They only illuminate Bibles, right? Manuscript illumination is a set of techniques developed in the Middle Ages. The brilliant colors, supple parchment, and luminous gold catch the eye and demand complete attention. Small and discrete or overwhelming in scope, illuminations delight the eye. Using traditional designs or images from their own work, students will create a small illumination while learning all the steps in the process.
Karen Gorst
March 8-9 , Saturday and Sunday, 10am - 4pm


Class Location: Center for Book Arts 

Update: This class is full please use contact form to be placed in list.


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Copperplate Calligraphy: Mastering Capitals Workshop Dec. 7 & 8

Example of Scripty Capitals used in a Card

December 7 - 8 , Saturday and Sunday, 10am – 4pm This class is for students who have taken copperplate and want to finally master copperplate capitals. During this weekend intensive, students will learn capitals from historic copperplate structure to contemporary variations. There is more than one way to make a capital. Everyone's first copperplate class is spent mastering the oblique pointed pen. It simply takes time. If beginning copperplate students learn capitals, it is only by grace and persistence.


Learn the art of calligraphy with Karen Gorst, master calligrapher. Beginners learn either Italic or Black Letter Calligraphy and make a simple project.


Intermediate students master one lettering style per 8 sessions and focus on creating beautifully designed projects. Intermediate students choose one of 16 historic lettering styles. 

A talk with Karen Gorst, part of our Summer Intensive. 

Feast on the historic and contemporary cross-fertilization of Hebrew, Arabic and European letterforms from Maimonides' handwriting to contemporary letter design. Contrary to popular opinion, letterforms are not static. 

Calligraphers and other craftspeople need to protect their hands from repetitive motion injuries. Writing ceaselessly for hours can be very bad for the hands causing injuries that take a long time to heal and interupt business. The type and size of calligraphy determines how hard a job is on the hands. Learning and writing pointed pen calligraphy such as copperplate, builds new muscles and can lead to newly discovered aches, as you get from any new exercise. 


It's been a pleasure working on this Haggadah with Barbara Wolff, Izzy Pludwinski and Rudy Wolff. This 21st century Haggadah was produced for Barbara Wolff's client, The Rose family. (A Haggadah is the service book used for the Passover Seder. It is a commandment to tell the story of the Passover every year.) Upon seeing the completed pages, Mrs. Rose said the Hagaddah should be exhibited in New York before it is bound. She is currently looking for a New York museum to share this 21st century Haggadah with the world. We will keep you updated! For now here is an appetizer. Enjoy the film!


As a very young child I loved making letters and watching grown ups write. Fascinated by the way the letters looked individually, as words and as a page of text, I found cursive mysterious like a melodic foreign language. Cursive looked like a chain of crocheted thread- pull the end hard enough and the word would disappear. 



Learn the Basics of Broad Pen Calligraphy while Learning Uncial

Want to become a calligrapher? To begin you must master the basics of using a broad edged pen. Unlike the usual classes in learning one calligraphic hand, this course includes the absolute basics needed to master using a broad edged pen and every basic broad pen calligraphic hand. Without the fundamentals firmly in hand, beginners will always remain dabblers and never become proficient. 

Medieval Illumination Workshop


Based on courses taught at Vassar, Wellesley, The Morgan Library and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Karen Gorst shares her methods for teaching anyone the basics of medieval manuscript illumination. Ms. Gorst has used these techniques to teach students ranging from 3rd Graders studying the middle ages to Graduate Students in Medieval Studies. 

Copperplate Calligraphy Course Exemplars_Copy Sheet

This collection of 14 Down Loadable Essential Exemplars will greatly assist and inform your Copperplate Calligraphy practice.