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2016 | A Calligraphy Year in Review

Watercolor Portrait

Welcome to my 2016 Year in Review for Traveling Calligrapher. It's the beginning of the year and I feel like I want to take the time to reflect on this past year (even though I'm a bit late), evaluate how it went and see where I want to go next! Going into this year, I really had no idea that I would do most of these things nor did I have high expectations. I knew that calligraphy was something that I enjoyed doing, so I kept doing it and said "Yes!" to requests and also explored new art forms. With that being said, this year, 2016, so many unexpected amazing things happened. Here's the list.

- Taught 21 classes (!), most classes were repeated with an amazing and supportive letterpress company, 4 were for corporate team buildings, some private lessons and 2 were new art mediums: brush lettering and chalk lettering.

- Burberry contacted me to do in-store calligraphy...then they trained me to paint monograms on their leather bags and 14 events later, I now can say I'm officially a Burberry fan.

- Made my first calligraphy pen with my Dad after much research and trial and error. Sold my first calligraphy pen.

- Hosted 6 calligraphy meetups for the San Francisco Modern Calligraphy Meetup group with my OG calligraphy partner.

- 3 craft shows

- Traveled to London alone to complete a neighborhood map and to travel.

- Dabbled with Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop and did a few digital invitation work, wrote out beautiful poems and song lyrics. Heck, a couple asked me to write their vows!? That's crazy! And finally, doing amazing wedding chalkboards!

What I'm most proud of this year is, hands down, making pens with my Dad. Before we started making pens in April of this year, my dad and I didn't really have a relationship. We loved each other, but we never had any kind of connection or any conversations. Once we started to research on how to make calligraphy pens out of wood, the fine artist in my dad came out and we started to bond and have this amazing father and daughter dynamic. I can't even put into words how much I will treasure this time with him. He's an amazing artist (he used to do glass blowing for a living) and even though he's a man of few words, nothing beats that laugh you hear when you tell him that one of our pens sold.

What I've improved on this year is definitely my teaching skills. After so many classes, I better have improved! But in all seriousness, I'm more confident and even though every class is different with students of all levels, I'm able to be more relaxed and create a good learning environment.

One thing I learned (the hard way and still learning after a couple of anxiety attacks due to a very full schedule: juggling my fill-time job with my calligraphy "job") is learning how to say "Yes" to MYSELF more which means saying "No" to others. For example, saying no to that amazing project request which happens to coincide with my busiest month. Don't take it girl. Pace yourself. It's good for the mental health!

Overall, I'm a happy gal in terms of the level and quality of accomplishments I've achieved this year. And although, I gave it good thought on this review thing and was running all of the things I did this year and I just couldn't pin point on the exact feeling because there were so many things to choose from! I feel like I learned so much, ups and downs, growing pains and I'm so grateful for it all! Being able to be on this calligraphy journey I've never even dreamed of is super cool. I still have learning to do and also some figuring out to do, mostly on the subject of what projects I want to focus on and how I want this calligraphy journey to look like next year in 2017. You know the small stuff. One thing I know for sure is I definitely want to do more calligraphy or something that has to do with running a business or design.

To close my first year as an extra small business owner/side hustler, as cheesy as this may sound, all of these opportunities only happen because you guys are so awesome, you like what I do, and you take a chance on me and support my work. Thank you to everyone who has been a part of it. I look forward to seeing my growth and where I will be at the end of 2017.

Thank you for reading, I hope you enjoyed the post. Let me know your thoughts!

I wish joy and happiness in the new year and to take more risks! You only get one short life.


Queeny Lu

(Traveling Calligrapher)

1 Comment

So proud of you, you are truly inspirational!

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