Marcy Robinson's smiling headshot on a sailboat

Marcy Robinson

When was the first time you picked up a calligraphy pen?

Early 1970”s at an Adult education class with Franklin Hansen – I still have my notes.

What is the best advice you ever received (lettering or otherwise)?

In a sign painting class – do not try for perfection in class –  this is where you make your mistakes, so that the instructor is available to critique your work and answer all your questions.

Why do you letter? What keeps you coming back every day?

Challenging—Lettering is like a puzzle, the various pieces come together to fill a space which can provoke pleasure, disgust or outrage.

What is your dream project?

Combine lettering with weaving; combine lettering with etching letters on glass.

What research do you do when learning or starting something new? i.e. a new style or new project. 

Search Books, Magazines/Newspapers and the Internet.

Name 3 non-lettering artists who inspire you.

  • Jacqueline Sullivan, although she is a lettering artist, she introduced me to Eco printing.
  • Elin Noble. a fiber artist who showed me how to combine origami and shibori techniques with dyeing fibers like silk and cotton.
  • Carol Soderland, her color mixing classes for dyers introduced me to the fantastic world of color, applicable to all artists.

What do you aim to say with your work?

To use words to express my thoughts and feelings – on several occasions, I have written my own words, being unable to find the appropriate quote.

Why do you teach? What is your teaching ethos/style?

To share my knowledge – when I first began this journey, there were several teachers who did not wish to share. Sheila Waters alway shares her thought process – the critical thinking behind the finished piece, for me is more interesting/important than the final design.

What is your favorite pastime when not in your studio?

Traveling, trying new things.

What jobs have you done besides being an artist?

Work part time at a local Macy’s selling watches to support my various hobbies.

Eco printed Blizzard books by Marcy Robinson

You have been quoted as saying, “I used to be a perfectionist!” (Alphabet 49.2) Perfectionism is a struggle for many calligraphers. How have you broken that perfectionist habit? 

Taking fiber arts and eco printing classes—there are outside influences—weather, water, temperatures, chemicals, etc.—which will effect the outcome, there is less control, freeing you to make mistakes. There are always happy accidents. You don’t have to rewrite something, just print over the original using the same process or using bleach.

In that same article, you talk about how you still enjoy taking classes yourself. Who would you most like to study with at this point in your career?

Weaving, fiber arts/Elin Noble, eco printing/Jacqueline Sullivan and book structures.