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On the Trail of Calligraphy: Margaret Shepherd

Cat Print by Margaret Shepherd
Cat Print by Margaret Shepherd

 

There is a quote that has circulated with great vigor on the internet ether, “Sometimes your only available mode of transportation is a leap of faith.”  It is attributed to Margaret Shepard, and as I searched to find more about the author, nothing came up except more permutations of the quote and then finally, someone mentioned this Margaret is a calligrapher. Then I found Margaret Shepherd, and I suspect the quote is an example for calligraphy in one of her books.

Margaret Shepherd, Author and Calligrapher
Margaret Shepherd, Author and Calligrapher

I had been eager to move from printing to cursive in the 2nd grade.  I loved making the joins, and studying the letter forms.  When I was a junior high student, I bought a book about learning calligraphy(which may have even been written by Margaret Shepherd), and some of those chisel tipped pens that purport to be the key to beautiful writing.  I carried the book and pen around for many moves, but calligraphy happened in mostly my imagination.  For someone who lived for reading, an art that incorporated words was thrilling, but again, I was first and foremost a reader, not a calligrapher.

Margaret Shepherd helped create the Boston Calligraphy Trail, which I hadn’t known about, and which sounds wonderful.  There are 26 beautiful letters to discover in the Boston Public Library and surrounding neighborhoods by following the trail guide.  On her blog she writes of returning from Finland with photos of Art Nouveau lettering and numbers.  I love that she was photographing typography in the wild.

Ruach for Frank. The Breath of Life. Nutmeg Designs
Ruach for Frank. Commissioned for inspiration while he was in the hospital. The Breath of Life, glass on slate, 12×12 inches, © 2015 Nutmeg Designs.

As someone who spends a lot of time surrounding letters and numbers with glass mosaic, I do now practice a craft that incorporates reading.  Many leaps of faith led me to this work.

 

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