When the academic program in calligraphy ended at Reed in 1984, Palladino taught at the newly formed Liturgical Arts Center at Marylhurst and at Mt. Hood Community College, and worked for the Conception Abbey Press. He served as director of religious instruction at a parish near his home, and reluctantly turned down a position as curator for the Catich museum in Davenport. His expertise in letter form had expanded to include all Renaissance scripts, medieval black letter, early Latin majuscules, Hebrew, and Greek. Along with three of Reynolds’s students, Palladino introduced calligraphy into the public school curriculum.

“I taught letter form, so that they would know how to write, and then I taught them: whenever you write, write something worth reading,” Palladino says of his years of teaching. Calligraphy in its highest form, he asserts, is not about making a picture, but rather making a presentation worthy of powerful words.

In 1995, years after his wife died, Palladino returned to the priesthood. Today art and music remain vital to his parish work. As a liturgical artist, he has designed a variety of pieces for church buildings, including a bell tower, a lectern, sacristy lights, and candle holders. His calligraphy appears on letterhead, signage, a processional cross, and in an icon painting. He sings the Latin mass with Cantores in Ecclesia and occasionally serves as guest conductor for the choir.

In his studio at home, two drawing tables stand at right angles to one another—his and Lloyd Reynolds’s—displaying projects in various stages of preparation. A stone-cutting table designed and built by his son, a light table, and Reynolds’s old paper cabinet housing Palladino’s collection of antique manuscripts, parchment, and handmade paper, and the letter form sheets for his book in progress, Scriptio Occidentalis: The Handwriting of The Western World, fill the room. Covering every available space are books and music, pens, brushes, quills, ink, and paint. Catich’s carved Roman letters are displayed above the living room mantle. Framed and unframed calligraphy adorns the walls of all rooms of the house and greets visitors at the mailbox by the gate.

At reunions this June Palladino gave a lecture on the unique nature of Reed’s calligraphy program, and demonstrated Roman letter forms using a brush. He says that Reynolds felt that Mozart’s symphony no. 41 was in harmony with the rhythm required for writing italic letters. Catich, a professional musician, required silence. For his demonstration, Palladino chose music by Beethoven, but he has created letter forms in nearly every setting—from monastic silence to classrooms with students of all ages, and even amidst the bleating of sheep. What he hears clearly, no matter the distraction, is the music of the words, and those he expresses with a style that holds its own in the vast field of calligraphy. End of Article


Laurie Lindquist is the news and publications assistant and class notes editor at Reed.