A Is For… Alphabet


Alphabets are magical.  Before reading and writing became ubiquitous during the Renaissance, it was the province of specially-educated people, usually men, who spent their lives learning to be scribes.  The illuminated manuscripts they left behind are masterpieces of art, calligraphy, adornment, and design.

I learned calligraphy as a child and spent many years away from it.  I’ve recently rediscovered it and have been having a ball playing with it.  By “play,” I mean not taking it seriously.  I haven’t used my dip pens, nor pulled out any of my instruction books, nor worked with my calligrapher’s drawing table more than a couple times.  Instead, I’ve been doing the calligrapher’s equivalent of sketching – drawing designs on the page with quotes, or poems, or other things.

Quite by accident, I stumbled on something that I’ve been calling mandala; though, strictly speaking, it’s not really a mandala (the word in Sanskrit that means wheel).  My designs are usually square or diamond-shaped, and are composed of words rather than shapes.  But they are meditative, ask questions, or seek to answer something.  Take this image, for instance:  I was seeking what meant “home” to me, and trying to answer the question of “what makes a dwelling a home”.

What about you, Dear Reader?  What craft did you play with as a child or youngster that you either have already rediscovered now, or might want to play with again?


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