In fourth grade, my teacher required all students to purchase a real calligraphy set from the art store, complete with ink cartridges and pen. The thought of a public school teacher doing this today is laughable, but "back in the day," classroom teachers had a little bit of freedom in what they could add to their core curriculum. That's why my sixth grade teacher could write and have us perform a musical, that's why my fifth grade teacher showed us how to prepare fried calamari, and that's why I was introduced to calligraphy in fourth grade. In retrospect, God aligned me with a succession of teachers that encouraged and honed my artistic aptitude (though I'll pass on the calamari, thanks.).
In college and the years following, I used my amateur penmanship skills to serve many friends and ministries. I addressed hundreds of envelopes as wedding gifts. I penned banners and scripture cards and dabbled in graphic design.
And then, I moved across the country to a place where no one knew about my artistic skill. No one asked me to create anything for them, and that was okay with me. I was planning a wedding...I was establishing my home...I was beginning a family....I was caring for babies....and the creative side of me fell by the wayside.
I had actually forgotten that I was capable of making pretty things (though I'm proud of the two beautiful children I made every day) until a friend reached out to me out of the blue. He is a former radio personality who has gone into full-time ministry and I've done several projects for him in the past. This time he asked for a scripture piece to put in his new office. I actually wrestled with the project, unsure if I could even DO that anymore.
What that little request prompted took me by surprise. I did some sketches, played with watercolor, restocked my art supplies with the basics, and soon I was craving some time at my desk! I joined a calligraphy community online, began watching copperplate tutorials, and have been doing daily drills to refine my formal scripting skills. It has all been like a huge exhale...removing the dust from skills that became dormant somewhere along the road, and setting some pent-up creativity free.
Perhaps I could make a living at this in the future, perhaps not. For the time being, I'm going to keep that vision alive and move toward it. The possibility of doing something I love full-time seems too good to be true. But I've witnessed so many friends make their dreams happen, I believe it can be done! Keep your eyes open for more projects in the future!