Before you read any further, lets get the puns out of the way. Making the calligraphy GIF below gave rise to the term CalliGIFy, founded by myself.
Now we can carry on. In September I took part in the Big Draw event at Meersbrook hall, holding a calligraphy drop-in workshop. Meersbrook hall has a heritage that is closely linked to Ruskin, as many of his writing archives are very calligraphic, which is where I came in.
The idea was that people would write out Ruskin quotes using a variety of calligraphy tools. On the day my expectations were exceeded with people doing much more than this, creating their own poems and alphabets as well. I also loved how so many people of different ages were engaged in the workshop - but not so much the newfound ways in which ink could be spilled over. Bleach came to the rescue later.
I was surprised at how many adults looked back on their school memories of being forced to use an ink well and nib, particularly how the lefties were scarred from smudging ink on every page and being scalded for it. It is mad to think that this wouldn't have been all that long ago either. It's such a shame that something so expressive could have been so inhibiting. It reminded me of my mum telling me some years ago about her teacher ripping up a drawing of a dinosaur she did in school, telling her it was crap. I wish I could reenact the scene from Harry Potter when Professor Umbridge uses the Black Quill to make what the students write carve into the skin of their hands - but with dick head teachers. It sounds a bit psycho when you say it out loud, but pretty fair.
Anyway... weird, magical, torturous thoughts aside - it was really nice to see people relaxing more with calligraphy and their handwriting who had previously been more distraught by it, and to see people who had never tried it before really enjoying it and embracing the messy nature that comes with calligraphy and hand lettering. Below find some nice pictures of me trying to be a responsible adult, and some of the cool things people made.