Olive Branch & Co Calligraphy in the Studio
If you've stopped by the shop this week, you may have noticed we have a new chalkboard design up - done by Melissa Chan of Olive Branch & Co Calligraphy teaching a few Introduction to Modern Calligraphy classes here in our calligraphy studio! I've actually known Melissa since we were in university together! But I've been following her story on Instagram over the last few years and have been in awe of everything she does. I was so thrilled to hear she was going to be in Toronto for a few weeks, en route a big move from Montreal to Vancouver - and even more so to have her here to do our chalkboard and teach a few calligraphy classes here!
Melissa has been practising calligraphy for a few years now, and it's been unbelievable to see how her business has taken root and grown. You can check out her website portfolio here and see a few of the beautiful custom pieces she's done for weddings and events - she even has a blog! (You know I'm all over that.)
For those of you who might need some inspiration, here's bit of her story.
How did you become interested in calligraphy?
I have always been really interested by handwriting - I loved looking at different ways people wrote and different styles they had. I first picked up a calligraphy pen when I was in elementary school and my dad gave me a set. My favourite colour was purple at the time so I pretty much wrote exclusively in purple ink (until all the ink spilled in my bag...).I didn't come back to calligraphy again until two and a half years ago when I had just moved to Montreal. I wanted to pick up something stress-relieving and relaxing, so I started experimenting with calligraphy, and ended up becoming obsessed with it!
What's your typical practice session like?
I totally lose track of time when I get to do calligraphy, so I have no idea how long I'll usually go for! I do a bunch of warm ups when I start - a lot of loops and ovals to get my hands warmed up, and then a word or two I'm thinking of.Sometimes when I'm wanting to experiment with different styles, I'll write the same quote over and over again, but I'll play with the spaces in between letters or how the letters loop or their width and length - it's quite fun, and before I know it, an hour has gone by just with one quote!
What's your favourite part of doing calligraphy?
Ooh - there's so much I love about it! I love the movement of it, watching ink set and dry (especially if it's gold ink!), the little scratch of the nibs against paper. I love that calligraphy is like this old art form - in an age where everyone brings laptops to take notes, I love that calligraphy is a meeting of the hands with the heart and mind, and how you can touch and feel the raised ink, the etch of the nib, the very words.But I also love that it's this sweet marriage of art and words - I've always loved words for their power and how they can create worlds and move hearts, how they can give life and death. So what I especially cherish about calligraphy and hand lettering is the way it can reflect the beauty of the content of words through their very form.
We're so excited to have her here to teach a few classes of Introduction to Modern Calligraphy in our studio! Melissa is incredibly gracious and friendly, and is the perfect teacher for anyone looking to begin calligraphy. She's only here for two weeks, so we're pretty honoured that she has found the time for us here.
You can find more details and register online for her classes here. The classes are:
Thursday, May 19th from 7-9:30 pm
Friday, May 20th from 7-9:30 pm
Thursday, May 26th from 7-9:30 pm
Friday, May 27th from 7-9:30 pm
All materials are provided, and you'll a few hours practising and learning how to make some beautiful strokes.
She was kind enough to let us take some video of her in action, putting up the new chalkboard wall!