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The Golden Age of Penmanship Comes to Berkeley
"The Golden Age of Penmanship"
Illustrated Talk by Michael Sull
Sunday, April 18, 4 P.M.
Castle in the Air

Master Calligrapher Michael Sull will give an illustrated talk on America's Golden Age of Penmanship at 4 P.M. on April 18 at Castle in the Air, a fine pens shop in Berkeley. Attendees will have the chance to see rare calligraphic specimens and ask questions of Sull, whose free public lecture kicks off a week-long penmanship course at Castle in the Air.

One hundred-year-old, hand-lettered documents with swooping flourishes that form peacocks and cranes, artful banners shaped like scrolls, soft watercolor washes, and fanciful alphabets--what a wonderful counterpoint to the impersonal electronic communication that fills our lives. (iPad enthusiasts, eat your heart out.) All who treasure the beauty of pen and ink works such as these will have a unique opportunity to view examples from master penmen firsthand at an upcoming illustrated lecture on America's Golden Age of Penmanship, which lasted from 1850 to 1925.

The lecture will be given at Castle in the Air, Berkeley, by Michael Sull, who is internationally known for his work in the field of American ornamental penmanship, and is a certified Master Penman of IAMPETH (International Association of Master Penmen, Engrossers and Teachers of Handwriting). Sull will show both original documents from his private collection and scans of documents from the fabled Healey Collection. The collection was begun by Daniel Ames, a legendary penman who retired from New York to a studio in Mountain View in 1899. But for a lucky twist of fate, his collection might have been lost in the San Francisco earthquake of 1906.

The Healey Collection reflects the best work done by pen masters of the time, such as Charles Paxton Zaner, Fielding Schofield, and Frederick W. Tamblyn. According to Sull, seeing the actual brushstrokes and dimensional quality of the work is an incredible learning opportunity. He points out that it's also instructive to see "the human side of artwork produced for reproduction, with liberal repositioning, over lettering, and cut-and-paste corrections...where flawless originals were not required."

The Healey Collection has been in archival storage for 70 years, and has only recently been made available for viewing for a brief period before being returned to storage. Sull is part of an IAMPETH project that is scanning the entire collection so that it will be available for future study by anyone interested in America's Golden Age of Penmanship. The importance of the collection is far greater than the actual specimens because it offers a timeline view of the development of America pen art--an art where the beauty of the form was as important as the content, even for documents created for business purposes.

Sull will be in the Bay Area to teach an intensive, advanced class at Castle in the Air on Spencerian, an ornamental calligraphic script developed in America. His illustrated lecture, which is free to the public, precedes the week-long class. The lecture is Sunday, April 18, 2010, 4 to 5:30 P.M., at Castle in the Air, 1805 Fourth Street, Berkeley.

About Michael Sull and the Advanced Spencerian Saga
Michael Sull is known internationally for his work in the field of American Ornamental Penmanship, which flourished from 1850 until 1925, and is a past president of IAMPETH (International Association of Master Penmen, Engrossers, and Teachers of Handwriting). His books include Spencerian Script & Ornamental Penmanship, Learning to Write Spencerian, and American Cursive Handwriting. In 1987, Sull founded Spencerian Saga, an annual, week-long seminar dedicated to Spencerian Script.

About Castle in the Air
"A Studio for the Imagination," Castle in the Air's shop and classroom have been inspiring destinations for local and visiting artists since 2001. Situated at the heart of Berkeley's Fourth Street commercial district, Castle in the Air is minutes from any number of the San Francisco Bay Area's attractions. Contact us for information about nearby lodging and meal options during your visit.

For more information, contact us at
(510)204-9801 or
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Castle in the Air, 1805 Fourth Street, Berkeley, Calif. 94710
(510) 204-9801,