Monday, January 9, 2012

The Ames Compendium

When I first began my offhand flourishing journey in 2003, I acquired two books to study. The first was Ornate Pictorial Calligraphy which is available as a Dover publication and the second book was The Ames Compendium.
I have had to replace my copy of the Ames Compendium twice. It's binding is prone to just disintegrate. John Neal Booksellers now sells it in a binder which is much more durable. This inexpensive book is one of my most cherished resources. Daniel T. Ames was just a bit different than his colleagues. His lowercase Spencerian Script is spaced rather tightly while his capital letters are quite delicate and simple. His Italian Offhand Capitals by contrast are incredibly ornate. His offhand flourishes contain gorgeous pen drawn florals, little cherubs and rich shadow work. His engrossed pieces at times border on the ridiculous. It is not unusual to see more than ten different lettering styles on one piece. He certainly isn't subtle but he is passionate in his work and I glean so much inspiration from him. As I continue to travel and teach The Artful Flourish and Enchanted Letter workshops, Daniel T. Ames plays an ever increasing role as I study his work. I hope to dive into more of his Spencerian Script as well as his engrossing techniques this year.


Jody Meese said...

I really appreciate your summary of the Ames--you point out distinctions that my less-practiced eye would not yet see on its own. Thanks for this! I'm looking forward to taking a fresh look with your comments in hand.

Heather Victoria Held said...

Thanks Jody! His work is amazing. I love his Spencerian script as well as his shaded Spencerian. I hope you enjoy looking through your compendium!


Joseph Chapman said...

Ditto what Jody said.

Last night a recipient of a get-well card from me expressed admiration for my computer program, so Daniel Ames's characteristic note "Flourished with a pen..." might start making an appearance on the edges of my envelopes.

Heather Victoria Held said...

Sounds like a good idea Joseph!

Happy New Year!


Dana said...

My copy totally fell apart and I need to replace it. I look forward to looking at it with your comments in mind, as well. Thanks for sparking my interest in revisiting it!

Heather Victoria Held said...

Hi Dana,

The binder edition from John Neal books is wonderful. It is such a fun resource.


nutcake said...

Hi Heather

Early Morning Pen Workout! Do you ever sleep!!! I've obviously getting up too late to do my lettering. Love it by the way and the green paper is so different.

Hazel (from the UK)

Heather Victoria Held said...

Thanks for the kind words Hazel. The paper was originially a cream colour. It has been burnished with pastel to create that green effect! Happy flourishing!!


Jane Farr said...

I am going to see if my guild has The Ames Compendium in its library. I'd love to see the work of the man that has inspired such beauty from your hands. Heather, I love your birds - and I usually don't like birds! Your birds seem so happy and friendly.

Heather Victoria Held said...

Hope you can find a copy to enjoy Jane! I love his work. Even his flourished birds of prey are a little kinder looking that the work of his colleagues. Thanks for the kind words!