If you have ever had to contemplate changing jobs in mid career you will appreciate some of the issues Anita George faced some years ago.
When she was confronted by the prospect of retrenchment in her drafting career it was an opportunity to embrace a new interest, that of calligraphy. In this art form she could use the meticulous drawing skills she had developed over many years.
Anita first trained as a tracer with PMG and later became a draftswoman in the army. In this role she was responsible for developing training manuals, graphic art and fun artworks used in the social side of army life. Following this role Anita moved on to work for various engineering firms in Melbourne as a tracer. After moving north Anita started work with the Albury-Wodonga Development Corporation where she began landscape drafting for the development of the many new housing and industrial estates.
As an artist she is a calligrapher first, but came to this largely by accident when she saw an item on television about the art of calligraphy. She immediately contacted the ‘Calligraphy Society of Victoria’ that gave her the chance to discover the history of calligraphy styles and further develop her new passion.
Her discovery of the art of calligraphy recaptured her love of tactile work because the lettering is very fluid when drawn by the hand. From the ‘Calligraphy Society’ she learned of the many styles and the historical background to each one. Styles are made up of a certain characteristic like a circle base; Foundational or Uncial; or an oval base like Italics. Then there’s the Germanic Gothic or Roman Versals. Armed with this knowledge she honed her skills by travelling to classes in Melbourne from Albury, attending many Summer schools with overseas tutors and a magical week in Venice learning brush lettering based on the Persian script.
It is not in Anita’s nature to limit herself, so she created a thriving business in Albury writing wedding invitations, marriage proposals, wedding vows and poetry. In Gippsland her business has moved into lettering in books, her art printed on umbrellas, writing for framed pieces, mobiles and wall art. Her sons have assisted her in the business by developing a web site as a Christmas present and promising to update this on a regular basis.
Currently she would most like to utilise her brush and pen skills by creating wall art in peoples’ homes.
Because calligraphy is generally a solitary art form Anita is beginning to create mosaics with other artists and attend a clay group on a regular basis. They are art forms that give her the chance to explore shape, colour and texture. She has also begun to develop skills in silk painting and screen printing.
When Anita responded to a question about her sources of inspiration she stated unequivocally ‘words- letters’. It is her belief that society cannot exist without letters for communication. It is up to the calligrapher to have created a mood or emotion that will elicit a response from the viewer even if the words are partially illegible.
Anita continues to pass on her knowledge to groups through calligraphy classes and book binding.