I recently finished taking a beginner’s copperplate class. I’m not a beginner, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t learned things from it. If you go into a space looking to learn you can usually find something, even if it’s not something the teacher expected to teach you that day.
Firstly, it gets you back to the basics and gives you an opportunity to refocus your script. There will always be things you have let slide, or forgotten. And a beginner class will always be a great reminder of what you should still be focusing on in your own practice.
Every artist does things differently. They have a different point of view and background from you. Meaning they will approach the script in a way you haven’t before. You may learn a new way to form a letter you never thought of before, giving you a new perspective on calligraphy and it’s art form. By trying how others work, you can know that you are using the best techniques for you. It might not change how you work day to day, but you might find their way works better for one project or another.
For example, my current teacher makes a lot of his letters in a different manner than I do. His way is much faster, mine is more exact. They each have their place. Envelopes always need to be done a fast as possible, and my way has been quite slow. They obviously still need to look nice, but they don’t have to be perfectly chiseled. The recipients will still appreciate them. Even if they hang it on their fridge for a while, they aren’t planning on framing the envelope for posterity. On the other hand, if I’m working on a quote to be an art piece, or a family tree, I’m going to be as slow and deliberate as possible. These are the types of things clients not only want to hang on their walls, but want to pass on to their children.
I would eventually love to teach a class. Sometimes in classes, however, you are so focused on learning that you don’t notice how you are being taught. While taking this class, I’ve been able to notice the things that help me learn, the things that hinder, and some things that might be missing. This will be super useful if and when I start teaching.
Not all reasons need to self-centric. It can be enough to know that the fact that you can show beginners that others can achieve success if they stick with it. It’s not just the teachers who are good at calligraphy. It’s a skill to be practiced and honed.
Lastly, if nothing else, there is always the fact that it’s a great opportunity to meet people in the area that love letters. There were others in this class with lots of calligraphy experience. They said it was for the practice, but I suspect that their main reason was social!
I have learned and accomplished a lot in the class. I may even take another beginners class in a few years, where I expect to learn similar, but different things as this time.
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