It all started with an idea from Karlgeorg Hoefer for conveying the pleasure of calligraphy to a larger group of interested people with the intention of igniting the same enthusiasm he himself had experienced during contact with calligraphers in the USA.
But taking things in order: After finishing many years of lecturing at the University of Art and Design in Offenbach, Karlgeorg Hoefer took up an invitation from the American calligrapher, script and graphic designer and lecturer, Larry Brady, to give a calligraphy workshop in the United States, of which many more were to follow. This event impressed him very much and he decided to set up this type of workshop in Germany. Supported by his wife Maria, he founded the "Calligraphy Courses for Everyone" in Offenbach in 1982.

In 1987 the successful development of these calligraphy courses prompted Karlgeorg Hoefer together with twelve of his participants – who were affectionately known as his "Twelve Disciples", half of them women – to initiate the founding of the "Schreibwerkstatt Klingspor Offenbach, Society for the Promotion of International Calligraphy". As he emphasised at the foundation, "this is a society with the main objective of maintaining writing as a cultural asset, particularly with regard to calligraphy".

Karlgeorg Hoefer saw himself in the tradition of Rudolf Koch, the renowned type designer at the type foundry Klingspor Offenbach. He was one of the pioneers of expressive script writing to whom today's calligraphy owes much of its popularity. In addition, he felt a close association to the Klingspor Museum, the institution in Offenbach, which sought to preserve script as a cultural asset. All the more reason therefore to include the name Klingspor in the name of the society, almost as a matter of policy. Herta Klingspor, a relation of Karl Klingspor, the deceased owner of the type foundry, permitted Karlgeorg Hoefer to use the name and also became a member of the society right from the start.

Karlgeorg Hoefer was inspiring as a teacher, "because he was prepared to pass on his knowledge and ability without restriction," which is why everyone "who wanted to learn from him developed capabilities and skills, thereby providing a foundation for their own creative work." This enjoyment of script writing which he imparted was transferred to inspired calligraphers throughout Germany and closely located countries. It is no wonder therefore that Karlgeorg Hoefer's example led to numerous foundations of similar societies in Germany, Belgium and Holland, etc. "His open manner was like a magnetic field" which attracted numerous calligraphers from all over the world. They declared that they would like to teach as a lecturer for a weekend in Offenbach or even for a week to lead the summer schools which he started up. Consequently, in the course of a few years an extensive list of lecturers was formed who were distinguished in the world of calligraphy:

Marsha Brady, Larry Brady, Rick Cusick, Julian Waters, John Stevens, Suzanne Moore, Thomas Ingmire, Susan Skarsgard, Anna and Arne Wolf, Alan Blackman, Steven Skaggs, Laurie Doctor, Georgia Deaver and Carl Rohrs from the USA, Villu Toots (EST), Ewan Clayton (UK), Jean Larcher and Denise Lach (F), Brody Neuenschwander (B), André Gürtler (CH), Denis Brown (IRL), Monica Dengo (I), Jovica Veljovic (YU/D),Hans-Joachim Burgert (D), Gottfried Pott (D).

The complete range of courses offered by the Schreibwerkstatt Klingspor has now reached more than 300 calligraphy seminars. And the participation so far of more than 4500 calligraphers  from Germany and beyond is particularly impressive.
As a statutory requirement, the Schreibwerkstatt Klingspor Offenbach maintains an archive which was set up in 1993 in rent-free premises in the centre of Offenbach – thanks to the generosity of a member. When this property was sold, the archive moved to Offenbach-Rumpenheim, where former industrial premises were renovated primarily on our own initiative.

On the 8th February 2009 the archive was officially opened, which from that date has been known as the "Karlgeorg and Maria Hoefer Archive" in honour of the founder and his wife. This location has now developed into a regularly visited meeting point in which numerous exhibitions have already been held, honouring Karlgeorg Hoefer's companions and giving information about their contemporary work.
Weitere Fotos vom Archiv

It was on the 8th October 2000 that Karlgeorg Hoefer died aged 86, but his idea lives on. His legacy is now maintained and augmented by more than 240 members. The path he has opened up for us is full of adventure. We look optimistically to the future as we continue along this path together.

A place of honour for Karlgeorg and Maria Hoefer in the archive


Set in italics: Sigrid Hammon, text extracts from the annual publication of 2001 "Harmony between humankind and art" in memory of Karlgeorg Hoefer

Further extracts from the same article:
Symbol and script from Karlgeorg Hoefer with a citation from Rudolf Koch

"... A seeker, who allows himself to be led, putting his trust in divine graciousness which always gives him new energy for all the tasks to be undertaken by him in his life. ...
... The courses, which Karlgeorg Hoefer himself gave in the last years were not only instructive for all participants, but rather they were always a special experience. To see the master forming letters or free, animated characters with a steady hand gave pleasure to the work. ...
... He wanted to achieve the situation in which everyone  experienced enjoyment and success. He pointed out again and again that learning by seeing is important in obtaining letters with a good shape. ...
... The artistic variation in handwriting along with recognising and modifying the features in these scripts was one of his popular topics. ...
... He was always also an artist of his time who strived to try out modern possibilities. ...
(one of his citations: ... until the brush no longer writes with you, but rather you with it!)"



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Helga Schröder