Thursday, March 21, 2013

Art Legacy League Board Gathers

Art Legacy League Board Gathers-L-R Amy, George, Jeff, Paul, Nancy, Donna, John
Many of the members of the Board of Directors of The Art Legacy League gathered at Amy Nielsen's home on the mighty Mississippi to bid a fond farewell to our globe trotting Canadian web master, Nancy Trottier. Nancy was in the area to lead a workshop for The CATFISH Letter Arts School this week at our Bettendorf home, the Bettendorf Community Center.

Heather, Amy, Nancy
Nancy also conducted research at the SAU Library Archives with Paul Herrera, ALL Chairman, and Amy Nielsen, ALL Board Member.

Nancy had set up the original Catich Correspondence Archive in the Catich Gallery over 20 years ago. This Archive has now been moved into a more permanent location within the SAU Library. Nancy was very happy to find many of her original accession sheets still being used.

Nancy, Paul and Amy met with the SAU Archivist, Heather  Lovewell, about ongoing efforts to preserve important Catich documents and rubbings. Just behind our 'Three Amigos" you can see the Catich Rubbings in their new storage racks, built by Paul Herrera. The ALL volunteers met and rewound all the rubbings carefully and prepared them for their new home in the SAU Archives last year. This is a very good example of the volunteer work undertaken by The Art Legacy League to help honor the memory and works of Father Catich. The ALL also helps organize exhibitions of Father's work during the Summer months in The Catich Gallery at St. Ambrose University in Davenport. The group also met with Leslie A. Grossman, the new Catich Gallery Curator and Art on Campus Curator for St. Ambrose. She is bringing a wealth of experience to SAU, including small gallery management, student staff supervision, and exhibition curation and coordination. The ALL has pledged all cooperation to her and is actively working to help coordinate the next summer exhibition of Catich work at the SAU Catich Gallery.

Nancy's two daughters, Nancy and Paul Gehl
Just after Nancy arrived, she and Paul Herrera, along with Nancy's daughters, met with Paul Gehl, Custodian of the John M. Wing Collection on the History of Printing at The Newberry Library in Chicago. Nancy conducted a good deal of her master's thesis work at The Newberry. During the tour of the library, Paul Gehl was kind enough to bring out the book of hours Nancy worked on during this time to share with the group.

He also was able to provide a lovely look at an original stone by Catich and one by John Howard Benson. Paul Herrera is talking with The Newberry about hosting the ALL traveling Catich exhibition within the coming two years. This exhibit is already framed, and ready to ship to locations interested in seeing original Catich work. If you are interested, please email Paul Herrera at

Another highlight of the trip was a visit by some of the ALL Board Members to Bob O'Hare's Woodshop and Studio. As many know, Bob was an apprentice for Father Catich prior to Paul Herrera joining the Catfish Shop.

Nancy and Bob have not seen each other in over 30 years, so it was wonderful to catch up and remember Father.

Amy, George, Nancy, Bob
Amy and George Ohley were along for the visit as well. Great discussions were had about the work the ALL is up to these days, including the courses for The CATFISH Letter Arts School. Bob had some great stories about Father to share with all of us. We are very thankful he had the time to spare from work.

On Thursday  Nancy joined Paul in Iowa City to meet with Professor Wallace Tomasini, The University of Iowa School of Art and Art History. Nancy arranged with the School of Art and Art History for Paul to be able to take detailed photographs of an inscription cut in wood by Father in 1935 for the original Art Building that was heavily damaged in the last flood.   Paul was able to learn that the inscription is over what was the original Art Gallery for the building. Professor Tomasini also indicated there were some records in the main library archives with more details. Paul will be checking this out in the coming weeks.
Catich only known wood inscription, circa 1935.

This inscription was completed PRIOR to Father's first trip to Rome to complete his studies for the priesthood. His exemplar was the poor cast of a cast held in the British Museum in London. His view of Imperial Roman was forever altered when he saw the original in Rome while a seminarian.

The Board of Directors meets monthly to discuss current projects and plan strategies for the future. The next events to be offered by The CATFISH Letter Arts School include two workshops in April, Advanced Calligraphy and Introduction to Brush Writing. Check out this webpage for more information and Registration information.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Iowa Native & Catich Student Comes Home!

A former art student of the late Rev. Edward Catich of St. Ambrose University will return to teach a calligraphy workshop on book making.
Nancy Anderson Trottier, a Clinton native who now lives in Ontario, Canada, will teach the class “Making a Single Signature Manuscript Book,” from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday, March 20, at the Bettendorf Community Center, 2204 Grant St. The cost is $55, plus $25 materials fee.
The workshop for novice calligraphers will teach the basics of designing and laying out a manuscript book, including how to select the text, lining the pages, making a dummy, completing the writing and illuminating, and binding the book. Participants should bring their own calligraphy pens and ink, while paper, binding materials, and tools and materials for illuminations will be provided. Participants will take home their completed book, course workbook, binding needles and paste and marbled papers. To register, go to or email Class size is limited to 25. Students may register at a $10 discount.
The workshop is being taught for The CATFISH Letter Arts School, a division of the nonprofit Art Legacy League, which honors the life and works of Catich, the priest, calligrapher, scholar and printer who founded the Art Department at St. Ambrose in the 1930s.

Wednesday MAR 20, 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

INSTRUCTOR: Nancy Trottier
This workshop will build on the experience a novice has with pen calligraphy. Participants will learn the basics of designing and laying out a manuscript book, including how to select the text, lining the pages, making a dummy, completing the writing and illuminating, and binding the book.

Instruction will be given for using piercing cradle and stitching the folio. Each participant will complete each of the stages of creating their own manuscript book and will bind the soft cover folio in marbleized paper.

Participants should be prepared to bring their own calligraphy pens and ink, with paper, binding materials, and tools and materials for illuminations provided at the workshop. Instruction will be given in groups and one-on-one. Participants will take home their completed book and a course workbook. COST: $55*, plus $25 materials fee (Maximum 25 students.)

Students enrolled in high school, college, or university programs may register at a $10 discount from the full charge of each workshop (i.e. $75 = $65 Student Rate, $55=$45 Student Rate) Please provide a copy of your student ID when registering.

Please use the forms on this website  for registering and also send an email to to confirm your registration or ask any questions. We look forward to seeing you in March!