I decided to go in a new direction and spend my public holiday learning Modern Calligraphy from Ofe @ Ollie's Studio rather than lose the day from laying around.
When the advert for the class appeared on my timeline, I did a little jig that for once IG’s AI understood me (in terms of knowing that I was looking for the unusual). Although I was somewhat baffled as to how it knew I would be interested in taking this particular class, as even I didn’t immediately know it is was something I would be interested in. And nothing in my search history points to an interest. On a whim, I figured it sounded interesting and different enough, so I decided to go with the flow and find out what the class was about.
Then I slid into Ofe’s DMs, and I was instantly sold. She was so pleasant and engaging, I immediately knew she was a vendor from the overs. We went from talking about the class to gisting, we both had such a good time speaking to one another that she summarily decided that I must sit beside her in the class, which was music to my people-loving and teacher’s pet ears and heart. I left the conversation reminded of a pungent lesson from my Entrepreneurial Selling class, which is that one of the secrets to clinching a sales pitch is to elevate interactions from a transactional level to a relational level. After the conversation we had, there was no way that I was going to flake on or miss the class. Even from the village, where I had no service, I was sending her messages to reassure her that I would make payment as soon as I got service. After sleeping only 5 hours on a public holiday morning, I rolled out of bed and got my ass to the class, late as always.
The class was excellent. I think she is considering doing another one in December – two two word phrases: follow her & sign up! She was patient, knowledgeable and went at the right pace. You could easily see, feel, tell how much she loves calligraphy and her skill is either innate or sense level, which means she makes it look so easy, her movements are so dreamy and her results o so perfect. She made the class fun, went round often enough to give a personal feel to the group class, ensured that everyone in the class was following along, broke down the steps in relateable chunks so that you felt confident in your ability to build on your knowledge and to try the next step, gave brilliant tips that made it come together seamlessly and she had a guide that is easy to follow on your own. I definitely felt that I came away from the class with the basics down pat and the foundation I needed for more individual study.
The day before the class, I came across a bookmark that I had picked up in Istanbul with a drawing of Hagia Sophia and some calligraphy on it. The shop was, wait for it… A Calligraphy Shop, with the most beautiful calligraphy and I remember being enchanted by the various items in the store. I wanted to get a dear egbon a nameplate with his name on it, but the calligrapher wasn’t around and I was heading to the airport in 30 minutes! Yeah, you can always find me shopping until the last minute J This memory nudged me into an aha moment – even the things that appear random to us, are not always random, our subconscious is always aware of the things that we are drawn to, even when our physical person doesn’t quite see the whole picture and even before (s)/he gets it. This is why mindfulness reminds us to take note of repeated random things, as they serve as guides, drawing us to our true paths, purpose, futures.
This memory from Istanbul triggered other memories; I remembered that in Adesoye, I was fascinated by fountain pens and ink bottles. That in form 4 when there were 10 bonus points available for handwriting, I got all 10 points and boosted my grades. I was reminded of those nights when my mom, the only doctor I know with great writing, would painstakingly take me through tracing her letters and the resultant 2D notebooks with their blue and red lines filled with the letters A through Z (do parents still use these?). I remembered first copying her handwriting and then copying my best friend’s writing and all the thoughtful love letters that they have both written me over the years in our similar hands. I remembered the handwriting of past loves and dear friends, worked into me from decades of reading and rereading the now faded, weary, sometimes torn letters that I keep and often read and reread; reliving and memorizing familiar phrases, punctuation, crossed out mistakes, and the slants, joins, scrawls of their hand.
Typing is fast making me lose my writing ability, and that’s a shame. I look forward to practicing calligraphy in the coming weeks and months. And have found skillshare classes to help me with this quest. There are hours and hours of skillshare classes. I really cannot wait and I am so excited for how much lies ahead on this journey.
One last thing to mention, there are several things I already appreciate about calligraphy: I love that it requires dedication, demands your focus, is a creative craft that you do with your hands, is exceptionally and undeniably beautiful, and the one thing above all that I really appreciate is that calligraphy is for everyone. Like every other skill, it takes practice, but it doesn’t depend on your writing skills. Calligraphy celebrates your individuality, you bring your own flair, laziness, attention to detail, obsessiveness, quirks to your rendition. And I just love that, I wish everything in life allowed us to be any shaped pegs irrespective of the shape of the holes. Ofe said something in the beginning of class along these lines – she will show us her style and when we start practicing on our own, she expects our styles will be as far removed from hers as possible.
The thing about learning new skills is that as you learn about new areas and illuminate those senses, you can never look at those things in the same way, because you now see the details. I love speaking this new language of calligraphy irrespective of how rudimentary my ability currently is.
What new skills have you picked up recently, which ones are you sticking with, which ones do you hope to try out? I would really love to hear. <3