Rocklin calligrapher teaches the art of the alphabet

Classes planned for spring
By: Krissi Khokhobashvili, Placer Herald and Press Tribune editor
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Calligraphy classes

Art Techniques for Journaling

What: Learn a dozen or so fresh and fun techniques. New alphabets, borders, drawn images. For those curious about mixing color, making modern letters, exploring design and layout and revisiting doodling.

When: 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, March 2

Where: Rocklin Parks and Recreation, 5460 5th St.

Cost: $85 residents/$95 nonresidents; $15 supplies fee

Info and register: (916) 630-0505


Italic Calligraphy

What: Study the size, shape, slant and spacing of enduring Italic using a fountain pen. Adaptable to personal handwriting. Lab sessions include dips, pens, inks.

When: 9:30 a.m. to noon April 3-24

Where: Rocklin Parks and Recreation, 5460 5th St.

Cost: $130 residents/$140 nonresidents; $15 supplies fee

Info and register: (916) 630-0505


Modern Calligraphy

What: Students learn to use color, layout and design to create personalized correspondence using brush and bullet pens. Two-day workshop.

When: 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Thursday, March 21; 9:30 a.m. to noon Friday, March 22

Where: Sun City Lincoln Hills

Cost: $70; $15 supplies fee

Info and registration: Betty Maxie, activities class coordinator, (916) 630-0505 by March 14


In the age of emails, texts and Tweets, one Rocklin artist is striving to keep the art of handwriting alive.

Phawnda Moore is a calligrapher who has spent 30 years creating art out of words. Her home is filled with colorful, textured calligraphy, from poems and book passages to single words turned into works of art.

“I’m coming up with a lot of words, and I’m calling them ‘Words for the Soul,’” Moore said of her latest project, her first-ever calligraphy series. “I’m really excited about it. The first word I did was ‘grace,’ and then I’m working on the other ones, but I plan to do maybe six words, which are much more abstract than I’ve done before.”

Moore took up pen and ink in 1973, when she began taking classes at San Joaquin Delta College, studying under James Lewis. The art became her passion, and over the years she has continued to learn, taking courses from at least 50 calligraphers.

Moore teaches calligraphy at the Crocker Art Museum and in the Bay Area, in addition to local classes in Rocklin, Lincoln and El Dorado Hills. She works in pencil, ink, pastel, colored pencil, acrylic and watercolor, with letters written in a variety of pens and brushes.

“Phawnda has an incredible background,” said student Linda Nelson. “She has worked with so many calligraphers and artists and is so talented. She has brought some of her work into class and it is amazing how she uses design and colors to add to her beautiful lettering.”

Throughout the months of February and March, her work will be on display at the Rocklin Library, 4890 Granite Drive, where Moore has also taught classes.

Aspiring calligraphers can learn about the art hands-on at two classes Moore will offer in Rocklin. In Italic Calligraphy, students will study the art of Italic using a fountain pen. The class meets weekly for four weeks in April and will include instruction in dip pens and ink.

Moore said many people come to her classes eager to learn the traditional dip-pen method, but soon find that it is time-consuming and difficult. “Modern calligraphy,” she said, uses marker pens and other tools to create the varying thicknesses and borders of beautiful calligraphy.

In a companion class called “Art Techniques for Journaling,” students will learn fresh and fun techniques that can be used for projects such as baby books, scrapbooking and, of course, journaling. Moore will lead the class through new alphabets, borders and drawn images, and teach mixing colors, making modern letters, exploring design and layout, and getting back to basics with doodling.

“I use these skills in my photo albums,” said Nelson, who said the techniques she found most useful from Moore’s classes were the correct way to hold the pen and how to make strokes for different letters and flourishes, along with making different borders using a variety of strokes. “They can really enhance a picture, a journaling photograph or a title.”

“Historically, calligraphy has been influenced by tools, architecture, availability of vellum and, of course, the printing press,” Moore said. “It is amazingly versatile. We are seeing letters and words on just about everything today because they bring meaning to our lives. Words inspire, comfort, connect and clarify – they express who we are, how we feel and what we are thinking. When an artist merges color, texture, space, contrast, repetition, rhythm and shapes with letters, their creations give a new dimension to the alphabet.”