I waffled on whether to do the A-Z on my craft blog, because I’m already doing it elsewhere. But I already went out and took half the photographs for my idea, so I decided what the heck, I’m gonna throw my hat in the ring.
So here’s what I’m doing:
The A To Z of the Natural World – Finding Letterforms in Nature
Inspired by calligrapher Margaret Shepherd’s blog, I decided to take a different tack – rather than look for human-made letters around my neighborhood, I am looking for letter shapes in the natural forms made by botanicals and objects in the built environment. Over the next month, I’ll share with you my discoveries, beginning with today: A In a Tree.
Before the printing press, there were pens and paper. The art of calligraphy is from the Greek, Kallos graphos, or beautiful writing. Like the printing press, there’s an ancient history of calligraphy in Asia, and it’s even tied to meditation practices.
I discovered calligraphy when I was about ten years old, when one of my classmates’ handwriting caught my eye. She wrote so beautifully, letters that were even and round on the page. I studied her writing for four years, endeavoring to copy it. I finally succeeded and, in the process, discovered the art of calligraphy. The Scheaffer calligraphy set that I was given as a gift opened a new world to me.
Despite becoming good at it, I dropped its pursuit in college due to family opinion that I should focus on college and the necessity of making a living. About eighteen months ago, I re-discovered the art. The technology in felt-tipped pens is much better than when I was young. In particular, my favorite is the Zig brand double-tipped pen. I found a set of six of them and played for a few months, before buying one of each of the colors available.
What about you, Dear Reader?
What art did you play with as a child that you have picked up, or might like to, as an adult?
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?
Inspired by Calligrapher Margaret Shepherd’s daily calligraphy blog, and her entry #223 Celtic Color and Line, I drew this up for our family’s dinner celebration today. In honor of J.R.R. Tolkien’s characters, we’re even having elevenses and afternoon tea!
Happy Autumnal Equinox for those of you above the equator and Happy Spring for those of you below it. May your cup runneth over and your nylons wear without runs, may your internet be hiccup free and your stove hoods avoid birds (long story, that).
There is something magical about using a calligraphy pen. We see the nib, and the paper, and the quality of the writing is changed, elevated.
I haven’t been practicing lately, for whatever reason. Today, while reading Week 6 of FINDING WATER by Julia Cameron, I thumbed through the chapters I’d already read and came across the quote above. I decided to play with the size of the words and my gosh if it didn’t turn out pretty spiffy!