As birthday month continues, I was still trying to come up with a theme for this years birthday until about ten minutes ago. I had thought, as a way to celebrate almost being able to rent a car, “learn something everyday.” That is exhausting. Back to the drawing board. “Treat yo self.” I am now poor…sooo…another unsuccessful thought.
But then it hit me: invest in things that make you happy. Last week, I went to a free screening of “Casablanca”. Pure giddiness. Monday, I plan to go to a screening of “Amour” at the French Embassy. Yoga. Dinners with grandfathers. Buying plane tickets. Drinking on patios when it finally soars over 30 degrees (thank you, Jesus). And, la creme de la creme, me and kt are going to see Robert Osborne on March 19. Eeeeeeeeeeek I cannot even contain my excitement.
As part of my solitary celebration, today I went to a calligraphy class hosted by Michele Hatty Fritz of Meant to Be Calligraphy at the Karson Butler Events Design Studio…conveniently located less than a block from my house (both have excellent instagrams that you should follow here and here). As a writing major/professional doodler, I often become more enamored by my typography than what I am actually writing, which can be distracting at best and useless at worst. But today, it was totally allowed.
The studio is light and airy, basically where I would like to live forever. Exposed brick and lots of sunlight make for a good environment for creativity! Plus, we got cute little cards to accompany our plethora of calligraphy tools (that I will probably never use with the fear of ruining them!).
I’ll be honest…I went in to this thinking I would be a lot better at it than I actually am. At points, I would catch myself just writing in cursive as if I were using a regular pen before telling myself to snap out of it. So many loops. Ascenders. Descenders. X lines. I was used to all these terms from my design classes last spring, but I was never the one orchestrating them from a blank piece of paper. I was typing them and pulling up the oh-so-convenient character styles window to manipulate it all. Thinking about the shapes of the letters–not the actual letter–was probably the hardest part. I kept forgetting what I was writing, then forgetting how many humps go on an M. I am not good at writing slowly, but I will have to start!
Michele was great the whole time, not letting me give up on my nib and showing me what I was actually doing right. It’s a shame I tend to do the opposite. Occasionally, I would look down at my paper, see one pretty letter, and think to myself, “Hey! That’s pretty good!” Alas, those were usually ones she had drawn for me to use as an example.
Do I stand before you all now an expert of calligraphy, ready to quit my job for freelance work? No. But I did see a great improvement in only four and a half hours. My thicks and thins are a little wobbly and sometimes my h’s aren’t as tall as they should be, but for now I will just classify that as a font of my own. I have three more nibs in my arsenal to try out, fall in and out of love with, and try to remember which direction to throw the loops in an “s”. But I’ll get there…eventually.