The Birmingham Calligraphy Guild was founded in 1987 by Travis Jones. Jones was a wonderful gentleman, lettering artist, teacher, and friend to many. He was one of the first members of IAMPETH and served as president for the organization in 1974. He passed away in 1997 at the age of 89.
Currently, the guild has 56 members, mostly from the immediate and surrounding area. However, there are a few members (and non-members) from Georgia, Tennessee, and Mississippi who participate in guild sponsored workshops. Meetings are held quarterly, and the subject matter to be presented and meeting site are communicated via the guild’s website and e-mails to their mailing list. While meeting sites vary presently, the guild is working with Forstall Art to establish a permanent meeting site at their new location beginning in August.
Along with quarterly meetings, the guild also has free work days. During these sessions, classes are taught in both lettering and arts that complement lettering. Additionally, members are able to work hands on with newer calligraphers in both pointed pen and broad edge styles.
A major component of the guild’s activities are the workshops they host. Calligraphers from around the country are invited to teach two day classes, usually over a weekend. Occasionally, they also host long term workshops such as those taught by Peter Thornton. Just this past January and February, Valerie Weilmuenster presented two workshops, and Reggie Ezell is currently teaching a year long course. Other past workshops included renown artists such as Billy Lilly, Rosemary Buczek, Annie Cicale, Bill Kemp, Martin Jackson, and Mike Kecseg. Upcoming workshops include two that will be taught by Heather Held. Her August workshop is full, but the November workshops on Holiday Flourishing and The Victorian Pen still have a few openings. The 2017 workshop schedule is in development; however, the guild has confirmed that Kathy Milici will offer workshops in both April and November.
Joining a guild affords those just starting out in calligraphy the opportunities to associate with other calligraphers and to participate in learning experiences such as workshops. The Birmingham guild works to offer classes for beginners and experiences lettering artists alike. Taking lessons on an individual or group basis is another desirable experience that the guild encourages.
The guild enjoys welcoming new members, and those interested in joining can find more information on the guild’s website or by contacting a guild board member. Members are: