Sunday, November 8, 2015

At just 28 years old, Jake Weidmann was been given the title of Master Penman, a title that only 11 others currently hold. The young artist was born in Colorado and decided that the land there was the best to plant his roots to continue striving towards evolving his art form. Though the importance of penmanship has become rather outdated, as technology precedes hand writing anything anymore, Weidmann has been aspiring towards this title for years. 

At one point in time, good penmanship was your key to success. Every business needed a proficient penman who could manage log books, keep records, write policies, and produce certificates. This was during the "golden age of penmanship", roughly around 1860 to 1930. The exclusive Master Penman Society was created in 2001, recognizing those who showed profound calligraphic and penman skills in business penmanship, ornamental and spencerian script, engrosser's script, engrossing and illumination, offhand flourishing and text lettering. All of these things are carefully paid attention to during the nomination process towards earning a role in the Master Penman Society. 

Weidmann had always preferred using a pen and paper, while many of his peers gravitated towards relying on the newest technology to write down their thoughts. Because there are no longer any schools that teach penmanship, Weidmann relied on his own leisure time to hone his skill, taking small design jobs, and a fair amount of wedding invitations. He had only come across the existence of the society when he was researching different hand writing videos on youtube, where he watched Master Penman John DeCollibus writing in what Weidmann describes as, "the most beautiful script I had ever seen." 

Weismann soon realized that in this day and age, finding the proper tools to practice his writing was limited and difficult. So, he decided to make his own, learning how to make pens with a lathe. While aspiring for his title, he networked and met with other artists during many conferences. Weidmann was soon recognized by one of the current title holders, Rick Muffler, who was also the calligrapher to the White House. Muffler took Weidmann under his apprenticeship, and with that Weidmann began his journey towards earning a spot within the society. On July 16th, 2011, he received his title and as a the final step of his induction, he had to create his own certificate. Weidmann executed his on calfskin vellum with a personally forged antique ivory pen, which he then framed in another personally carved frame. 

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