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?