In this previous post, I spoke about a renewed interest in our Celtic history and culture, my personal links with this, and how I’ll be introducing Celtic knotwork elements into my nature-inspired artworks.
I also mentioned calligraphy as part of this. Calligraphy is another hobby I followed keenly as a child – right into my 20s I’d create calligraphy and decorated lettering for friends and family, often to celebrate births and marriages.
I’m afraid that in the last 20 years, I’ve rather left that by the wayside as illnesses and adult responsibilities caught up with myself and my household. But now, as with Celtic knotwork, my calligraphy is something that I’m recommitting myself to and learning/re-learning calligraphic skills.
You might have seen my own personal project in the final sections of my Essential Drawing Skills course – this does actually stem from those early discoveries for the direction I, personally, wanted to explore in my own art journey.
The world is rather different now than when I was a child – and adult expectations are somewhat higher! Now, thankfully, there is a plethora of useful calligraphy resources available to help me practice and learn.
I’m following a calligraphy course and trying to practice my calligraphy daily, even if it’s just a few lines …I must remember to do my practice for today!
I’m starting with the Foundational Hand, also known as Bookhand. This is a calligraphic font based on the lettering of 10th century manuscripts - but developed by Edward Johnston in the early 20th century as part of the arts and crafts movement of the time.
‘Calligraphy’ means ‘beautiful writing’ from the Greek ‘kallos’ (beautiful) and ‘graphein’ (to write).
Calligraphy is considered a skilled art as well as a form of writing across the world, including India, East Asia, the Arab world and the West – and dates from around 500AD in its form of ink on paper.
It can be quite frustrating, at times, to learn how to hold the pen steady and at a consistent angle so that the letters come out smooth and the pen doesn’t scratch on the paper…
But I’m also remembering why I loved doing calligraphy when I was younger and what I’m craving for now… the imperative of taking it slowly and being intentional with your hand movements – a mindfulness and a physical connection to the pen and to the paper…
And a lovely way of taking life at a slower and more intentional pace. It’s so good to take this time out of our busy, busy world and just consciously slow everything right down, even if just for a little while.
It reminds us that it’s absolutely in our power to do so!
For now, I’m still enjoying the early stages of learning calligraphy – practising and building my skills. I think it will be a little while before you see much calligraphy included in my artwork – but it’s something I’m working towards and looking forward to updating you with my (slow!) progress!
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