It was during one of our lockdowns, while looking for an entertaining gift to send to a friend in Sydney, that I came across a couple of Calligraphy practice kits on the shelves of the local post office.
They looked intriguing. Why not purchase one for my artistic friend who seemed at risk of going stir-crazy during her enforced imprisonment?
The chap behind the counter gave a suppressed snort as he scanned the box.
‘They still selling these?’ he said. (Bearing in mind he was literally selling the item to me at that moment, it was an interesting use of the word ‘they’, but no matter). ‘Twenty-odd years ago my dad ran the Post Office in [Tinyville] and I’d help him out sometimes. They stocked them back in those days.’
This suggested that the kits are either wildly popular and timeless, or the type of horribly out-dated stock a post office would hold. But it was his next words that clinched the deal.
‘You’re in luck.’ He sounded surprised. ‘They’re on sale. Half price.’
‘Wait a sec.’ I held up my hand. ‘Let me go and get the other one as well!’
And that’s how I came to:
#106 Try Calligraphy
After a friend mentioned that she and her sons had experimented with calligraphy many years earlier and the ink stains still hadn’t come out of their fingers, it took me a few weeks to even open the kit, and I wisely began to practice with pencil.
As the word calligraphy means ‘beautiful writing’ I went looking for a non finger-staining writing tool that might achieve this, reasoning that if I jumped into using the pen and ink provided in the kit, beautiful writing might never happen.
Enter pens created especially for the occasion. Brilliant!
The salesman in the small, old-fashioned stationery store seemed as surprised as I was that they stocked something called a “Calligraphy pen”, let alone with a choice of colours.
Time to test its ability to write in calligraphy style.
After practising for a while,
the ink in my brand new calligraphy pen began to fade, which I put down to its age, imagining it had probably been sitting in the stationer’s fusty store for years.
But on re-reading the instructions in the kit booklet, I came across this admonition:
So it was time to give the real pen and ink a whirl:
Then it hit me. While doing calligraphy is a relaxing, meditative hobby, I wasn’t going to live long enough to become adept at it, and anyway, wasn’t that what fonts were for?
Medieval monks had to spend their lives writing laborious decorative epistles because they didn’t have access to Word programmes on their computers, but we do.
So I went looking for fonts that matched the concept of ‘Beautiful Writing’ and came up with a fabulous assortment.
I can see where this is heading. I might just become a contestant on Mastermind whose special subject is—Calligraphy Fonts.