Calligraphy practice

During out stay at Buddha Root Farm, up the Northfork of the Smith River near Reedsport circa 1978-80, I remember Stuart taught Calligraphy after hours at Reedsport High School as part of a local program. My sister attended – I think she said, in her own words, “I wasn’t very good.”

At the time, I don’t think I thought adult activities¬†were all very cool, especially requiring hours of exacting pen strokes. I spent those evenings in play practice, or hanging with friends in town so that I might watch their HBO channel or play Dungeons & Dragons and trade comics. I always admired his careful and conscious hand, even when unearthed from a mouldering old box of discards, drafts and practice sheets.

Asia sorting, Jack imagining adventures

For the longest time Stuart’s signature was just his signature. After his stroke, and before he completely lost his fine motor skills around the time of his gallery showing at Jeremy’s, there was a period when he signed his pieces with careful print. With utmost concentration, he would place each letter, looking much like his calligraphy practice from this time. I like to think that his skills were all effortless, but these boxes are testimony to the care and time invested. Letterforms were so often at the heart of what he produced, and I am honored and thrilled each time I come across¬† some old scrap of a project all over again.

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