Western Calligraphy Workshops

These are listings on the GoLibrary website for two workshops I conducted in the month of May 2013, at Serangoon Public Library on Saturday the 11th and Bedok Public Library on Saturday the 18th.

Although two-and-a-half hours long, these sessions are very well attended and participants seem to enjoy themselves. In fact, it is always a rush to cover everything from holding the pen to making basic strokes with it, and from writing the small and capital letters to writing words, names and messages.

These sessions are free of charge, and participants get a calligraphy marker to keep. As an instructor, I am not paid a fee either; this is entirely voluntary work and I get a huge sense of satisfaction when the class goes well.


Western Calligraphy: The Splendour of the Letter

This year I’ve had the pleasure of teaching two Italic calligraphy workshops to the public, through the National Library Board (NLB) in Singapore (Woodlands Regional Library on 26 January 2013; Toa Payoh Public Library on 2 February 2013). 

When I did my first workshop at Woodlands, it struck me that I was finally fulfilling my dream of teaching calligraphy to adults  a wish I had had since picking up Italic at the age of 16. Back then, every time I passed by the community centre near my house, I’d think how cool it’d be to teach adults.

This (below) was the registration table at the Woodlands workshop. The facilitator, Ms Joti Omprakash, was extremely helpful and efficient as you can see, she and her colleagues actually arranged for calligraphy titles in the library to be made available for loan. 

I began with a slide show telling the audience about how my calligraphic journey started.

Below, I’m showing them an example of Spencerian, which I’d scribbled with a ballpoint pen.

It was heartening for me to see that my workshops attracted many young people. This is a group of students from my alma mater Ngee Ann Polytechnic, who told me they were training to be art curators. Polys are truly innovative these days!

My next workshops will be on Saturday 11 May (Serangoon Public Library, at Serangoon Nex) and 18 May (Bedok Public Library).


A Place Called Bad Ischl

            By the time you read this, I’ll be winding my way across Austria with my in-laws. They came for a visit and decided that we needed to do a car tour of the country. This will be very fun and I’ll have lots of stories to tell but right now, I’m going to talk about one of our first trips.
            One of my favorite places in Austria that we have visited is called Bad Ischl. It is west of us, toward the Alps and near Salzburg. Our first year here, we were lucky enough to visit it as we went for my husband’s birthday. The very next year, we went again for a short visit in the summer when we had friends visiting. And believe it or not, we will be visiting it again on this trip.
            The place is reknown for where the last emperor of Austria, Franz Joseph I, decided he wanted his cousin, Duchess Elizabeth of Bavaria to become his bride. Kaiservilla is where the proposal was delivered and much to everyone’s surprise, it was accepted. Duchess Elizabeth became Empress Elizabeth and was commonly known as Sisi, the reluctant empress. Yet, this remained one of the couples favorite places.
            What struck me was the beauty of the area as it was far from the Austrian court at the time and a great respite from those duties. It is still a respite in the modern era as I felt more relaxed than anywhere else in the country. We had lazy days and explored the whole small town on foot as we’d arrived by train.
            Just look at some of the wonderful things we saw!

At the top of the hill in Kaiservilla

Interesting gate at Kaiservilla

The grounds at the back of Kaiservilla

The back of Kaiservilla

View of Kaiservilla and Bad Ischl

One of the wings on Kaiservilla

A statue on the grounds at Kaiservilla

            Hope you enjoyed this look at another wonderful place in Austria! See you later this month!



Reflections on Travel and Other Things

I love to travel. I'd almost forgotten how much until I received a follow on Twitter from someone who spends her life traveling and writing about it. My, how I envy this woman!

On her blog, she had a story about Vienna, Austria, focusing on restaurants, places to visit, things to see. It's been a few years since I last visited Vienna. When I first saw the city years ago, I had the most acute sensation of deja vu. I felt at home. I knew instinctively where things were.

On my last visit there, I had no fear of walking the streets alone. I got to hear the Boys Choir. I loved every moment spent in the city.

Do you have a special place you long to visit? Do you know a spot that is dear to your heart? Is it close to home, like Williamsburg?

"Williamsburg Gardens" - pastel painting ©Mary Montague Sikes
On Saturday, May 4, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., I'm teaching a pastel workshop at This Century Art Gallery Education Center.

This is for artists of all levels from beginner to advanced. Pastels are one of my favorite art tools. If you are in this area, I would love to show you the joy of working with them!

Mary Montague Sikes