I've been trying and trying to find a few spare moments to share another bloggy gem - the blog site of Cari Ferraro.... but I've been rushed off my feet - and now it's all worked out for the best - as Cari has just migrated her blogspot blog over to an integrated website, with a little journal (aka blog) included.....
Before you head off to enjoy the new site - here's what Cari had to say about her calligraphic (and blogging) journey to date...
Ronnie: So Cari, can you tell us all how you got started in calligraphy?
Cari: I felt for a long time that I came into calligraphy through the back door. I was an English major in college, studied literature and creative writing, but almost no art classes of any kind. After I graduated my mom gave me a copy of Jacqueline Svaren's "Written Alphabets" which was the seed. This was probably 1976 or '77. I had been collecting quotations I loved for years, being a great reader, and gradually found that calligraphy was a way for me to communicate my love of these words to other people.
I was self-taught for many years and didn't even know about any of the calligraphy guilds starting up in my area, but finally I caught sight of a class in the University's extension program taught by Carl Rohrs. That class opened my eyes to all that I didn't know, and also put me in touch with the local guild and I began taking workshops. I had some bad habits to unlearn but soon I was making great progress. I had been encouraged by my husband to hang out my shingle as a business the same year we got married, 1981, and so I did. I shudder to think of some off things I charged people money for, but taking commission work made me practice and kept my nibs wet. I decided early on that I would put my energy into the business instead of teaching because it was more flexible for my schedule when my children came along a few years later. Calligraphy was at that time something I could pick up and put down at the drop of a hat if my kids needed me. That is not the case now though: when I am involved in the creative process I get so deeply into it I will forget to eat if my husband doesn't call up to the studio "Rapunzel, come down for dinner . . . "
R: Ha! My long-suffering partner and kiddies can empathise! Now, how about blogging?
C: I began the blog in September of 2008. I was always interested to read about other artists' experiences and how they created their work. We artists tend to work in such isolation. People like to know the "story" of the art, how it was created, what the inspiration was. I was also at that time in the midst of an episode of disability that went on for a few years, and not getting out much, not able to go to the calligraphy conferences, and generally just feeling very alone. So I felt that writing a blog would not only connect me to the larger world, but also give the creative writing muscles some exercise and keep me in good form. I have really enjoyed sharing my creative experiences and have also threaded in how my personal and spiritual life affects the art that I create. So the blog may be about how I painted pages for a bookwork, or it may be about a spiritual circle I have with my family. It's all of a piece to me, as one thing feeds the other and they are pretty much inseparable. It's also been a great way to get feedback on the work. There is much that I do not reveal on the blog, if it's of a personal nature, but I feel if it relates to the work then it's fair game for a blog post.
R: What does blogging mean to you and your creative output?
C: Blogging and being on Facebook has increased my circle of virtual friends immeasurably and given me great pleasure to connect to the larger world in this magical way. I have met and become involved with people who I first met online, who found me through my artwork, and have felt a soul connection to people across the planet by participating in these networks.
In the last few years, I have become much more serious about my work. Aside from some longtime clients, I have pretty much stopped doing commission work in order to give my full attention to making books. I always dreamed of writing books, but even as a youngster I had to be doing things with my hands, so to finally have it all come together has been extremely satisfying for me: not only am I often creating the content for my books, but I am painting, lettering, stitching and pasting them too! I feel a strong push to create work that reflects my unique spiritual path, which includes a serious reverence for the Earth and all Her creatures. As I have gotten older, I feel that, if not now, then when?
I look at the blog as something of a teaching forum for me, not only for my process but for my inspirations, my disappointments and/or frustrations, and sometimes to show early work to encourage aspiring calligraphers. I also like to share some pictures of what I do in my journal, very rough stuff, but often the seeds of an idea I might develop more fully later, or else just the practice of fooling around with tools and color for the fun of it.
R: Yes, I often feel that blogs/blogging can be simultaneously personal and universal..... and a place where one can give and receive at the same time..... Thanks Cari for sharing!
And in that spirit Cari has generously chosen to share with us pics of her working processes, not polished end products.
You can still catch Cari's work and words at Prose and Letters....
or you can drop by her newly vamped website to find her new blog home and enjoy the journey!