Who doesn’t love handlettering and calligraphy?! While we cannot say we can get behind each and every trend, this trend is definitely something we wanted to learn more about! There is such appreciation for beautiful, hand done script, seen on everything from wedding invitations to clothing to posters and prints. So in the spirit of trying new things like we do with our Fitness First series, we decided we wanted to learn calligraphy.
After a bit of research, we found pointed pen calligraphy workshops from Meant To Be Calligraphy, and had a great first impression. The website is beautiful – easy to navigate and beautifully designed – and the work that decorates the pages made by the owner Michele is just stunning. Michele offers a 3.5 hour intensive workshop on various weekends throughout the year. She keeps the classes small so you get 1:1 attention which is so helpful for newbies. She also takes care of the supplies – all you have to do is show up! We thought to ourselves, this is the class for us. We didn’t have to pretend we knew what we were talking about at the art store trying to get supplies we didn’t know how to use, nor did we have dedicate a certain evening for the next few months to do a traditional calligraphy class. So, we booked our spots!
And we are so glad we did! We just cannot say enough good things about the pointed pen calligraphy workshop. Our goal of the class was simple – we wanted to walk away feeling like we learned some of the basics of calligraphy so we could potential practice on our own (assuming we liked it) and add a little calligraphy to things for our blog. Goal accomplished! It was obvious that Michele not only loves what she does, but really wants to help you learn how to do it! She has a great structure to the class that allows you to first get comfortable with the pen and the ink before even trying to make a letter. She balances time for individual practice with time for instruction, where she would show us how to do certain letters/characters. We were quite surprised when she told us we only had 5 minutes left!
Michele is funny, approachable and so encouraging. One student was lamenting that her work wasn’t as good as Michele’s and Michele responded, “And you just picked up the pen less than two hours ago, right? Give yourself some grace.” She also reminded us to breathe at one point, since we were all working so hard! Such great lessons to remember when you are trying something new. You won’t be the best. You will need to practice. But you showed up, and that is the perfect place to start! You will get to where you want to be in whatever activity you are working on, but it will take time, and there is no point in beating yourself up in the process.
Michele was kind enough to answer a few questions for us so we can share a little more about her with all of you!
What is your favorite letter, and favorite word to write in calligraphy?
My favorite letter to write is capital K. I love the playful ribbons of ink that comprise the right side of that letter. I don’t have a favorite word, but I especially like writing words that contain lots of ascenders and descenders and all opportunities to pair two S’s in a row.
When and how did you first get into calligraphy?
My father was a professional hand-lettering artist, so he was the person who first sparked my interest in calligraphy and the one who first taught me how to write the alphabet (in all caps, not calligraphy – I was only 3!). I took my first calligraphy class when I was six or seven and was hooked from the start!
What is your favorite part about teaching these workshops?
Having the chance to teach calligraphy to others allows me to honor my father’s legacy as an artist. He was incredibly gifted and he was thrilled when I decided to follow in his footsteps. I also love meeting my students, hearing about why they want to learn calligraphy, and watching their talents unfold over the course of just a few hours. It’s also incredibly encouraging when students follow up after the workshop is over to tell me that our time together has sparked within them a renewed sense of creativity. It makes all of the time and effort I put into teaching worth it.
What advice would you give to someone just starting out?
Be kind to yourself. Particularly if you are a perfectionist, it’s easy to be very critical of your early efforts, especially when you are first learning how to use the tools. But if you are willing to put in the time to practice, you will certainly see your skills improve over time, and often very quickly! Stay with it and stay positive and your efforts will surely be rewarded!
Needless to say we had a great time, and plan to keep working on our letters. Keep an eye out for some fun news regarding Pop! and calligraphy in a few weeks. And if you’re in the DC area, we highly recommend checking out Michele’s classes!
Have you recently tried something new? Tell us about it!
Becca & Tiffany