Cart 0

Teaching Calligraphy

Calligraphy entrepreneurship practice Teaching

hm I have been fortunate enough to teach a course at Iowa called Foundational Hands for the last several years.  It's always a good experience, but somehow the stars really aligned for me this semester, and I have a phenomenal class.  Hard workers.  Talented folks.  Their first small assignment blew me away, and then they turned in their first major projects, which were collectively the strongest I have ever seen in this class, hands down.  I am grateful every week to walk into a classroom like this, and yet, it's also making me wistful.  I have one more section lined up for next Fall, but then I graduate, and what comes after that is currently a giant mystery. After I finished my Ph.D., I applied for a handful of jobs as an assistant professor in English Departments.  One of them might have worked out, but I declined an on-campus interview, having finally to admit to myself that that kind of commitment was too much too soon with one-year-old twins at home.  Wanting something more part-time and knowing I had more to explore in the world of books arts, I applied to the newly-minted MFA program at Iowa, which will already be wrapping up for me this coming December. What has become clear to me in the intervening years is this:  I love aspects of teaching, both literature and calligraphy.  In some capacity, I hope to continue doing these things.  I love to write, although the conventions and expectations surrounding literary criticism are not quite for me.  I think many scholars would like to compose and engage with different types of criticism, and I hope and trust that more options will evolve for humanities scholars in time.  It's a battle that is being fought within English departments, and that will have to be fought in years to come.  But I don't feel like it is my battle. What I hope to arrive at is some hybrid kind of job that can bring together literature and book arts, teaching and making.  All in a specific location close to family.  It's a lot to ask.  Probably impossible to find.  Which in turn leaves me thinking a lot about entrepreneurship -- a prospect at once overwhelmingly scary and unbelievably thrilling.  And scary.  (Did I mention scary?) In the meantime, I am soaking up these weeks of spending time with other people who want to learn lettering.  I love hearing their observations about what strokes are difficult and why and then seeing them figure it out, bit by bit.  It reminds me that it is possible to get where you want to go with enough time and practice.  Keep putting pen to paper, regardless of how clumsy you feel, and beautiful things will happen. italic


Older Post Newer Post


  • Karyl Smith on

    What a lucky situation for you and your students! Very thoughtful, Laura, and beautifully written! I can’t wait to see what you will be doing a few years from now!


Leave a comment