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Kris MacDonald: Celtic Calligraphy—Try Your Hand!

  • Plymouth Congregational Church 1900 Nicollet Avenue Minneapolis, MN, 55403 United States (map)

(Visitors are welcome to attend to see if they would like to join our guild. For more info, please follow this link. The actual program begins at 1:00, but you are invited to join us at 12:30 for a social time during which you can visit the library table, the demo corner, the Show and Share table, and have refreshments.)


Get your Celtic on with excellent instruction from Colleagues member and teacher, Kris MacDonald. Her Celtic venture began years ago with a class from Mark Van Stone. Her affinity for these 7th-9th century letters and related knotwork grew and grew. In paleographic lingo, these letters are called Irish Half-uncial, or Insular Majuscule. They are found in The Book of Kells, The Lindesfarne Gospels, The Book of Durrow and other medieval manuscript books. Kris thinks that her long-held interest may have something to do with her Viking heritage and the kindred historical connection between the Vikings and the Irish. In this hands-on program we will become ancient Irish scribes learning the Insular Majuscule hand from The Book of Kells. It is similar to uncial with some differences in letterform and pen angle. Watch this space in January for a short, simple supply list of items which you will bring to use at the program.

Please bring these supplies and be ready to write!

Broad-edged pen with an equivalent nib size of a Speedball C-1, or Brause 4, or Parallel Pen 3.8. If you prefer to write smaller, the nib sizes would be Speedball C-2 or Brause 3. Kris will provide guide sheets for both sizes.
Writing fluid of your choice.
Layout paper that you can see guidelines through.
A few extra sheets of padding to put under your writing.
A regular pencil with eraser.


Calligraphy caught up with Kris MacDonald in her high school art class. Later as an elementary school teacher she coached her students in handwriting. She went on to study with Colleagues member, Sharlene Jacobson in community education. A long-time Colleagues member, Kris co-directed the Hall of Scribes at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival for 22 years. She has attended 10 international calligraphy conferences and teaches calligraphy at MCBA in Minneapolis, Minnetonka Center for Arts and Hopkins community education. Kris is our Colleagues Librarian.

Demo Corner:

Watch Maura Lynch go in circles as she explores roundel and spiral designs with her monoline pen.