The Slovo Centre launches series of free calligraphy workshops

23 june 2021

The Slovo Centre is launching a course of four free classes on historical calligraphy. The first workshop is scheduled for 27 June. Subsequent classes will take place on 10 and 25 July and 8 August. Every workshop will be devoted to a specific calligraphy style: charter, half-charter, cursive and ligature. Attendance is free, but advanced registration is required.

The workshop series on historical calligraphy at the Slovo Centre for Slavic Writing is part of the Knowledge. VDNH project. During the workshops, participants will learn how ancient Russian handwriting styles replaced one another; how people wrote under the reigns of Yaroslav the Wise, Ivan the Terrible and Peter the Great; how books were decorated; what kinds of notes people left in the margins, along with which tools and materials were used for writing.

On 27 June at 12:00 p.m., during the first workshop of the series, visitors will learn to write in the first Old Russian handwriting style using the charter style that emerged approximately one thousand years ago. The workshop will depict the history of the emergence of this writing style and show how to write with an unusual tool to modern writers—a wide plume. Admission is free of charge, but advanced registration is required.

On 10 July, participants will learn how to write in the half-charter style, an ancient Russian handwriting that used in manuscripts but which later served as the basis for the fonts used in the first printed books. The instructors will explain why people began writing faster and faster between the 14th and 15th centuries, and which techniques were used by most manuscript writers to write a book or a government paper in the shortest time possible. Participants will carry on using plumes, but this time they may deviate from the strict charter rules to customise and enliven their letters.

The 25 July workshop will be dedicated to decorative Russian ligature writing. Attendees will learn about the origin and intended use of this ancient style of Russian handwriting. They'll be invited to find similarities between the ligature and writing styles popular today. Guests will learn about the main writing techniques and composition features.

On 8 August, in the final workshop, visitors will learn about speed-writing, the latest hand-writing technique in historical Russian calligraphy. This type of ancient Russian writing is very expressive and personal, but speed-written texts are hardest to read. The workshop will review the main features of speed writing. Participants will now use a new tool, a sharp feather to practice writing letters and words.

Workshops are taught by professional artists, designers, educators, calligraphers and participants in Russian and international exhibitions.

The event will be held in full compliance with all applicable epidemiological restrictions. Visitors are required to observe social distancing and wear face masks and gloves. Classrooms are subject to 50% occupancy requirments with no more than 15 people.

The historical calligraphy and lettering workshops offered by the Slovo Centre at VDNH is growing in popularity. This trend emerged from the very start of the centre's educational programmes, and once classes went online from 30 March 2020, they only grew in popularity. Videos are published on the VDNH website.

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