At 3 years of age Keiko Shimoda begun to learn Japanese Calligraphy and showing early promise was taught by a long serving member of the Kobe Sasanami Kai for many years. Her outstanding talent won her some important national awards from an early age.
She first saw beautiful and ancient hand written manuscripts at the British Museum while travelling to the UK in 1995, that motivated her to study Western Calligraphy. After studying for a further 5 years in Kobe, in 2001 she decided to take the opportunity to become an intern at Kirsten Burke studio in Greenwich, London. (www.kirstenburke.co.uk) After a year, she was invited to become a professional and a member of the design team. In 2003, the studio launched Mandalay, a new wedding stationery business, (www.mandalybride.co.uk) and she became established as assistant designer.
She is a keen member of South London Lettering Association (SLLA) and has shown her works at every SLLA's annual exhibition. Her creations can combine art works and her outstanding calligraphy skills. A speciality and enthusiasm for mixing Japanese and Western calligraphy to create unique and genuine works has been commented on as remarkable.
She is also known for her commercial commissions, including one with Blue Frog Publishing. Her greeting card designs can be seen in many high street and respected stationery shops.
Emi Sato Gordon
When Emi read an article about Yumi Toyama, who is an eminent western calligrapher in Japan, she was impressed and started studying western calligraphy at an evening class in Tokyo in 1995. Emi had been enjoying it as a hobby until she took a Thomas Ingmire's workshop in 1996. She was deeply inspired by his teaching and decided to study western calligraphy seriously.
After 2 years preparation, she moved to London. Emi started the BA calligraphy course at University of Surrey Roehampton (now Roehampton University) 1998. After she graduated in 2001, she moved onto letter cutting. She took an apprenticeship at Cardozo Kindersley workshop in Cambridge from 2002. Emi qualified successfully and then stayed in the workshop until 2006. She also took ATS (Advanced Training Scheme) course which is organised by SSI (The Society of Scribes and Illuminators) from 2001 to 2004.