Get To Know: Kirsten Burke
The face of The Modern Calligraphy Co. has been helping families learn how to take comfort in lettering. We spoke to the calligraphy virtuoso about her company’s response to lockdown, the role her creative daughter Sofia played, and just why crafting has been so important recently, now more than ever.
“Calligraphy is the perfect escape,” Kirsten Burke enthuses. “You have to really focus your mind on the task in front of you. You get totally absorbed by it and all of your worries melt away.”
Kirsten’s work, along with her talent for showing you how to level up your lettering game, has always stood out – but her latest venture may be the thing that shines brightest on her CV. In response to an outbreak that has changed the world, Kirsten and her team at The Modern Calligraphy Co. are determined to restore a sense of calm by offering free workshops and downloadable materials to help people get inky without barriers. It couldn’t have come at a better time.
“We had to postpone all our workshops overnight, and we knew we had to push this project forward as quickly as possible. We were really aware of the difficult situation people found themselves in, and we wanted to make a bunch of free content accessible to everyone. If you don’t want to spend money or lack calligraphy tools, we’ve got projects that use pencils and pens, which are just as fun!” Kirsten says. “For those that want to learn more, we’ve got premium online workshops that come with a 10-page lesson plan, all for the price of a coffee. I just can’t think of a better time to learn calligraphy. It’s so comforting in a time like this.”
For anyone wondering what exactly the kids will be doing to keep busy while you get your lettering on, the team is one step ahead. The closure of schools and in turn the loss of a creative output for kids across the nation spurred them into immediate action.
“Children are feeling confused at the moment, and parents are feeling pressure to comfort them, educate them, keep them engaged – and in some cases work from home, too! Our tutorials will occupy them – getting stuck into a task and focussing is great for mental wellbeing, concentration, and increasing motor skills. It also gives parents the chance to spend quality time with their children. Kids often encourage adults to break the rules, and in modern calligraphy the results are then even more dynamic!”
The ink apparently doesn’t fall far from the nib when it comes to finding ways to nurture creativity. Kirsten’s daughter Sophia helped set up an Instagram account (@themoderncalligraphykidsclub) where kids can share the calligraphy work they’re proud of and in turn be inspired by each other. “It’s so heartwarming at a time like this for children to have a positive community of like-minded enthusiasts sharing their love of lettering,” Kirsten says proudly.
And finally, any words for a budding letterer about to take the plunge into an unknown world? “Just relax and breathe. Modern calligraphy is different from traditional calligraphy. It’s not about precisely matching perfect letters – it’s about rhythm, bounce, developing a personal style. It’s also about building up the muscle memory in your hands so that eventually the letter strokes become automatic. But ultimately, it’s something we can do to relax and to take a break from the stresses of the world. Couldn’t we all use a bit of that magic right now?”
Head to the Modern Calligraphy Co. website for details on workshops and more, and check out our bountiful calligraphy section to get that pen moving ASAP!