Maker in Focus - Andy Moore
Andy Moore has been a full-time calligrapher since 2007. He has exhibited work not only with the Guild but also Art in Action, Bovey Tracey Craft Fair, London Rare Book Fair, Oxford Fine Press Book Fair, Works on Paper Art Fair and York National Book Fair. Until recently, Andy was working at a local farm, he's now working from home surrounded by books which is where we caught up with him for a quick chat.
Did you make work specifically for the recent Gardens Gallery Show in Cheltenham and if so what was the inspiration?
'Only one brand new piece, The Alphabet. The starting point was some lovely blue Zerkall paper which I've used before with white but I also wanted to include two vivid oranges on it. I have, though, purposely put together a selection of mainly blue work which is something of a change as most of my work is normally in warmer colours'.
What makes you chose the texts you use?
'The Alphabet piece mentioned above is an exception. Nearly all pieces have a starting point in subject matter that interests me. For example, I took two new works to the Guild shop recently, one on Shakespeare (now sold) and the other an entirely imaginary 'National Geographic Rug' using the distinctive yellow borders of their old magazines as part of the collage. The works are illustrated'.
Your work is so much more than the classic calligraphy, how do you decide on your compositions, do you use the words to help with this?
'There's normally a central idea which normally stays pretty much in place. However, the execution of that idea may change, through experiment and trial and error. I find that every piece is different and requires different solutions'.
Where did your interest in calligraphy come from?
'When my wife Sue and I were first married we did several practical adult education classes together, pottery and woodwork etc. Then suddenly I wondered why I didn't do calligraphy - as I'd always loved writing even as a little kid - and once I did a short course I was completely hooked. I subsequently took intensive correspondence courses with Open College of the Arts and University of Surrey at Roehampton while continuing to work. I then took the step to self-employment as a calligrapher in 2007'.
Do you do a lot of commissions and has there been any that really stick out?
'They vary hugely from more formal pieces such as family trees and work for churches to wackier things like writing on a pair of shoes made by Caroline Groves for Whoopi Goldberg. The shoes had quotations on American democracy on top and Trump sayings on the soles ready to be scuffed off'.
What work stands out for you and why?
'One thing that stands out is a collaboration on a limited edition book in 2014 with Frances and Nicolas McDowall of the Old Stile Press based in the Wye Valley. Keats' A Song about Myself featured my calligraphy and illustrations and it was a real pleasure to be involved in its production. Increasingly since then I have tended to spend more time on producing my own concertina books, one-off books, portfolios and limited edition books in low numbers'.
What does being part of the Guild mean to you?
'It's special for two reasons. Firstly, it maintains an extremely high standard of work and, secondly, it's a friendly bunch of people. I particularly enjoyed my spell as Secretary for six or seven years'.
Do you have any other events / projects coming up?
'I've just posted two essays on my website (www.andymoorecalligraphy.com) on Studio Pottery Prices 1920 to 1960. It was something of a lockdown project which I've now tidied up'.