In the final meetings of Calligraphy class, students tried a different tool and a different language: using brushes dipped in sumi ink, they recreated Chinese characters. (This book by Edoardo Fazzioli provided our source material.)
Students said brush writing was among their favorite class projects. I suspect this is due to the freedom this tool gives: the brush responds to pressure variations, so it is much easier to create flowing, organic-looking lines as compared to a broad-edged pen. The unlined, large-format paper and our unfamiliarity with the characters allowed us all to loosen up and have fun.
Among our other final class projects, students created original stencils and painted them onto t-shirts:
This was fun, but a real production: for the amount of time, effort and expense involved (and with only one adult in the room), t-shirt printing proved very ambitious for the 7-11 year-old age group, but I think it could be a perfect project to do with parents at home.
Students used their lettering skills on advertisements and the brochure for the end-of-session show:
At the last class, I asked students to imagine themselves many years from now as 8th graders: what did they think they would remember about calligraphy? One response stood out: “to slow down and take your time to enjoy writing.” Well put!