I've spent the past week trying to buckle down and just create. It started with the best intentions and lots of determination. But then I realized that I should probably first organize my studio and supplies better, and I bought a bookshelf and tidied all of Sunday. And then, I thought that C & I should build a fort in our living room (oh, yes, this happened, and it was glorious). And THEN, I thought I should get in touch with everyone I know for a catch up. Phew. It's been a busy week.
Hard to believe, but I actually also ended up doing a lot of carving for a linocut I'm working on, some custom orders for calligraphy, and a lot of calligraphy practising and learning. I've been hooked on Eleanor Winters' 'Mastering Copperplate Calligraphy' ever since I got it for Christmas. Every time I pick up the book, I'm itching to get my nibs and inks out to try all her amazing suggestions! She makes it all look so darn easy!
If you're thinking of starting up a new hobby (once you've got the basics covered, calligraphy can be incredibly meditative and relaxing! really!), this book is a great starter with lots of helpful tips.
I had previously mostly relied on free online tutorials on the IAMPETH website (explained more below), which are also amazing! There's tons of great stuff - practice sheets, lesson plans, tips. I also stumbled upon Skillshare, which was a godsend! It's an membership site with online classes that you can take at your own pace. The site covers so many different topics (design, photography, calligraphy, entrepreneaurship....)- I learned all my basic knowledge of photoshop, illustrator, and lightroom from here. I also took some calligraphy classes on there, which was great! I need to treat myself to a class on there soon.....
As with every hobby/new obsession, I wondered how many other calligraphers were out there and if there was some sort of 'group' I could join (this might have been another attempt at procrastination...yes, likely). There aren't a lot of resources in Toronto. So I had to dig a little deeper- and found a lot of international organizations based out of the US. IAMPETH ("The international association of master penmen, engrossers, and teachers of handwriting"...that's a mouthful!) feels to me like the harvard of calligraphy associations, but hey, there's no prereq to join! They have an annual convention with calligraphy classes and talks (which feels like summer camp to me!!)- I hope I make it this year! I also started following a bunch of calligraphers on instagram, which then led me to a forum for calligraphers. It's called 'Flourish Forum', and it's seriously amazing, filled with really really talented folks who share ideas, tips and encouragement.
I wasn't sure where my creative journey over the past two years would lead me, but I'm pretty happy that it includes a lot of calligraphy. I guess I shouldn't be too surprised that it worked out this way since I've been dabbling at it and lettering (like an amateur, now I know) for years. Still, it's a nice feeling to be able to finally produce work that I've only previously dreamed about. :)
Peek at two custom works I did this month: