Pots of Rohrer & Klingner ink, brushes and textas were meticulously arranged on long sheets of white paper, laid out like tablecloths ready to be scribed. The session opened with a historical and cultural overview about the sacred language and writings. Amichai talked through the history of Hebrew and how the Alphabet (‘Aleph-Beth’ in Hebrew) came to be before we all dived straight in.
A beautiful collection of worksheets were presented as an introduction to the art of Hebrew calligraphy with the teachers on-hand to guide. We were encouraged to get the feeling for the shapes and learn how to hold the feather. 25 letters. Right to left. No case differentiation. Consonants only. Daunting at first, I could see many a nervous face, reluctant to put ink to paper. But in almost no time, there was less white. Over and over again, swooshes and strokes of all kinds, some generous in scale, and others more fine and delicate. It really was quite delightful to see the skeletons of the typeface coming to form with significant improvements in style, shape and more importantly confidence as more and more letters were written.
Graphic Designer (Berlin)
I asked the teachers which is their most favoured Hebrew character to write. For both Christine and Patrick, ‘Alef’ was the one. But for Amichai, it is ’Mem’, because to him, it “looks like it sounds, and it brings me to much joy when I write it…”.
It was leaving Israel that made Amichai Green realise just how unique it was to claim Hebrew as his mother tongue. As a Hong Kong born but raised Australian living in Berlin, I can totally relate. You never really think much of your native language until you leave and it was wonderful to be reminded of the importance of heritage and the beauty of language and script. /JR