“Calligraphy is the most intimate, private and spontaneous expressive means. Like a fingerprint or voice,
it is unique with every person.”
– Hermann Zapf
Calligraphy, a form of visual art, is a skill very few people have knowledge of these days. Luckily, a handful of experts around Oklahoma continue to educate enthusiastic students about this fascinating pastime.
Jill Simmons, owner of the Letter Box in Oklahoma City, teaches calligraphy classes for all experience levels and ages. Along with her classes, she creates custom wedding invitations, signs and place cards, and harbors a collection of beautiful stones on which she’s printed inspirational words. A teacher for seven years prior to starting her business, Simmons says it made sense to expand her skills and teach others this art form.
For those interested in learning, it’s a shockingly affordable hobby; one really only needs good pens and different nibs for varying styles of writing. Simmons says that it can get pricey the more one gets into it, but for those just starting out, it’s extremely affordable.
“The biggest expense is time,” she says. “You train and practice for hundreds of hours.”
While graphic design and digital media are growing in popularity day by day, many still prefer the personality of calligraphy for life’s big announcements.
“People like the handwritten touch,” says Simmons. Whether it’s a birth announcement, wedding invitation or simple Christmas card or other holiday greeting, the personalization options are endless.
Amy Watson, a Broken Arrow artist, does calligraphy as a hobby and enjoys working on different mediums. She mentions that it can be challenging trying to put art on certain surfaces like wood, stone or even certain paper types due to fine lines, grooves and ridges.
“There is something to be admired about the true craftsmanship in calligraphy,” she says. “It holds far more value and importance due to the skill it takes to create it. When a person watches a calligrapher at work, they tend to realize it’s not easy. The process is mesmerizing and the result is incredibly satisfying.”
Tulsan Bryca Brewer is a member of a calligraphy guild. For those interested, she says to visit calligraphytulsa.com to access a wealth of information. Right now, classes are being held via Zoom due to COVID-19 concerns. Leadership hosts everything from beginners classes to major workshops, and there is a discounted membership fee of $15 due to the pandemic. Anyone is welcome to join.
“It’s important to have groups for fellowship between artists,” says Brewer. “To share ideas and learn new skills, or just to keep the already learned skills fresh. It’s an invaluable tool to have in your tool box.”
During this strange time, finding hobbies that don’t involve food, online shopping or DIY crafts is difficult. Why not check into something a little different? Zhoosh up those Christmas cards, or take on some side jobs doing wedding invitations. Spend time practicing this unique art form and see how far it can take you.