The 69th International Association of Master Penman, Engrossers and Teachers of Handwriting annual conference was held this past August and I was fortunate enough to attend. This year it was held at the Hilton City Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and boy was it a treat! I’ve previously attended IAMPETH conference, my last being in Portland, Oregon in 2016. This year the week-long conference was jammed packed with classes, meetings, and demonstrations. In-fact it was so packed I scheduled an extra day just to tour around the city and do some site-seeing for myself since there was not time during the week.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with IAMPETH it’s a membership based association of calligraphers and penmen from around the world. Based in the United States, anyone can join the association and attend the conference each year. The conference is a week-long meeting of members from around the world located in a different city each year.
The opening day of the conference is all about checking in, picking up your swag bag, and meeting calligraphy friends in person. This is also the time to sleep off that jet-lag because the opening night hosts a reception dinner which gets you amped up for the week ahead and then its straight into calligraphy.
The bulk of your time at the conference is spent in the classroom. Each day you spend eight hours learning a new style of penmanship or brushing up on what you already know. There are four classes a day to choose from ranging in all skill levels and styles of penmanship. After a day of calligraphy you get a break for dinner and then it picks up again with scheduled meetings, lectures, and demos from calligraphers and artisans until bedtime! The conference ends on the 6thnight with a formal closing night banquet where the new IAMPETH committee is sworn in, awards and recognitions are given out, and they reveal the next year’s conference location.
I’m not going to lie, the conference is exhausting. Every day you work hard and you reap the rewards of what you’ve learned. Some days you don’t feel good enough and somedays you are amazed at what you already can do. But you always leave the conference with more knowledge, tips, tricks and new friends then when you first attended.
My goal each year at the conference is to learn a new skill set and brush up on one that needs work, so this year I decided to learn the art of flourishing. Those beautiful swoops and swirls that are added to letterforms. I told myself that I wanted to study the basics first get those down instead of trying to learn everything all at once so I felt that I had a good understanding of Copperplate and now wanted to expand by taking these flourishing classes.
This was also the first time that I volunteered to help with IAMPETH and was tasked with designing the IAMPETH registration packet for the conference. I spent many hours doing a completely new face lift on the packet and was thrilled with the results. I spent moths communicating with IAMPETH president Debi Zeinert to make an information rich booklet that members would be excited about. I received many compliments on the new registration booklet and I’m happy to announce that I’ve been asked to do the packets for both 2019 and 2020!
My first class at the conference was with Maria Helena Hoksch. Her class focused on flourishing and adding ovals to Copperplate script. This class was my first real introduction into flourishing and understanding how the ovals are divided in half to give balance and harmony. I found it easiest to work in pencil for this class but also go to use the Hunt 101 nib for the first time and I was very pleased at the quality of the nib.