Posts Tagged ‘alphabet’

The Alphabet Angel

March 26, 2012

In The process of developing my Alchymy of Alphabets series at The Magic Eye Gallery (, I came across an old journal entry from 3 December 2001: “Had a brief exchange with an elderly woman at the Carnegie Library in Squirrel Hill. She had just come from her afternoon yoga class. As we admired the array of hand-drawn classic scripts and illuminated quotations that comprised a local calligrapher’s guild exhibit, she remarked: “Do you think these are just a collection of pretty letters or some sort of secret message?” “Uh, good question; don’t know, maybe…” I shrugged to humor her, because you never know when someone might be a bit off. Then, beneath her mischievous green eyes she offered a twinkly smile . “Well, I believe that letters in themselves symbolize worlds of meaning that are only secret until you learn how to look at them.” She abruptly turned and sauntered away, leaving me to quickly sketch her in my journal and ponder a mystery that more than ten years later I am still decoding…

Un-Literal Alphabet No.3: Abundance

February 8, 2012

Today, in celebration of Tu B’Shevat, the Jewish New Year of Trees, here is a little poster incorporating a few letters of my new alphabet/alefbet called ‘Abundance’. It is available as a gicleé print in two sizes. To order and see other letters in the alphabet, please visit: in Alchymy of Alphabets gallery under the pull-down menu. A detailed explanation of the symbolism in this poster is included with your order.

Sukkot: A Harvest Of Holiness

October 14, 2011

This week, the Jewish holiday of Sukkot inspires us to acknowledge and appreciate the beauty in nature and agricultural abundance.

The two illustrations shown here are from Parashiyot B’Hukkotai and Emor in Vayikra (The Book of Leviticus), each of which offer harvest/seasonal themes. On the left is a Torah, alive with the seven species of plant foods found in the land of Israel. The lulav (palm branch) and esrog(citron fruit) are the subjects of blessing recited in the sukkah, a temporary booth constructed for use during the eight-day holiday.They are details from my book Between Heaven & Earth: An Illuminated Torah  Commentary (Pomegranate, 2009)

But I think that the gift of creativity is also a part of this celebration, for what is an artist’s purpose in life if not to make the commonplace seem extraordinary?

Today, on the third day of my recovery from rotator cuff surgery on my left shoulder (my drawing arm!!), I am beginning to appreciate how such extraordinary circumstances render my daily tasks an order of magnitude more painful and difficult than I have ever experienced. Of course, I am grateful for the medical technology that has enabled repair of this eventual total disability (if left untreated), but I am not going to bore you with gory details. Rather, I’ve decided to address this harvest holiday and it’s creative ramifications as best I can by sharing a new work that was completed just prior to my surgery and some examples of its historical precedents.

I have always been fascinated by the unique and decorative colophons and text decorations with which medieval illuminators embellished their work (both religious and secular) in many languages such as Latin, French, German, Arabic and Hebrew.  Their use of anthropomorphic and zoömorphic forms within or surrounding the initial caps and/or text decorations were a wonderful way to take advantage of letterforms, rendering these manuscripts a powerful and revered artform that are a touchstone for artists and calligraphers through the ages. Here are some samples:

Over the past couple of years, I have created six illustrated alphabets that have appeared on the pages of this blog and more recently in a special gallery of their own (An Alchymy Of Alphabets) at Ilene Winn-Lederer’s Magic Eye Gallery,

With a nod to my distinguished, if often anonymous illuminator muses, here is the seventh in the series: Garrulous Gothic. These figurative letterforms were based on a font called ‘Schaftstiefel Kaputt‘ created by the contemporary German designer Manfred Klein.

I wish all of you celebrating Sukkot this week a Chag Sameach and look forward to your questions and comments.

Review & Preview:The Magic Eye Gallery!

October 3, 2011

“Your house is your larger body. It grows in the sun and sleeps in the stillness of the night; and it is not dreamless. Does not your house dream?”   -Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet, 1923

I have always remembered that quotation and have taken it both figuratively and literally; particularly this past summer. As our house was being cleaned, painted and updated, I was compelled to take stock of my studio, the overstuffed repository of my 40+ year career as an illustrator, artist and writer. Which is not to say I am retiring (Heaven forbid!); just re-setting my stage for future developments. So, I am excited to announce that I now have a new web presence: Ilene Winn-Lederer’s Magic Eye Gallery! Here you will find many original prints, paintings and drawings, both framed and unframed that can be purchased via PayPal and shipped anywhere in the US and Canada. International shipping arrangement are in progress and will be available soon.  The link is: I look forward to your comments and questions!

The Ink Of Imagination 2: Pendemonium

May 26, 2011

After posting my penpoint alphabet ‘Kalligraphie‘ last week, I decided to try designing an alphabet that would continue the penpoint theme, but flow more gracefully in accordance with the nature of pen script. And so, unable to resist the pun, Pendemonium happened…

Note: While neither Kalligraphie or Pendemonium would easily work as fonts, I can set up a custom headline or apply these letterforms to whatever your imagination cooks up!

The Ink Of Imagination

May 18, 2011

Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, the Spanish literary genius who penned Don Quixote was also a master of provocative aphorisms as in “The Pen Is The Tongue Of The Mind.”Though I discovered this one many years ago, it rings especially true of late, particularly since I decided that after experimenting with many techniques and tools, expressing ideas was more important to me than either of these. Perversely, the romantic part of me still clings to the elegant, graceful lines produced by the once-ubiquitous dip pen. Once, it was my exclusive drawing tool but has since been supplanted by the now-ubiquitous ballpoint pen with its linear predictability, mostly for the sake of convenience. However, during a visit to London’s Knightsbridge neighborhood in 2004, I was reminded of the beauty of dip pens at an art supply shop called L. Cornelissen & Son, Artist’s Colourmen.

Some of their showcases displayed a wonderful selection of antique and modern nibs and holders, little artworks all by themselves. This experience may have been the touchstone for Kalligraphie, a hand-drawn alphabet that is my tribute to this classic writing instrument…

Autumn Alchymy

September 23, 2010

Today, I present to you a selection of designs for licensing from The Alchymy Collection: Designs for Eclectic Environments™.  As I wrote in my post of July 16, I am working with Sally Heflin of PaperRoad Art Licensing, developing portfolios of illustrative designs that can be applied to many different products and venues. These designs may be adapted to clothing, fashion accessories, textiles and wallpapers for personal, domestic  and corporate applications. A diverse sampling from my licensing design portfolios may be seen at:
Since today marks the onset of the autumnal equinox, you might imagine a new look for your home or office that includes wallpapers, table runners and coverings, upholstery fabrics, prints for framing, floorcloths, perhaps even ceramic tiles to brighten up a kitchen or workspace. If you are bored with the often mediocre standards available in big box store catalogs, I promise you that together, we can make your home and/or office more about you than you ever thought possible. To begin, here is an overview of the collection and selected thumbnails for autumn from the Four Seasons Portfolio of The Alchymy Collection for 2010.