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Sharing Christ Through the Arts

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When Words Become Art

We recently interviewed Keren Arteaga about her passion for blending words with art and using it to bring good to life.

Editor – Keren, a few months back when I first met you, I heard about your interest in calligraphy, which immediately sparked my interest. I am not a calligrapher, but I recognize it as an art form and have a lot of respect for those who pursue it. How long have you been doing calligraphy, and what inspired you to take it up?

Keren – Ever since I can remember, I have always been drawn to lovely script. The beauty created by a simple, curving line on paper, thoughtfully drawn to make ornate and flourished penmanship was something that captivated me, but I never thought it would become something that I would spend hours upon hours honing and studying as an art form. Three years ago my husband gave me a calligraphy set for Christmas. After spending about 20 minutes trying to figure out how to insert a nib to a pen holder and spilling half of the ink on the table, I began to create the first strokes on the smooth, white page… I immediately knew I had found a new love! In this fast-paced, digital world, it is easy to miss the opportunities to slow down and notice the simple things that make life beautiful. That’s what calligraphy has done for me. When I sit to write, I have to consciously slow down, take notice of ink flowing and swelling down a hairline path on a page, and engage wholeheartedly in making something so simple, beautiful. Learning this art-form has taught me lessons that spill over on so many other areas of life!

Editor – Finding new ways to express our innermost thoughts is exhilarating! I remember when I first picked up a guitar (in the seventh grade), I was immediately intrigued with the idea of merging notes and words to create new songs that could inspire and challenge listeners.

As you well know, calligraphy is more than just putting text on a piece of paper. If that’s all you did, you would simply be a writer. But with Calligraphy, letters and stylistic forms combine to create a powerful communication piece that speaks to us on a different level. I’m getting carried away (inspired) just thinking about it.

Here are two questions that can be answered together, if you like. How do you choose the words you feature? Are any of the thoughts you feature original with you, or are they mostly quotes by others?

Keren – The majority of my lettering/calligraphy designs are inspired by the moments that I spend with God through scripture. Sometimes a verse will jump out and captivate my attention and creativity, speaking deeply and evoking a response. Other times, I’ll draw inspiration from books or the calligraphy/lettering community. I have yet to create designs that are fully original (in word content), but it’s definitely something I look forward to sharing in the future!

Editor – What advice do you have for someone who is interested in Calligraphy but doesn’t know where to start?

Keren – If you are interested in learning the art of Calligraphy, there are so many wonderful resources that can help you along your journey!

I would encourage you to visit the IAMPETH (International Association of Master Penmen, Engrossers and Teachers of Handwriting) website where you will be able to find many wonderful exemplars and resources provided by masters of Calligraphy. Visit IAMPETH online.

If you are interested in taking online courses, here are some great online schools that have helped me:

Modern Calligraphy Summit
Logos Calligraphy
The Postman’s Knock
Skill Share

Pinterest and Instagram are also wonderful places to find inspiration and free education!

Like any skill or discipline, making time to practice is the most important part of your journey! Scheduling even 15 minutes a day will help you build muscle memory and improve your writing tremendously! Consistency + Diligence = Progress!

A last piece of advice: it’s ok to grow slow… enjoy the process and never stop learning!

Editor – Thank you, Keren, for sharing your heart and art with us!

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writes from Westlake Village, California.

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