Tanja Bolenz: Stonework, Calligraphy, Bookbinding

Calligraphy: Workshops


In this workshop, you can explore several painting and gilding techniques using capitals.

We start out by writing out a word or words in chunky capitals, using a variety of tools (e.g. double pencils, a large broad-edged nib, an automatic pen, a felt-tip pen, or an ordinary pencil). A simple method of drawing chunky capitals, using skeleton capitals as a basis, will also be demonstrated.

Then we will explore two ways of gilding capitals using silver leaf, as well as four different painting techniques using watercolours:

  • laying washes
  • painting capitals
  • using resist
  • creating textures in the background

All of these techniques will be used to integrate the background and lettering to create a harmonious whole.

No experience in gilding necessary. 2 day workshop.



In this workshop, you can explore various methods of paper decorating.

These techniques can be applied to a variety of uses: as backgrounds for lettering, drawing or painting, as well as for book-covers, pages, end-pages or as a basis for collage.

You will learn how to lay washes, explore pattern- and mark-making, and experiment with texture and colour, using brushes, rollers, sponges, tissue paper, clingfilm, seasalt, candle wax, bleach, et cetera.

1 or 2 day workshop



In this workshop you will experiment with capitals in a multitude of different ways, in order to enliven your calligraphic work.

Using Italic or Roman capitals as a starting point, you will be offered various exercises to explore textural possibilities and will be able to experiment with single or multiple layering of scripts.

Calligraphic textures offer numerous possibilities for creating dynamic backgrounds, adding a focal point to your work or just giving it added liveliness and vitality.

You will use a variety of tools, such as the broad-edged nib, the automatic pen, the ruling pen, the bamboo pen, the chisel-edged brush, and even popsicle sticks and an old toothbrush.

Day One: You will be taken through various exercises using capitals to explore textural possibilities.You will be encouraged to use a variety of different tools, in order to explore textural possibilities further and create a number of different effects.

Day Two: You will select 1 to 3 textures from those employed on day 1, to which you will add either a short quote, a sentence, or even just a word, in order to produce a finished piece of work.

By using cut and paste techniques, you will be able to try different layouts for your chosen text and texture(s).


Formal Italic
Humanist Cursive


In this workshop, you can learn how to analyse a historical script, in order to understand and reproduce it correctly, through examining pen angle, letter weight, stroke order, arch structure, serif type, slope, and so on. This process also includes suggestions about ways to adapt such a script for modern use.

By tracing and copying, you will learn the ‘feel’ of the script, so you can emulate the flow and speed which the medieval scribe employed in order to achieve his or her interpretation of the script.

Learning how to analyse a historical script will contribute to your greater awareness and understanding of lettering, in general. It will also encourage awareness and attention to the finer points of a chosen script.

1 day workshops available for the following:

  • Formal Italic: “Bembo Sonnets” (c. 1543)
  • Humanist Cursive (Italic): “Saturnalia of Macrobius” (c. 1465)
  • Carolingian: “Text from the Grandval Bible” (c. 825-850)


Cnut Charter Hand
Adopted modernized version


The ‘Cnut Charter Hand’ , an early 11th c. hand refers to a somewhat compressed English minuscule. The script has a firm structure and is written with rhythmic movement and has a lightness of weight.

The name of the script refers to a manuscript called ‘The Cnut Charter of 1018’ written by Eadvius Basan, scribe of Christ Church, Canterbury between 1012 – 1023. (Several other manuscripts attributed to him are in the British Library).

In the workshop we will use a photocopy of an original of the script as a starting point in order to analyse the structure of the script (e.g. pen angle, letter weight, stroke order, arch structure etc.).

Then we will practice an adapted version of the script, more suitable for modern use.

This script is very suitable for longer texts, if space is a consideration.
It lends itself very well for formal documents and in manuscript books.

2 Day workshop.