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+David Mekelburg

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Biographical Information:

While in an art class in high school in Wisconsin in 1954 David Mekelburg had his first contact with letters as art. In this class he also experienced the Speedball C pen, a chiseled edge pen that is basic to much calligraphy. Soon he discovered Edward Johnston's pioneer book and learned about the Foundational Hand. Then in 1959 he discovered italic handwriting through the Calligrapher's Handbook. Then began a series of consultations and contacts with a number of notable calligraphers such as Sister Leonarda Longen O.S.B., Father Catich, Ade Bethune and many others. He accepted Ade's invitation to serve as an apprentice with her for a summer and working in her St. Leo Shop in Newport, Rhode Island. Except for this time with Ade he was self-taught with guidance from many and from books. For several years he worked in the Marquette University library in his hometown Milwaukee and took some classes at the university. As his skill grew he also taught an extension course in calligraphy at the university. Soon he took over the operation of a print shop owned by some Sisters and was printing everything for their 5 hospitals and 20 schools. At the same time he was engaged in writing and visiting many different calligraphers and attending exhibits, seminars and workshops of all kinds on calligraphy. In brief, calligraphy became an addiction for him. He found it exciting and exhilarating. In 1967 David enrolled in Immaculata Heart College in California which had some notable art teachers including Sr. Corita Kent. His education at Immaculata made a big impact on his life and he soon would become an outstanding calligrapher and travel around the country conducting 2 or 3-day workshops on calligraphy. He did over 700 card designs for Conception Abbey Press (now The Printery House) over 20 some years. Dave also did the design and calligraphy for the second edition of our "Family Book of Life" published by The Printery House. He had many other clients until he started his own greeting card company in the early 1980's with the name David M and Friends. Dave's calligraphy is outstanding, it dances and sings and is always expressive of the meaning of the text. He is a calligrapher extraordinaire and amply deserves that title. David died on July 21, 2010 at age 73. (Written by Fr. Norbert Schappler, O.S.B.)


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