Wor(l)ds Project Report Vol.1 (text/English)

The following article was featured in the spring 2008 issue of The EDGE, a magazine published by Calligraphy & Lettering Arts Society. How can letter arts become relevant in our society? J-LAF will feature the "Wor(l)ds" project in a two-part series as something that shows us one possibility and trigger us to think about this question.

In part one of the series, we would like to present an article which Lin Kerr, a South African calligrapher residing in England, wrote for The EDGE before the opening of the project. Part two will introduce an in-depth report after the opening of the project, written for J-LAF upon our request by Beverly Gillespie, one of the participants of the project.

We hope that the series will provide you with a better understanding of the overall picture of the Wor(l)ds.

Bruges, Summer 2008

1.Maud Bekaert

1.Maud Bekaert

A petite young woman, who is a lettercarver and a dyanmic ball of energy, dreamed of using her talents to reach out and make a difference.

When Maud Bekaert first visited South Africa at the end of 2005 she was horrified by the AIDS pandemic and the 2 million orphans. She was also surprised to discover that there was a group of calligraphers who were prepared to share her dream. A year later she was back, this time with poetry and promises.

Brugge Plus and sponsers had given their backing to the project Wor(l)ds; poets and songwriters from Belgium and South Africa gave their words and Belgian carvers had volunteered to give their skills in realising this ambitious project.


2.Mauld videoing some of the designers / 3.Designers at work / 4.Carving in situ

Thus, in February 2007 a group of South African designers met in Cape Town to design letters "Spiced in the South to be carved in the North". I was privileged to be one of a very interesting group of people. It consisted by and large of mature women calligraphers and young black artists - refugees from African countries - Some of them had never designed letters before!


5.Elike dag -Design:Jeff Sochen Words:Ravmond van het Groenewoud
6.Carving painted in deep red

Inspiration workshops were run by a graffitti artist, Mak1One who demonstrated his art on a huge mural and Andrew van der Merwe who used African syllabries as source material. Maud took the final designs to Bruges and the first set of 40 stones, weighing 1-2 tons each have already been carved to be placed on a Stone Route.


7.Aan Geluk -Design:Lin Kerr Carving:Wim Dufourmont. Words:Stef Bos
8.Aan Geluk-detail -Design:Lin Kerr Carving:Wim Dufourmont. Words:Stef Bos

The Wor(l)ds festival and Stone Route will open for three months commencing with a concert by musicians, songwriters and poets in June 2008. At the end of September the stones will be auctioned to raise money for the youngest of the vulnerable children of Africa. The proceeds are managed by Sprinkle and Breadline, a Belgian and a South African organization which ensure that the proceeds go directly to the charities.


9.de gewoonte -Design:Leezette Turner Carving:Trui Hooft Words:Stef Bos
10.de gewoonte-detail -Design:Leezette Turner Carving:Trui Hooft Words:Stef Bos

The Stone Route starts in Bruges at the Concert Hall and wends its way to Lissewege and Damme and Zeebrugge. The route to Damme can be followed by canal boat and other routes can be cycled or walked. where There will be a photographic exhibtion of the creative process of the project. at Damme Tourism centre. I visited Damme for the first time with Maud in November and it is a delightful village where the canal route culminates.


11.Die Here stel die see se grense -Design:Helen de hass Carving:Karel de Haas Ceramic:Diane Heesom-Green
12.Taking Turns-acrvlic on canvas 1200x1800mm Collaborative piece Heleen de haas, Lin Kerr and Andrew van der Merwe

In Bruges, the calligraphy shop Symposion will display the original layouts.
South African calligraphers have been invited to exhibit their work at Manna Gallery for the summer. I will be participating, together with Heleen De Haas, Andrew Van der Merwe and others. There's some collaborative work between calligraphers and the top ceramicists, which were produced by top ceramicists in the Cape and then decorated by calligraphers with lettering.

Andrew van der Merwe will be in Zeebrugge during the month of July demonstrating his fabulous sand carving on the beach. Andrew, a surfer, has combined his love of the sea with his love of letters and all the proceeds from the photographs of his calligraphy texts on the beach will go to Sprinkle and Breadline.


13.Platboom / 14.Sunset / 15.Eternite

And, three weeks ago Maud Bekaert was awarded the honour of being the most outstanding citizen in Bruges for 2008. She has worked tirelessly and energetically on this project giving unstintingly of her own time and resources. Following on from the design project last year, she has also been teaching letter carving to a new generation of carvers in South Africa, thus empowering them.

She deserves every accolade given to her.
For everyone else involved in Wor(l)ds, calligraphy has become relevant in a new way.

Dates: Manna Exhibtion opening: 14th June - 14th September
Wor(l)ds festival: 14th June - 14th September
Public Auction of Stones 28 September

Tourist Office Bruges: 11 Burg e-mail: toerism@brugge.be
Damme Tourism centre: Photographic Exhibtion of the Wor(l)ds project and 'making of' of the project.
Symposion: Calligraphy shop: Exhibition of original layouts of work
41 Oostmeers, Bruges
Manna: South African calligraphy by Lin Kerr, Andrew Van der Merwe, Heleen De Haas and
other Wor(l)ds participants 3 Heilige-Geeststraat, Brugge www.muurkranten.be

Maud Bekaert:www.lettersinsteen.be
Brugge Plus: www.bruggeplus.be
Sprinkle: www.sprinkle.be
Breadline: www.breadlineafrica.org.za