Finish That Thing!
A Workshop in Two Parts with Anna Pinto

Part 1 on Saturday, February 16 from 10 to 2:30
Part 2 on Saturday, February 23 from 10 to 2:30

Our 2019 annual open members’ show will be mounted at the National Arts Club on Sunday, March 3; please see post below for more details. We encourage our membership to exhibit their work — it is wonderful to see the variety of work our members are producing, and also to encourage everyone (especially those starting out) to move from sketches to finished work, and put it on display.

We realize that this can be daunting for novice calligraphers, but please keep in mind that a piece of lettering does not have to be complex or highly skilled to be pleasing to the eye! And it’s a great incentive to finally finish a piece you’ve been dancing around…

To this end, we are offering two short workshops with Anna Pinto that will help you move your idea along to completion, and then help you mount and frame it in a simple, inexpensive way.


(artwork by Anna Pinto)


Linear Language: Annual Members’ Open Exhibition
March 4 through March 29, 2019
National Arts Club, 15 Gramercy Park South, Trask Gallery
The National Arts Club is free and open to the public Monday–Friday from 10 to 5.

Artists’ Reception & Gallery Talk: Friday, March 8, 2019 from 5:30 – 7:30 pm. (Talk begins at 6:30 pm.)

We wish to present a wide range of calligraphic work — from amateurs, students, and professionals alike — demonstrating the vitality of this art and craft, and its range from traditional to experimental. This is your opportunity to help create a rich, varied, and exciting public display.

Submissions: All current members are invited to submit pieces for hanging by Sunday, March 3. All artwork must contain some form of hand-lettering, and all pieces must be framed behind glass or plexiglass, wired and ready-to-hang. You may submit more than one piece.

For guidelines and delivery information, download our Entry Form here.


Brush Up Your Italic with Marcy Robinson
Sunday, December 9, 2018

Is your Italic looking a little droopy? Does it need some sparkle and pizzazz? Than this workshop is for you! The workshop is designed to improve your Italic and to develop variations in order to expand your repertoire of alphabets. We will review the basic letterforms for the upper and lower case alphabet and variations will be discussed and demonstrated. The do’s and don’ts of flourishing will be examined. The basic elements of design will be illustrated. There will also be discussions of types of papers, pens, gouache and ink. Please bring a sample of your work for critique. Bring lots of questions — there is no such thing as a stupid question! Intermediate level student.

More info and registration here.


Society of Scribes Annual Holiday Fair!  
Sunday, December 2, 2018 from 11am to 4pm 
The Brotherhood Synagogue, 28 Gramercy Park South
(20th Street between 3rd Avenue & Irving Place)
Free Admission! Open to the public! Guests are welcome!

Paper & Ink Arts: Please pre-order by November 21 to pick up at the Fair!

Join us for the event of the year, celebrating calligraphy and our love of hand-lettering and hand-made treasures! This year’s Fair will feature both new and traditional attractions: * Paper & Ink Arts on-site calligraphy boutique * Rubber stamps and papercrafting supplies from The Ink Pad * Scriptorium with Karen Gorst from 12 to 3 * Handmade painted scarves and artwork by Katherine Radcliffe * Watercolor cards by Annette Fleischman * Carrie Lo Art & Design * Oaklage – Handmade Oblique Holders and Pen Cases * Parallel pens & modified instruments from The Vellum Page * Calligraphy demonstrations * Alice & Rebecca Farber * Vintage 1890s Warren’s Pens * The SoS Café (featuring premiere espresso/coffee from Cupa Cabana from 11:30 to 3) * Raffles! Silent Auction! Plus lots more to see and do! We will continue to update this post so please check back for the latest info…

You can see pictures from Holiday Fair 2017 here and here.

Thank you to our Raffle/Silent Auction Donors: Brause/Exaclair, Dick Blick. Maureen Chen, Cynthia Dantzic, Barry Morentz, Anna Pinto, Kathy Wallace and more…

(Holiday Fair artwork by Chavelli Tsui)


“The World’s Best Penman: The Artistic and Business Career of Charles Paxton Zaner, 1864-1918” at Weinberg Memorial Library, University of Scranton

Reception: Wednesday, October 24, 2018 at 6pm

The Heritage Room is featuring an exhibit on the career of Charles Paxton Zaner, penman extraordinaire and founder of the Zaner-Bloser Penmanship Company. The Weinberg Memorial Library has been the home of the Zaner-Bloser Collection since 2010, and the collection has been used in a number of exhibits. Zaner-Bloser, which is still in business, has been a leading publisher of penmanship instruction materials since 1888. However, 2018 marks the 100th anniversary of C.P. Zaner’s tragic death in an automobile collision with a train at the age of 54. Consequently, the exhibit will focus on Zaner’s career and feature calligraphic alphabets, flourished birds, other artistic work and penmanship exercises. But Zaner was more than a penman. He was a businessman, a publisher, an essayist, and author of penmanship manuals. The exhibit will also display manuscript copies of his essays, copies of manuals he authored, accompanied at times by the original penwork and printing blocks, and material from the company he created.

The exhibit, titled “The World’s Best Penman: The Artistic and Business Career of Charles Paxton Zaner, 1864-1918,” will be on display until December 14 during normal library hours. There will be a reception and lecture, by Special Collections Librarian Michael Knies, on Zaner’s career and the profession of penmanship during his lifetime on Wednesday, October 24, at 6 PM in the Heritage Room. The reception is free and open to the public. For further information, contact Special Collections Librarian Michael Knies at 570-941-6341.

More info here.


Registation for most Fall classes/workshops is now open. Due to circumstances beyond our control, John Stevens’ workshops may be re-scheduled in 2019-2020: please stay tuned…

Sat/Sun, November 3/4 – Intro to Copperplate with Laura Di Piazza

Saturday, November 3 – Copperplate Garden with Barbara Close
Sunday, November 4 – Power Pages with Barbara Close (pictured above)
Saturday, November 10 – Brush Lettering with Debra Dick
Sunday, December 2 – Annual Holiday Fair!
Sat/Sun, December 8/9 – Monograms with Barry Morentz
NEW! Sat/Sun, December 8/9 – Brush Up Your Italic with Marcy Robinson

(More workshops may be added. All dates & events are subject to change until officially posted.)

Coming in 2019: Cora Pearl, Maximiliano Sproviero, Suzanne Cunningham, Heather Held and more!

(Artwork by Barbara Close)


The Magic of Handwriting: The Pedro Corrêa do Lago Collection
The Morgan Library, 225 Madison @ 36th Street
June 1 – September 16, 2018

Handwriting works magic: it transports us back to defining moments in history, creativity, and everyday life and connects us intimately with the people who marked the page. For nearly half a century, Brazilian author and publisher Pedro Corrêa do Lago has been assembling one of the most comprehensive autograph collections of our age, acquiring thousands of handwritten letters, manuscripts, and musical compositions as well as inscribed photographs, drawings, and documents.  This exhibition—the first to be drawn from his extraordinary collection—features some 140 items, including letters by Marie Antoinette (pictured above), Lucrezia Borgia, Vincent van Gogh, and Emily Dickinson, annotated sketches by Michelangelo, Jean Cocteau, and Charlie Chaplin, and manuscripts by Giacomo Puccini, Jorge Luis Borges, and Marcel Proust.

Rather than focusing on a single figure, era, or subject, Corrêa do Lago made the ambitious decision to seek significant examples in six broad areas of human endeavor—art, history, literature, science, music, and entertainment—spanning nearly nine hundred years. From an 1153 document signed by four medieval popes to a 2006 thumbprint signature of physicist Stephen Hawking, the items on view convey the power of handwriting to connect us with writers, artists, composers, political figures, performers, explorers, scientists, philosophers, rebels, and others whose actions and creations have made them legends.

More information here.

(Above: Handwritten letter signed by Marie Antoinette)

Door copy

Introduction to Arabic Script with Elinor Holland (above)
Saturday/Sunday, August 4 & 5, 2018



Italian Roundhand with Huy Hoang Dao (above)
Saturday/Sunday, August 11 & 12, 2018 (only 2 seats left!)

(Artwork by Elinor Holland & Huy Hoang Dao)


Beyond Trajan: Greek & Roman Inscriptions at the Metropolitan Museum
with Christopher Calderhead
Sunday, June 17, 2018 from 11:00am to 12:30pm
Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 Fifth Avenue @ 82nd Street
$25 plus admission; registration here.
This tour is co-presented with Type@Cooper. (Please note that besides the cost of $25 ticket to join the tour, you will also need to pay $5 entrance at the Museum. Details will be on your confirmation.)

Classical lettering is often thought of as something formal and traditional—but that’s only one aspect of the rich writing traditions of the Greek and Roman world. This tour will explore the wide stylistic range of letterforms from ancient Greece and Rome. Lettering on stone, ceramic, bronze, and papyrus show how materials shaped the forms of letters, and how members of the different social classes used lettering in their daily lives. The range of artifacts we will examine includes personal objects, commercial manufactured goods, government documents, and public monuments in stone.


On the Lettering Beat: Ten Years at Letter Arts Review
with Christopher Calderhead

Monday, June 11, 2018 from 6:30 to 8:30pm
Rose Auditorium, 41 Cooper Square (Third Avenue @ 7th Street)
Free and open to the public, but you must register here.
This event is co-presented with Type@Cooper. 

Looking at letterforms within graphic design and beyond, Letter Arts Review is an international quarterly that focuses on all kinds of original lettering. Editor Christopher Calderhead presents highlights from his ten years at the magazine.

Articles in the magazine have included profiles and examples of work from such contemporary luminaries as Luca Barcelona and the stonecutter Nicholas Benson. Popular forms such as sign painters making ephemeral notices for supermarkets. Kabuki signs in the bold Kanteiryu script from Japan. Monolithic inscriptions from Kathmandu. And historical surveys of the lettering of Piranesi and ancient manuscripts.

Letter Arts Review presents the highest achievements of historical and contemporary practitioners, but also asks how lettering fits into the world of art, design, and everyday life. More info here.

(Artwork: Recent LAR cover featuring Amperstandish typeface by Lynne Yun.)


Working with Color with Cynthia Dantzic
Saturday/Sunday, June 30 & July 1
Details and registration: here.

Since color plays an important role in the work of many calligraphers, the SoS has called on a student of the 20th century’s foremost colorist, Josef Albers, to introduce a selection of his most important studies to our membership.

In this hands-on workshop, participants will discover a number of ways to use color to enhance and enrich their calligraphic work. At the very first meeting, you will see how a single color can become two or more completely different colors, depending on their environment. Choices of inks and background colors will take on new meanings, and that is only the beginning.

We found a great post about Josef Albers and the magic of color from BrainPickings here.



(Graphic from BrainPickings. Photos by Susan Story)


New June 2018 Workshops have been posted! We’re so excited to welcome Harvest Crittenden back to NYC; two more workshops with popular instructors Marcy Robinson and Kathy Milici; plus a brand new color workshop with Cynthia Dantzic! Details and descriptions here.

Registation open to members on Monday April 23 at 7am, and to general public on Tuesday April 24.

Saturday, June 2 – Intro to Gothicized Italic with Marcy Robinson
Sunday, June 3 – The Flourished Envelope with Kathy Milici
Sat/Sun, June 9 & 10 – The Graceful Curve with Harvest Crittenden
Sat/Sun, June 30 & July 1 – Color with Cynthia Dantzic

Coming Fall 2018: Elmo von Slingerland, John Stevens, Barbara Calzolari, Barbara Close and more! (All dates & events are subject to change until officially posted.)

(Artwork by Harvest Crittenden)


On Love: the Art of Line, Shapes & Symbols @ Brookfield Place
April 17 – April 29, 2018
Winter Garden at Brookfield Place, 230 Vesey Street

Four extraordinary artists will create large-scale calligraphic paintings on these windows around the poetic theme of love. The artists from Iran, Japan, India, and the United States will use words, letters, shapes and symbols from their respective languages and alphabets to explore the linguistic and artistic connections to calligraphy. Over two weeks the artists will produce a magnificent temporary art installation, encouraging the public to watch as it’s being crafted.

After one artist finishes, the next artist will begin. At the end of the second week, the windows will be transformed into works of art, and will display the beauty of love through words, letters, art, and symbols.

More info and events here.

(Artwork by Romon K. Yang)


Fraktur with Ethan Cohen
Saturday/Sunday: April 21 & 22, 2018

Fraktur is an eclectic genre of blackletter forms that was used widely both in calligraphy and in type beginning in the 16th century. It remained prevalent in German-speaking countries until 1941, when it was phased out by the Third Reich. Like all blackletter hands Fraktur is characterized by a bold and dense texture, though it is more decorative and less rigid than its close relative, Textura. In this workshop we will learn a basic fraktur alphabet, focusing on spacing, rhythm, and texture. We will then explore how these expressive fraktur forms lend themselves to modification and personalization.

More info and registration here.



Coming up soon! Two equally awesome one-day workshops with Debra Dick. Take one or both! Uncial on Saturday, April 14 and/or Celtic Knots on Sunday, April 15. Deb’s workshops are ideal for beginners. You’ll spend a fun day lettering and walk away with a solid foundation, plus lots of inspiration, tips and techniques. You can see photos of Deb’s last Uncial class here.

Other upcoming workshops…

Only two spots left for Gold, Gold, and More Gold with Barry Morentz on Saturday, April 7. Experiment with all kinds of golds and make yourself a very useful color chart.

Foundational with Eleanor Winters: three consecutive Saturdays starting April 14.

Only two spots left for Fraktur with Ethan Cohen on Saturday/Sunday, April 21 & 22.

(Artwork by Debra Dick)


Calligraphers everywhere are encouraged to enter the Graceful Envelope Contest. Deadline is March 26, 2018 and there is no entry fee. 

This year’s theme: Whatever the Weather

There’s always something to say about the weather. From severe storms to sowing crops to using the sun and wind for renewable energy, the weather affects everyone. Summon a brainstorm to capture what’s outside your window—or outside the box—and design a winning envelope!

The 24th annual Graceful Envelope Contest, conducted by the Washington Calligraphers Guild and the National Association of Letter Carriers, urges artists to “find new ways to use hand lettering, graphic design and postage stamps to enhance your entry. It may be a small canvas, but you are capable of big ideas.”

Learn more and view past winning Graceful Envelopes at: http://www.calligraphersguild.org/envelope.html

(Above: Kathy Barker’s 2017 winning envelope)


Linear Language: Annual Members’ Open Exhibition
February 26 through March 23, 2018
National Arts Club, 15 Gramercy Park South, Trask Gallery
The National Arts Club is free and open to the public Monday–Friday from 10 to 5.

Artists’ Reception & Gallery Talk: Thursday, March 22, 2018 from 5:30 – 7:30 pm. (Talk begins at 6:30 pm.)

We wish to present a wide range of calligraphic work — from amateurs, students, and professionals alike — demonstrating the vitality of this art and craft, and its range from traditional to experimental. This is your opportunity to help create a rich, varied, and exciting public display. Just under 40 works are exhibited. Download Index here.

Submissions: All current members are invited to submit pieces for hanging by Sunday, February 25. All artwork must contain some form of hand-lettering, and all pieces must be framed behind glass or plexiglass, wired and ready-to-hang. Guidelines for delivery and more information on our download-able Entry Form here.

Old Quaker Health

Due to forecasted Nor’easter, we’re re-scheduling our General Meeting for Friday, March 9!

“The Suitable Motions of Manufacture: The Calligraphy and Lettering of W.A. Dwiggins” – A Slide Lecture with Paul Shaw
Friday, March 9, 2018 from 5:30 to 7:00 pm (Lecture at 6:00)
The National Arts Club, Marquis Gallery
15 Gramercy Park South (between Park Avenue and Irving Place)

Free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

Three men—Edward Johnston in England, Rudolf Koch in Germany, and Rudolf von Larisch in Austria—are widely credited with spurring the 20th century revival of interest in calligraphy. Their personal work and, especially, their educational efforts provided the models, impetus and inspiration for the subsequent practice of calligraphy as a craft or an art. Often ignored is the history of calligraphy as a design skill. This is especially true of the United States where the influence of these three men was limited. Instead, the early American practitioners of calligraphy, members of the nascent profession of graphic design, tended to be self-taught. Their work was often idiosyncratic, marked by a distinctive personal style rather than that of a school. The prime example of this independent American tradition is W.A. Dwiggins (1880–1956).

Dwiggins was a jack-of-all-trades: advertising designer, book designer, type designer, illustrator, ornamentalist, and letterer/calligrapher. Today he is best known for his typefaces, his stencil ornaments and the marionettes he created as a hobby. His lettering and calligraphy have gone overlooked. But, as with others of his generation, lettering was an essential design skill. It informed and underpinned much of his advertising and book work as well as his type design.

This talk will trace the development of Dwiggins as a letterer/calligrapher from his schooling in Chicago in the late 1890s through his affiliation with Mergenthaler Linotype and Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. in the last three decades of his life. It will survey his lettering and calligraphy styles and try to place him in the context of his contemporaries such as Johnston, Koch, Frederic W. Goudy, Oswald Cooper, Eric Gill, and Hermann Zapf.

“… to be concerned with the shapes of letters is to work in an ancient and fundamental material. The qualities of letterforms at their best are the qualities of a classic time: order, simplicity, grace.” —W.A. Dwiggins

Afterwards, there will be a short general meeting and election of the new board. Here are our candidates for the 2018 Board of Governors:

V. A. Barrow (*) has loved calligraphy since attending the H.S. of Fashion Industries where she majored in Fashion Design. Her introduction to her first calligraphy hand came about when she drew a Halloween costume and mused aloud about some writing to go along with it and a classmate complied with a Gothic hand. Since then V has taken classes at Stuyvesant H.S. adult education, Botanical Gardens, SVA, private classes and of course classes through SoS. She continues to take classes as often as she can.

Ethan Cohen (*) is a NYC-based calligrapher and typeface designer. He holds a post-graduate certificate in typeface design from the Type@Cooper Extended Program and works as a typeface designer at Mucca Design. His experience attending the 2015 international calligraphy conference as a recipient of the Dancing Letters Scholarship inspired him to help launch the 2017 Society of Scribes Scholarship program.

Cynthia Dantzic (*) studied calligraphy at Yale and has been teaching at Long Island University since 1964, where she was promoted to Senior Professor. Her courses include drawing, color, painting, 2D design and calligraphy (Western and Non-Western). She served on the board for several years as programs coordinator. Her ninth art-related book, 100 New York Calligraphers, which includes the work of a number of SoS members, was featured in Schiffer’s Spring 2015 catalog.

Nancy Favorito (*) has served on the board since 2009, first as recording secretary and currently as treasurer. She has a background in engineering and spent years working in the financial industry before becoming the mother of twin girls. Calligraphy is her welcome diversion and she is committed to supporting the Society of Scribes.

Judy Kastin (*) is a freelance calligrapher who previously served on the SoS Board for eighteen years. She rejoined in 2011 as workshop chair. Judy is the co-author of the last two editions of The Speedball Textbook and Lettering Arts, and author of 100 Keys to Great Calligraphy.

Eva Kokoris (*) is a freelance calligrapher and designer with an avid interest in the lettering arts. She volunteered for special events before being elected to the board in 2007 and subsequently served as president for three years. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Music from the Mannes College of Music and currently serves on the Board.

Adrian Morehouse (*) was introduced to East Asian brush calligraphy in college, and he continued to practice while teaching English in a rural Japanese town. He later studied graphic and typeface design at SVA. Adrian currently works in the information technology field. His first formal introduction to Western calligraphy was at an SoS workshop a few years ago, and he has been an avid participant in classes and events ever since. Adrian believes strongly in the value of writing by hand and the lettering arts. He hopes to contribute to the work of the SoS to preserve and extend these traditions.

Barry Morentz (*) is a freelance calligrapher, bookbinder, boxmaker, and instructor residing in Manhattan where he operates a studio quite appropriately in the shadow of the New York Public Library. He has been totally involved in calligraphy for more than 37 years, and served on the Board of Governors from 1979-1991, including 8 years as Workshops Chairman, and Faculty Chairman for Innovations ’86, the SoS sponsored Conference in Hoboken. He has taught workshops throughout the US, Canada, Japan, Hong Kong, and Singapore, and is directing much of his attention now to the future of calligraphy and its great legacy in Western culture.

Chi Nguyen (*) freelances and teaches calligraphy/papercrafts for the UFT Retiree Program and privately. She’s been an avid SoS workshop-taker and has served on the board since 1998 doing membership and various other things.

Phan Nguyen (*) is on the editorial board of the newly revived Notes from New York, the newsletter of the Society of Scribes. He served on the Board of Governors in 2016 and hopes to continue in this position to promote calligraphic literacy to an unsuspecting public.

Anna Pinto (*) is a freelance calligrapher and calligraphy instructor living in Hoboken, NJ. She first served on the Board in the 80s and 90s. She also edited the Newsletter then, and came back for another 5-year stint, mainly so she could revive the April Fool’s insert. She is grateful for the many friends and calligraphic opportunities that have come her way over the years thanks to the Society of Scribes.

Ann Shoshkes (*) is a New Jersey based enthusiast of all things lettering. Ann holds a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design and has always had a passion for the decorative arts. She fell in love with penmanship while addressing her own wedding envelopes in 2008. Numerous classes and workshops have followed, and she has been so grateful to meet and get to know this wonderful group of committed calligraphers. Ann was fortunate to attend Letterworks this past summer,  and is currently studying watercolor. Ann truly values the Society of Scribes and believes strongly in giving back to this committed group of calligraphers.

Susan Steele’s (*) search for instruction in the art of “beautiful writing” led her to the SoS. She has been working as a calligrapher for many years and had a previous 15-year career in graphic design. SoS has provided her with a constant source of inspiration and local contacts within the calligraphy field.

Chavelli Tsui (*) is a graphic designer who started seriously studying calligraphy with Myrna Rosen during her undergrad years at Carnegie Mellon. Many years later she rediscovered her love for calligraphy while in the Type@Cooper typeface design program and since then she has had the pleasure of studying with many amazing lettering artists.  She runs her own eponymous design studio and is grateful to be able to infuse her design work with her growing calligraphy skills. A lifelong lover of letters, she loves being part of SoS through which she aims to further promote the practice and enjoyment of calligraphy and its related arts.

Juan Villanueva is a Brooklyn-based typeface designer, lettering artist, and educator. Originally from Peru, he grew up in Clifton, NJ and has a BFA in Graphic Design, Illustration and Animation from Montclair State University. He is a proud graduate of the Type@Cooper Extended Program. He currently spends his days designing typefaces at Monotype, and has taught typography at The City College of New York and graphic design at the Cooper Union Summer Art Intensive Program. He is an active member of the Type Directors Club, AIGA, Society of Scribes and loves letterforms.

(*) Denotes returning board members.

We look forward to serving in the next year, and want to remind everyone that help is always needed! If you’d like to join us, or attend one of our bi-monthly board meetings, please contact us at membership@societyofscribes.org

(Artwork by W.A. Dwiggins)


Our Spring 2018 Classes & Workshops have been posted!
Details and descriptions here.

Registation for Rachel Yallop’s workshops will be open for members on Tuesday March 6 at 7am, and to the general public on Wednesday March 7.

Sat/Sun, April 28 & 29 – Copperplate Variations with Rachel Yallop
Sat/Sun, May 5 & 6 – Looking Beyond the Literal Letter with Rachel Yallop
Sat/Sun, June 2 & 3 – Intro to Gothicized Italic with Marcy Robinson
NEW! Sat/Sun, June 9 & 10 – The Graceful Curve with Harvest Crittenden
Sat/Sun, June 30 & July 1 – Color with Cynthia Dantzic

Coming Fall 2018: Elmo von Slingerland, John Stevens, Barbara Calzolari, Barbara Close and more! (All dates & events are subject to change until officially posted.)

(Artwork by Gemma Black)


Transforming the Word: Continuing the Tradition of Hebrew Manuscript Illumination — The Art of Barbara Wolff 
September 2017 – January 2018
Gallery at Park Avenue Synagogue
50 East 87th Street at Madison Avenue

This exhibit showcases facsimiles of “You Renew the Face of the Earth: Psalm 104” and selected pages from the Rose Haggadah. The originals are now in the permanent collection of the Morgan Library and Museum. There is a display of medieval and Renaissance materials and tools used in their creation as well as several original illuminations. A short film, “Over Her Shoulder,” reveals how the artist developed and executed the Psalm 104 series and details her sketching, painting and gilding in precious metal leaf.

Barbara Wolff’s illuminated texts are created in the tradition of the great medieval Hebrew manuscripts using materials and techniques of the 14th century, yet reflecting a 21st century sensibility.

More info here.