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Bijan FerdowsiMr. Bijan Ferdowsi
A life-long Bahá'í, Bijan Ferdowsi was born in Iran, in December, 1944. He was interested in the art of Persian calligraphy from a young age. He recalls taking informal lessons in lettering (mashgh) from his father. An incident in the first day of grade school reinforced and encouraged his quest for pursuing calligraphy. "My teacher saw my writing with an astonished look and wondered if I had written it myself. When I nodded in the affirmative, he took me to the principal’s office who repeated the question. After they were convinced that the work was mine, they took me from classroom to classroom showing my calligraphy to the teachers and students throughout the school."

As a teenager, while going through his normal schooling, Bijan attended art summer camps to feed his passion and hone his natural skills in Persian miniature painting, calligraphy, and the parallel yet complementary art of illumination.

Bijan graduated from the Pahlavi University in Shiraz, Iran, achieving a Master of Science degree in Civil Engineering in 1969. During his university years, he participated in many intramural art competitions winning national recognition. He completed a year-long internship under the famed American archaeologist and historian of Persian art, Arthur Upham Pope. His assignment was to survey historic landmarks and mosques of Isfahan. In the process, Bijan documented, studied and replicated countless Kufic calligraphy inscriptions in the grand mosques. Professionally, he was the project manager for the Contemporary Art Museum in Tehran as well as the famed Sadegh Hedayat Cultural Center.

As a self-taught calligraphist, Bijan had never received formal training. During the early years of the Iranian Revolution, he decided to pursue his art professionally. He entered the Iranian Society of Calligraphers and studied under the master calligrapher, Ostad Yadollah Kaboli. "After he saw my work, he offered to tutor me individually. I took a total of 19 lessons from him. And that was the beginning of a lifelong friendship and collaboration." Bijan believes that the Persian style of calligraphy known as Shekasteh Nasta’līq (literarily "broken Nasta’līq") is the most beautiful of all calligraphic styles. He further believes that the art of calligraphy is the most mystical and spiritual of all arts, "because the subject of this art has always been either poetry or sacred texts."

Michael HugheyMr. Michael Hughey
Michael Hughey has been both a Bahá'í and a creative artisan for over 40 years. Graphic symbols and beautiful letters have fascinated him since childhood. He has university degrees in chemistry, art & design, and has done graduate work in letterforms.

Years of teaching and professional graphic work as well as private studies with international lettering artists & designers from the U.S., Great Britain, and Germany have enriched his artistry. He considers teaching and sharing his craft to be a most valuable laboratory for continual learning.

He is a co-founder of the Society for Calligraphy in Los Angeles, one of the largest and most active of U.S calligraphy organizations. Mr. Hughey is also the founder of the Carolina Lettering Arts Society, celebrating 30 years in 2011. He has been an active member of the nation's second oldest craft guild, the Southern Highland Craft Guild, since 1982 and was awarded a Life Membership in 2001 and the Roll of Honor in 2008. He was an officer and a member of the Board of Directors of HandMade in America, Inc. from 1998 to 2006.

Mr. Hughey's work may be seen in a number of publications, including: Lettering Arts, Marbled Designs, Modern Scribes and Lettering Artists, Visible Language, Calligraphy Review, Brilliant Star Magazine, Shuttle, Spindle & Dyepot, Handmade Magazine, the Calligraphers' Engagement Calendar series, Letter Arts Review, and several notable private press publications.

A list of collections containing his work comprises both public and private institutions. A few from that list are The Portland Art Museum, Portland, Oregon; University of North Carolina, Greensboro, NC, Jackson Library Special Collections; The Folk Art Center, Permanent Collection, Asheville, NC; the Art Institute of Charlotte, Charlotte, NC; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY; and the Bahá'í World Centre, Haifa, Israel.

Michael feels strongly that, in an age of high technology, "...there is, indeed, an important place in human society for the warmth, beauty, and grace that calligraphy can bring to our lives."

It is the hope of the artists, Mr. Bijan Ferdowsi and Mr. Michael Hughey, that reflecting on this remembrance of the Manifestations of God, we will all be encouraged to increase our efforts and expand our resources to hasten the building of God's Kingdom on earth.

A short video, Pen of Glory, produced by Mr. Andrew B. Newell, demonstrating Bijan Ferdowsi's art of calligraphy: