The Calligraphy & Lettering Arts Society (CLAS) is one of the largest western lettering society in the world. It is based in the United Kingdom and has an extensive membership in Europe as well as many other countries. The Society is a registered charity that aims to provide educational support for its members and the wider public, as well as raising standards in calligraphy and lettering.
The wide remit of CLAS includes holding a variety of national and international events such as the annual week-long Festival of Calligraphy (that Scribblers attended!), day and weekend workshops, touring exhibitions, producing a quarterly magazine ‘the EDGE’ for members as well as a regular email bulletin about calligraphy events and courses. It also runs a ‘Ladder of Progress’ scheme, where people can submit their calligraphy work to gain certification at various levels, from an introductory Certificate, through three levels of Diplomas culminating in Fellowship. More specialist areas such as Heraldry, Copperplate, Colour & Design etc. are covered by Certificates of Skills devoted to these areas. The ethos of study, practice and teaching to spread appreciation and awareness of the craft of calligraphy runs through everything.
Membership of CLAS is broad, and it welcomes everyone from complete beginners taking their first steps putting pen to paper to professional calligraphers and lettering artists. Traditional skills and appreciation of historical writing art can be found as well as contemporary, innovative and expressive calligraphic work.
In an increasingly visual society, calligraphy has gained popularity as people appreciate the skillful demonstration of scripts and styles. Social media has enabled many more people to share the attractive calligraphy that they create. However, for those who prefer to cut out screen time, calligraphy is also a thriving and popular craft skill that encourages anyone with a love of words to express themselves. CLAS has established themselves in both online and ‘in real life’ arenas, with active and informative Facebook, Instagram and Twitter feeds, as well as promoting access to courses.
The 25th Anniversary of the Calligraphy & Lettering Arts Society was celebrated this year with a major exhibition “A Way With Words”, that showcased the huge range of ways that words can be expressed visually and beautifully. Traditional manuscript painting and gilding was seen alongside many other techniques, such as writing on metals or glass, work with nibs, brushes and other tools, paints, inks and engraving, linocuts and digitally manipulated images. Visitors to the exhibition commented on this diversity, particularly if they were not previously sure what “calligraphy” would look like.
The works travelled around the country, finishing in September at the Lettering Arts Centre in Snape, Suffolk (a copy of the beautiful exhibition catalogue can be purchased from our website) and CLAS was delighted that Scribblers was one of the primary supporters of the event.
For those interested in starting out in calligraphy, it would be worth following and joining CLAS, as next year a special educational project will be announced.
More information about CLAS can be found on their website
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