Local artist has calligraphy down to a 'T'

Bil Bowden

Judy Orcutt has hand-printed thousands of documents in the past three decades. She refined her calligraphy skills and added another touch of artistry with press-dried flowers with QuilliGraphy. Now, Orcutt has gone a step farther using the digital world.

Introducing 4 Sentimental Reasons' scanography, or scanning art made of flowers. A sort of 3-D effect.

Orcutt works from her Spring Garden Township home, although she doesn't consider it work. She is still a licensed pharmacist and practiced until a few years ago.

"I would rather people like my work and want to buy it because they like it," she says, "rather than need it. And there's less stress doing this."  As her art hours increased, her pharmacy hours decreased.

She knows of no one else with her style, and apparently, there are few others in the world. She has sold her world on line to buyers in Australia, who praised her artistry. She sells to a wholesaler in California regularly. Locally, her work is sold at Nefra, Sunrise Soap, and the Gardener of the Owl Valley.

Orcutt took her first calligraphy class at the York YWCA from Patty Zimmerman and attended a few more classes from world-class calligraphers in Baltimore. Then began filling of her art study with pens, glue, ink, paper, cutters, tape, rulers, books and whatever else she could use to improve her art.

She uses dip pens, makes her own colored ink to coordinate with the flowers to be used and is very specific about the paper that accepts her pen. Books illustrate the alphabets she uses, and she generally stays with four favorites.

But while she would rather not invent her own alphabet, Orcutt loves to study and design custom jobs.

"I'm willing to step outside my box," she says. "People who come to me have seen my work and like it, but we'll try something new if the customer asks."

She prints wedding party invitations, graduation invitations, graduation diplomas, memorials and logos. And while most would call her calligraphy art, she doesn't see herself as a 'fine artist. More of a folk artist, I'd say."

But Orcutt isn't done looking for new adventures. Next to be launched is a project aimed at pet memorials, where she'll combine printing and photos so owners can remember Ruff or Tabby.

All her work grew from a rather unusual but humorous idea. Initially, businesses wanted to contact customers with past-due accounts, but didn't want to offend them. Orcutt would print out a card with artwork, and write a short poem to remind the customers about the late payments. A little humor, she thought.

That didn't work out, but Orcutt is keeping busy  printing, scanning and drawing anyway.