorous meals. Still.