Calligraphy Performance By Timothy Donaldson At Opening “Signs for Sounds” Exhibition

Letter worker, graphic designer, type designer and action calligrapher Timothy Donaldson created a new piece of calligraphy at Bilston Craft Gallery. The piece was commissioned by The Harley Gallery as part of Signs for Sounds. This touring exhibition curated by Jeremy Theophilus explores the contemporary practice of letter-forming from traditional calligraphy to the use of digital technologies and performance. It considers the impact of letter form, an art that we are surrounded by everyday – from traditional calligraphy to hi-tech type design. The event was beautifully captured on video by Anthony Davies for Last Phoenix Films. We witness the creation of a calligraphic work of art, as gesture becomes calligraphic movement becomes word, whose meaning is gradually obfuscated until it becomes meta-text. Timothy eloquently comments.

Timothy Donaldson at Bilston Craft Gallery from Bilston Craft Gallery on Vimeo.

From the scratch of the quill curling across the page, to letters painstakingly chipped and carved from stone, Signs for Sounds looks at the ways that artists use the age-old shapes of letters to amplify the effect of words. This exhibition examines the traditional skills of letter-forming, along with how we use lettering in the modern world – with artists’ films of graffiti and virtual typography where visitors can experiment with Jason Edward Lewis’ virtual typography to re-shape poetry on touchscreen monitors. Featuring examples of outstanding skill in letter-forming by leading practitioners, the exhibition shows how writing communicates meaning and how this is changing with the use of new media in the digital age. Exhibitors include letter-engraver Tom Perkins, calligrapher Ewan Clayton and performance artist Julien Breton, who dances letter forms using light. There is also a family-friendly activity area, and a display of creative writing by local writers’ groups Bilston Writers and Bilston Scribblers on the theme Sights and Sounds of Bilston.

The calligraphy in the video was performed live at the exhibition opening at Bilston Craft Gallery on December 8th 2011. Timothy Donaldson will repeat his calligraphic performance at Signs for Sounds: Contemporary Letterforming and Calligraphy, live in the Harley Gallery on Sunday February 19, 2012, where the exhibition runs until April 2012. Entry is free.

If you want to sample Timothy’s calligraphy as a typeface, download his dynamic script in three weights FF Fancywriting, one of the families that FontFont released to the public free of charge. See also his other typefaces on

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