Deanna Jay Chu Nim
(California, USA)

While at UC Santa Cruz, I became enchanted with illuminated manuscripts. I took classes at the Cowell Press and learned typesetting and printing on a Vandercook proof press. I was fortunate to take a calligraphy class from Bruce Cantz who was quite a motivating teacher. It seemed incredibly romantic: he would walk around and read from Yeats and Shakespeare while we practiced our letter forms. He was a most excellent teacher.

I became involved with the Friends of Calligraphy (a San Francisco-based society) and learned how to gild following the book 'Secreta', by Joyce Grafe. My first major commission was from a physicist friend. This project was done on calfskin using medieval methods explained in the Grafe Book, including slaking the plaster and making my own gesso patties. It took a year and three months to complete.

I studied further with Thomas Ingmire as well as taking further gilding workshops.

Another gilded piece I did was a ketubah (a Jewish wedding contract). It involved immersing myself in Hebrew letterforms. As it was a legal contract, I made several trips across the bay to have my spelling and letterforms checked by a rabbi. I wrote all the text out in gum ammoniac and gilded it with 23K gold. This took about six months to complete.

Currently I am working on a twelve piece commission, each piece based on the numbers 12 to 1. It is a collaborative work with the patron. Our email conversations will be part of the finished project.

Deanna Jay Chu Nim

Deanna's artwork can be seen in the Dragons' Cave.

Dragons' Cave | Cecilia's Home Page