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Calligraphy for Blacksmiths I
Training the eye and hand

As fairly civilized and literate people, we use letters every day. We see them, we read them, they embody an æsthetic that is deeply ingrained in our lives, our worlds, in the way we perceive.
Understanding that æsthetic allows the artist-blacksmith to tap into the perceptions of virtually every person that sees their work.
The pursuit of calligraphy and letter design develops and calls upon knowledge of positive and negative space, curves and straightness, rhythm, weight, balance, repetition, consistency... all qualities to be sought in forged ironwork.

We will be learning to draw the Roman alphabet. First as what my calligraphy professor, Arnold Bank called "Simple Hand"; an un-serifed version of the letters you are probably reading right now. The focus will be on shape and spacing. Then if time and class progress permit, we will move on to serifed Roman.

The Roman hand is deceptively simple-looking and plain. It is perhaps the least forgiving of any calligraphic hand, you cannot hide mistakes with fiddly gew-gahs. Being able to do it well is no small achievement.
Know this ahead: It will be frustrating, you will make a lot of ugly letters. It's OK.

There will be homework. If you do it, it will show in the quality of your work, both at the board, and at the anvil.

Gift Certificates for Calligraphy for Blacksmiths I are available.

12 hours in 6 two-hour meetings    dates&times

Instructor: Carl West
Tuition: $300
Maximum 6 students

Students should bring a lined notebook, a chisel-edged marker, and a #1 or #2 pencil. A sharp knife is optional, we have those around.


Full Covid vaccination required. Bring your card.

There are no prerequisites.
Students need not be blacksmiths.

Please wear proper clothing for visiting or working in the forge:
closed toe shoes (preferably leather, preferably high-topped. Sneakers are sufficient, sandals, crocs, pumps, mules... are not), natural fiber clothing, long pants that cover the tops of the shoes.
Click here for more safety information.

Dates and Times:
If none of the dates below work for you (or are already full), we suggest you
Add yourself to the Notification List for this class.
(The notification list gets emailed soon after classes are put on the schedule.)

This class is either:
- not upcoming on our schedule,
- or we've fallen behind in our clerical duties and not entered it in the database.
If you found it on our calendar page, we are planning to offer it on that date.

If you're interested in taking Calligraphy for Blacksmiths I and it's not on the calendar, please tell us using our Notification-List Page.

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