A version of this post first appeared on my other blog, over at Calligraphy By Moya – I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s a little ridiculous to run two blogs, and am combining them into one.
Recently (well, July 2015, so not very long ago) I was asked to teach a class on copperplate calligraphy at Veronica Grow’s Old School New School in Abbotsford. I agreed to come in and teach, and I was so glad I did. We had a fantastic time.
Old School New School is set up in a gorgeous loft space in the Abbotsford Convent, and the walls are plastered with Veronica’s students’ work. There’s a huge skylight letting in sunshine and happiness all day long. I wish I had a studio space like that to work in every day! OSNS is a modern design and typography school, whereas I think of myself more as a traditional calligrapher; the two disciplines are different but very much complementary.
The students had all done some basic copperplate with Veronica, and my job was to help them refine their control over the pen and learn some majuscule forms. We spent quite a bit of time on proportion and on developing a light touch – I am sure I made myself unpopular by demanding they all learn with a much finer and more flexible nib than they had previously been using, in order to develop a surer hand, just as my teachers made me once upon a time. I also insisted on oblique penholders. I think both those ideas paid off and I’ll definitely be doing that again if I ever teach another class.
It was absolutely joyful being able to help others learn this art that I love so much. I loved the experience of teaching, and of seeing students reach those “a-HA!” moments that I get so often myself. Calligraphy is really a lifelong journey and it was pretty special to see others setting foot on the path.