Over the years, I’ve come to realize that lawyers are obsessed with stationery. We like our ruled paper yellow, our pens fine-tipped and, although many offices are going paperless, most of us edit our work in red ink on printed paper. I’m just as particular.
It was quite organic, then, that my passion for all things paper led me to the beautiful world of calligraphy. Once an outdated art form, calligraphy has made a comeback in the last few years, thanks to sites like Instagram and Pinterest where users are posting how they’ve taken calligraphy beyond letter writing. Think personalized cocktail napkins and party balloons.
Calligraphy is an easy way to produce do-it-yourself art, but first you need to master the basics. If you’re worried your handwriting is mediocre at best, fear not. It’s never been easier to learn. Many bloggers and online calligraphers offer web tutorials, gridline practice sheets with fonts and step-by-step instructions for beginners.
My all-time favourite calligrapher is Virginia-based Laura Hooper, who teaches wonderful, three-hour workshops for calligraphy beginners, and sometimes makes stops in Toronto. I’ve been and loved it. Hooper provides lessons on the full alphabet, calligraphy tools and basics in practice strokes and technique. Once you’ve got a decent handle on calligraphy, here are three DIY projects to try out:
Store-bought cards can feel a little impersonal. Why not personalize a handwritten one? Put your new skills to use by buying some thick-stock stationery paper and matching envelopes, and then write your name in rose-gold ink on the paper. Create 20 cards and let them dry before stacking them together.
Perhaps the chief reason calligraphy is taking off has to do with weddings. From invitations to menus to place cards, you can save thousands if you conquer these tasks yourself. I’m getting hitched in July, so I’ve been spending weekends with my pen and gridline paper. My goal is to personally address all 70 wedding invite envelopes.
Sometimes the simplest things in life are the most striking, and nothing says minimalism more than black ink on white paper. Purchase some heavy stock paper and, in calligraphy, write out your favourite inspirational quote. Play around with the word placement until you’re satisfied.
Emma Gregg is in-house counsel at Travelers Canada, and Precedent’s design columnist. Read more of her tips for DIY decor.
This story is from our Summer 2016 issue.
Photo courtesy of Sarah Sharpe