Thinking with pen in hand, sliding every movement on the sheet as a dynamic extension of ideas, lines of imagination that marry form and thought: the art of beautiful writing, calligraphy as an aesthetic craft.
For our next stop during the journey of discovery excellence of Italian style we have decided to involve Betty Soldi, calligrapher by profession, designer, artist and all-around creative.
We are in Florence, the cradle and homeland of Humanism and the Renaissance; an intellectual beacon for many illustrious guests, such as Leon Battista Alberti, who was also a calligrapher among his many talents.
And it is by following the wake of this glorious tradition, that we find Betty’s neoclassical atelier. “It is my “hortus conclusus”, an expression that refers to the walled garden that is often depicted in the paintings of the Annunciation. The walls figuratively enclose our inner garden, a place that we must nourish, take care of, even when it is bare during winter, and then make it bloom again in spring “, she says. “I often use this analogy to explain my handwriting, where the letters flourish, thanks to what is called a flourish itself, a flowering that you add to the body of the writing. In England, where I studied, the verb to flourish is used to indicate this”.
Her family has been involved in fireworks for a hundred and fifty years, so Betty grew up from a very young age in a privileged relationship with matter, with powders, paper, string and all the tools of this job.
As fireworks amaze who looks at them, Betty decided to arouse the same emotions with the ancient art of calligraphy. From that moment on, she has widened her interests and the applications of her creativity, and became a graphic designer, working to define aspects of important brands’ corporate image.
The human side of emotions, feelings, sensations, is her horizon of meaning for all the activities she does. Among the other things, she published a book “Inkspired” – translated in eight languages and bestseller in Germany – in which she invites the reader to find their personal writing style.
Moreover, she organizes the “Inksperiences”, workshops or special moments in which people rediscover the joy of handwriting, and go beyond the traditional writing techniques.
The goal is to make the participants rediscover their individual voice, starting from themselves and then going back on paper, through thoughts and emotions. She, as “calligraphy coach”, tries to guide the participants in this creative process.
As she lived for thirty-five years in England, she adopted the habit of having a cup of tea. Despite that, she never lost the love for coffee. So, every time she visited Italy “the smell of coffee came back to tickle memories, the espresso as a way to exchange ideas, and a moment of sharing”.
The coffee moment is like an emotional blackboard, where a friendly brainstorming flows in, on which everybody writes in beautiful words the ideas of tomorrow.
Papers to fill are endless, and the marks to leave in time and space are many. For Betty, and for us, Gaggia, too.
You can follow Betty on her website at the link https://www.bettysoldi.com/ and on Instagram @bettysoldi.