top of page

From to painting on fabric, bookmaking and beyond, stand-alone workshops and hands-on opportunities in a variety of media are added regularly so do check back often. or check Our FB event page. Currently on offer:

The Painted Journal with Bonnie Stahlecker

Sept 29-30 9-4

Create a personal journal that has an exposed spine and painted covers. The binding allows the book to open completely flat to any page making it great to draw or write. The covers are made from binder’s board and are transformed with many layers of glazing paint. There will be a recessed niche for a unique shrink-art label made by the participants. The pages are sewn through a concertina guard using a French Link stitch over tapes that are then laced into the covers. The final touch is a loop and bone clasp closure on the fore edge.

Open to all. All materials will be provided. However, if participants wish, they can add to the pages with their own papers. A full list of tools and materials to bring will be emailed to those who have signed up.
Class Fee $150
Early Bird Discount $135. paid by Sept 1. 2018
Material Fee: $25.00 to be paid directly to instructor.

Special Collections Visit to Newberry Library with Peter Fraterdeus, Jill Gage and Bob Williams

Feb 22-23, 2018

Somebody pinch me please! look at this! Peter wrote: "Hello friends! If you've always wanted to spend a couple of days ogling (no drooling please!) gorgeous ancient and modern manuscripts— in person—and there is no substitute!—this is your chance to get a personal introduction to the treasures of the John M Wing Collection of the History of Printing and Calligraphy ! Join me, Jill Gage, Curator of the Wing Collection, and special guest, Chicago's inimitable scribal "eminence grise" and scholar of Calligraphy, Robert Williams, 22-23-24 February at Chicago's amazing Newberry Library. In addition to examining a number of priceless unique manuscripts, you will learn how you can gain a reader's card, and how to access the online collections catalogs for your own research and future visits. We'll have a couple of hours each day in the Special Collections reading room with the books and portfolios, and then reconvene after lunch to discuss further and explore our digital reference photos taken during the morning. Bring your notebook and pencil (no pens allowed!) Space for this event is very limited! Pre-registration is required. Contact organizer Jen Grove (Lettersong Studio, Louisville) Jen is bringing a group from Kentucky for this introduction, and has a few spots left..." Yes I do. also I have a reservation at The Whitehall Hotel for our Louisville group...three people are welcomed to stay with me or make your own reservation. the Whitehall is one block from the library and very reasonable. contact me asap if you want to attend. There will be a follow up workshop @ Lettersong Calligraphy Studio and Gallery March 10-11. Cost for the Library visit is discounted if you are taking Peters workshop also. the Library visit is limited to 8 participates, but the workshop can have as many as 17, so pull out your quills and come learn in a welcoming and peaceful atmosphere. to sign up contact me Jen Grove @ 502-819-1439 or send me an e-mail @

Medieval Letters and Tools of the Scribe with Peter Fraterdeus

March 10-11, 2018

European writing before the 15th Century is filled with dynamic vitality. All these letters were written with a birds feather! Ancient Manuscripts, Quill Cutting and Mindfulness at Play. Peter will offer his workshop seminar @ Lettersong Gallery March 10-11, 2018 9-4 Saturday and Sunday. This workshop will offer you a chance to hands on experience the tools of the early scribes and do a finished piece. Supply list will be available on receipt of $50 deposit, call jen grove @ 502-819-1439 to reserve your spot. also You may use PayPal or creditcard. Early bird fee will be $135 if paid by February 28th, otherwise full rate will apply of $155.00 there will be a small supply fee for handouts collected day of class. for more information visit


Two-time US National Endowment for the Arts grant recipient— Calligraphy and Letterform Design (1981), and Digital Type Design (1986).

“We seek to enhance the ability to see not just the object, or the obstacle, and its obvious characteristics, but in the space surrounding, to begin to sense the infinite potential for alternatives and opportunities.”— Drawing on Emptiness™ Mission

“You are doing such a lovely job of bringing these important ideas to your workshop participants! I’m sure you will soon be hearing, over and over,’This workshop changed my life!’“— Dr. Betty Edwards (best-selling author of Drawing on the Artist Within and Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain)

Peter created the "Accentuate the Positive" seminars on perceiving 'negative-space' in 2009, now redesigned as "Make a Mindful Mark" using non-linear, non-verbal exercises in perception to open space for creative innovation.

He's taught book arts, letterpress, calligraphy, typography, information architecture, and web design at venues including

Erik Spiekermann's Gallerie P98a (Berlin, 2014) 
Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum Wayzgoose (Two Rivers, 2014)
Columbia College Center for Book and Paper Arts (Chicago)
The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (1982-1992)
IUAV (Architectural University of Venice, Italy) (2001-02)
Clarke College (Dubuque)
Colorado College (Colorado Springs) (1991)
and many other workshops and seminars. 
After formal study for some decades of western letterform traditions, including letter carving, type-design and medieval manuscript techniques, Peter has recently returned to the daily practice of calligraphy, turning to the East Asian tradition of China and Japan, studying with Kazuaki Tanahashi, internationally renowned Zen teacher, translator, author, peace activist and master calligrapher.

Received two (US) National Endowment for the Arts fellowships in the 1980s, the first, the "Crafts Apprenticeship Grant" to study calligraphy, letter carving and design for six months with Ieuan Rees in Wales (UK, 1981), the second, the "Design Project Grant" to research and design a digital typeface for laser printers (1986), which resulted in the first version of his "Prospera" font family, published by his Alphabets, Inc digital foundry around 1989.  

As a consultant for five years at Organic Valley, the leading organic foods distribution and marketing cooperative, he worked with the Executive Marketing Team, Creative Director and IT Team, on web strategy, brand identity and web infrastructure development. Specializing in cross-cultural communication to enhance project success between Creative and IT domains.

Five months study of Calligraphy, Inscriptional Carving and Letterform design in Wales, UK with master calligrapher and letter carver Ieuan Rees, and others (1981)

Studied Calligraphy and the History of Type Design with Prof Hermann Zapf at RIT (1985-1986 Summer Sessions) 

Has been taking photographs since the age of six and watching clouds since before that.

A student of whole systems, son of an Architect, long time follower of Buckminster Fuller's work, and the Pattern Language of Christopher Alexander.

Plays and composes Irish traditional music and other folk and contemporary forms on fiddle, tenor banjo, Irish flute, whistles, mandolin and guitar.  

Letterpress, Photography and Calligraphic Works at

Blogs at Google+

Tweets at @ideaswords (Ideas, Words; Idea Swords)

Instagram @ideaswords

Fonts available at and

Founder of Semiotx, Inc, communication consulting and strategies, typographic finesse, book design.

Background in Open Source server administration & problem solving, Plone CMS, Linux, Apple OS X 

Has been online since before there was a public internet, and hosting and creating his own and other websites since about 1994.

  • Conceptual art

  • dd News Story here

    Four Day Calligraghic Painting with Charles Pearce

    Apri 5-8 2018

    ALettersong is thrilled to the moon and back to announce a workshop with Charles Pierce the first weekend in April 2018!!! actually it is a Thursday, Friday, Sat Sunday, workshop. Some hospitality available 5 spots for sure, two Full kitchens available. Workshop cost for 4 day will be $385, early bird discount $355.
    Now this from Charles.

    "This is most likely the last workshop I shall give in America. Circumstances are forcing me to return to the bosom of my family in England. I shall miss living here especially given leaving the studio which I designed and built, but all good things must end, so they say.

    The workshop is aimed at showing everyone what I have been doing for the last twenty years or so with my own work, to encourage others to think of their work as more of a painting. I changed from using pens and quills to using flat brushes so that I could work on large canvases.

    I had always been fascinated with the Taschist approach to painting: the idea of throwing paint at a canvas in a semi-controlled fashion, and then working with the subsequent accidentals which occurred. Very often the shapes which emerged would create the basic structure of the painting.

    We shall all work on this concept so that at the finish, we each shall each (yes, me included) end up with an abstract painting. You may love what you do, you may hate it, but you will learn something of the techniques involved, and even something about yourselves. Who knows?

    You will need:
    * A few quotes about a subject which you find appropriate.
    * A range of acrylic paints (I recommend 500mL W & N Galeria colors, good and 
    relatively cheap). Also some matt medium.
    * A few pieces of raw canvas size 4ft x 4ft no smaller (canvas MUST be raw, no gesso).
    Several flat acrylic brushes (often called “shaders”). Start large - ½”, ¼” and then  
    a selection of brushes no’s, 16, 14, 12, 10, 8, 6 & 4. Also an assortment of good  
    pointed brushes.
    * A large water pot or bucket.
    * Some 8oz plastic cups and 20 or so 2oz cups.
    * 1 light and 1 dark pastel pencil (for lines if you need them).
    * A notebook and pencil.
    * A hairdryer.
    * Old clothes and/or apron. This can get messy!

    * Maybe something exciting (no! not that sort of exciting) to read while the paint is 
    drying. It’s usually a good idea to do two canvases so that you can work on one 
    while the other is drying.

    * This is normally a five or six day workshop so you will need to work quickly. Think about what color schemes appeal to you and what you would like to use, a few days before we start.dd News Story here

    Shakta Kaur Louisville Kundalini Yoga Training Workshops

    March 2-4, April 13-15, May18-20, June1-3, June 29-July1 2018 3 additional weekends TBA

    The Aquarian Teacher program is the KRI Level One Certification training program in Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan. In Level One you will become an instructor and learn fundamental principles and practices of Kundalini Yoga. You will develope the skills to instruct students in Kundalini Yoga kriyas and meditation as taught by Yogi Bahjan. You will practice teaching kundalini Yoga in a practicum setting, participating in early morning Sadhanas (spiritual practice) and experience the powerful transformational energy of White Tantric Yoga. This is a 220 hour course, which includes 180 hours of classroom instruction in a well defined curriculum which includes:

    Teaching Kundalini Yoga Postures Kriyas and Meditation

    Role of Kundalini Yoga Teacher

    Yogic Philosophy  and the Origin of the Kundalini Yoga

    Yogic and Western Anatomy

    Humanology and Yogic Lifestyle

    Yogi Bhajan, master of KundaliniYoga, arrived the United States in 1969with a stated purpose: Have comet create Teacher, no to gather disciples"

    For over 30 years he traveled internationallly teaching Kundalini Yoga, the Yoga of Awareness. In 1969 Yogi Bhajanfounded 3HOThe Happy Healthy, Holy organization based on his first principles  "Happiness is your birthright."

    "If you want to learn something ,read about it, If you want to understand something, write about it. If you want to master something, teach it." ~Yogi Bhajan.

    What Next? with Julie Wildman

    September 8-10 2017

    What’s Next? 
    Bringing Your Lettering to a New Level

    Mat’l Fee: $15 per student

    Length: Two-day (or more) workshop 

    Ok, so you’ve taken a few lettering classes and have a few hands under your belt. Great! But what’s next? You’ve seen all the beautiful work in the lettering magazines and the art exhibits and wonder, “Will I ever be able to do that?!” The answer is “Yes!” and this class will show you how.

    Using favorite tools and a favorite quote, students will be led through a series of exercises that will focus not only on the lettering but on layout, composition, and the negative space that is created. Principles of graphic design will be introduced as we discuss where the next letter or word should go; where and when to apply color; and the steps it takes to get to a finished piece.

    We will use the favorite tools to work with black on white, white on black, walnut and sumi inks, and watercolors, as well as different papers.

    In the first part of the class, we will all work together on various exercises. The second part of class will be more individual instruction as each student begins to develop his or her specific piece, finishing with a final layout that could be matted and framed. 


    • Calligraphy tools of choice (bring several different types--broad-edged nibs and �brushes, pointed pens and brushes, and experimental tools like cola pens, broom bristle pens, etc.)
    • Small bottle sumi ink
    • Small bottle walnut ink
    • Layout paper or any paper on which you can sketch lettering layouts
    • Pencil and eraser
    • Several sizes of Micron black pens (.005, .01, .02)
    • 12” or 18” metal ruler
    • T-square
    • Some watercolors and gouache (whatever you have)
    • Colored pencils (set of 12 is fine)
    • 6-well paint tray
    • 9 x 12 pad tracing paper (50 sheets minimum: cheap—may be shared between 2 �people)
    • 9 x 12 pad Bienfang Graphics 360 Translucent Marker Paper (a 50-sheet pad is about �$8 on and may be shared between 2 people)
    OTHER BRANDS: Canson Pro-Layout Marker Paper, Borden & Riley Boris Layout 
    Paper for Markers, or any type of marker paper that is smooth and doesn’t bleed
    • 3–4 small yogurt or plastic containers for inks
    • Lots of 11 x 17 practice paper (copy paper: a ream could be shared between 3-4 �people)
    • X-acto knife and a couple of #11 blades
    • Cutting surface
    • Glue stick
    • Cheap mixing brush
    • Roll of paper towels
    • Water container
    • A couple of favorite quotes and favorite words
    • Any images that you want to use for reference to include in your piece

    INSTRUCTOR WILL SUPPLY (I can get paper in bulk order cheaper than individuals can purchase. If people want more than one sheet, they can email me with their quantities. I will place the order and have the paper shipped to Louisville—unless I’m driving. We can decide this later.)

    1 sheet per student:
    • Arches Text Wove
    • Canson Mi-Tientes (Black)
    • Nideggen

    • Various calligraphic tools (for students to try)
    • Handouts
    • Roll of 3/4” drafting or blue painter’s tape 
    class times, lecture Friday night @ 7
    Sat 9-5
    Sunday 9-4
    Lunch at instructors discreetion
    Logistic letter sent 2 weeks before class will tell about parking etc. , call for questions.
    class fee $185. early bird discount $165
    Such a deal! come please come to beautiful Louisville ! Some hospitality available call me or email me Jen Grove 502-819-1439 and we will do the fancy footwork to have an AMAZING weekend... Lotsa love and good food!!

    Lettersong Presents Simplified Binding with Embellished Leather Covers with Bonnie Stahlecker

    October 21-22 2017 9-4:30pm

    Simplified Binding with Embellished Leather Covers

    Instructor: Bonnie Stahlecker


    Dates: October 21-22, 2017  (9:00 am to 4:30 pm both days)


    This handsome, thin volume with leather covers offers participants a chance to explore various leather embellishments such as blind panel stamping, cold tooling, and cuir-cisele (cut leather). The decorated leather covers are made entirely off the book and are attached to the text block after they are finished. 


    The pages for the book are painted with fabric dye. Using the two-as-one pamphlet stitch, the sections are sewn to a concertina that has a pocket for a hidden note. A book cloth spine completes the book. 


    Participants will have an opportunity to explore various decorating techniques before selecting what works best for their book. All paper, leather, book cloth and binder’s board are provided. Participants may want to bring their own decorative papers to add creative touches to the books.

    Class Early Bird fee $185. due by Oct 1st. after Oct 1 $200. $50 deposit holds your place.


    Suited for all levels from beginners to advance.


    A detail list of tools will be emailed to those signed up. 

    Louisville Calligraphy Collective


    The Collective typically meets on the third Sunday of the month at two. However, this is subject to change with the conflict of workshops, holidays etc. TBA to discuss upcoming workshops & events.
    There will be light refreshments and a show and share, along with a brief description of Jen's trip to Letterworks in Ogden Utah this summer attending the International Calligraphy Conference,  Also on the bill is a discussion of the sort of classes we would like to see come to Louisville...the world is so full of possibilities! At 5 pm stick around and enjoy Ray Redman's Traveling Living Room Picking Party (info above...and we will eat the rest of the snacks!!)

    Drawing on Emptiness w/ Peter Fraterdeus


    This seminar builds on our innate human desire to make marks, uncovering the perception of negative-space in all its forms.

    “The eye does not see the black on the page, it sees the white” — Ieuan Rees
    The discovery of emptiness, (ie, negative space in all its connotations) is a deep positive source of creativity. Observing and drawing out these “dark” forms engages the non-linear mind, making marks, feeling out the contours of form with pencils, markers, and the East Asian brush.

    “The hand is the mind in the world.” — PF
    We also focus our awareness toward the four essential components of the mind/hand connection—intention, attention, action, release. Every action we take in the world is comprised of these four, and within each action are many sub-actions, each of which is also comprised of the four components.

    The workshop will focus on the inner process of making marks rather than the end product. Using the East-Asian Brush or a chisel-edged tool, we’ll make deliberate calligraphic marks, allowing the space surrounding to shape the line, rather than the other way around. In addition, we will use soft pencils or graphite to explore the awareness of negative space. Each exercise contributes to a deeper awareness of space and our essential mark making. This enhanced awareness allows us to aspire to greater achievement in our practice, whether calligraphic, or contemplative.

    The principles behind this series have been inspired by the groundbreaking work of Dr Betty Edwards' "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain" and "Drawing on the Artist Within", as well as the teaching of Welsh master calligrapher and lettering designer Ieuan Rees; Zen Shodo master Kazuaki Tanahashi; and my many other honored teachers.

    Peter Fraterdeus is a calligrapher, typographer, photographer, fine-printer, and life-long student of consciousness and symbolic communication forms. 
    He’s a two-time winner of National Endowment for the Arts grants in the letter arts (1980, 1985) which included studies with Ieuan Rees and Hermann Zapf.

    Peter is the founder of Emptiness Design (, and Slow Print Letterpress ( 
    He teaches in the US and beyond. 

    Peter Fraterdeus - @ideaswords – Drawing on Emptiness : Opening Mindful Space for Innovation


    Letterpress Training & Consulting. Letterform and Typographic Finesse : Commercial High-touch Letterpress 


    IdeasWords : Idea

    Sounding the Inner Landscape with Pamela Paulsrud

    March 31-April 2 2017


    In this two day workshop we will begin by investigating the illusive underpinnings in the hidden laws of nature—sacred geometry—exploring these forms and synthesizing the linear with the artistic aspect of pattern and beauty. Step-by-step instructions will be given from which to springboard—pairing graphite and ink with a compass and straightedge. 

    Music, meditation, sound and silence will then accompany us as we wend our way through a series of exercises exploring the tempo and voice of our unique story, script, gesture and mark—developing flow—letting go of the familiar long enough to greet the unexpected. We will explore the distinctive and bold expressions of spontaneous marks using walnut and sumi inks and while we’re at it we will explore and extrapolate your handwriting too. 

    Selected exercise will be bound into a book structure where further opportunities arise in developing the story.

    Pamela Paulsrud

    @ 7 PM MARCH 31

    Class fee $175 Early Bird Registration $150. Call Jen Grove (502) 819-1439 for registration and more information.

    Please reload

    bottom of page