Disclaimer: Unlike many people, I’m not much of a traveler. Never have been. I’m mostly okay with road trips, but I really dislike flying where so many factors can throw things off, and everything is (literally) up in the air. To me, the “getting there” part is a huge hassle and a giant stress-inducer. And it’s worse when I’m without a travel companion.
But now I say: I will travel for calligraphy :-)
And this is where I found myself, a Southern California girl who had never experienced any temperature less than 40°F, in the middle of January, in the beautiful city of Chicago, where it was a balmy… 28°F. And now I can look back, smile and say: I went to Chicago to study with IAMPETH Master Penman Mike Kecseg for a weekend!
Ever since I was introduced to his Pointed Pen Variations (the exemplar is available in the Speedball Textbook), I’ve been wanting to learn from Mike himself. When an opportunity came up with the Chicago Calligraphy Collective, I just couldn’t pass up the chance. I joined the CCC and mailed in my check and registration form right on opening day back in September, and was lucky enough to get a seat!
This was my first-ever visit to Chicago, but definitely not my last. I arrived Thursday evening and had my Friday free, so I took a nice stroll through downtown, met up with my good friend Anna for lunch, then I walked to Millennium Park, and then the Art Institute of Chicago. I spent a wonderful afternoon there, soaking everything up – the Art Institute was one of the art museums on my bucket list!
When we arrived at the workshop on Saturday morning, it was really cold! Luckily, I was prepared and dressed in layers, one of the base layers being Uniqlo’s Heattech. Having never experienced Chicago winter, Heattech really saved me and kept me warm.
We went over the basics of his Pointed Pen script variations on the first day. It was so great to watch him demo and show us how it’s done! On day 2, we moved to using the pointed brush which was challenging, but fun.
Meeting Mike Kecseg and learning from him was such a dream come true. Not only that, I got to meet some of my favorite calligraphy friends: Joi, Eileen, Devina, Tome, and Amy. Huge thanks to Devina for letting me stay with her, to Eileen and hubby for dinner and treat at Eataly, and Joi for bringing sustenance (donuts!) and for suggesting getting ramen and buns! So good!
I fell in love with Chicago after this weekend. I hope to visit again soon when it’s warmer, and can’t wait to see my lovely friends again.