Calligraphy class inspires creativity

In a new upcoming event, students and lovers of words have the opportunity to learn or hone their skills in the art of calligraphy.

Tracy Balzer, director of Christian formation, is offering an immersive, two-hour session on classic calligraphy to interested students and Siloam Springs community members alike. Pupils will learn enough to continue sharpening their skill and creating beautiful art on their own.

A booth at last fall’s Siloam Springs Homegrown festival found Balzer selling calligraphic gifts, which she also sells at Occasions in Siloam Springs and another calligraphy shop in Tulsa. Balzer takes custom orders for favorite quotations and Scriptures, aprons and wedding invitations.

Balzer commented on the need for calligraphy in present times. “We live in a world where public schools are doing away with handwriting in favor of typing since it’s so relevant for today. Learning cursive is a hallmark achievement for becoming an adult, even in the second grade,” Balzer said. One of her favorite reasons for learning calligraphy is that it “forces one to slow down.”

The art of calligraphy can be seen throughout human history—the many genres that exist range from italic to chisel-edged lettering to classical and Celtic styles. Beyond these genres exist a plethora of styles, said Balzer.

Many resources are available for those who want to try their hand at calligraphy. Blogs like or social media outlets like Instagram and Pinterest, are  helpful in finding new styles to try. “Instagram is the place to find calligraphy since people share so much of their unique art,” Balzer said.

Non-art majors are also welcome to participate. In fact, the class is intended to provide even the most unskilled penman with valuable techniques, tips and training. The most important thing, according to Balzer, is “practice, practice, practice.”

Balzer hopes students will find the class fun and low-key. She will provide her students with lessons and supplies such as pens, paper and letter guides, as well as a welcoming atmosphere. The course traditionally attracts ladies, but Balzer welcomes men. JBU alumnus Ethan Zuck runs a calligraphy business from his Facebook page, EZ Calligraphy, which doubles as his calligraphy portfolio. 

Kate Barlowe, family human services and intercultural studies major, commented on the thought of taking the calligraphy course. “I have a love of words. It’s an art form with words. I’ve tried doodling sometimes, but I’m not very good. My family has several pieces of calligraphy art in our home and my brother recently got into it as well,” Barlowe said.

For the upfront cost of $75, Balzer will teach pupils the art of calligraphy in a two-hour session in the Student Development Conference Room in Walker Student Center on April 6 from 7-9 p.m. She will teach two more classes in March and April for the Jenks Community Education Administration, along with two more in the summer.