Afternoon of Words

The New Mexico History Museum, as a part of the spectacular St. John's Bible exhibit, presented Barry Moser and John Benson in a talk and demonstration today.

I recognized Moser — as you probably will too, if you click that link — kind of knowing and recognizing his work, but not really that knowledgable about it. Benson, a stonecarver … I think I was confusing with someone else.

After the usual introductions, two short movies were played — Moser's, an excerpt from a documentary about his Caxton Bible; Benson's, one that "focused on the work" from the late '70s. The former was a tight overview, actually answering a lot of the questions that pop into your head about something like that. The latter … was kind of hypnotic, with the attention paid to the chiseling of letters out of stone. It looked easy.

Then, in an experiment, they each then demonstrated their skills for the crowd. And proved themselves to be terrific performers, engaging, wry, humorous, inspiring masters of their craft.

Truly an experience to see people so thoroughly devoted to their art.

Also, both New Englanders. Benson, by birth, and totally informed by growing up studying the tombstones of Newport (which looked so much like those of my hometown). Moser, by way of a Baptist Southern upbringing, in his documentary, mentioned finishing having grinders with a friend.

Monica was working, making fonts to upload to YourFonts for their National Handwriting Day promotion. Which, given the inspiration I got today, I need to get going on myself.


Kate/High Altitude Gardening said...

Sounds like a terrific session. I would have really enjoyed this.. :)

Bram said...

It was pretty great -- I knew of Moser, and knew he'd have some great stories and insight. But watching the ease with which Benson created letters -- in ink, and in stone -- was truly amazing.