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All Writings Lead to Rome: through Rigor and Freedom

Massimo Polello
Class Full
  • 5 days
  • All
  • EN

The Roman period has greatly influenced the history and evolution of writing, and is strongly present even in the most expressive and contemporary transformations I work with daily in my studio.

My love for writing continuously fluctuates between the smooth line derived from Roman Cursive dated between I Century BC and IV Century AD, and the rigorous forms of the Capital letters. This course will therefore be a journey of discovery through the ancient cursive writings and the Roman Capitals and what they mean to us or as a part of our being: our more serious and inflexible parts and the more malleable ones.

After years of studying calligraphy, I asked myself: how can we use our knowledge if not in the evolution of new forms and emotions? In seeking an answer to this question, we will use our "knowledge" together with slow and meticulous study to create new forms, using those parts of ourselves that are more instinctive, playful and perhaps still unknown. We will hence play primarily with geometric shapes, lines and speed of execution, to create patterns and writing textures juxtaposed with the softer and freer line within a compositional space that originates from the influence of cursive and composed in different kinds of diptychs.

A portfolio that will summarize the whole journey will be created at the end of the session.

This class will be taught in English. Instructor speaks both English and French.

Supply List


  • HB and 5B (no mechanical pencils)


  • Speedball C1, C2, C3, C4, C5
  • Pointed Nib (for Copperplate) any brand
  • Your usual calligraphy supplies
  • Automatic pens #6, #5 #4
  • All of your “Unusual” tools you want to use (folded pens, ruling pens…)


  • 1 Pointed Brush #1, a Kolinsky pointed #2 OR a *Menso Brush medium Kuretake


  • 1 flat brush Winsor & Newton 1”
  • Soft flat brush, 2” or 3”


  • Extra-fine white, black and other colours of your choice
  • Black Sumi ink


  • Some A3 Smooth Paper for Sketch 90 gsm
  • At least 10 sheets of good quality smooth paper, around 50 x 70 cm, 160/180 gr. max
  • Suggested: Velin Arches 160 g/m (OR called Arches Cover White or called Arches Text Wove 160 gsm 26” x 20”)
  • 5 sheets Black/Dark Colour 50 x 70 cm (suggested: Canson Mi-Teintes)
  • Cutter & Cutting Matt
  • Glue Stick
  • A flat, small ceramic (not plastic) Dish or similar for mixing the gouache and a plastic plate for pallette for the biggest tools
  • Basic Bookbinding materials (Needles, Thread, Bone folders, Rulers etc.)

Supply Fee – CA$10 for extra materials :

  • Cut cardboard for making a box
  • Syringes
  • Colours – acrylics
  • Wheat paste – bookbinding glue
  • Balsa wood sticks
  • NB: Menso kolinsky brush – Massimo will buy on request and sell in class
Supply Fee CA$10.00
Class Full