Recommend a craft for me?

So, I have this vague aspiration that involves creating art that is display-worthy, and also encompasses certain interests of mine. Basically, I really enjoy quotes, and would love to create artistic pieces that combine simple images with phrases or sayings that really move me.

For instance, one amorphous idea I was inspired by a Buddhist quote I read that said, “Let us meet in the place where there is no ego.” I would love to make a piece of art with some kind of nature image along with that quote artfully presented. Another idea I had was a picture encompassing the profiles of both J. Nehru and Gandhi, and some kind of quote about leadership or strength coming from diverse/unlikely places.

My first thought was calligraphy along with photoshop and some kind of way to make pretty borders on nice paper. But honestly, I have really quite poor fine motor skills, and while I can envision what I would like to see, it’s difficult for me to have the ability to translate that into an image.

So, any ideas about how I can make these images a reality? My only criteria is that it be display-worthy, and that it allow me to have some latitude in how I realize the art. Is calligraphy impossible for those of us who can’t manage decent penmanship to begin with?

I know this is a really tall order, and if there are no suggestions I won’t be surprised, but I thought it couldn’t hurt to throw it out there. Thanks in advance for your help!

Do you have space for electric signboards?

Ceramics? Or, more specifically, ceramic tiles? I think something like either of those quotes could work really well on a tile 4 times as big as a normal tile (2x2) and featured on a backsplash in the kitchen. Though, since there does still tend to be a lot of ego in the kitchen, maybe the bathroom? No ego there! :slight_smile:

Perhaps you could take a basic framed canvas and add texture to it with gesso. Make some hills and valleys by dipping tissue paper and fabric in gesso, then wash some diluted paints over it. You could then gesso some printed quotes over them. Keep adding diluted paints and quotes until you find the result pleasing.

What if you did everything with a computer program, saved as a jpg and displayed in one of those digital frames? You could make as many as you wanted and display whatever one you fancied on any given day. Not traditionally crafty, but absolutely no messy cleanup either.

My first reaction is that perhaps you can do all of it digitally, including the lettering. If you don’t already have Photoshop, Photoshop Elelments might be enough program for you.

For backgrounds and borders there are all sorts of online resources geared for digital scrapbooks, and also free fonts (including tons of fonts designed to look like hand written calligraphy). I would urge you to look at the tutorials at a site like . I realize you aren’t trying to make scrapbook pages, but some of the techniques could be applied to your project.

for fonts my favorite site is

If you decide to go with non-digital, papercraft sounds like a good fit. You can do framed work, greeting cards, decopage, etc. Idea magazines like can be found online or in brick and morter stores.

A LOT of calligraphers either have bad handwriting or have used calligraphy to conquer bad handwriting – so don’t “write off” calligraphy as a possible craft for you.

Kate Gladstone –
Founder and CEO, Handwriting Repair/Handwriting That Works handwriting instruction/improvement service
Director, the World Handwriting Contest
Co-Designer and Content Provider, BETTER LETTERS personal handwriting trainer app for the iPhone and the iPodTouch

Cross-stitch and embroidery! Here are some sites with fun, modern kits to get you going, but it’s easy to make your own patterns and it really doesn’t require the precision of ink and paint.

Mount finished pieces in frames, or make them in to pillows, quilts, napkins, etc. etc.

I would give some thought to wood burning. We used to do this all the time. Since you mentioned Calligraphy, you could do simple whittling or wood carving to etch out an animal or such and then use wood burning to burn in a phrase.

If you decide to go with woodburning let me know. I’m pretty sure I have an iron in one of my craft tubs thats’ never been used that I’d be happy to forward to you.

Wow, for some reason I wasn’t aware how many responses this thread generated! Thank you so much for your suggestions, guys. I will look over your recommendations and if I have any questions I’ll report back. Thanks again! :slight_smile:

I agree. My handwriting is atrocious and I enjoy calligraphy as a hobby. You first learn each letter as a separate entity, including the particular strokes required for each one, then practice practice practice. Yeah, this sounds tedious, but I find it relaxing. Also, unlike normal writing and word processing, there’s something primal about the sensation of carefully laying ink on different papers and vellum. I find it a perfect combination of technical skill and creativity.

Traditionally calligraphy isn’t done with finger and hand motion like regular writing. Rather it is done with arm and shoulder movements. It might just work for you.

I find sculpture… not necessarily easier, but simpler, more basic, than 2-D art. Maybe it’s something about how you don’t have to worry about perspective and shading. You can use stone, clay, montage, whatever. It turns out that carving alabaster isn’t as intimidating as it sounds, if you have the right sort of space for it.

Just in case it’s helpful in some way, here are three sculptures I made in art class:



Misc (“Found objects”)