Richelle Macapagal is a corporate counsel for one of an IT consultancy firm. As her job requires her to go through many important contracts and documents, not mention representing her firm in legal cases, it is little surprise to know that her days are as stressful as any stressful day can be.
Indeed, for many professionals, stress is the number one cause of burnout and illness. That is why it is important that professionals like Richelle find ways to counter stress. While many opt to do sports and other outdoor activities, Richelle discovered a more relaxed hobby that not only helped her deal with stress but also helped her realize her creative talents. She turned to calligraphy and has since made it her outlet to express her creativity. And since then, has made works that captured her brand of creative flair.
“I needed a solid hobby to help me focus and in a way, recharge. I wanted to draw at first, but I didn’t think I was that good at drawing, so I turned to lettering – which was drawing pretty letters and words, then eventually pointed pen and brush calligraphy.”
Her passion for calligraphy has opened different opportunities for her to nurture her gift in the arts of letters. This writer actually met Richelle in one of the exhibits in Makati when I wanted to meet in person actor John Arcilla of the Heneral Luna fame. It was a mommy event that featured different products for mothers. I was approached by Richelle, and she took her time to introduce me to the art of calligraphy. But with limited time, I asked for her contact details because I knew that I would want to do a feature on her and calligraphy.
Way back in high school, Richelle is really into arts of using her hands. Before the “coloring craze” hit the metropolis, she was already doing it as a way of relaxation. Add to her many talents, she is also a black belter in karate. But it is really calligraphy that made her stick to this hobby because of the satisfaction and nirvana that brought her.
“Nothing beats receiving a handwritten letter or seeing your favorite quote or name beautifully written in ink.”
Basics of Calligraphy
Calligraphy comes from the Greek word kalligraphía, which means beautiful writing. It is the art of producing decorative handwriting or lettering with a pen or brush. The art form originated thousands of years ago when books and manuscripts where written by hand.
Calligraphy is a visual art form related to writing. The execution of the writing design is usually executed through the use of a broad tipped writing instrument or brush. Calligraphy was used widely in ancient and medieval times and was used to execute books, manuscripts, letters, decrees, and many other documents up until the time Gutenberg invented the printing press.
Many works like the Bible, the manuscripts from the library of Alexandria, Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, Beowulf, and many other works before the invention of the printing press were written in some form of calligraphy.
Today, calligraphy is still widely used in wedding and event invitations, font designs, announcements and commissioned art. It is still one of the principal art visual art forms widely preserved in Japan, Korea and China.
For Richelle, she uses pointed pen, and brush pen. But she does both nibs and brush calligraphy.
Basic tools and materials
Fortunately, calligraphy is an art hobby that is not tedious to start. Unlike sculpture and painting, the tools needed to get started are widely available and relatively affordable. For started, you can get a brush or a wide tipped pen and plenty of ink.
Fountain pens are also ideal because you can refill these with ink. You can choose a self-refilling pen or a dip pen or pens you need to refill manually. Either way, both can do. It is critical, however, that you have pens that have interchangeable nibs so you can vary the size and width of the strokes and create variety in your work.
Beginners usually start with a dip pen (holder and nibs) because it is more affordable than buying a flexible nib fountain pen. Flexible nib fountain pens are vintage, sometimes they cost thousands of pesos.
Richelle mentioned that in the Philippines, you can buy good calligraphy tools in Devoir Arts, Scribe Writing Essentials, The Craft Central, Holders, Powerbooks, Common Room and The Curious Artisan.
From Passion to source of income
One can really know Richelle’s passion with the arts. In fact, on her first salary, what she bought was a 64-set of Crayola in National Bookstore. But through word-of-mouth and actual works, little by little, what started as a hobby turned into a source of income.
Nothing tops a letter or card written using beautiful lettering. Not just it’s a wonderful pastime, surely, you’ll write your way into the hearts of your family and friends.
Richelle has been receiving work requests both from friends and colleagues for wedding invitations, love poems and wedding vows framed by her clients as a souvenir and memento of their love for their loved ones.
Benefits of Calligraphy
Aside from a personal gift, one can look at the many benefits calligraphy.
1. It’s good for mental health. Calligraphy is a good “me time” since it is very therapeutic.
2. Age isn’t a factor. Calligraphy is something you can learn at any age.
3. You’ll save money on your wedding and other events. Personalized invitations, envelopes, tent cards, signs among others.
4. Calligraphy is not an expensive activity. All you need to have are papers, a nice pen and your focus to learn the art of calligraphy.
5. Exercise memory and certain muscle memory that might help avoid Alzheimer’s disease and other stress related diseases.
Calligraphy is an art form that is relaxing in as much as it is fulfilling. It is wonderful way to express your creative side without having to go for formal training in art schools. Moreover, the works you can create can be used to decorate your home or office and will certainly make good conversation pieces.
For those who are interested in calligraphy, Richelle can be contacted via her website www.oceanchelle.com She usually does her workshop inside coffee shops and her fees contains a calligraphy kit that includes all the writing essentials. Follow her on Instagram!