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About the calligrapher

Marie Fredriksson, kalligraf

Marie Fredriksson, kalligraf

My name is Marie Fredriksson, I’m 40 years old and live in the southern part of Sweden. During the daytime I work in an office with marketing. Calligraphy is without doubt my passion in life, and so it has been ever since I found a calligraphy book in the library. I was fourteen then, and when I later found nibs and nib holders in the local bookstore, my happiness was complete.

For quite a while I tried to teach myself calligraphy via the few books I found, simply by meticulously copying the examples. I thought I did rather well. Warped and wobbly letters without basic knowledge about letter shapes is what I see when I look at the letters from those years today, but back then I was rather pleased with myself.

Education
Since calligraphy is not a big hobby in Sweden and I haven’t been able to travel as much as I’d wanted to, I’ve actually never taken a ”real” workshop or class. I have learnt most of what I know via different correspondence courses, which has worked very well for me. In 1997 I began by taking the international correspondence courses that were called Cyberstudy (they do no longer run), and I learned much, much more than I thought was possible. It opened my eyes and made me really understand the letters, how they are built up and relate to each other and what makes the different hands what they are. I am forever grateful to Karen Ter Haar, Viva Lloyd, Gemma Black, Maura Cooper and later Gaynor Goffe, the teachers I studied for during the following years. It is upon my experiences as a student of these courses that I have built the correspondence courses I offer on this website.

I have offered these courses throughout Scandinavia with great success since September 2001. Currently roughly 350 students have taken one or more of the courses. Considering calligraphy is not a common hobby around here, I believe that number is rather high. Since I really love this way of teaching, I decided to rewrite the courses in English to reach a wider audience. You can read more about it here.

Qualifications
The British association CLAS (Calligraphy and Lettering Arts Society, www.clas.co.uk) is administrating a National Diploma of Calligraphy at three different levels. In 2006 I was given a ”merit” of the diploma at intermediate level, and previously I had a ”distinction” at foundational level. The pieces are marked in great detail by well-known calligraphers.

Pieces of work
I have collected some of my work and put them in a ”gallery” and you are welcome to take a look. I am not yet a commercial calligrapher although I do commissions on occasion – most of my pieces are personal and made for myself or family and friends.

Calligraphy as a hobby
It is incredibly soothing and almost a meditative experience to sit with pen in hand and watch the letters flow onto the paper. When you feel with your entire body that all the hours of hard work and all the endless practice sheets has been worthwhile. When you know that you have gained a deep understanding for the letter shapes and also that you control the muscles in fingers, hand and arm that makes you really control your tool – the chisel nib. Time flies, you don’t feel hunger and don’t care about the phone ringing. That must be more than a hobby – it’s a passion!

On the other hand there are also days when nothing works and not one single nice looking letter drops from your nib. Those days are simply not meant for calligraphy, and there’s no use in keep on trying. During the years I’ve learned that you cannot force beautiful letters. It doesn’t work that way. Well balanced letters can only come from a harmonious calligrapher, that’s just the way it is.

The website
I started www.kalligrafi.com in September 2001 because I thought there was a lack of Swedish/Scandinavian sites about calligraphy. I also wanted a platform from where to promote my correspondence courses (read more here). For a couple of years I wrote only in Swedish, but since 2006 many of the pages are available in English as well.

Anyawy, I hope that you will find what you are looking for on this site. And if not, feel free to send me an email and I will help you if I can!

Marie Fredriksson