This was our first AGM via Zoom and the committee worked hard to ensure that the business part of the afternoon flowed as smoothly as possible with all necessary voting done by a show of hands on screen. The committee remains unchanged to take us into a new GLA year, hopefully we can meet in person for our next AGM. This is our 30th anniversary year and we hope to celebrate properly in September.
We were delighted to welcome Donald Jackson as our speaker. Donald is a ground-breaking influence on the world of contemporary calligraphy. He has many titles and accolades but not many people know that the RVO after his name is the Royal Victorian Order for personal services to the sovereign. At a time when lettering was being phased out of teaching he persevered with learning under renowned calligraphers like Irene Wellington, MC Oliver and Ann Camp. He would study old manuscripts to find out the stages of construction and this enabled him to copy the technique.
He needed to find a way to earn a living from calligraphy so did a series of small jobs including sign painting and artwork for printing and advertising. Donald also taught calligraphy, sometimes to groups of up to 500 students.
He was leader of a team of calligraphers working on a hand-written copy of the Bible for St John’s University, Minnesota. He created a suitable script which all the members of the team had to learn. The pages were planned on computer and then copied on to vellum with cut quills. The imperfection of working with quills and the warmth and immediacy of it made the writing so much more alive than using steel nibs. He is well known for some of the wonderful illustrations in the Bible and he allowed himself to open up creatively working with gold and colour to produce many spiritual images to complement the text.
Donald spent about a quarter of his creative life working on the St John’s Bible project.
At the end of Donald’s talk our president, Barbara, thanked him warmly for joining us and giving us an insight into his life in calligraphy.