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About Me - Arabic, Persian, Farsi, Urdu, Dari Calligraphy

Stewart_Thomas_profile_Stewart J. Thomas, Calligrapher
 خطاط و خوشنويس — استوار طوماس —
I have been in love with pen and ink for most of my life. My first calligraphic teaching was in the Arabic script, writing out lines of Persian poetry in elementary school. Our teacher would walk around the class and cut a nib on each student’s reed pen and write out a line of poetry at the top of a notebook page. We would lean over our pages, copying the line of poetry over and over again. My, what a mess of indelible blots we made with those reed pens dipped in bottles of ink!

I still use dip pens, both reeds and metal pens with reservoirs. I also love using Chinese brushes, thin strips of flexible wood veneer, or even my fingers!


TO ORDER YOUR CALLIGRAPHY DESIGN please start with the options listed on my primary website. CLICK HERE to see HOW TO ORDER on www.palmstone.com


Calligraphy Specialties

I specialize in calligraphy in the Latin script used in English, French, German, Spanish, Turkish, Vietnamese and a host of other languages worldwide;  Arabic script used in Arabic, Persian (Farsi), Urdu, Dari, Balti and dozens of other languages; the Devanagri alphabet used for Sanskrit, Hindi and many other Indian languages; and Chinese brush styles.

I also do calligraphy work in Amharic (from Ethiopia), Greek, Hebrew, Kannada and Telegu (both from South India). If you have a calligraphy requirement, please ask.

Illustration and Illumination

Many of my larger calligraphy works include elaborate border designs, illumination and watercolour illustration. I create original border designs in the tradition of manuscripts and miniature paintings from the Middle East, Europe and India.

Areas of Expertise

Calligraphy, Design for Print and Web, Development of Marketing Materials, SEO (Search Engine Optimization), Fine Art Stone Lithography Printing, Watercolour Painting, Illustration and Illumination, Persian Miniature Style Border Design and Painting Styles (Middle Eastern, Iranian, Mughal and Indian style borders and painting), Logo Design, Bookbinding: non-adhesive book structures, pop-up books, Papermaking, Printmaking techniques: lithography, chine collé, monoprinting

Classes

I now live in Gainesville, Florida, where I teach ongoing classes Chinese painting and calligraphy, as as private tutoring in pen, nib and reed calligraphic methods. I offer occasional workshops in Arabic and Persian Calligraphy, Bookbinding Methods, Printmaking Techniques and special topics in Calligraphy. See the CLASSES page for current offerings.

Click on the Artist Vitae tab above for more detailed information.

STEWART J. THOMAS

Skills:
Language Fluency: English, Persian (Farsi), Chinese (Mandarin)

International Experience:
Birthplace: St. Andrews, Scotland
Citizenship: USA / UK
Resided in: Iran, India, USA
Travel: Europe, Mid East, N. Africa, Asia, US, Mexico
Tours: Coordinator of specialty trips to South India focusing on Art, Yoga, Health, Ecology

Current Positions:
Palmstone Studio, proprietor: Offering services in calligraphy, design for print and web, book design, PR strategy and consulting.
Academy for Five Element Acupuncture, faculty: courses offered in QiGong Calligraphy and Chinese History.
Sweetwater Print Cooperative, member

Artist: A lifelong commitment to seeing!
Work includes extensive calligraphy, watercolour, unique artist books and printmaking; exploration of 3-D work in paper, bookbinding, sculpture and clay; site specific interactive installations; study of architecture and pattern, including collection of over 1000 South Indian kolam designs and study of Persian and Indian sacred space and gardens; and the adventure continues!

Master Calligrapher: Over 35 years experience in Arabic (Farsi, Persian, Urdu), English (and other Latin-script-based alphabets), Devanagri (Sanskrit) & Chinese calligraphy; additional experience in Kannada, Greek, Hebrew, Amharic, and numerous other languages and scripts

Master Lithographer: 25 years experience, including 16 as a professional edition printer; established my own lithography studio in 1994

Printmaker: Extensive experience in printmaking media: lithography; intaglio; screenprinting;
relief; batik; silver-based, non-silver and digital photography; letterpress printing; giclee and experimentation with cutting edge digital approaches

Bookbinder: Specializing in non-adhesive bindings, book design, book structures

Designer: 30 years experience in graphic design; skills include book design, PR materials, logos,
digital media, web design; teaching of design, book design, letterforms

Educator: 32 years experience, including teaching 1st and 2nd grade; dyslexia tutoring; ESOL; consultant in development of Ichetucknee Classroom education model (2007 – present); coordinator of innovative international education programs at University Museum, Univ. of Pennsylvania; college and university level printmaking and design; seminars and workshops for children, youth and adults; tutoring; mentoring; and apprenticeship opportunities

Consultant: Creativity, Organizational Development, Public Relations Strategy

PALMSTONE STUDIO
established 1994

Calligraphy, Illustration and Original Artworks: as an independent artist, I specialize in calligraphy, brush painting, watercolor, bookbinding and printmaking. Commissions are accepted for calligraphic work in Arabic, Devanagri, Chinese, Hebrew and Latin scripts; although I am familiar with a range of other scripts as well. I undertake both commission work and works displayed through solo and group exhibitions. My calligraphic work and illutrations have appeared in books and magazines worldwide.
Public Relations Consultant and Design: organization or company identity, search engine optimization, web marketing, print design, logo design, print brokering offered primarily to the integrative health and arts and culture industries.

Art Classes in brush painting, calligraphy and bookbinding.
Fine Art Editions, 1994 – 2004: worked as Master Printer in Stone Lithography to produce limited edition prints in collaboration with noted Florida artists.

My calligraphy has been featured in the following recent publications:
Calligraphy All Over the World, by Margaret Shepherd, Perigee, 2010
Todo sobre la Caligrafîa, Paramon, Barcelona, 2009
Arabic Tattoos, Mark Batty Publisher, New York, 2008

Ashram India <www.AshramIndia.com>

Clinical Yoga Intensive Seminar is offered through the auspices of SVYASA Yoga University, Bangalore, India. The course is designed for health care professionals and provides hands-on clinical experience in an active clinic integrating western medical practice with yoga. Participants learn the basics of yoga theory and the practice of asanas, pranayama, kria and mantram — postures, breathing, cleansing and voice techniques — and their application in the clinical setting. This program is coordinated by Stewart Thomas and co-taught by Bethany Bechtel, AP, PhD and the staff of SVYASA at the beautiful Prshanti campus of the university outside of Bangalore, India.

ARTIST IN RESIDENCE

Indian School of Art for Peace, Karnataka, India: Collaboration with Jyoti Sahi and other artists at center exploring art across boundaries of gender, caste, and religion 1996
Atheetha Vidyalaya, Tamil Nadu, India: Participant artist at center devoted to natural health; created art on site; provided instruction in bookbinding, calligraphy, watercolour and tai chi to children and adults 1992

EDUCATION

BFA Philadelphia College of Art (University of the Arts): Printmaking 1987
BA Haverford College: History, Chinese 1981
High School Diploma, Community School, Tehran, Iran 1977

APPRENTICESHIPS

Lithography apprentice to Tamarind Master Printer, Chen Lok Lee, Philadelphia 1986-1991
Chinese painting and calligraphy study under Chen Lok Lee and Yao You-xin 1984-1990
Bookbinding study under Master Binders Don and Pam Rash 1981-1983

EXHIBITION DESIGN

The Blue Path, Florida Museum of Natural History (FMNH), Gainesville, 2010
Photography Exhibition, Hippodrome State Theatre, Gainesville, 2009
Portray, Prserve Prosper, Santa Fe College, Gainesville, 2008
Calligraphy Explorations, Drexel University, Nesbitt College of Design Arts Gallery, Philadelphia, 1990

SOLO ART EXHIBITIONS

Sweetwater Print Cooperative, Unspoken Words, Gainesville 2010
Cofrin Gallery, Oak Hall, Walking in the Garden 2005
Recent Photographs, Terranova, Gainesville 2004
What is Hidden, Who am I? installation, Gainesville 1994
Atheetha Vidyalaya, Tamil Nadu, India (permanent collection) 1992
Senior Show, Philadelphia College of Art 1987

GROUP ART EXHIBITIONS (selected)

Bamboo, Academy for Five Element Acupunture, Gainesville 2009
Art in City Hall 2005
Still Life in G, Gainesville 2004
Thomas Center, Gainesville 2004
Sweetwater Print Cooperative Gallery, Gainesville 2003
More Pressing Matters, J. Wayne Reitz Union, University of Florida 2000
Art at the Airport, Gainesville, FL scheduled for March 2000
Traditional Values, Santa Fe Gallery, Gainesville 1998
Survivors’ Art Exhibit, University of Florida, Gainesville 1998
Sweetwater Print Cooperative, Gainesville 1997
Collaborations, Kamin Gallery, Van Pelt Dietrich Library, University of Pennsylvania 1995
Hyperdrome, University of Florida, Gainesville 1994
Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore, India (permanent collection) 1991
Art at the Armory, Philadelphia, PA 1990
Vox Populi Gallery, Philadelphia 1990
Camden County Cultural Heritage Commission, NJ 1989
West Looks East, McCabe Library, Swarthmore College, PA 1989
Book Design: Practical & Provocative, AIGA/Painted Bride, Philadelphia 1988
The Print Club, Philadelphia 1987
University of the Arts Library (permanent collection) 1986
SUNY at Purchase, NY 1986
Prints, Prints, West Chester University, PA 1986
Paper Works, Wayne Art Center, PA 1986
Non-Silver at PCA, Philadelphia College of Art 1985
Book Arts in the Delaware Valley, Swarthmore College 1982

PAST POSITIONS

Creative Director, Florida’s Eden, 2002 – present <www.FloridasEden.org>

Served as original Co-Director of non-profit regional alliance working for a sustainable future for North Florida. Florida’s Eden works with a broad spectrum of businesses, organizations and agencies to institute model programs in the areas of the environment, economy and education, with the goal of preserving our natural resources and maintaining the authenticity of the region’s diverse cultural heritage. Programs include The Blue Path water awareness campaign, the Ichetucknee Classroom education model, Scenic Trails professional development, and the Florida’s Eden Source, online regional database. As Creative Director I work with the Board and Executive Director to develop strategy, develop communications plans, oversee contract staff, and direct or produce all print and web communications, displays, and design of gallery and museum exhibitions. Duties also include research, writing and overseeing grants applications.

Assistant Professor, Drexel University
Nesbitt College of Design Arts, Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA 1987-1991
Instructed sophomore design majors in letterforms, calligraphy, layout, design, basic book design, introduction to typography. Curator of exhibition ‘Calligraphy Explorations’, Nesbitt College of Design Arts Gallery, 1990

Assistant Coordinator, International Classroom
University Museum, University of Pennsylvania, 1982-1984
Planned and coordinated international education programming for school groups of all ages: selection, training and oversight of over 200 volunteers; grant writer; helped establish ‘World Ancient and Modern’ education program; coordinated College and University speakers bureau; managed volunteer honoraria and all program accounts payable

Gallery Assistant, Barnes Foundation Museum
Merion, PA, 1981. Daily care of galleries in private museum of impressionist and African masterpieces; cataloging of library holdings

AWARDS

New Forms Florida, NEA regional grant 1993-1994
American Color Print Society 1987
T.J. Murphy Award for Achievements in Offset Lithography 1987
University of the Arts Library Purchase Award 1986

BOARDS

Board Member, Morning Meadow Preschool, 2002 – 2009
Treasurer, Sweetwater Print Cooperative, 2007 – 2009
Founding Board Member, Vox Populi Artists Cooperative, Philadelphia 1988-1991
Board Member, Delaware Valley Bookworkers Association 1983-1984

WORKSHOPS, PRESENTATIONS, AND SEMINARS OFFERED

ART TECHNIQUES

Basic Printmaking
Hands on introduction to the various ways to make a print: stencil, transfer, rubbing, etc. Use of simple materials and suitable for all ages. Culminates in how to make a flat print of a 3-D object, in this case the sunbleached shell of a turtle!

Ten book structures for artists and educators: no glue, no stitching!
Hands on workshop on how to create ten books that require only paper, folding and cutting! These are ideal little packages for artistic content without getting trapped in technical bookbinding problems. Every teacher and artist should know how to make these!

How to make new and exciting book structures
Hands on exploration of the three dimensional qualities of books. We will explore multiple ways to fold, construct and stitch books together; become familiar with the sculptural qualities of book structures; pop-up book techniques; dare to create books you’ve never seen before!

Oriental brush techniques
Demonstration of the unique ways in which oriental painting utilizes the brush. Topics include: the interplay of water and ink; loading the brush with color; wet and dry effects; the paper as the seismograph of your feelings, and more!

Chine colle: the Oriental collage technique
Originally developed for the creation of scroll paintings, this collage technique has wonderful applications for contemporary art. Layer materials, include plants and objects, introduce translucent and opaque sections, and integrate drawing, painting and printmaking.

RESOURCES FOR CREATIVE PEOPLE

Free and Effective Web Marketing for Creative Individuals and Small Businesses
Don’t shell out hundreds or thousands of dollars for temporary or ineffective marketing strategies.
Seasoned webmaster shows you how you can bring traffic and sales to your web page.

Strategies for keeping creativity alive
Taught in partnership with Creative Consultant Annie Pais
Every creative person has experienced the fear of the creative dry spell. Why does creativity come in periods of intense inspiration? What do we do when it doesn’t? Here are some strategies for allowing creativity to maintain its natural rhythms while always remaining a vital part of life.

WHERE WE LIVE; HOW WE LIVE

Florida’s Eden: how creativity can save the Florida we all love
The natural beauty of North Florida is a fragile treasure. Human pressures are bringing great changes to our part of the world. How can we make sure that the quality of life, the animals, plants and waterways of this subtropical Eden do not give way to more miles of concrete? Stewart Thomas, Creative Director of Florida’s Eden presents the exciting possibility that creativity is the answer to having both prosperity and preservation for North Florida.

Re-seeing the world: hidden patterns in geography that can reshape human lifestyles
The image of the globe from outer space reveals a green and blue gem. Paddling down a Florida river can equally change our perceptions. Maps that show paved roads and highways show a very different world from those that show greenways and trails. Explore how the basic geography of place–watersheds, coastlines, floodplains, grasslands, and uplands–can give profound new insights into how humans can inhabit the world in harmonious fashion.

The architecture of water
Less than 1% of the water on the planet is available for drinking. Human beings have a long and fascinating history of transporting, storing and living with fresh water. Learn how water is cooled in the hottest deserts without using electricity, how the city of Venice is a giant rain capture device, how our basic plumbing systems are basically unchanged since ancient cities 4000 years old, and how all of the art, culture and mystery of ancient times can inform exciting new ways to live with water today.

SACRED SPACES

The Gardens of the Middle East
The garden is one of the most ancient and treasured places in Middle Eastern culture: from the garden of Eden to the metaphorical gardens of poetry. Understand the rich imagery of the garden in art and literature and its societal and spiritual significance.

The spirit of sacred architecture: India and Iran
The sacred spaces of Iran are about light, those of India about the womb. The Taj Mahal, was designed by a Persian architect but built in India. The building floats on light when viewed from outside, but step inside and you are within the primordial cave of India.

The cosmic meaning of Pattern: India, Iran, Ireland, Africa, and beyond
Celtic knotwork, Kinte cloth, Persian carpets, and Mandalas all weave cosmic meanings into everyday materials. Learn how to create repeating patterns, knotwork designs, radiating designs, and more. Tap into the fascinating history of designs as they have traversed the globe and begin to understand how they function as a language of their own.

Rongoli, Kolam, Yantra, and Mandala
Explore the various types of geometric patterns of India, from the designs made daily by women at the entry to their homes, to the esoteric designs inscribed on copper and stone. This ancient vocabulary continues to speak to hundreds of millions of people worldwide and is a doorway to understanding much of Indian culture and spirituality.


Agha Baratpour was my first calligraphy teacher (in Persian (Farsi) calligraphy) and also the one who first gave me a love and understanding of the global flow of history.

I first learned calligraphy in English, including italics, round hand and Gothic lettering, from Byron J. MacDonald’s wonderful little book, Calligraphy: The Art of Lettering with the Broad Pen. Later I found a limited edition copy of Herman Zapf’s engraved calligraphy plates. I took the liberty of obtaining good quality photocopies of the pages before letting the library in question know that the book should not really be available for general circulation.

I am indebted to Eugene Liu and Victor H. Mair from whom I studied Chinese language at the University of Pennsylvania; Chen Lok Lee, my mentor in life and art; Yao You-xin, my Chinese calligraphy master; and, most recently to Ou Wen-wei, QiGong Chinese calligraphy master.

I worked with Tamarind Stone Lithography Master Printer Chen Lok Lee for seven years as a printmaking apprentice, in addition to learning Chinese brush painting, calligraphy and philosophy.

From Don and Pam Rash, students of Fritz and Trudi Eberhardt, I learned bookbinding.

My appreciation to Tai Qi Master Maggie Newman for first starting me on that lifelong practice.

Sri Swami Sahajananda, namaste for your love, compassion and joy.