Calligrapher to teach uncial class at Zionsville library

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By Heather Lusk

Incorporating a bit of art into her work is something that distinguishes Julia Fish Thompson from other calligraphers. She’ll share those techniques during a two-day class at the Hussey-Mayfield Memorial Public Library.

Thompson with one of her pieces featuring uncial. (photo by Heather Lusk)

Thompson’s two-session lesson on uncial, a form of calligraphy that became popular in the third and fourth century, is Aug. 18 and 25 from 2 to 4 p.m.

Uncial, the Italian word for inch, is distinguished by having only one case of lettering and rounded strokes.

“The class is totally geared for beginners, like complete beginners,” Thompson said. Lessons will begin with the basics of learning to use the pen, the order of the stroke and construction of the letters.

The free event is funded by the library and participants will receive calligraphy markers and a diagram of the letters.

Although Thompson has taught nine different types, or hands, of calligraphy at the library, this is the first uncial class she has led there. She said many of her students return to each class or become members of the Calligraphy Guild of Indiana.

Thompson is president of the guild, which was established to promote studying and learning letterform.

Thompson wants to add an art aspect to the class during the second day.

“I’ve kind of got my little niche,” she said.

Thompson enjoys working multiple and unique surfaces, in particular engraving. “Anything that will hold still,” she said.

The class is for adults but Thompson offers private lessons to those as young as pre-teens. Thompson first tried calligraphy as a teenager and enjoys that it continually changes.

“I feel like there’s always a new challenge,” she said. “There’s always something new to try. I always say yes, and then figure it out.”

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