A Visual Art
Calligraphy is a visual art created by using a variety of instruments such as a pen, a quill, a brush, a piece of bamboo or other writing instruments. It is the art of putting the brush to paper properly, and then carefully and accurately removing it. When there are no words left, the meaning is still preserved. Calligraphy requires technical skills, a naturalness in oneself and inspiration.
However, calligraphy is much more than this. Its about being mindful and present with our behaviours, thoughts and emotions. And expressing these via the chosen writing instrument, the ink, the paper and style of writing.
“Calligraphy is a kind of music not for the ears, but for the eyes.” – V. Lazyrsky.
With calligraphy, not only are you able to write down your behaviours, emotions and thoughts, but you can also express them in beautiful ways by choosing a script that suits your situation.
You could choose an ‘Old English Gothic’ script to really illustrate and express any strong feelings and thoughts, having them jump out of the paper with boldness.
Or you could use a more eloquent script like ‘Alex Brush’ with its small flourishes and curved letters to express a softness and subtleness.
You may want to express precision and discipline by using a script like ‘Copperplate’ which has thin upstrokes and thick downstrokes accompanied by swooping large flourishes.
Or you may just want to just have fun and be creative using an ‘Easy November’ script. Plenty of curves, thin and thick lines with flourishes.
Two of my personal favourites are ‘Uncials’ and ‘Hobbiton Brush’ script. They both have short and round letters and are quite fun to practice. And they originate from the old Celtic languages.
There are many scripts to choose from along with ink colours, pen nibs and papers to suit any emotion or thought. The whole process is a creative and mindful experience. To sit with your pen in hand, your paper on the table, and just allowing your emotions and thoughts to naturally be expressed through the process. You may end up writing a quote, a small poem, or an entire essay.
The practice and expression of calligraphy has been used to aid with wellbeing in many cultures such as China, which use a variety of ink washes and silk papers writing vertically. Japan, who describe calligraphy as Shodo – “way of writing.” They use a variety of papers and inkstones and often mark their work with a special ink seal. Arabic calligraphy uses a variety of pens such as bamboo, handam, celi, java and khamish which is a reed pen.
What’s great about learning calligraphy is that anyone can pick it up and begin. You don’t have to be an expert or have perfect writing; this comes with time. However, the main process is being mindful, enjoying the moment and expressing your emotions and thoughts.
Why not give it a try? Sit at a table or under a tree. Put your brush or dip-pen to paper, tune in to your thoughts and emotions and let the mindful process flow.
What joy there is in hearing yourself think, and to make that thinking into ink.” – John Olsen.
By Matthew Evans
Course Wellbeing Practitioner