Showing december 2020

Cheryl Jacobsen


Cheryl Jacobsen - Calligrapher

Over the course of 30 years, Cheryl has been honing her skills as a professional calligrapher and artist. Her work covers the entire range of calligraphic arts from formal calligraphy to preservation of ancient texts, to contemporary calligraphy and multifarious found-object assemblages. Her interest began when, as a youngster, she received a Speedball manual and nibs from her grandfather. Her interest in drawing and lettering led to a degree in pre-medical illustration. Along the way, she took a foundations of calligraphy course that influenced her more than she initially realized.

While a career in calligraphy was not her initial intent, continued classwork, workshops with master calligraphers, and teaching experience brought about a number of commissions for work, as well as opportunities to teach her own classes. Along the way, she picked up techniques, tidbits of information, pieces of history, and mementos that are now “gifts from her previous self” that have coalesced into a career as a lettering artist and adjunct assistant professor at the University of Iowa Center for the Book where she teaches a variety of classes including history of lettering, and basic and advanced calligraphy. While she still loves to paint and draw, calligraphy has become automatic – a zone where time disappears.

The origin of language is art. There is something magical that happens when we put pen to paper and leave our mark. We have left an imprint of our soul, akin to the painter’s brushstroke. There are times when we want the words and the way they are written to work together, symbiotically, to produce a whole greater than the sum of its parts – this is calligraphy.

On an entirely different level, Cheryl’s talents combine with her fascination for found objects.
She combines these items in eclectic arrangements that are strong, smart, and witty. Similar to her calligraphy, these assemblages are her way of preserving something that would otherwise be lost. Their construction is liberating, fueling her desire to create. Unlike calligraphy, there are no rules she has to follow, and so her assemblages are a direct outpouring of her creative soul.

“The assemblages are the first time that I’ve really felt like I’m just doing the art that has to come out. I don’t care what anybody else thinks. These things just have to be. They make me happy. I like to live with them. I just have to do them.”

Cheryl Jacobsen

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