Interview with calligrapher, Grace Song

Grace Song calligraphy interview

 Photo credit: George Matthew Photography

Follow Grace at @gracesongcalligraphy and visit gracesongcalligraphy.com.

What do you do?
I am a hand letterer and calligrapher based in Toronto. My services include wedding calligraphy, custom lettered art pieces, live calligraphy for special events, and other design work. More recently, I have been offering beginner brush calligraphy workshops to the local community.

How long have you been in this field for?
I started learning brush calligraphy in the summer of 2015. After participating in a daily letter challenge on Instagram, I fell in love with the artform and haven’t looked back since.

What inspired you to pursue this career?
After a summer spending time daily with brush pens, the act of creating something with my hands really propelled me to continue learning. I found, and still continue to find, that creating brush calligraphy has a very therapeutic effect on the mind. My attention is focused and I am able to block out everything else from the world for the time being. I realized it paired well with my day job, being a grade 2 teacher, which is rewarding but can be stressful as well.

From the beginning, I also used Instagram as a visual diary to keep track of my progress. On this platform, I have met so many other artists locally and internationally who inspired me to constantly to keep learning, honing my craft, and sharing my journey.

What was the biggest hurdle in attaining your career goals?
I never intended this hobby of mine to turn into a business. So I would say that the biggest hurdle has been believing in myself and finding value in my work. It’s always scary to put yourself out there and tell people what you do especially when you put your heart and soul into it.

What do you enjoy most about your work?
Besides the therapeutic aspect of my work, I love how calligraphy brings joy to others –  the smile on someone’s face when they receive something with their name done in calligraphy just never gets old. I also love being part of a larger community online and in-person through local meet-ups that I organize with two other calligra-besties. Despite differences in our backgrounds, our stories, and our day-to-day lives, calligraphy brings so many of us together!

What do you find most challenging about your work?
I find juggling my day job with my calligraphy business quite a challenge. In the beginning, I was open to working on all sorts of projects and saying ‘yes’ to everything that came my way. But now that I value the time I have for calligraphy so much more, I’m much more likely to think twice before accepting an opportunity to work on a new project.

Time is definitely a factor when it comes to finding balance between creating for myself and creating for others. As much as I appreciate having projects to work on for clients, I miss the days where I spent countless hours just creating for myself – learning how to use a new medium, trying a new technique, or getting lost in the blends of watercolours.

If you weren’t a calligrapher, what would you be?
I’ve had a growing interest in interior design, mostly from afar. There’s something about the process of working with a blank canvas and creating a space that fits one’s personality and aesthetic, while being functional, that really intrigues me!

Name one hobby you have that’s not related to your work.
I definitely have a thing for coffee and love checking out coffee shops around the city for some ‘me time’, to decompress from the work week, and to use as mobile offices for the day. My husband and I also love to check out new restaurants as well.

What’s the first thing you do in the morning?
Lately I’ve been waking up an hour early before I have to get ready for my day job so that I can slowly chip away at my to-do list. The first thing I do is make myself a pour-over cup of coffee!

And last thing you do at night?
Most likely, I check Instagram and cuddle with my cat, Ollie.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how much do you enjoy your work.
9

 

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