September 2010 issue of The Saint John's Bible eNewsletter. Are images missing? View the online version.
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From childhood, Donald Jackson dreamed of creating a hand-written, illuminated Bible. That dream became a reality when Donald signed a contract with Saint John’s in 1998 to create the monumental The Saint John’s Bible. A project of this scale and artistry would be most likely be impossible to complete in a lifetime without a team of able and talented artists and calligraphers—which is exactly what Donald assembled when he began work in 2000. This month, we asked two artists to submit brief articles on their perspectives of working on The Saint John’s Bible. Curious about other members of the team? Click here to read more on our website.

Diane von Arx

Letter making, designing and teaching are all passions of mine, but so are golf, gardening and travel. My training and background are in Graphic Design. While working in a package design studio in Minneapolis, I had the distinction of creating the original lettering for some General Mills' cereals, including Trix, Count Chocula, Frankenberry and Boo-Berry. These are about as far from The Saint John's Bible as one can get. I enjoy the challenge of designing and creating original works that allow me to be expressive and innovative with the text, media and support, but I also appreciate the wide open spaces of digital possibilities. Using PhotoShop® I create prints incorporating my hand lettered words, photos, painted backgrounds and manipulated images.

Send Out Your Bread upon the Waters Diane von Arx,, 2006, The Saint John’s Bible, Order of Saint Benedict, Collegeville, Minnesota, USA, Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible, Catholic Edition, Copyright 1993, 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Shortly after I was invited to create illuminations for the project in 2004, Donald Jackson, asked me to design the titling for the traveling exhibition, Illuminating the Word. My experience working on the Special Treatments was rather like an apprenticeship with Donald, though working in the same studio, and on the same continent, might have made it easier. The process was frightening, interesting, rewarding, frustrating and challenging, sometimes all at the same time. The invitations I've had to share my journey, through visual presentations, have been very exciting. I am currently working with the Heritage Edition, the full size reproduction of the Bible, numbering the signed authentication pages for each volume. It is an honor to be a small part of this significant, Minnesota based, Roman Catholic project.

Thomas Ingmire

My first art award was for a finger painting that I did in the second grade. I always loved art from this early age but the consensus in my family was a career in art would be a dead-end road. I somewhat reluctantly channeled my interests into the acceptable “art-related” field of Landscape Architecture. I received a BA in Landscape Architecture at the Ohio State University and an MLA at the University of California, Berkeley. Both of these programs involved intensive graphic and fine arts studies. I did work as a professional in the Landscape architecture field, but my interest in art never waned. In the early 1970's, quite by accident, I discovered calligraphy… and met Donald Jackson. I took many workshops with Donald and joined his one-year postgraduate program in the Art Department at California State, Los Angeles. With Donald’s encouragement I prepared and submitted work to the Society of Scribes and Illuminators in London, England and became the first foreign member to be elected Fellowship in the SSI. Shortly after this I officially retired my life as a Landscape Architect to begin the full-time pursuit of calligraphy and art.

My early work as a calligrapher focused on teaching and calligraphic research involving the exploration of calligraphy as a fine arts medium. I taught workshops throughout the United States, Canada, Australia, and several countries in Europe as well as in Japan and Hong Kong. During this period I also developed many series of original works for exhibition. I have exhibited widely in the United States, and my work can be found in the San Francisco Public Library's Special Collections, Stanford University Special Collections, Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis, Herron Art Library, University of Denver Penrose Library Special Collections, The Newberry Library in Chicago, The Victoria Albert Museum in London, The Sackner Archive of Concrete and Visual Poetry, The Stiftung Academy of Art in Berlin, Germany, as well as many other public and private collections throughout the world.

In 2002 my focus shifted to collaborative work and the production of original books. This includes the Pablo Neruda series of books with Manuel Neri, work as an illuminator on The Saint John’s Bible, and the creation of original books with poets, Tsering Wangmo and David Jones Annwn. These last works are part of the San Francisco Public Library’s Special Collections.

Messianic Predictions, Thomas Ingmire, 2005, The Saint John’s Bible, Order of Saint Benedict, Collegeville, Minnesota, USA, Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible, Catholic Edition, Copyright 1993, 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Work on the Bible project has always been difficult for me…difficult on almost every level. On virtually every page I either struggled with technical issues or conceptual issues…and in most instances, both. At the end of each work I would say to myself that this had to be the last one. Yet, when Donald would ask me to work on a new page, I always seemed to discover a renewed energy and would say yes. My greatest struggles were with the full-page illumination, David’s Anthology. I tried off and on for more than a year to find a concept that would lead to a visual solution. Even with many phone discussions and support from Donald I just could not find a solution. Very reluctantly I told Donald that I could just not do the work on the page. He gave me a few smaller works that I was able to complete.

About a year later I on a visit with Donald, I learned that he had done the “David” and I asked if we could see it. I looked at it in absolute awe and wonder and realized that I needed no longer to despair about my decision. In a million years I could have never produced this page. It is magical and beautiful beyond anything I could have imagined!
In This Issue

• Diane von Arx

• Thomas Ingmire

• Upcoming Exhibitions & Events

See the Bible


Science Museum of Minnesota
St. Paul, MN
March 12 - October 24, 2010

Print Exhibitions

The Benedictine Center of
St. Paul's Monastery

Maplewood, MN
September 7 - October 31, 2010

Historical and Cultural Society
of Clay County

Moorhead, MN
October 4 - January 3, 2011

Avera McKennan Hospital,
Cancer Institute

Sioux Falls, SD
October 18 - November 14, 2010

Find a gallery near you >

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