I signed up for my first modern calligraphy workshop in Hong Kong earlier this year.
I stumbled upon Chocolat‘s ad on Facebook and what caught my attention was the beautiful ad photo at first. I thought the person behind this modern calligraphy workshop has a great eye for styling. The workshop is priced very competitively at HKD588 for a 2.5hr workshop. Class size is 4-11 people.
If you “like” their Facebook page, it’ll be an additional HKD90 off. So I paid HKD498 in total for a 2.5hr workshop that includes a calligraphy starter kit and the materials.
I felt very excited about this workshop! Everything was great for me, but….
It was gonna be conducted in CANTONESE.
I’m not good in Cantonese. I can only get by giving basic instructions to taxi drivers or point and order some food at the local restaurant.
BUT LEARNING MODERN CALLIGRAPHY IN CANTONESE?
That was going to be a HUGE challenge. But I thought, why not? English workshops that are conducted by other companies cost almost HKD1,000. That’s double of what I’m going to pay for at Chocolat and Chocolat has almost 30k fans on Facebook. I must be signing up for something awesome! I was gonna learn modern calligraphy for fun. So I took up the challenge.
I signed up for the workshop via email according to the instructions on Chocolat Facebook page. I received a reply promptly with a list of important details. Then I paid for the workshop via bank transfer. Everything was very straightforward and systematic.
My First Modern Calligraphy Experience
The workshop is located at 7A, Ko’s House, 577 Nathan Road, Mong Kok, Kowloon. It’s a 7-min walk from the Yau Ma Tei MTR Station Exit A1.
Being an eager beaver, I arrived at the workshop 10-min beforehand to settle in and took some pictures. I reminded the teacher, Ms. Jo Lau, that I don’t understand Cantonese – hoping that she’ll be more patient with me.
I loved how clean the environment is. Jo prepared and organised the materials and had our names printed nicely. There were about 10 students in this class. The classroom was a good size for up to 12 people and a toilet was attached to it.
All materials were in English. Phew! (I knew about it when I signed up.)
Once the workshop started, I tried to listen intently like as if I understood the Cantonese instructions. But I had no idea what was going on.
Thankfully, Jo also wrote the instructions on the white sheets. She demonstrated the different ways to hold the pen and how to position our arm and body when we write. It was easy for me to figure it out when I watch her demonstrations.
Here’s the recommended layout pad for us to practice calligraphy at home. The black ink for modern calligraphy is the same for Chinese calligraphy.
Jo also recommended us to get this book if we’re more serious about learning calligraphy.
This was what I’ve done during the workshop. It’s about light and heavy strokes and also knowing when your ink runs out. It takes a lot of practice.
When I absolutely don’t understand what Jo was saying to the class, I would ask my classmate to translate for me. I was very careful about not disrupting my classmate’s learning so I only asked for her help twice. There weren’t many questions to ask.
Jo was very patient with everyone. I also had my one-on-one time where she taught me how to improve my calligraphy technique.
I got to try the gold ink too! This was a bonus part for everyone. Some of us, including myself, bought a small pot of gold ink home. I’ve yet to use the gold ink till date. I’ll need to practice more modern calligraphy with the black ink first.
What I Like:
- Great value
- Relatively convenient location
- Patient & effective teaching
- English materials
- Clean environment
- Nice classmates
- No hard selling
What I Dislike:
- Strictly no spoken English instructions at all
My results are pretty decent for someone who doesn’t understand Cantonese.
3 months after the workshop, I can still assemble and disassemble the calligraphy pen properly and write modern calligraphy with the references that I practiced with.
I’m definitely keen to join the next modern calligraphy workshop when I have time.
Do you find that my review is useful? Where are you learning your modern calligraphy at? Please share your experiences and recommendations too.
Featured banner photo credit: https://www.facebook.com/Chocolat.sweetideas/