‘A’ is for art
December 24, 2007
The Park City Library’s second floor is showcasing a small exhibit at the back featuring delicate letters, poems and sayings on fine papers, some delicately gold leafed, some modern and jagged, and others that pop out like a relief sculpture.
These select works, on display through Jan. 10 are not for sale. They are pieces that typically hang in the homes of members of the Utah Calligraphic Artists –hence the title of the small show, "A Few of Our Favorite Things."
"Calligraphy" comes from the Greek words for beauty and writing and is an ancient art. Perfecting the letters takes time.
"It’s a process just like anything else — you start with a draft and you go back and edit, edit, edit," says Jacquie Markowski, a member of the calligraphic artists’ group. "A good calligraphic artists can do things spontaneously, but it took a lot of practice to get to that point."
Each letter can pose a challenge to each unique hand, she continues.
"There are just so many way’s to swing an ‘s,’" Markowski says. "There is a balance between the top and the bottom bowl. The top circle is a little smaller than the bottom circle and you can get them all bulgy, too skinny, too slanted, they can lean too far, falling down. ‘S’ can be a challenge."
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Utah Calligraphic Artists meet monthly for five hours at a time to explore techniques, such as those used to create medieval illuminated manuscripts on vellum a sheet made of calf skin and a much more forgiving material for calligraphing text, according to Markowski who says, "the ink just glides." This year marks the group’s 27th anniversary.
Many members make artists’ books; others, like Luona Tanner, the artists’ president, challenge themselves by reaching back in time long before computers to replicate ancient manuscripts from the 700s in gold-leaf applications.
"It’s a hobby for some and some people earn a living at it, but not many," says Markowski. "But I wouldn’t say it’s a dying art I think it’s still blooming and growing We can do all sorts of things with a computer, but there’s just nothing like snail mail and a hand-written letter. It’s very personal, very intimate. Words just pop off the page in a different way."
Park City Librarian Merry White says she hopes "A Few of Our Favorite Things" will be the beginning of many more local art shows to come. Up next will be a traveling exhibit, "Utah Masterpieces," from the Utah Ars Council. In the future, White says she plans to team up with the Kimball Art Center to bring in pieces that reflect the theme of the center’s exhibits.
"I think of libraries as among the cultural centers of the community and that it’s important to remember art, music and literature are closely united," she says.
The Park City Library is located at 1255 Park Ave. Hours are Mondays through Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. For more information, call (435) 615-5600.