Die Letterhuis Studio and Calligrapher Heleen de Haas

In nat ink letters word ons harte blootgelê.  In vaardige letterpatrone word ons Afrika en Westerse herkoms se samesmelting verklap.  Letters laat woorde lewe – dis ‘n soms ernstige en soms speelse weergawe van ons gisters, die neerpen van vandag vir môre se môres.  As kalligraaf is my grootste vreugde om te sien hoe letterlyne ‘praat, om ander te laat deel in die letterliefde, om saam met ander kunstenaars te werk en saam ons passies op dieselfde kunswerk uit te leef – pure vreugde!


Calligraphy is a lifestyle – it is dipping your pen into your heart, it is taking letters out of books and frames into everyday life, it is disciplined freedom.  Doing pen dances with pens made out of Cola cans and pointed brushes, making the ink sing, thrills me. Reflecting my African and Western heritage in letter patterns and interpreting emotions with lines, good design, teaching, to leave beautifully written blessings in unexpected places for strangers – these are the things that bring me joy calligraphically.


Heleen de Haas is a South African calligrapher and letter artist who has been teaching since 1984.


Her work has been published internationally and has been exhibited both in Europe and nationally.  Her portfolio also includes citations for the late President Nelson Mandela and Govan Mbeki.


Heleen presents 2 to 5 day calligraphy and related art workshops both nationally and  in the Karoo at Die Letterhuis Studio on their farm Aswater close to Prince Albert.


Om kalligrafie te doen is ‘n leefwyse van binne mooi deel…Soms skryf ons in ‘n leesbare styl om ander se mooi uit te beeld-ander kere dans ons pen in letterpatrone.  Die kursusse is ontwerp vir beginners en nie –beginners. Ons eksperimenteer, ontdek weer ons eie kreatiwiteit, raak bewus van wat gebeur in ons as ons skryf, vors na hoe ander letterliefhebbers lank voor ons hul letters gevorm het, leer in klip kap en haal net vir ‘n kort rukkie stadiger asem in die Godsmooi  Karoo.
Calligraphy is a lifestyle-it is dipping your pen into your heart, it s taking letters out of books and frames into everyday life, it is ‘disciplined freedom’. The courses are aimed at beginners and non beginners alike and you are invited to enjoy the beautiful and varied world of  letters in different forms and materials-at times studying historical manuscripts, carving into stone, drawing the flight of the swallow, doing pointed brush dances and just for a short while, live life slower in the beautiful Karoo.


Visitors to the area are most welcome to come and visit the studio on open days, view the original calligraphic art by international calligraphers, browse through the library, have a look at Die Letterhuis – which is an installation in its own right, the walks, the stone routes or the land art.


The Land art forms part of GNAP –  The Global Nomadic Art Project which was hosted on the farm during September 2016.


More visual material on instagram#StoriesOfRain#gnap2016#SouthAfrica



Courses and Workshops


'It's gotta have soul'

Calligraphy for artists
Fri & Sat 27&28 January 2017
14:00-17:00 & 09:00-16:00
A course designed for students and artists who have never done calligraphy and those who are non beginners. An alternative name could have been ‘prison break’ Our right brain is often held captive by either our left brain or our own performance requirements. Having the courage to be real and authentic while creating in a non threatening environment is a way of giving your work soul. This is a one and a half day Calligraphy workshop for artists who wish to incorporate lettering in their art and also for calligraphers who wish to have a more spontaneous approach to their work and specifically their italic.
Course fee R600 (excl accommodation) (Max 6-7 students) Receipt of 50% deposit date: 14 January 2017

'Italic with soul'

Mon & Tue 30&31 January 2017
A course designed for students who wish to do calligraphy from the heart. Where ‘Its gotta have soul’ focussed on incorporating the right brain and emotions into your writing we now continue the journey with the left brain as our companion. This course is suitable for both beginners and non-beginners. If at all possible and if you have not yet done so, please consider also doing the ‘Its gotta have soul’ course which precedes this one
Course fee R800(excl accommodation) (Max 6-7 students) Receipt of 50% deposit date: 14/1/2017

Workshop for prophetic artists

17 & 18 February 2017
14:00-17:00 & 09:00-17:00
Level of calligraphy: complete beginner +
Incorporating the Word into your work in a creative way will be the focus of this workshop. Artists are welcome to bring their own work for discussion.
Course fee R600 (excl accommodation) (Max 6 students) Receipt of 50% deposit date: 1/2/2017


Sat 18 March and Monday 20 & 21 March 2017
Day 1 Introduction to the strokes that make up gothic
Day 2 Rhythmic and not-so-rhythmic pattern marches
Day 3 Introducing colour and design Koch-style
Rudolph Koch is certainly one of the most highly regarded Gothic masters. In this course we will trace his roots to Germany, but our focus will be on creating texture with the pen –using thick, heavy weight lines as well as elegant lighter weight strokes The gothic course will be suitable for both beginners and non beginners alike. Textile designers, calligraphers and potters will find this course valuable. Course fee R1200 (excl accommodation)

Asemic semantics

16&17 June 2016
Asemic means no specific semantic content. In this workshop we will explore written patterns and its endless possible hidden semantics. This course should interest artists, textile designers, potters and lettering artists alike
Cost R1000 (excl accommodation) Venue Die Letterhuis Studio
A course on asemic writing will also be presented by Leesette Turner and Heleen The Cape Town venue and date will be confirmed

Accommodation for workshop students –


Students wishing to stay in the Old Bloemendal Opstal with us will be most welcome and can do so at sharing student rates which include a light brunch and supper.  Please enquire about rates.


Alternatively, if they are available, Die Ou Waenhuis and Die Letterhuis on the farm also offers accommodation.



Events on the farm

Biblical feasts’route walk about
Monday 17 October, Wednesday 19 October 2016
Please wear comfortable walking shoes
Open day on farm to view routes, stone carvings and calligraphy
1 November 2016, 4 January 2017, 3 February 2017, 24 March 2016
Please book at least 3 days in advance
To book please contact Heleen 0833255757 /heleen@calligraphy.za.net
Heleen de Haas
Email – heleen@calligraphy.za.net

Phone – 083 3255 757

Website – letterhuis.wixsite.com/letterhuis


The farm Aswater lies 35 km from Prince Albert on the R407 towards Klaarstroom.