Writing fit for a queen

A small, private reception hosted by Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine and first lady Anne Holton was among myriad activities for Queen Elizabeth II’s visit to Virginia in May. The event would be a historic moment and offered “a lifetime opportunity to make it special,” said its organizer. That meant everything had to be perfect, especially the invitations for guests, which would include former governors and a few leaders of the Virginia General Assembly. Amy Bridge, director of the Executive Mansion, recalled hearing about a gifted calligrapher who could create customized invitations. Enter Ginny Rogan, who, in the past 15 years, has penned thousands of elegant invitations, certificates, resolutions and customized illustrations. Once Bridge hired Rogan, she not only kept the project a secret, but delivered just what Bridge desired. Read More

The Gracious Posse

Have you ever been fortunate to receive an elegant envelope like this in your mailbox? If so, you no doubt opened it with great anticipation, wondering which soiré was requesting the pleasure of your company. In this case it was a wedding with nuptials to be exchanged at Westover Plantation between bJm’s son and his lovely fiancé, cCl. As bJm began plan the wedding events with cCl and her family, she asked me to recommend a calligrapher. Without hesitation I said, Ginny Rogan. Don’t look any further. For years I had worked with Ginny at the stationery store I once co-owned, admiring her skill, style and professionalism. Our shop was thrilled to design and produce the highly customized invitation for one of RVA’s premier fundraisers, the Children’s Hospital Ball, when Alison co-chaired it in 2008. Read More

Calligraphy: the write stuff

In this world of e-communications, is there yet a need for calligraphy or has it become a quaint anachronism? To respond to those totally unfamiliar with this ancient art form, whose name is derived from the Greek for “beautiful writing,” local calligrapher Ginny Rogan explains why it still matters, socially and professionally. “Calligraphy is about ‘drawing letters,’ not writing them. It is more than just informing its reader. When you want to create a feeling or sentiment for a special event, milestone or gift, nothing can match the emotion conveyed via the human hand.” A calligrapher’s skill is not limited to wedding or party-related pieces such as invitations, menus or programs. Corporate clients will request the creation of resolutions and certificates. Working on special projects may require confidentiality, as was the case when Rogan was hired by the governor’s Executive Mansion to design the invitation used for the 2007 visit by Queen Elizabeth II. Read More

To the letter

Calligraphy, the art form of “word painting” which can be traced back to prehistoric cave drawings, reached its pinnacle during the Middle Ages. In transcribing the word of God into decorative books used by high-ranking church members and royalty, the frugal monks developed a narrow style of writing, allowing more words to a single line and thus making the best use of very expensive paper. Calligraphy barely survived the invention of the printing press and took another blow when the flat edged pen was replaced by the rounded tip steel and fountain pens. But the art of producing letters that capture the spirit of the text they represent survived even the ultimate de-personalizer of all things; the computer. It also now flourishes in the Powhatan studios of Ginny Rogan. Rogan’s self-taught career as a calligrapher began in 1987 with the passing of her grandmother. Asked to provide the eulogy, Rogan wrote the tribute in the stylized long hand of the calligrapher. Read More