Let us live
Through the cadence of time
Unaware of the wonder we are,
Like a drop of ink
Which knows not, as the pen descends,
That it will become a word.
BARBARA CALZOLARI: Passion for Calligraphy
Daughter of a cabinetmaker and restaurateur, Barbara Calzolari was born in Bologna in 1963. She attended the ENALC, a school of commercial art, in Bologna and studied under Roberto Canaider, Buton company art director, who played a major role in her training. Later, she worked for Publiflash (the silk-screening laboratory of Otello Brocca, a painter) and completed projects for Bologna's Galleria d’Arte Moderna. It was here that she met artists such as: Aligi Sassu, Virgilio Guidi, and Ugo Nespolo. Other encounters would later come to change the direction of her professional life, among them her meeting with Massimo Osti, founder of StoneIsland and C.P. Company, who gave her the chance to try her hand in fashion design. She began to work with large clothing manufacturers and to collaborate with Daniele di Montezemolo and Ferrante Gonzaga on designing collections and developing products for Pirelli, Ferrari, and Ferrero.
Meanwhile, over the years, she cultivated and pursued her greatest passion: calligraphy. She contacted the Associazione Calligrafica Italiana, where she met Anna Ronchi and Giovanni De Faccio. In 2000, she took part in a training workshop with Brody Neuenschwander (US), who is famous for his typeface design in several films by the English producer Peter Greenaway. In the United States she: plunged herself into a deeper study of the usage of the flexible nib for Spencerian script; participated in a retreat at YMCA University with Michael Sull and in 2007 went to Ohio, the home state of Platt Rogers Spencer,to attend the Advanced Spencerian workshop. The subject of this workshop was this very elegant script of an Anglo-Saxon origin that employs strokes and skills accessible only to the most expert calligraphers.
She regularly attends international calligraphy conventions. It is at these events she has met and worked alongside: Pat Blair, current calligrapher for the White House; Joe Vitolo, master of the flexible nib; and Sheila Waters, founder of the Washington Calligraphers Guild, which Barbara Calzolari also joined later on. In 2008, Barbara Calzolari fully applied her skills to the creation of the masterpiece “Deus Caritas est,” a complete work of art in book design, for Marilena Ferrari-FMR, an Italian art publishing house. She worked on the project: “Souvenir from Italy the Beautiful”, designing the national anthems that the Prime Minister of Italy presented to the heads of state assembled at the G8 Summit in 2009. Currently she is working on an exquisite book about Catherine de’ Medici.
In July 2009, she became the only Italian to teach at the IAMPETH School in Nashville, where she gave a course on Fraktur font (a kind of Gothic black letter script).