From the union of two Greek words – kallos, which means “beauty” and graphein, which means “writing” – calligraphy simply translates as “beautiful writing.” But this ancient practice is much more than the art of forming beautiful symbols by hand and arranging them well. It also involves rhythm, harmony, craftsmanship and creative passion.
Beyond the purely aesthetic qualities of elegant letterforms, the repetitive pen movements or brush strokes can have meditative qualities, leading to a calming, mindful exercise.
We asked four calligraphy artists about the grounding benefits of calligraphy and this is what they shared with us.
Ashley Dreger, @ashdre
“I remembered today how meditative and grounding calligraphy is for me. The fluid motions and the pen sliding gracefully over the paper. The way the ascenders looped, and descenders swooped. Even just thinking about it now slows my breathing and calms me.”
Dina Lu, @dinadlu
“When I do calligraphy for myself, for my own pleasure, it’s amazing how therapeutic and calming it is. Due to the nature of calligraphy, you have to use a relaxed hand and arm, and breathe slowly, or else the writing won’t be good. It’s such a great way to recharge at the end of a busy day and get my mind off things by doing calligraphy and creating something for myself.” www.dinacalligraphy.com
Zhao Xian Chia, @greylavendercalligraphy
“Calligraphy for me is a wonderful form of mindfulness that lets you create something beautiful in the process. When I start my calligraphy practice, all the stress, emotions and distractions of the day melt away as I train my focus on the consistency and shape of my letters. In that moment, time slows down and I see only the strokes on the page and hear only the gentle scratching of my nib against the paper. It’s one of my favourite ways to calm any racing thoughts.” www.greylavendercalligraphy.com
Shannon Tillmann, @shannonscripts
“I love that calligraphy has a sense of repeatability. You use similar arm and hand movements but can always create something new! Even though there are basic principles to follow, there are enough different styles and letter forms to encourage continuous improvement and it always keeps me engaged. Calligraphy is a slow and beautiful art form that allows me to relax and unwind after a long day. I think the most joy comes when I can make something for my friends and family, and they love it just as much as I loved creating it for them.” www.shannonscripts.com
What about you? Do you have a creative practice that makes you feel calm and grounded? Let us know in the comments. We’d love to hear about it!