What is Fellowship?
Election to Fellowship of the SSI signifies that through excellence in writing, design and craftsmanship, a calligrapher has achieved the Society’s highest level of membership, a level which is also recognised outside the SSI. Being elected to Fellowship is an important stage of professional and personal development. It allows you to use the letters FSSI for professional purposes so long as you remain a member of the Society by paying the appropriate annual subscription. (Note: Fellows who let their subscriptions lapse are no longer entitled to call themselves Fellows nor to use the letters FSSI for professional purposes.)
New Fellows are elected by existing Fellows at an election meeting which is usually held on the day of the Annual General Meeting.
Candidates must have a proposer and seconder who are Fellows of the Society. It is an advantage for them to have been involved in your development over a period of time. At least one of them will be expected to attend the Fellowship election and speak on your behalf.
You may wish to ask for mentoring from a Fellow and if accepted, the SSI will provide a subsidy on application through the Fellow who has agreed to mentor you. See below for those Fellows.
You may well be advised to apply first for the Society’s Creative Development Course, which exists to help the committed calligrapher to develop their work in a way that is personal to them. The Course is not specifically geared towards Fellowship, but has in fact helped to produce the majority of Fellows elected in the past fifteen years.
The Secretary will need to know of your intention to apply for Fellowship by 27 April 2024. You will be sent the relevant application forms, which will need to be signed by both your proposer and seconder and sent to the Secretary by 11 May 2024. Your work will be assessed by Fellows present at the AGM.
Work for submission
You will be required to submit a minimum of three and a maximum of ten pieces of your work. They must be your own original pieces which reflect your personal direction. The only specific requirement (Rule 3 of the Rules of the Society) is that one must be a substantial piece of undecorated writing and there is more information about this below.
As a guide, the others might include work on vellum; a manuscript book or substantial part thereof; decoration, heraldry, drawing or illumination; raised and burnished gilding. But none of these are compulsory requirements.
The Fellows attending the election will be considering writing skills, knowledge and understanding of letter form, consistency, layout and design, use of space and balance of elements, sensitivity and suitability of chosen hands to subject matter, presentation and use of materials, skills in gilding and decoration (if included) and, importantly, the development of a personal direction.
Undecorated piece of writing
The undecorated piece of writing – one of the main requirements in a Fellowship submission – what is meant by this? What Fellows are looking for is the ability to do a sustained piece of writing in a formal script with a deep understanding of its related forms. Foundational, Italic, Carolingian or Uncials may be used for this piece and ‘undecorated’ means just that: no embellishment whatsoever.
Each of the Fellows of the SSI is an individual, with different areas of skill and interest, but all of them are capable of good formal writing.
List of SSI Fellows
Listed here are the current Fellows of the SSI in alphabetical order with their locations. To see details of those who are willing to accept commissions visit our Commissions page. Fellows willing to mentor potential applicants who wonder if their work is close to the standard required for Fellowship are identified below.
If you think you would like to apply for Fellowship, your first step should be to have a Fellow look at your work and advise you as to whether you are ready or if more work needs to be done before application. For details of Fellows who are willing to help potential applicants wondering if their work is close to the standard required for Fellowship or you are looking for a tutor for workshops, sessions or regular tuition, visit our Education page.
Whitley Bay, North Tyneside
Seaford, East Sussex
Hayling Island, Hampshire
Motueka, New Zealand
Brighton, East Sussex
Clapham Park, London
Chichester, West Sussex