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About the Washington Calligraphers Guild

Artwork © Sheila Waters The Washington Calligraphers Guild is a thriving organization of more than 500 letter lovers of all skill levels, from professional scribes to enthusiastic beginners and even some non-calligraphers who appreciate the lettering and book arts. Founded in 1976 by internationally known calligrapher Sheila Waters and a group of her associates, the Guild is a nonprofit organization that promotes all aspects of the lettering arts and related crafts. Today we are recognized as one of the most active groups in the world, as evidenced by our international membership roster. Membership is open to anyone regardless of calligraphic ability.  

The annually elected Board of Directors is responsible for developing and carrying out Guild policies as well as leading the committees of volunteers that prepare Guild activities. Many volunteers are relatively new to calligraphy, but devoted in their interest. Information about the specific activities of the Board of Directors can be found in their Annual Report for 2009-2010.

Sheila WatersProgram meetings offer the fellowship of calligraphic colleagues. Each meeting features a visiting, well-respected lettering artist or a local expert who shares information and examples on topics related to calligraphy.

In July 2006 the Guild hosted its third Letterforum international gathering of lettering artists. Periodically the Guild holds a one-day fall fair called Calligrafest.

Our Bulletin newsletter, published four times a year (September-June), features timely notices about exhibits, meeting dates and workshop schedules, and news of events sponsored by other calligraphic societies. Scripsit, our journal, is an exceptional calligraphic publication with in-depth articles and art of the highest quality. The Guild exhibits members' artwork in shows, both juried and unjuried.

We offer an extensive workshop program in the fall and spring aimed at all levels of skill. Our teachers include internationally renowned calligraphers as well as local talent. WCG also encourages calligraphic study by offering scholarships.

The Guild maintains a list of freelance calligraphers who are members of WCG and displays their artwork online. Our website is a valuable resource for anyone interested in the lettering arts, as is our extensive library of books, slides, and publications.

Since 2001 the Washington Calligraphers Guild has administered the Graceful Envelope Contest celebrating the art of calligraphy in correspondence.

OFFICERS FOR 2019-2021
(term extended due to covid-19 restrictions)

President: Tamara M. Stoneburner
Vice-President: Karen Daly
Treasurer: Nancy Markisohn
Secretary: Gilda Domingue Penn
Member-at-Large: Ginny Lockhart

Statement of Purpose: The Washington Calligraphers Guild, Inc.,
exists to promote the appreciation of calligraphy, its history and applications;
to foster a wider understanding of calligraphy as an art and as a science;
to conduct studies, to undertake research,
and to carry out education programs directed toward these ends.

Sheila Waters in 2001About SHEILA WATERS, first president and founding member of the Washington Calligraphers Guild:

Sheila Waters graduated from the Medway College of Art in Kent and the Royal College of Art in London. She developed her calligraphic skills under the tutelage of Dorothy Mahoney (assistant to the great pioneer of calligraphy, Edward Johnson). At 22 she was elected a Fellow of the Society of Scribes and Illuminators and began a career devoted to commissions for royalty, museums, libraries, collectors and publishers. Her work is included in most of the important books which have been published about calligraphy. A gifted teacher, Sheila shares her extensive knowledge and techniques with calligraphers the world over.

In the photo, taken at the 25th Anniversary Exhibition opening on July 20, 2001, Sheila Waters holds a document she lettered in 1976 about the founding of the Washington Calligraphers Guild that invited calligraphers to join as charter members.

More on Sheila Waters:

Sheila Waters on the importance of passing on the "great legacy" of calligraphy

Sheila Waters on the pursuit of excellence in calligraphy

Sheila Waters: A Retrospective Exhibit of 60 Years in the Calligraphic Arts
Exhibition Catalog

Sheila Waters' 2006 textbook, Foundations of Calligraphy

Artwork on this page © Sheila Waters