The Colleagues of Calligraphy Board of Directors
Our current board members' stories are much like those of many before us: calligraphy somehow captured our attention, became a part of us, and now includes service to our organization.
We hope they will inspire you to volunteer with the organization.
Board members serve a term of three years, and no more than two consecutive terms in the primary positions of president, vice president, treasurer and secretary.
Maura Lynch, President
Maura got hooked on calligraphy in 6th grade after receiving an instruction book as a gift. Five years ago, through a community education class with Judith Michalski, she returned to calligraphy for the long term. After a couple of meetings, she was recruited to be Membership Director. She took advantage of all our learning opportunities. In 2015, she was awarded the Jo White Scholarship. "Being a part of this organization has given me the ability to find my artistic self. I've tried my hand at other art forms but making letters feels like part of who I am."
The key learning from her scholarship year? “For a long time, when learning the fundamentals, there will be a gap between what your aesthetic eye aspires to and what your hand can deliver. The only way to close that gap is through careful study of the best quality letter forms and practice, practice, practice. I feel like I’m slowly closing that gap.”
In 2016, when the guild was facing tough decisions about the future, she decided to throw her hat in the ring to be President. "There is never a good time to trade lettering time for much of anything else, in my opinion! But if I was going to do it, leading our organization was the trade-off I was willing to make. I love the Colleagues and have received too much from this group not to give back.”
Rebekah Anderson, Vice President
After learning about the Colleagues at a local art store demonstration, Rebekah attended her first program, and joined on the spot. “I realized that being in this group would feed my creative spirit and give me opportunities to learn from experts in the field of hand lettering without a huge financial investment. Under the calligraphy umbrella, I suspected that I would also find avenues to learn about related arts, too. I wasn't wrong.”
Thankfully, Rebekah said yes to serving on the Board at a critical time, sharing her considerable skills, including as a designer. She is a great support to all our board members, and great wingman for our President. She always manages to operate with great grace and good humor.
“I'm proud to be part of a group of creative people who desire to learn a craft and to improve their skills. We have a range of talents and abilities. Everyone is welcome at where they are on their artistic explorations. And I wanted to do what I could, using the skills I have, to help the Colleagues grow as an organization. I'm no tech geek by any means, but I'm excited to find ways that technology can help us spread the word about how cool calligraphy is and get more folks to join us!”
Nanette Thompson, Secretary
I first became interested in lettering in my my catholic grade school, where handwriting was an everyday class with fountain pens! I loved everything about it and jumped at the chance years later to take a calligraphy class in college.
I would use calligraphy whenever I could. In writing gift tags, cards or poems . When I was looking for ink at Michaels to use in addressing wedding invitations for my son, a colleagues member told me about the organization. I was very interested and joined soon after.
I am very happy I did, I have learned so much and everyone is generous with their knowledge. I have learned about parallel pen, spacing, ink and papers. All good stuff. I took a evening copperplate class from Kris MacDonald and have much enjoyed it along with my favorite italic script. I am looking forward to learning flourishes and spencerian soon.
I was recently approached by Maura to become secretary, and am very happy to contribute my time and efforts. It is great getting to know everyone better and hopefully help out an organization that has brought me back to my love of lettering.
Ann Hoffman, Membership Director
Back in the 70’s Ann found a Speedball book and started teaching herself calligraphy. Life intervened, and many, many years later the calligraphy of The Saint John’s Bible reignited her interest.
She loves to make cards. So she joined after being invited to a program by her sister (fellow member and Vice President Rebekah Anderson). Experiencing the support and encouragement of other members who were “so ready to teach the rest of us and share new ideas” helped her know it was a place she could develop her skills.
Her most valuable lesson learned while a member has been “not getting hung up on my inexperience and instead to just go for it. It gave me a sense of being okay with where I am at and enjoying the process of creating and learning.”
Looking to the future she says, “I am very excited about our goal to share the lettering arts with a whole new generation of people. It is fantastic that we are starting to see younger members joining and spreading the word. I am very energized by our discussions of reaching out to children, teens, young adults, and others who are intrigued by hand lettering. It's become a cliche, but it is true that they really are our future.”
We are so glad said she yes to be being our Membership Director, and appreciate her warm and welcoming way.
Jean Formo, Programs Director
Jean first saw calligraphy on a fountain pen packaging in 1976 and thought “I bet I could learn that!” And learn it she did. She found a Fred Eager instruction book and for the next 3 months taught herself from it during her infant daughter’s nap time.
She soon learned about and joined the Colleagues. She saw it as “a repository of resources for what I wanted to learn. When I could not afford workshops in those early years, I could learn many things by faithfully attending Colleagues programs which were included in the price of my membership.” Jean eventually became a professional calligrapher!
As for our organization, she says, “Without it, and the resources to which it pointed, I would not be where I am today on my calligraphic path.”
Jean joined our board in 2016. She understood our acute need for volunteerism and wanted to be a part of how we “are a valuable resource for people who are just now finding out about calligraphy, and saying to themselves, ‘I bet I could learn that!’”
Her advice to newcomers? “Take enough time and effort to learn every facet of calligraphy available to you.....Always strive to do the thing that you cannot yet do. Look at the very BEST examples of letter forms for study... there is much more to it than what you see on YouTube!”
Jean welcomes suggestions for programs!
Jill Gebhardt, Workshops Director
Jill was lucky enough to have a second grade teacher who was a calligrapher. “I loved to watch her write. It seemed like magic to me.” Many years later she took her first class (from her now fellow board member, Jean Formo!). From Jean she learned that “there were many talented calligraphers in the Colleagues that I could learn from. I was very impressed by the passion and commitment of its members.”
Jill has been active with us on and off over the years. She would like to continue to study and become more proficient in a variety of hands so she can “have more tools in [her] toolbox." Her advice to newcomers? “Join the Colleagues and take classes" and participate in our activities. For Jill that means she “can continue to grow and be inspired as a calligrapher and artist in community with others.”
Now, as our newest board member as of July 1, 2017, she will be very involved!
“I have always been able to count on the Colleagues to provide great programming and resources. I want to take my turn and do some of the work behind the scenes that others have done for us for so many years. I want to help the Colleagues thrive for many years to come.” We like that alot!