American Artist Unveils in Prague 2-Year Art Project “Czech Flower Alphabet”

On 14 June, American artist and calligrapher, Susan Loy, will unveil a watercolor painting, so detailed that it took her two years to complete; the painting, titled Czech Flower Alphabet, commemorates Norbert F. Čapek and the Flower Celebration that he introduced to Czech Unitarians in June 1923.

Loy will present the painting at the annual Flower Celebration in the newly remodeled Čapek Hall in the Unitaria on Anenská in Prague 1.

This event is the culmination of a week-long series of videos to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Čapek’s 3 June birthday.

A video, “Flower Connections: An Interview with Calligrapher Susan Loy,” will premier on 12 June and can be viewed via the Czech Unitaria website and later directly on YouTube.

Susan Loy

canThe 15-minute video records an interview of Susan Loy in her Prague studio, conducted by art historian, Jana Ticha. The interview covers Loy’s connection to Čapek’s Flower Celebration, the research that she conducted in order to plan the watercolor painting, and the technique she used to create the painting.

Loy’s 56 x 56 cm watercolor painting includes a Czech flower alphabet, a wreath of thirty-one flower species common to the Czech Republic. Each flower is identified by its Czech common name, its Latin name, and its English common name.

The painting includes the first stanza of Čapek’s hymn, “Kindle the flames of love,” hand-lettered in English and in Czech, which surrounds a large sunflower, a traditional symbol for Czech Unitarians.

The unifying motif in the wreath and border are the leaves and flowers of Tilia cordata, small-leaved linden or lime, the national tree of the Czech Republic.

Susan Loy moved to Prague in April 2018 with her husband, Ron Ayers, and two dogs, Miss Lilly and Rocky, with a long-stay cultural visa sponsored by the Czech Unitaria.

Loy founded Literary Calligraphy® in 1983, and Ayers joined the company in 1990. Loy is known in the United States for serving as “Artist on the Lawn” at the 1998 White House Easter Egg Roll in Washington, D.C., and subsequently creating a poster featuring White House flowers.

Her book, Flowers, the Angels’ Alphabet, is a standard reference for floral dictionaries and the Victorian Language of Flowers.

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