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ALL Inscription Cutting Workshop 2023 

The Art Legacy League (ALL) will hold its second annual slate inscription cutting workshop in July 2023. This in-person class will take place at the ALL studio, 1225 E. River Drive in Davenport, Iowa. The students will be required to be unmasked while working. All levels of experience are welcome to attend. One copy of Father E.M. Catich’s guide to slate inscription cutting will be provided for each student. Your instructors will be experienced letter carvers Paul Herrera and Amy Nielsen who will guide your every step through the process as needed. 

Morning refreshments will be provided. Coffee or tea is available all day. Lunch (half hour) will be on your own. You may choose to bring a lunch, go out, or take away from any one of several small restaurants nearby. 

The Art Legacy League will provide your first letter-sized (8 1/2" x 11") stone with additional, similar sized pieces available for $10 each. Larger pieces may cost more. All other tools required (brushes, paint, mallet & chisel) for use during the course will be provided or bring your own if you prefer. Some tools will be available for sale. 

$400  - 4 days - July 19 thru 22, 2023 

30 hours (9:00 – 4:30 every day) 

Be prepared with your layout or finalize your image on the morning of the first day. You should have time to complete at least one finished, colorized inscription. 

This workshop is limited to 10 students. 

Housing accommodations are at the student’s expense. The ALL can provide a list of local possibilities upon request.


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The next International conference, hosted by the Chicago Calligraphy Collective, will be held at
St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa!


Rich Man, Poor Man, Priest

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100% of the funds raised by the sale of this book go to support the Art Legacy League. Thank you for your interest and support.

The Art Legacy League is happy to announce that the story of Father Catich’s life, RICH MAN, POOR MAN, PRIEST by Paul P. Herrera, has been published and is now for sale and available for your enjoyment.


The letter-sized perfect-bound book explores the interesting facets of Father Catich's life beyond his well-known reputation as an artist, scholar, and priest. You can follow young “Ned” Catich’s journey from his Spartan existence as a 12-year old orphaned Montana boy with little else but his wits and determination, into a full-grown musician, author, publisher, lecturer, and messenger of faith.

This printing of this beautiful book was generously donated by Father’s former altar boy, Greg Evans of Evans Print and Media Group in Sparta, Wisconsin. Greg is the latest generation of the professional print and media family Father befriended while serving Sunday mass in Atkinson, Illinois.

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The book is currently available for $40 per copy. The Art Legacy League accepts PayPal, VENMO or personal checks addressed to:

Art Legacy League

1225 E. River Drive, #201

Davenport, Iowa 52803

Text 309-236-2139 to make an appointment and pick up your copy.

Greetings! from ALL Board Chairman, Amy Nielsen

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2021 has certainly given us all challenges hasn't it? I hope wherever this finds you, you are well in mind and body and enjoying art in many different ways.

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With mask on, I continued to teach various classes including at the Art Legacy League and at the FIGGE Art Museum in Davenport, Iowa. I enjoyed the opportunity to teach a FINGER PAINTING class at the Rock Island Botanical Center to Cancer patients and survivors.  Paul Herrera and I taught several Calligraphy/Catich History classes at St. Ambrose University as well. What a wonderful opportunity to talk to the current students attending the University where Father Catich lived and worked about all that he has done for the world. 

Under the tutelage of internationally known Brush Writer and Inscription Cutter, Paul Herrera CSM, my work as an inscription cutter is going quite well. Sales of my pieces along with commissions for special gifts continue to come in. Take a look at my website to see what I'm cutting right now: 

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2022 is going to be a GREAT year full of a variety of art classes and seminars, including calligraphy and stone cutting at the Art Legacy League location. I will continue to teach FINGER PAINTING classes at the FIGGE. Look for the next class soon.


Thank you for visiting this site and being interested in what I'm doing. Take care and be happy!

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The Half Scale Trajan Inscription in Slate

By Paul P. Herrera

The beautifully proportioned letters of the classic Roman alphabet are best exemplified in the inscription cut in a marble slab at the base of the Trajan Column erected in Rome A. D. 113. Father Edward M. Catich is widely regarded as the world’s foremost authority of that inscription having made multiple rubbings from the monument and published two major books detailing the Trajan letters and how their images were written with a brush before incising. That process is explained in his book, The Origin of the Serif, 1968. Then there is Father Catich’s one-piece, full-sized cast taken directly from the monument in Rome which is believed to be the most accurate replica now in existence.

I am very familiar with Father Catich’s work in stone, having been his principal cutter during his final years. Most of our commissioned work involved Imperial Roman letterforms cut in slate. All of that experience led me to a project that has been on my mind for quite some time. It seemed natural for me to take on the challenge of cutting a half-scale replica of the Trajan Inscription in slate. Of course, I used Father Catich's documented research as the source for my piece.


I started by reducing his drawings from the portfolio in his book Letters Redrawn from the Trajan Inscription, 1961. Those letters were traced from the rubbings he made directly from the monument in Rome. I then measured the space between the six lines from his full-sized partial cast at St. Ambrose University and reduced those measurements by 50 percent. Another essential reference was to take his photograph (Plate 70) from Letters Redrawn and enlarge it to the size I needed. That provided me with the proper layout for the lettering. Finally, I used a drawing of his that does not appear in Letters Redrawn to fill in the missing letters at the center bottom of the Trajan Inscription image. In summary: I went to the best source and took the most care to create this half-scale replica.


The finished piece is black slate. The letters are gilt in 23 karat gold leaf. Black slate and gold are the most common elements that Father and I used in our work. That is why I chose them for this piece.


My finished slate measures 25 1/4 inches in height by 57 5/8 inches wide by approximately 1/4 inch thick and sits in a black oak frame. It now resides on the classroom wall of the Letterform Archive in San Francisco, CA

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Above, Paul Herrera with his finished piece. Below, Father Catich and associates created rubbings of the letters carved on the Trajan Column in Rome. 

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Work by Rev. E.M. Catich

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Donnelley 4 (2)
book 1
A 01
CBC 202
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Father Catich writing
Father Catich lecturing
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