Discover the art and mindful beauty of calligraphy
“Calligraphy is an art form that uses ink and a brush to express the very souls of words on paper” ― Kaoru Akagawa
Article by Louise Gillespie
The growing need to find a moment of quiet in today’s digital age has seen a resurgence of numerous crafts, which for many of us are associated with our grandparents’ generation who had a wealth of talents at their fingertips. From knitting and jam making to cross stitch and calligraphy, people are seeking solace in the quiet processes of these crafts, revelling in the fact that they take time to create and do not give the instant gratification that we have become so familiar with from pressing a button. In many ways it’s having a finished product that was solely created by yourself that gives a sense of childlike pride, that has got the millennial audience hooked on the crafts of former generations.
With the rise of the do-it-yourself wedding – don’t be fooled it’s still a vastly expensive process – Brides and Grooms are seeking ways to add their own personal touch to every element of their big day. The same can be said for parties and events where people want to show their guests that they have gone that extra mile. Calligraphy is one such way and one that is proving increasingly popular. Professional calligrapher Kejal offers group workshops and private tutorials to teach others the fascinating art of ink and flourishes. Kejal also creates calligraphy commissions in her London studio, from place cards (some even inked on to stone) and seating plans, to invitations or larger pieces of writing.
During a one-to-one with Kejal, founder of ‘Calligraphy by Kiki,’ I discovered that calligraphy is a truly therapeutic art form, one that demands attention to detail, a great deal of patience and commitment to practice. Riddle interview Kejal to find out what make’s calligraphy the go-to activity of the moment.
What sort of workshops do you offer?
I have a couple of strands of my business: one part is through my Beginner’s Calligraphy workshops that I host in Fulham and Balham, I also host workshops privately in people’s home and corporate offices as part of workplace wellbeing initiatives. The next workshop I will be running will be brush lettering workshops on 22nd September and 6th October. I also host workshops privately in people’s homes. My most recent workshop was a bride-to-be and her mum as she wanted to learn the skill ahead of creating elements of her wedding stationery. I also do hen parties as it’s a great group activity to learn together and share your creations at the end.
At this time of year, I normally have wedding commissions booked in, creating stationery from place cards to table plans. It’s so nice to creatively contribute to a couple’s special day, and each brief is different depending on the season, colour palette, how they met and so on.
It’s a very mindful practice, do you think it is something that more people should try?
There’s no doubt that calligraphy is steadily becoming more mainstream. I believe that’s largely due to the therapeutic nature of practicing calligraphy, which is becoming increasingly important for those who live in a fast-paced society like London. It forces you to slow down and concentrate on learning a new skill. There’s something special about reviving a traditional art form that dates back to ancient times and making it relevant to the modern world.
I’ve recently partnered with the mental health charity Mind for the monthly Pause box to teach people the art of brush lettering. Pause is a monthly subscription box that encourages relaxation and improves personal wellbeing, and every penny from the box is donated to Mind. My brush lettering boxes are being distributed nationwide in August to those who have ordered the box for over 12 months.
Do you still feel there is power in the hand-written word?Calligraphy is making a resurgence, there’s something beautiful about knowing that someone has spent their valuable time creating hand-written stationery, which involves skill and time. People are finding ways to go back to analogue, given the rise of digital communications, which calligraphy lends itself well to, as there are no short cuts – it takes effort and practice.
Is calligraphy a skill anyone can master?
Anyone can try out calligraphy, it’s suitable for older children, corporates and at hen parties for example. It just takes lots of practice to hone the craft if you’d like to progress to intermediate level and beyond. Many of my workshop clients say to me their handwriting is terrible and therefore think they won’t be able to pick up calligraphy, funnily enough it doesn’t matter how good or bad your handwriting is. Think of calligraphy as more like drawing shapes than it hand writing, all that you need is a steady hand an eye for good design, and of course, armed with a good set of tools!
Following the workshops with Kejal and as my own wedding looms ever closer I am hopeful that my calligraphy skills are legible enough to avoid a table plan disaster as people try to decipher my scrawl. As Kejal says ‘practice, practice practice!’
Enquiries: Calligraphy by Kiki/ www.calligraphybykiki.com