While I have quite recently come back to lettering and working on new techniques, I was making “keep on trucking” bubble letter and block letter designs all over my notebooks and folders for years when I was in elementary school. The concept of lettering is very old and still exists as a vibrant art form. There is something quite beautiful about a deep quote or lovely words being intentionally honored with special lettering. I love that the beauty of hand wrought lettered designs are back in fashion and are a burgeoning lucrative and serious field. The return to things being entirely hand-made speaks directly to my little girl maker soul, and I want to be part of it. So I practice lettering almost every day. That is the trick, apparently, to do it every day, so beautiful letters are the rule and the norm, and not merely for special occasions.
I learned calligraphy at summer camp, and rather than practicing from the little book I was given, I just invented and practiced my own alphabet and have used that ever since. It was easier for me to invent something and perfect that than to tediously copy and try to perfect someone else’s design, even if those designs were age-old calligraphic standards. I have used my calligraphy for much of my adult life. I was a volunteer board member of a local arts organization that frequently handed out certificates, often on the spot, so I became the court calligrapher for those efforts. The same project also created Tibetan prayer flags for every child lost to violence in Alameda County. Each flag needed the name of the slain child written on it, so I was called upon to do that for about 8 years. The ceremony was always beautiful, but my heart always felt heavy with each name I had to write as beautifully as I could, knowing that I was paying tribute to a child who was killed unnecessarily in a crossfire or because of mishandling a gun. It seems funny that a calligrapher’s job could ever be sad, but that one was a very sad.