Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Funky Alphabet Fun - creating a fun calligraphy style

I've been slacking on the posts. Well, I guess I've been generally slacking at life! So, so busy. The kids were on spring break last week and I had to update the school site which took me WAYYY longer than I anticipated. Then I had to do my taxes which actually took me way less time than I thought!

Anyhow, I have become keenly aware my children are growing faster than you can say, "blink." My son in particular is pulling my heart strings lately as he is turning that corner where 8 melds to 9 and you can see the beginnings of a man in his lengthening neck. I find myself trying hard to remember moments of him at 4 or 5. I realized this is when my third was born and the full meaning of the words "middle child" actually makes me wince a little.

At the other end, my oldest (12) is now accompanying me to my calligraphy guild meetings. And this past weekend, she participated in her first workshop with me! This brings me great delight! :-) This workshop was a lot of fun and hosted by Fred, a guild leader and very talented lettering artist and teacher. It was appropriate Delainey's first class was for "funky, fun letters."

We created our own alphabets using a foundational ... well... foundation! :-) Then we added a variation of a thin line and a swirl. I added a little squiggle and a few dots to mine (see below). Delainey did a variation with straight lines. It was really fun and we accomplished a lot in a short time. I may turn mine into a font just for fun.

On our way home from the workshop, I asked Delainey if any of her 6th grade friends were interested in calligraphy. This was the age I began my adventures into the lettering arts. She said none of her friends are really interested in art like she is. This was a revelation for me as I had never stopped to think about someone not being interested in art. For me it's like breathing or eating or sleeping ... it's just there and always has been. I have always, since I can remember, loved art whether it be doing my own or admiring another's. But until that moment, it hadn't really occured to me it wasn't innate in everyone.

I've often tried to determine what it is about lettering that I just love and I've never been able to express it adequately or eloquently enough. I suppose it's the potential for beauty in something that is ordinary. Or that meaningful words become even more so when visually expressed. Or maybe it's just the swirl, or evenness, or even reliability of the shape of a beautiful letter ... the combination of lines straight and curved, the unexpected swoosh that graces the page. Whatever it is, it is definitely "my thing."

I've encouraged my children from birth to find "their thing." I've tried to gently kindle a love of art and learning although it has been a struggle. Whatever it may be though, I encourage them to go for it. For my dad, it's sports. He just loves sports and always has. I, on the other hand, don't enjoy them much. But we share in common a love for something that just endures. I hope I can foster in my children that love for a special thing. Something they love forever and ever. Something that makes them happy. Because they are the only thing that supercedes "my thing." :-)