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Sleight of Hand

Laurie Doctor

Writing words as they come in the moment

Laurie Doctor combines a personal and contemplative practice with energetic expression. Her works tart with strong content, and then layer precise formal penwork on textural painterly gestures.

I began as a young child, retreating to my bedroom to make pages of letters with my pencil on blue lined paper. I had no perspective, but each letter felt beautiful. It is still how I regain focus—by writing words that have power, that I want to ingest. It is inherently contemplative. I did not set out to be a calligrapher, but I found myself in a calligraphy class as a substitute for a class I dropped at university. “Home,” I said to myself, “this is home.”

I discover, once again in the introspection of winter, that so much seems to depend on me giving myself more and more permission to do what is authentic
to my soul. To love what you love. This, I think, is a lifelong journey.

I love how the hand-written word is even more alive now, since screens have taken over.

I am inspired by many of the German calligraphers: Gottfied Pott and Hans Joachim-Burgert are two that come to mind. The collection at The Klingspor Museum is a real treasure. I am also influenced by Chinese calligraphers I have had as teachers–Ed Young being the first. And currently, I see a lot of exciting work coming out of Russia. I also admire the work of Cy Twombly and Paul Klee. Many contemporary American calligraphers have taught me: Suzanne Moore, Marsha Brady, Thomas Ingmire, Paul Maurer and Nancy Culmone are all brilliant in their individual ways. I am grateful to all my teachers.

Writing words as they come in the moment is a never-ending path of discovery– finding out things I didn’t know before I put pen to paper. At some point, there is no difference between writing and praying.

For information on individual works, see Laurie’s profile on lettering.com.

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