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Last December I was lucky enough to attend a four-day Spencerian workshop with Michael Sull in Saint-Petersburg. Michael is a great Master Penman, author of several books and a wonderful teacher. It was such an invaluable experience for me to watch Michael's demonstrations and his writing process. Moreover, Michael brought some old calligraphy specimens and let students take pictures of them. With his kind permission, I'm happy to share with you some of the fascinating examples of penmanship.
For the last couple of weeks, I've been interested in writing calligraphy over photos and creating some kind of background texture with letters. A quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson was an experiment in modern calligraphy with bouncing expressive letters. The next one was a little phrase from a wedding vow, which I wrote in a more traditional way. And the last quote about ballet by Peter Martins was even more experimental (and challenging!) since I tried to incorporate a lot of flamboyant decorative elements. Looking at these three pieces together, I realized that in terms of letterforms I prefer more traditional styles of calligraphy not only for legibility reasons, but also for their timeless elegance.
There is one thing I am really bad at, and it’s keeping gifts a surprise. At the end of December, my husband and I are going to celebrate our anniversary, so I decided to write him a love letter. I started to prepare it quite in advance, and I knew that it would be hard to keep it a secret. By the time the ink dried, my excitement was already unmanageable. I know, I know, there is something wrong with me, but I can’t wait until the official day to give my gifts. Why wait? The celebrations are usually fun anyway. Receiving a gift unexpectedly (not because it’s time to) makes the whole moment more joyful and exciting. Moreover, similar to that idea of life being short as the reason to start your meal with a dessert, I believe that we don't have to wait for some special day to show our love and appreciation (and to give gifts). Any day is good enough for that.