03 November 2014

A Calligraphy Class

Hello and thank you for stopping by today! Let me tell you a little secret about me.

I like to collect calligraphy paraphernalia like holders, nibs, and manuals. I got these from different trips to various thrift shops. I like to have them handy because deep in my heart, "I'll learn calligraphy someday." 

I've always been fascinated with the beauty and romance of calligraphy. I associate it with love letters, invitations, special announcements. When I was a teenager, I attempted to teach myself the art with a Speedball textbook. But I was impatient to learn how to use a dip pen.

Instead I cheated. I've been using chisel-edge pens to achieve a calligraphy look in my correspondence and packages. Eeep!

But a few weeks ago, I took a calligraphy class. Learning calligraphy was one of my goals this year.

I took the class at the Makeshift Society in Brooklyn.

Our teacher was the gracious Maybelle Imasa-Stukuls. She makes a living through calligraphy and has traveled the world to teach her craft.

She says, "I discovered calligraphy at a time when I needed to be centered. It really calmed me down".

Here is her very first attempt at calligraphy.

And these are among the projects in her portfolio.

This was how the classroom was set up.

We had to look for our names to find out where we would sit. (Maybelle wrote my name!!! Fan girl moment!)

Each work station looked like this. Absolute perfection! It had all the materials we needed: a practice book, paper (vellum and black), a lined guide sheet, a letter press alphabet exemplar, a nib and holder, a wooden pen rest with ink wells (her husband makes these), black ink, white ink, and a tote bag.

She taught us the basics like how to put the nib into the holder, how to load the ink into the pen, and how to care for tools. She then proceeded to do some demonstrations.

Then we sat down to apply what we learned using black ink on vellum (with the guide sheet underneath). This is my very first attempt doing the compound curve, the orals, the figure 8, and the alphabet.

I struggled a bit with holding the pen. The back of the pen had to be positioned towards me (I normally write with the pen facing away from me). I also had to angle the nib to let the ink flow naturally. It takes some getting used to.

Then we took a break where food and drinks were served. I love how the cheese plate's labels were in calligraphy. A very nice touch.

Then Maybelle did another demonstration, this time using white ink on black paper. This style is more freeing because we weren't dependent on the grid lines on the guide sheet. 

We went back to our seats to practice, with light music playing in the background and the sound of scratching nibs on smooth paper.

Here goes nothing.

Here's how I added beauty to a blank sheet of paper with some fancy penmanship. TADA!

I'm so happy to have learned how to write with the pen. And that it's okay to be imperfect. I just need to keep practicing until I find my own style.

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