My favourite camp of 2014 was not India or Galiano or even Facebook or AdobeMax, although I loved them all (really!). The one that will stay with me for years to come was our short workshop with the 4th & 5th graders at the Montessori school in Regina, Saskatchewan.
Tania, an alum from Type Camp India this spring, mentioned that her son was interested in lettering and would Xandra and I mind showing the kids a few things while we were in Regina for the Pointed Pen workshop. That was a no-brainer as far as I was concerned!
I’ve had people from all parts voice their concerns to me regarding the decline of cursive teaching in schools. I wonder would those of us interested in letters have been so if we hadn’t learned it?
We showed them a few strokes with the brush pen (I used what I had learned in Laura’s previous Type Camp workshops!) and then had them trace a casual brush script alphabet. They LOVED it! I watched them take great pains to make sure their strokes were correct and join the curves and straights. They really seemed to get the hang of the hard pulling strokes and the light pushing ones.
My most memorable moment was when I handed out the alphabet (pilfered from my TypeCon workshop with Debi Sementelli and Stephen Rapp. Thanks ya’ll!). Tania’s son, Simon, looked at me earnestly and asked ‘Is this Chancery?’ After I picked my jaw up off the floor and danced around the room with gyrations of typographic joy, I answered him as best I could . . . and then reminded myself to send him a few books to trace! Oh, to see the son of one of my favourite campers that I had spent time with in India, so eager and energetic, enjoy letterforms as I did when I was his age – and I had no bloody idea what the hell ‘Chancery’ was, and wouldn’t know for another 20 years . . . . Sniff. Gee, there must be something in my eye . . . .
Our 2 hours with the kids will hopefully open the door for some of them. I would never expect all of them, or even some of them, to be designers or even typographers. But I would want for them to notice how letters look once in a while – to see things that others might not see. Out of all of those kids, 2 were fantastic, 4 others were pretty darn great, 3 others will get there, and 1 just couldn’t be bothered. With those odds, I think we’re doing OK.
Thanks again to Tania, Ms. Kristin, Simon, and all the kids. We’ll see you in a few months for even more letters!