Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Art of French Handwriting

The eye-catching writing that distinguishes every chalkboard outside Paris cafés—is incubated in the France's pre-schools as a minor art, and a baseline of cultivation.

My own obsession with the seemingly archaic practice of calligraphy began at age 14 under the tutelage of our high school's art teacher, Sister Cabrini. I mastered it well enough to pen handmade books in calligraphy as gifts for my mother, wedding invitations, and even 300-placecards for a symphony ball that I chaired at the Montecito Biltmore.

The rigorous writing discipline begins to be instilled in French tots by first teaching pre-schoolers to dance. The fluid movements they absorb replicate the aesthetic and technical sense of calligraphy. It's a holistic way of absorbing balance, art, pleasure and discretion to internalize these French themes for life.

And so for me it's to the ‘carnet de suivi-agenda.' Those workbooks used by schoolchildren~ with each subject having it’s own dedicated color of ink. I'll apply that same rigor reserved for reaching Carnegie Hall: Practice. Practice. Practice. For a gal can't truly assimilate in France if her handwriting reveals a slouch.

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