On calligraphy and keeping in touch
From a thoughtful blog —
"I have always loved practicing my handwriting and will doodle on any available surface (I love those paper tablecloths they give you at restaurants like Macaroni Grill). The weird thing is, I write my name over and over . . . and over and over and over. So in the end, it looks like I am completely obsessed with myself. A friend in high school, upon seeing my Spanish notes covered in Amber Michele Sawatzky Amber Michele Sawatzky Amber Michele Sawatzky Amber Michele Amber Michele Sawatzky. . . once said, "Wow, you really like your name, don't you?" I looked down at my notes kind of sheepishly and realized it is a little shocking to see someone's name written over and over like that. I know it's not that unusual to practice your signature, so maybe it's just the amount of times I copy it down in one small space that catches people's notice. I do it mindlessly (not narcissistically, promise.) It's kind of therapeutic--it's all about the way it feels to write specific letters together. For years, I tried to find the perfect way to write Sawatzky. (It is one of the best words to write in cursive--you should try it.) And even now that I am married with a different last name, Sawatzky is probably the word I doodle more than any other.
All of this to say--I was pumped to take a calligraphy class this weekend and spend hours just practicing writing letters and words. The class was offered at a paper goods and letterpress shop in Alexandria, Virginia, called Fifteen/Eleven. The shop is owned by Suann Song of SIMPLESONG Design (she writes a popular blog called SIMPLESONG as well). I found her shop through reading her blog and realized that--now that we are living in the D. C. area for a year--she and her shop are within driving distance! Just visiting the shop is a treat in itself and spending hours there taking a class was so inspiring (also on my wishlist: the second calligraphy class and a letterpress class!).
The class I attended was taught by Michele Hatty Fritz of Meant to Be Calligraphy and was really enjoyable (Michele is super down-to-earth and helpful). Have you ever watched a calligrapher write? Watching Michele was mesmerizing. She wrote out an alphabet and each of our names to demonstrate the different letter strokes and how to connect them in words, and I thought to myself, "I would pay to watch this." And then I realized, "Oh yeah, I did!" Ha! You know something is pretty good when all you can think about is the opportunity you are getting and not the cost associated with it.
I spent a good long while Saturday night after the kids were in bed practicing calligraphy. One of my new year's resolutions for 2012 was that I would purposely limit my crafting and creative projects this year to things that directly apply to keeping in touch with people or preserving memories (so basically writing letters/making cards/organizing and sharing pictures and writing this blog). I thrive on inspiration and want to try every new technique or idea that I see on a blog or Pinterest or in a Martha Stewart publication. But often that means that I put way too much time into a craft project and not enough time into relationships.
So this year I am trying to put the emphasis on relationships and, where crafting is concerned, simple things that build those relationships. So far, I have not sent nearly as many letters or cards as I would have hoped . . . BUT it's only February--and I am working on my calligraphy skills, so . . . maybe you will get an awesomely addressed letter from me soon? :)
Actually, I just had a great idea. Leave me a comment, and I will send you some mail! If I already have your address (friends who send me Christmas cards and family), you are set. If I don't have your address, email it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and then you will be set too.
How fun is that! I love sending mail, and I want to keep in touch. Those of you who know me well may have some doubts as to whether or not leaving a comment will actually get you something in your mailbox, but just try me (are you reading this, Mama?).
Yay! Here's to keeping in touch! And to lots of handwriting practice . . ."