Classes Taught

NE New York Girl Scouts Demo 2019

Date: 8 June 2019
Lesson: Gothic Blackletter

This was a very free-form thing. Our scribes that participated were on Cobblestone way, which was the Arts & Sciences (A&S) Petting Zoo. We had all kinds of A&S examples of how things were done and most of the exhibits had something hands-on for the girls to try.

In addition to cranking out bookmarks, we had a book set up with a guide sheet, and the kids would stop by, and we”d take turns walking them through how to hold the pen, how to make the marks on the page, and how to build up the chosen letters.


I came up with an “i to m” example of how to make an “m” but in the process, they would do an “i”, “r”, and “n”. Several of them caught on as to how many letters they could actually do using only a small set of shapes.

Left Handed

I had the really neat experience of showing several left-handed girls how they could do blackletter. The catch was figuring how HOW.

Again, this was only the bare basics on getting started, but we had a blast!

Story Time (cross posted from my Facebook feed)

I had a great time at the Girl Scouts Jamboree, but the photo below was one of several moments that made me feel so-damn-good. This young lady here was one of several who came through that were left-handed.

I got to help each of them do their first bit of calligraphy.

I wish I”d gotten a picture with the first little girl and her mother. It was a life-changing moment for both of us. She was in one of the first groups to come through while I was in the teaching spot. She picked up a pen and asked me to teach her, and without thinking I want to jump into the basics of angle and order of strokes, then it hit me. She was my mirror on the other side of the table, with the pen in her left hand. I paused for a second and said, “oh, you”re left-handed?” then I heard her words, “Does that mean I can”t do it?” her face began to fall.

It hit me hard. I sat back in the chair for a second, seeing the worry on her and her mothers face. “Nope, I just need a second to figure out how. I got it.” The angle of the nib is EVERYTHING in broad nib calligraphy. Stroke order can be changed, as long as the end result looks right. So I thought about the angle of HER pen in relations to where it needed to be on the page and turned the book. I got her to do a few letters, building them from left to right instead of top-down, stacking the letters one underneath the next. the look on her face was SO joyous and her mother was beaming!

It was awesome!

I hope I helped make their day because seeing their reactions sure made mine.

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