Day 76: Something Beautiful—Illumination

Something Beautiful is a 2013 self-imposed initiative to find a visual feast for each day of the year.

In seventh grade, I received two gifts that changed my life. I had Sister Rose Therese for my teacher and she taught me calligraphy. Sister RT was an artist and a beautiful and generous human being. She carried this great light and enormous capacity for compassion. Outside of my teachers who taught my high school and college art classes, she is the only artistic teacher I had and she understood me. She shared her talents and love and nurtured mine in both music and art. RT taught me calligraphy. From the Greek meaning “beautiful writing,” calligraphy is an ancient art form prevalent in religious texts.

Beautiful writing is also a talent I inherited. Mom has exquisite penmanship and draftsman quality printing. That calligraphy is in my DNA is unquestionable. I picked it up as if sleep walking. Like my Mom, once people realized I had “the gift,” I was recruited to create all manner of posters and programs. Contrary to what my sons believe, I was not raised in medieval times—but looking back, it seems they were not far off. Posters were handmade, one by one. Smaller items were mimeographed (the link is for those of you too young to have even heard the term—god, now I do feel ancient).

Over time, I made a decent chunk of change hand lettering graduation diplomas and certificates of all kinds. When I began my own graphics business, I designed and hand painted business signs and logos. Type design has always been a fascination and passion.

Polish illuminated text dated 1039.

Polish illuminated text dated 1039.

Today these memories found there way into my consciousness which is what sent me looking for some amazing early work in typography—illuminated manuscripts. These were much more than ornamentation for important books, they were the early forms of graphic design—that intersection of communication, design, illustration, and ornamentation. What a shame that cursive is a dying art . . .


About vbassoc

Donna Van Bogaert is a researcher and consultant in the field of cognitive styles, health communication, and organizational communication and behavior. Her business, Van Bogaert & Associates, Inc., specializes in cognitive-based coaching, management consulting, and leadership development. When the winds are blowing her way, she travels and talks about workplace potential and creative problem solving. In another life, Donna sings jazz. For a very long time, she fronted two 18-piece big bands —All That Jazz (Madison, WI) and The Gardenia Big Band (Rockford, IL). She currently resides in Cincinnati, Ohio where, in a third parallel universe, she leads a media branch of a national research institute. Mostly she has returned to painting, poetry, and plotting the next chapter of her life.
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One Response to Day 76: Something Beautiful—Illumination

  1. Bea Neal says:

    It is a shame that schools no longer even teach cursive. To read a handwritten letter from someone seems to connect you to them in a much closer soulful way than a text message.

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