Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Lisa Engelbrecht Workshop

Last week I was lucky enough to be able to spend 2 days in a workshop taught by calligrapher Lisa Engelbrecht. I had a blast!

I have lettered many times on fabric over the years, but with a difference. As a kid, I grew up sewing. A lot. And the first thing I did with fabric was throw in in the washing machine to take out the sizing. Any self-respecting pen and ink will bleed on unsized fabric, so I always used gouache and a brush. Lisa does not wash her fabric first. And, well, what a difference. I was absolutely stunned at how easily and well the fabric took pen and ink and paint.

Here are some photo from the class:

At the top is a double ended piece coloured with many paints and inks. I mostly used Magic Color inks and FW - and Lumiere acrylic paint. It is decorated with an image transfer, a stencilled tree with varigated leaf. Turns out the gesso underneath made it very difficult to letter over near the top. Grrrrr. "Eternity", below, was a swath of gesso which I lettered into while the gesso was still wet, then, when dry, topped with acrylic ink. "Touch" was lettered in wet ink with Portfolio Pastels.

Here is Lisa (not the best photo! Sorry!) sharing one of her pieces. And more eye candy on the right as she spread out her treasure on a table for us to view. You really had to see these gems in person. Want to see more of Lisa's very very cool stuff? Check out her website! (and her blog)

Ultimately we were to assemble our smaller bits and pieces on a larger background. Here is what I had after torturing myself for quite a long time. I struggled to combine earth colours and pinks and blues. Finally, when I got home, I converted the photo to black and white to see if that helped me. Well, bottom line. I need more contrast. Maybe a block of lettering on the background. So this will join my other UFOs (un finished objects!) until I give it some more thought!

Here are a couple more items I did.... Too much fun! Thanks Lisa! And thanks to the Warmland Calligraphers for hosting her workshop!

A link to Lisa's book


  1. very nice. I think that's going to be very difficult getting that piece of contrast in with the horizontal piece in place. So where do you put it?? yup. food for thought and another day.
    I had a blast when i took her class as well. Wonderful teacher, warm personality and exceptionally talented.

  2. Suzanne, that is a very clever idea to take a photo and turn it into B&W to see contrasts, and what is missing. Thanks for sharing that. Your stuff is always beautiful - regardless of the media.