Happy hands and Calligraphy

For as long as I know, I have loved calligraphy. The thick downward strokes and the thin upward strokes that sometimes snuggle and sometimes distance from each other appealed to me immensely. Often, I’d look at my certificates and wonder the hand behind the writing. I wanted to be that hand, someday. Somewhere in 8th grade, I pestered Ma gave me a set of pens and nibs for calligraphy. While I tried my best to get the Bril ink flow as beautifully, I could not. All I had was jagged paper and a sad face and frequent reminders of “fox and the sour grapes”. But the dream remained.

Until a few weeks back. After repeated attempts to sign up for a calligraphy class offered by the amazing Pauline, I found myself in heaven when my registration was confirmed. I was so desperate to attend this class that I bugged K for some wi-fi when we were in Vietnam on a road trip just so I could register in the wee hours of the morning. Looks like the Calligraphy Gods heard my prayer because this class was in simple words – Epic! (I am tired of saying “awesome” for everything. So, going back to the previous century to scout for cool expressions).

I wanted to start this post with something along the lines of “It was a bright day that held so much promise…..”. But, I don’t need to. The class defined my day. With a limited class size of 8 from various walks of life, we were sure to have fun. When Pauline asked us what made us learn calligraphy, the answers ranged from the love for prettiness to wedding organisers to just giving it a try to being inspired! I love how it all happens. How people with such different ideas and perspectives are held together by one thread. I love how that thread pulls them all towards each other at some point in time. And when it does happen, I thrive on the conversations I make with different people who share pretty much one thing. Okay two. Most of them seemed to like chocolate as well. Since I do not have words to describe the epic-ness of the venue and the fun we had, I am going to let the pictures say those thousand or million words to you.

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We got some amazing supplies for calligraphy all with handwritten notes. I love it when people take that extra time to personalise things. We are so surrounded by prints that a handwritten name on a Kraft tag can make your day!


These are samples of Pauline’s calligraphy. I love her style and just couldn’t get enough of it. This is just one of the hundreds I clicked.


And then mere mortals like yours truly had a go at having her own wall of fame with some practice sheets pinned to the wall using super cute Washi tapes. I love Washi tapes. I love saying “Washi“. Washi. There I go again.

Pauline shared the best tips with us- “To love your handwriting” and “Practice makes pretty”. The process of writing reminded me of how much I missed doing it regularly. I miss my fountain pens. I miss that daily ritual with Pa and Chintu of cleaning your nibs and filling them with Bril and Chelpark inks. I miss writing in fresh notebooks that smell divine. I miss writing letters. With every stroke, there is an immense satisfaction. With every blob of ink that you cleverly get rid of without a trace, there is a sense of victory. Just one such joy, I realise, makes me dizzy with happiness.

What made it even better was the venue, Heaven in a Wildflower. The place at Joo Chiat is owned by Eunice is (in their own words)  a boutique event styling and vintage rental company in Singapore, specialising in creating beautiful occasions through handmade details, inspirational design, gorgeous florals and unique vintage items.” 

And my, what prettiness! She has such a beautiful collection that scream vintage, from different parts of the world. I do bring back some memories and little somethings from our trips. I could totally relate to the beautiful spread and the satisfaction that comes with little collectibles. Little things that slowly make your home your own over time with each little thing telling its own story.

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We did not need to look too far for inspiration. Just looking up in the class itself was enough. See!


Oh and the food! How can my posts be complete without the mention of food. The lovely Carpenter & Cook whipped up a fantastic lunch of spinach quiche, apple and lemon cakes (and others that I was too busy to notice as I had stuffed my face) that were all devoured instantly.


I have been doing some lettering and practising after work. These are the latest samples of my practice.

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I have a long long way to go and I am loving the journey.

Have you tried your hand at calligraphy?


  1. ashreyamom · July 3, 2014

    hey.. thats lovely.. even i want to learn.. do u have to dip the pen in ink every time?? or u just fill it and write.. ur strokes are good.. 🙂 did u ever try nib painting??

    • kismitoffeebar · July 6, 2014

      Hi AM! You should totally try it 🙂 yes, you have to dip it in ink and write. There are special nibs of course. I haven’t heard of nib painting but I am going to check it out now. Sounds very interesting 🙂

  2. Arch · July 3, 2014

    That is so beautiful Kismi! 🙂 I remember back in school we had a special session on calligraphy. I was so fascinated by it. But it was long back and just one session. 😦
    You writing looks great and strokes are beautiful!! 🙂
    The “Q” in the set of alphabets, looks like the Kannada ‘e’ alva?? 😉

    • kismitoffeebar · July 6, 2014

      Hahahaha Arch, houdu it does look like kannada “e” now that you say it 😉 thanks tumba. You should try it if you like it. Sakkath Maja 😉

  3. greenboochi · July 3, 2014

    Wow! you went for a Calligraphy class – how wonderful 🙂 I really really want to do it myself. I remember having growing up seeing my dad’s calligraphy set and me not able to perfect the art. May be I should buy a set now and see how far I can go 🙂

    Lovely post as usual Kismi 🙂 And your writing looks awesome – almost like its printed 🙂

    • kismitoffeebar · July 6, 2014

      GB, go now try it . Am sure you will enjoy it a lot. Wow,your father knows calligraphy! Really cool 🙂
      Some practice with strokes and it will be easy then on.
      Thanks GB, you are a sweetie pie 🙂

  4. Carl Madrid · July 3, 2014

    ey, keep it going and i hope you can reach your goal someday what ever your goal is.. enjoy writing. 🙂

    • kismitoffeebar · July 6, 2014

      Hi Carl! Welcome here. Thanks so much for your wishes 🙂

      • Carl Madrid · July 7, 2014

        Hope you can have it.. 🙂

  5. Bikramjit · July 3, 2014

    WOWow is what i am thinking .. you have a beautiful handwriting .. I wish mine was like that .. sometimes I cant even read what I wrote myself .. it is that bad. .

    yummy quiche 🙂

    All the best ..

    • kismitoffeebar · July 6, 2014

      Bikram, you are always so modest 🙂 thanks a lot. I come from a school where cursive was mandatory, so this felt pretty ok. But calligraphy has several styles all depending on an individual, so any writing can be written artistically as long as you love your handwriting 🙂

  6. Filter Kaapi · July 3, 2014

    The right word to describe your attempts – Epic! 😉

    • kismitoffeebar · July 6, 2014

      Filter kaapi! After a long time! So happy to see you 🙂 thanks, haha!

  7. simple girl · July 4, 2014

    wow!!!.. awesome.. I remember when I was in school, the special pens for calligraphy was not available easily and were expensive. What we did was that we drew it and filled up the alphabets with black color…

    • kismitoffeebar · July 6, 2014

      Hi there simple girl 🙂
      Welcome! Thanks a lot. Haha, I have done that too. Infact that is a form of typography as well 🙂

  8. dreamzandclouds · July 4, 2014

    wow! your post took me to my school-days when i was fascinated by calligraphy and even tried my hands on it. and now want to do it again 🙂

  9. The Girl Next Door · July 4, 2014

    Wow, love the look of that class and your samples, both! 🙂 As I keep telling you, I am always amazed by the amount of stuff you pack into all your days. Truly inspiring!

    The food does look gorgeous!

    I have never tried my hand at calligraphy, but would love to.

    You have such fun classes/workshops in Singapore. I am so J! 🙂

    • kismitoffeebar · July 6, 2014

      Hehe, thanks TGND. You are too nice. Hmm, there are online calligraphy classes but am not sure how good they are when it is your first time learning the skill.
      Hehe, thanks TGND. I agree, it is awesome here, on the classes front 🙂

  10. Sharath Komarraju · July 5, 2014

    Not calligraphy per se, but my mom made it a point that I write only in cursive. I used to always run out of time in school exams because of it, because while all my friends were scribbling away, I was carefully making sure the stroke on the capital ‘F’ was just right. And then my writing was (still is?) ridiculed for being too feminine.

    Well, it is. But it’s also beautiful. I don’t know a way of saying this without sounding pompous 🙂

    • kismitoffeebar · July 6, 2014

      I love love cursive writing Sharath. How does it matter who writes it and whether it is feminine and all that as long as it looks nice and that is your style, right? I come from a school where cursive was mandatory, boys or girls. Haha, so you have lots of company am sure.
      And definitely, you didn’t sound a wee bit pompous 🙂

  11. Aarthy · July 6, 2014

    I just loved the post and the pictures. People’s various interests always bring a smile on to my face 🙂 These things which can get us absorbed and make us forget the world are the greatest gifts in life.

  12. kismitoffeebar · July 6, 2014

    Thanks a lot Aarthy, I totally echo your sentiments about varied interests 🙂

  13. Avada Kedavra · July 8, 2014

    Beautiful. Loved the article. I have always wanted to learn Calligraphy but never got a chance. I even own a kit with pens etc but did not get the time to explore. After reading your post, I am really tempted to take a course or try on my own someday. 🙂

  14. Destination Infinity · July 13, 2014

    My handwriting is like calligraphy. So, I don’t have to take special classes for that 😛

    The third photo is very good. Next time you go there, take a photo of the paper on the extreme right side of that photo (which is shown only partially in the above photo) and put it up here. The writing on that one seems to be too good!

    Destination Infinity

    • kismitoffeebar · July 17, 2014

      ha ha DI you are funny! I don’t think it is ap ermanent fixture but hopefully will get to take some nice snaps in the classes to come 🙂

  15. Pauline · July 15, 2014

    Hi Priya! Pauline here! Thank you so much for writing about our class, I really had a lot of fun with you all. So glad you were able to make it! I remember you telling me about the road trip, it was great that you were able to register. I seriously can’t thank you enough. I love the photos you took, and your practice strokes look really awesome (epic?). Virtual hugs to you! xo

    • kismitoffeebar · July 17, 2014

      Pauline! 🙂

      Super glad to see you here! I had so much fun and am exploring on the internet as well trying to learn new lettering styles. Thanks to you for such inspiration! 🙂 Hugs right back 🙂

  16. Roohani Naik · July 17, 2014

    I love calligraphy too. But it needs much practice for consistency. I did classes when I was in 7th. Then I lost the touch. 🙂

  17. Pingback: The Happy Hour Calligraphy Workshop {June 2014} » happy hands project

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