Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Family Trees

Family Tree in calligraphy by Joan Merrell in Jefferson City MO, circa 1999?

One of the first large jobs I ever did on commission was a family tree. The client had an old xerox that was about three pages taped together lengthwise and written out with quite a few mistakes due the the transcriber not understanding the original German.
I had a bit of difficulty coming up with a nice layout. Many times I wished I could take a few children and move them from one family to another to balance things out. Fortunately the client didn't have a deadline, as I found that after working on it for a while I would have to give up and put it aside, sometimes for a couple of months. Eventually I did work out something I liked, using lettering appropriate for the German. I was lucky to have a husband who knows some German and was able to help with correcting some of the text.
I used walnut ink on Nidegen paper.

A few years later, I was asked to fill in a Martha Stewart family tree. This was more nerve-wracking, as I wasn't sure I could correct anything and I had to fit some long names in some tiny spaces. I thought I had really messed up until I realized that one section was repeated because there were common ancestors.

The most recent family tree job was filling out a Fraktur print, which included a little creative correcting of the form to fit in some large families.
detail of purchased family tree print from client with names filled in
I've tried designing a large papercast tree where family members can have names on paper leaves that fit indentations in the casting, but then I realized that ancestors are more roots than leaves, which put the whole thing on the back burner.

No comments:

Post a Comment