Ever since I was little, I’ve always been drawn to calligraphy.
I first learned about it from my cousin in the US who had his own set of calligraphy pens–a Schaeffer with 3 nibs and attachable ink. He used it to create such beautiful handwriting in his journal. Or sometimes he’d use it to write letters to his mom, or to our grandparents. The envelopes would sometimes be addressed in calligraphy as well. I remember being so entranced by the writing, by seeing how it could be transformed into one that flowed and curled and flourished…*sigh* quite romantic, if you think about it :). I knew I just had to get my own set of calligraphy pens, and learn this craft.
Photo from eBay
That summer, I ended up buying exactly the same set as my cousin’s :). Haha! I remember how excited I was to open the box, and to put my new pen to use :). I recall studying the little booklet it came with intently, trying to remember the way to hold my pen, angle the nib, and the steps on how to do the various letters of the alphabet. And the first time I put my pen to paper and saw the flowy colored ink strokes –it was like magic! Am I sounding just a bit geeky right now? Hahaha! I kid you not, calligraphy really does this to me–it makes me feel warm and fuzzy and all kinds of excited! Hahaha!
I was so excited that I used to practice really often until I got pretty good at it. I’m not talking expert levels here, but good enough that my calligraphy almost looked like the one in the Schaeffer instruction book already! Hahaha! Again, my disclaimer is that it was actually a very simple font–without the flourishes–so it was easy naman to master :). And I’ve always had pretty nice handwriting so that also made it easier for me :). But anyway, I got pretty good at doing calligraphy that even at a young age, my parents would already ask me to do the calligraphy for their party invitations! 🙂 I would also get requests from relatives to write names on gift tags, in books, to make signages, etc. etc. If only I had seen the commercial value of my skill then. Hahaha! ;p
From my Schaeffer set I graduated to a Speedball. At that time, I thought I was pretty hardcore already. Haha! Not only did the set come with so many different types of nibs, but the ink was bottled–as in you had to dip your nib into it. Quite different from the the Schaeffer nibs I was used to wherein you had to attach the ink to the nib. These Speedballs had such an “old school” vibe to it. Hahaha! All it needed was a plume attached to the end of the pen! 🙂 Everytime I used it, I always felt like such an expert 🙂 Even the booklet it came with had ten times the amount of fonts than the Schaeffer book. And these were not just your simple Chancery fonts. These were the really complicated ones–like the type you’d see on diplomas or really old certificates :).
Photos from eBay
It’s too bad that I never really pursued calligraphy as I got older. Life and other interests somehow got in the way. But I never lost the skill as I would still get requests once in a while to hand write on invitations (I did my own calligraphy for my wedding :)). I guess I just didn’t practice as much as I needed to. Calligraphy is the type of craft that really needs a lot of disciplined practice. I guess it has something to do with training your hand, and familiarizing it with the various strokes and flourishes :).
It is so nice to see calligraphy making a comeback nowadays, and in a big way too! In fact, for such an old craft, it seems to be having its revival amongst the younger set, which is a pleasant surprise for me, given the tech-y age that we are in :).
Last week, I actually attended a Scribble Workshop, hosted by Ms. Ink Scribbler herself, Alexis Ventura. Formerly a brand manager at L’Oreal, she quit her job to do calligraphy full time! *Sigh*. Don’t I wish. Hahaha!
The workshop was held in a photography studio on the 5th floor of the Vasquez Madrigal Building on Annapolis Street. Since I got to the venue early (I was the first), I got to chat with Alexis a bit, ask her some questions, and look at her collection of nibs, before the other participants started trickling in :).
My intention for joining the workshop was really to learn the basics of calligraphy, especially the free-hand style–my biggest frustration. Because I’d been used to doing a very “structured” font, and am very OC about my loops and curls, free-hand has always been a struggle for me.
Here were our “tools” for the day…
We started off with some rules, some basics, and practice sheets…
…then at the end of the workshop, we were asked to write out our own favorite quotes!
I still have a lot of practicing to do, but I’m pretty happy with the results! 🙂
To be honest, I didn’t realize how difficult it was to do calligraphy with an actual, proper nib–writing with my Schaeffer one is a piece of cake compared to this! And my past experience didn’t prepare me at all for this workshop–I practically had to “unlearn” everything I taught myself before!
It was challenging, but a LOT of fun, though :). And despite the hand and finger cramping, I felt so relaxed and “lost in my own world” that afternoon. Definitely, this was a weekend afternoon that was well spent :). I only felt the teensiest bit guilty not spending it with the H and the little one :). Hahaha!
For those of you who want to learn or are interested in calligraphy, I highly recommend this beginner’s workshop :). Not only was it a lot of fun and personally fulfilling for me, but it was nice to meet other calligraphy enthusiasts as well :). Alexis is also very engaging, friendly, and patient in teaching her “students”.
To know more about the Scribble Workshop, follow Alexis on Instagram at @inkscribbler, like her on FB at facebook.com/inkscribbler, or go to her website, http://www.inkscribbler.com, for schedules and details :).