The Art of Calligraphy

Coming from the Greek words callo and graphia, callig­raphy literally means beautiful writing. This is how most calligraphy workshops start their seminars, stating the book-bound definition.

However, for calligraphy enthusiast Alexis Ventura, calligraphy is not strict and structured as the formal arts. Calligraphy is a free art.

“I take it as a form of art that has to deal with letters. We were able to create [something] beautiful, create a message.”

I was able to sit down with Ms. Alexis Ventura for an interview at The Craft Central. The shop is located at 3F Greenbelt 5, Makati City.

Ventura is the name behind The Craft Central, a spe­cialty shop for arts, and Ink Scribbler, a brand made up of artists creating commissioned art and letterings for clients.

What was used to be Ventura’s hobby of creating calligraphy became a business. She, however, visual­ized creating a company with fellow artists rather than creating it by herself. Ink Scribbler’s name came to be because Ventura wanted to veer away from the word calligraphy. “I didn’t want to use, say, Alexis Calligraphy because it’s very strict and structured.”

With Ink Scribbler’s tagline: Young. Wild and Free (Hand), the artists are free to showcase their own styles.

Sample writings using a variety of nibs.

Ink Scribbler is best known for creating stunning wedding invitations. They were also able to create Chiz Escudero and Heart Evangelista’s wedding invitations. Talk about big time!

She discovered calligraphy through her work in L’oréal when calligraphy-etched cards were sent from Paris to the Philippines. That is when Ventura realized that there is an occupation related to calligraphy.

“[At first], it wasn’t life changing. Siyempre, I didn’t know how to use it. Okay naman, nagsusulat siya. ‘di lang ganun kaganda,” she shared, laughing. ([At first], it wasn’t life changing. Of course, I didn’t know how to use it. It was okay, it was writing but the outcome was not so beautiful.)

The moment she got used to it and developed her personal style, Ink Sscribbler was established.

As to the need of prior knowledge be­fore venturing into calligraphy, Ventura answered “Siyem­pre, kailangan marunong kang magsulat.” (Of course you need to know how to write.) Kidding aside, she said that it really helps to have clear-cut in­structions or an instructor to guide the person so that the learning process is faster.

A framed calligraphy up for sale at The Craft Central

Ventura said she was not artistic. She took up Management Honors with a minor in Finance at Ateneo. One could say that she is indeed business-minded for she has other businesses aside from Ink Scribbler and The Craft Central: one in partnership with her sister and another with her boyfriend. It just so happened that she found a hobby that suits her and it was surprisingly artistic!

The Craft Central also houses other things aside from calligraphy-related materials. They also sell artworks from Filipino makers as well as necklaces, keychains, home products and many more!

When choosing styles, color and design, her team would ask the specifications from the client if it is for a project. However, if it is for selling or for self-keeping, the style and color depends on the person’s mood.

“Creating art for yourself is more relaxed. You are not pressured to create something nice and then you’ll be surprised na maganda pala siya,” Ventura said, express­ing preference for free-hand calligraphy.

A display of the different types of nibs. If I remember correctly, it retails for 90Pesos

Ventura shared that during workshops, the common rookie mistake is in the holding of the pen. Math comes in the equation as the angle of how the pen is held cre­ates the flow of the written work. With further practice, they will eventually learn to do calligraphy properly.

Other than relaxing, calligraphy gave Ventura the sat­isfaction that pleases her passion. Given that she is busy, she cannot handle projects and she focuses on growing her businesses. Her real passion of creating jobs is satiated by calligraphy. She finds it satisfying that people get to use their passion for writing to earn for themselves.

Ventura has also left a message for those who want to try calligraphy but feels like they do not have the “hand” for it.

“Who says that you don’t have the hand for it?” She stated that if it is the person himself who is telling that they cannot do it, then it is going to be hard for them to start. For the person who would really want to do calligraphy, despite the number of people already doing it, they should know that there is space for them, especially if they would find their own style.

“When you start, you really have to want it and desire it.” ###

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