Posted by on Feb 21, 2017 in Featured, Gallery

School: Meánscoil Iognáid Ris Naas CBS

Teacher: Stacy Masterson

Artist: Josephine Hardiman

Craft: Calligraphy & Illustration

Group: 5th year art students

Project description:

Josephine is a local artist based in Punchestown, near Naas. She is an illustrator and painter but her main area of expertise is Calligraphy. Josephine has come into the school to work with the 5th year art students for 5 weeks so far. She works with the group every Monday during their double class (1 hour 20-minute session) and I continue the lesson the following morning in a single class (40 mins). For the first 4 weeks Josephine gave skills based lessons demonstrating the use of twin point pencils, calligraphy markers, pens, quills and watercolours. The students practiced writing in the round hand calligraphy style and I oversaw this practice on the Tuesday morning classes.

On St Bridget’s Day, 1st February, the students took a trip to visit an exhibition of Josephine’s work in Kildare town. The following excerpt is from a piece written in the Leinster Leader by Paula Campbell;

“Kildare artist and Calligrapher Josephine Hardiman joins Féile Bríde this week with a series of new works based on the life of St Brigid, the Book of Kildare and Kildare heritage. She has written a colourful and vibrant series of hand painted works featuring traditional Celtic Calligraphy, stretching from ancient folklore to modern times which will be on display at the Heritage Centre until the end of February. Her work is based on the original Book of Kildare, said to have been found at St Brigid’s cathedral, and which historians believe may have been even more impressive than the Book of Kells”.

In the most recent class on Monday 13th February students started making watercolour backgrounds for their final pieces. We aim to complete the final pieces in another 2 to 3 double classes.

The final pieces:

The class has been split into 5 smaller groups of 3 students each. We are an Edmund Rice school and as such, we follow the ERST ethos, which has 5 Key Elements. Each group is working with 1 Key Element and adding an appropriate quote to the element for their final piece. For example – one of the key elements is Inspiring Transformational Leadership and the quote which we have chosen to go with that element is “Have courage; the good seed will grow up in the children’s hearts later on” (Blessed Edmund Rice). Students will paint the background, decide on the layout of the piece, write the heading and quote in calligraphy and add suitable illustrations in watercolour. The five final pieces will be framed and hung on permanent display in the school.


Naas CBS_Wk 1_Quills-2

Students experiment with quills from swan feathers.

Naas CBS_Wk 2_Josephine demo-4

Josephine demonstrates to the class how to use gold leaf for highlighting letters.

Naas CBS_Wk 2_Writing 2-5Naas CBS_Wk 2_Writing-3

Students practice the round hand alphabet.

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Students practice capital letters using witch pens.

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A sample of student work – a quote given to practice writing

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Students practice making backgrounds with watercolour paints

Students practice writing on painted backgrounds that they had made the previous day.


Students start work on the final pieces – colouring the backgrounds of their A2 pages with watercolour.


These backgrounds will be used to write the key element and associated quote on them.