Professional calligrapher Kirsten Burke of The Modern Calligraphy Company shares the inspiration behind her Little Book of Calming Calligraphy
“Calligraphy can be the perfect escape. You become so completely absorbed in what you’re doing that you forget about everything else”
Kirsten Burke has been a professional calligrapher for more than 20 years and has seen the popularity of calligraphy soar in recent years.
She says, “We are living in such a quick-fix digital world that people are looking for a means of escape and a way to be creative that fits in with their busy lifestyles. Modern calligraphy is perfect as it has simple rules that are easy to follow, and so with a little guidance you can quickly start to create something to be proud of”.
As people across the globe became fascinated with the magic of modern calligraphy, Kirsten approached her publisher with an idea to feed these new enthusiasts’ hobby and keep them motivated to continue practising their new skill. So, Little Book of Calming Calligraphy was born – 100 pages of quotes and patterns designed specifically to fit in with people’s current hectic lifestyles.
Ease yourself in
Kirsten says, “When I started teaching, I realised that many of my students were terrified if I gave them a blank page to start writing on and I remembered that feeling from my early days too. I started developing templates from motivational phrases for them to trace over so that they could practise the basic skills they needed to learn and build up their muscle memory, but in a carefully guided and therefore relaxing way.
The templates are great as the composition has been worked out for you, so all the beginner needs to do is focus on the pressure and release of their pen to make their thick and thin lines”.
The benefits of calligraphy on mindfulness and wellbeing are well documented and so with Kirsten’s book, whilst you are concentrating on calligraphy you can let go of some of the tensions that dominate life – even if it’s just for a moment – as you focus on perfecting those thick and thin lines, get absorbed in the words and feel inspired and calmed by the positive mantras on each page.
Escape from reality
Calligraphy can be the perfect escape. You become so completely absorbed in what you’re doing that you forget about everything else. In Little Book of Calming Calligraphy Kirsten has suggested the length of time that she thinks you’ll need to complete that page, anything from five to 30 minutes. So even if you’re just waiting for the kettle to boil, you can flick to the right page and escape back into your creative world.
Kirsten goes on to say, “If you’re waiting for the bus, sitting at the doctor’s or picking the kids up from their clubs, these little pockets of time can give you the perfect opportunity to practise. When we escape from the stresses of daily life, we relax and our creativity is reinvigorated!” she says. “Through these exercises, you’ll have been absorbed in something totally creative and at the same time gained muscle memory and improved your skills. So make sure you continue to take time out and practise, even for just five minutes. When you feel ready to start creating your own work, don’t worry about your calligraphy being perfect every time. Some of my best pieces have been the result of ’happy accidents’, and try not to compare your work to other calligraphers. Be inspired by it but don’t see it as a competition. If you work wanting your lettering to look like someone else’s you’ll wring the joy out of doing it. Instead, know that every piece of practice you do is taking you closer to your own style of stunning calligraphy”.
Modern calligraphy has allowed this ancient skill to be reinvented for today’s faster-paced generation and so it has never been more popular, but it still takes time and practice to master and Kirsten hopes her book has made it a little easier. So, grab a copy and a brush pen and find a little ‘me time’ for yourself!
Fine out more about Kirsten Burke