About the artist Fiona Graham-Flynn

Fiona writing on an illuminated vellum piece
Fiona in her studio writing on an illuminated piece of vellum

Although I create various kinds of celtic art, I work mainly as a "Scribe" - the ancient term for a Calligrapher and Illuminator. This means that unlike most modern UK calligraphers, I also apply traditional decorative illustrations to my handwritten scripts.

My individual calligraphy and artwork consists of original designs based upon traditional celtic influences. I try to keep as closely as possible to the best traditional methods, using pigment colour on vellum, and gouache on various handmade papers. Some of my commissions have a raised and flat gilding. I write in five different main scripts and I tend to write with either steel pens or quills made from swan feathers. My particular interest is in the "Irish Half Uncial" script which I have spent many years perfecting.

Fiona at school Born in Scotland in 1952 (as Fiona Graham), celtic tradition played an important part in my upbringing and I was always aware of the wealth of my celtic heritage. But although interested in art at school, I was never taught anything to do with celtic arts and crafts while there. During childhood our family then moved to south-east England, but many years later I was given a book entitled "Celtic Art" by Scottish author George Bain - and it became like a Bible for me. I was amazed at the way he had dedicated his life to the study of celtic art and it awakened something inside me, for it was then that I truly started my journey in celtic art.

Soon afterwards I began to study not just Celtic designs but the scripts in the illuminated Gospel Books of Kells and Lindisfarne. Then in 1981 I enrolled part-time in a course of calligraphy at a local college and commenced the work that I have now enjoyed for over twenty years. After a few further years of experience I also qualified as a calligraphy tutor and now give regular classes of my own.

During that time my interest also grew about finding ways of applying celtic art to different working mediums, so I joined a 2 year course at Hammersmith College, London which resulted in a City and Guilds qualification in Signwork in 1988. Throughout the time I also had a variety of commissions, from simple cards to full hides of illuminated vellum.

(Book) Celtic Ornament - The Art Of the Scribe One particular commission came after reading "The Art of Celtia", a book by Courtney Davis. I had never seen such a vivid expression in colour of celtic art before. It inspired me so much that I felt I had to contact him, and at our first meeting in early 1995 he offered me the chance to collaborate with him in a new book called "Celtic Ornament - The Art Of The Scribe". Feeling very honoured I provided designs and also wrote several chapters of the text, and saw my calligraphy reproduced in bookprint for the first time. Since then I have contributed text and calligraphy to several books for a number of different publishers.

From the early 1990's I began to create additional celtic designs on wooden items made with the help of my husband Chris Flynn, who is a fine woodturner. Under the marketing name of "Tigon Crafts" we now also make celtic wind-chimes, platters, bowls, clocks etc. and sell to a range of craft shops from Scotland to Cornwall, as well as locally on occasional event dates.

Logo - Tigon Crafts The "Tigon" logo is my own hand-drawn ink design based upon the pictish symbol of a combined Crescent and V rod. Such symbols are found on carved stones from the 7th to 9th centuries, mainly in north-east Scotland.

Crafts Catalogue In 1999 we produced our first TIGON CRAFTS CATALOGUE, an A5-sized booklet of 32 fully illustrated pages containing artwork samples (including calligraphy and signwriting commissions) and further craft products for sale including wooden photo frames, letter racks, incense and candlestick holders.

Weddings Catalogue 2004 Having developed a range of wedding stationery products and services on offer, I produced a separate 12-page WEDDING CALLIGRAPHY CATALOGUE in 2004 itemising my personalised wedding support services and illustrating sample scripts, invitations, table plans, wedding plaques and other personalised items available for prospective couples.

Weddings Catalogue 2007 In 2007 I produced a new WEDDING STATIONERY CATALOGUE (8 pages, size A5) containing example colour reproductions of invitations, menus, place and table cards and table plans.

My catalogues can be requested by direct contact or obtained from me at any of my fair and exhibition dates.

Fiona in 2006 Ultimately, the work I do and the range of individual items I create are so varied that my site can only carry a small proportion of the resulting craftwork. Nevertheless I hope you will enjoy viewing the examples reproduced here as much as I have enjoyed originally creating them.

Fiona Graham-Flynn (Scribe)


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