Calligraphy & Lettering at the St. Bride Library

'Pax' and 'Love' by Sybil Ewin.
‘Pax’ and ‘Love’ by Sybil Ewin. Something to rest your head on as you dream of letters!

Today was a good day for exhibitions in London. Firstly, we took our students to see the Association of Illustrators’ exhibition at Somerset house of which I’ll discuss in another post. After this, my colleague and I headed over to the St. Bride Library, just off Fleet Street, to see an exhibition of calligraphy and lettering produced by the South London Lettering Association (SLLA). (Any student of ours who didn’t come to this missed a gem of a lettering exhibition!)

The first thing that I noticed when I entered the exhibition was the great use of the gallery space itself. Thoughtfully curated and exhibited, much of the work was displayed within appropriately lit cases. The diversity of work on display was great and some of it unexpected in terms of application.  As one might expect, the exhibition contained some extremely fine lettering including stone cutting by Rachael Gundry, but there was also some intricate paper cutting (Sue Shockett) and even some funky lettered embroidered cushions on show by Sybil Ewin. I was particularly struck by Keiko Shimoda’s elegant works that had fresh and pure feel about them. (Gallery below)

I then spoke with Sybil and her husband who kindly talked us through much of the work, and of particularly interest was the impressive ‘Lindisfarne Project‘ that will culminate in the association forming a book which is to be a contemporary, and in some cases, a somewhat tongue-in-cheek take on the Lindisfarne Gospels, including an image of St. Luke with his Nike’s on and iPad to hand!  The spreads are to be bound and put on show at Durham Cathederal.

We also went to see the CLAS exhibition taking place at Foyles Bookstore in Charing Cross Road. Unfortunately photography was forbidden, but by then my camera was dead anyway. Once again there were some stunning pieces on show with some pieces that took calligraphy into some unexpected directions.

It was heartening to see that calligraphy and the lettering arts are thriving. Now inspired and enthused by these exhibitions, I need to get some work of my own completed. A tough act to follow!

Both exhibitions will be penciled, beautifully, of course, into next year’s diary. The exhibition moves on to Fulham Palace until the 2nd November.

More information about SLLA and its members can be found on their website.

Note: Images reproduced by kind permission of the individual members of SLLA.
My apologies to the artists for the slightly poor quality of the images, as these do not do the works great justice. These were taken on my iPhone and mostly through the display cases.