A display of calligraphy, Illumination and Heraldic art through 30 years of Cinque Ports Scribes.
Cinque Ports Scribes is a community-based group whose aim is to promote the learning, understanding and appreciation of calligraphy in the southeast.
Frances is a long time member and former Chairman of CPS as well as the Calligraphy
and Lettering Arts Society (CLAS). She started calligraphy in Adult Education evening
classes and is now a calligraphy tutor for Kent Adult Education herself with classes at
Ashford Gateway and The Cube, Folkestone.
Living in Hythe, Frances has undertaken commissions for both Hythe Town Council and
the Civic Society and completed artwork based on the town and history of Hythe.
Frances has exhibited widely under the umbrella of CPS, enjoys botanical painting and all
things inspired by nature.
My love of letter was ignited when I retired as a clinical Psychologist, a profession where
the word is a work tool. I was taught how to write letters in kindergarten and would scribble
letters and short words in my mother’s magazines.
In my small village school in Denmark, the teacher would yell “up-down-up-down” trying to
teach us Copperplate but big blobs of ink just appeared on the white paper and fingers!
Recently I tried again and practised the up-down-up-down until I got the knack of it. Result,
The Answer Is Blowing … and The Big Why Of Life.
Rain By Seven, Clear By Eleven in a loose Gothic script hand was inspired by dramatic
skies and rain.
Punctuation and spelling – not always the foreigners’ weak spots – gave rise to Let’s Eat
Grandma and Which Witch, and I smiled at a sign in an Oxford cafe Sandwitches made to
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine prompted Churchill’s words We Shall Fight Them … but on
holiday I only had pens and strong coffee; black ink and gold leaf were added later.
ELS VAN DEN STEEN
I am a professional calligrapher based in Maidstone and have taught calligraphy since
1999. I spent the first 20 years teaching at Adult Education in Maidstone, Sevenoaks and
Tonbridge but have been running my own private weekly classes since 2019 in person and
online. I also run workshops for calligraphy and community groups such as the WI.
I like exploring a wide range of topics for historical scripts to contemporary variations,
associated skills and techniques. Calligraphy is a visual language and there are so many
aspects that one never stops learning. I have found immense pleasure in sharing this
interest and passion for the last 23 years and still enjoy learning from others. I am an
active member of Cinque Ports Scribes, Calligraphy and Lettering Arts Society and the
Society of Scribes and Illuminators.
Jan is a calligrapher and illuminator working from her studio in Kent. She has undertaken
many private commissions and has exhibited her work regularly since 1995, having
studied with many British and International calligraphers. Jan is a graduate of the Society
of Scribes and Illuminators’ Advanced Training Scheme and is an active member of the
SSI and Calligraphy and Lettering Arts Society and for the last two years has been
selected for the Annual Juried edition of the prestigious Letter Arts Review.
Jan enjoys the freedom of expressive work but also the meditative experience of
concentrating on more formal, detailed work. She loves colour and gilding using a wide
variety of traditional and modern methods. Each calligraphic work provides a unique
Sue made her first thrilling mark with an edged pen as a teenager and knew this was
something she wanted timid every day. Over the years she has explored making letters
with all sorts if materials from traditional pens, inks, papers, brushes and gouache to
lettering in racing cars, embroidering names on PE kits and painting letters on house walls.
Sue has shared her love of calligraphy with adults at classes and clubs and introduced the
skill to a new generation of budding scribes at her local primary school. Her grandchildren
will soon be benefit from her calligraphy passion … when they are old enough to hold a
Sue would encourage anyone to give calligraphy a try, it is a wonderful art and there are
so many good books and tutors available to guide you. “You could join your local friendly
calligraphy group” she suggests “learn about beautiful lettering and make new friends!”
As a child I was always fascinated by the letters of the alphabet. This eventually led me to
study calligraphy and lettering at Reigate School of Art. I now work as a freelance artist
and offer bespoke calligraphy and hand lettering for a wide range of commissions.
Tina gained an HND with Distinction from Reigate School of Art and Design in 1997 and
has worked as a freelance calligrapher and lettering artist since. Her studio is currently
located in the ancient village of Alfriston nestled in The South Downs National Park. In the
main she is a commissioned artist as well as a teacher of the craft. On the rare occasions
she does not have a pen or brush in her hand you will find her holding a Cornish gig oar as
she is a keen competitive rower. She also enjoys all-season sea swimming at Seaford.
Steve studied at Reigate College for his HNC in Calligraphy, Illumination and Heraldic Art
and whilst there created the Winchester Bible two Bs using raised gesso and gold on
vellum. The other pieces are also inspired by the art of the Winchester Bible, Veronica’s
Veil and the Tower of Babel.
I always had an interest in calligraphy but it was only after attending several weekend
calligraphy workshops at West Dean College that I learned about the Society of Scribes
and Illuminators and the Calligraphy and Lettering Arts Society. There are regional
calligraphy groups throughout the country, Cinque Ports Scribes being one of them; being
impressed by the friendliness of this group who were exhibiting at the SSI Lay Members’
Day in 2019, I decided to join. This was the start of my real education in calligraphy. The
workshops introduced me to completely new skills and ideas with very experienced tutors.
Being a member of CPS has made a real difference in my calligraphy journey and I feel
fortunate to be part of such an active group.
I’m one of those people who always wanted to ‘have a go’ at calligraphy and 12 years ago
booked myself into a residential weekend course. I was hooked!
I joined Cinque Ports Scribes several years ago because of the wonderful workshops
being offered and found myself to be part of a friendly and lively group. The members are
so supportive, encouraging and generous with their knowledge. Being part of this group has increased my confidence, exposing me to a great variety of scripts and techniques with the result that I now feel able to express my ideas in my
favourite art form: fine wiring. Although I live in Essex, it is well worth the journey across the bridge!
Working from my garden studio in Maidstone, Kent, I enjoy all types of calligraphy but my
main emphasis is on contemporary styles often coupled with my watercolour painting.
A one-day craft course in 2005 changed my life artistically as the teacher was a
calligrapher and she introduced me to Cinque Ports Scribes. The friendliness of the then
strangers took me back again and again, learning something different every time and ever
since I have been an active member culminating in being the Workshop Coordinator today.
I was accepted and graduated from the SSI advanced Training scheme 2010-2012 and
have studied with first class calligraphers around the globe. Calligraphy – the art of
beautiful handwriting – employs so many associated skills and techniques that you never
stop learning which is something I love.
I create unique, personalised works and commissions, even down to my greetings cards
which my family and friends receive every year (I feel guilty buying a card) so even if the
design is repeated, each one will be slightly different. Well, doing the same thing over and
over can be boring can’t it?!