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Calligraphy By Esha creates and coaches decorative penmanship

The phrase “You are beautiful” is written in white and pink letters against a black background. Second-year student Esha Sidhu said she founded Calligraphy By Esha so clients could learn more about the art form. (Courtesy of Esha Sidhu)

By Elise Van Meter

June 7, 2023 9:05 p.m.

Through calligraphy, Esha Sidhu is handwriting atmospheres of creation and growth.

The second-year computer science student is the owner of Calligraphy By Esha, a small business that engages in the craft of decorative penmanship. Endeavoring not only to cultivate sincere and personal rapport with clients, Sidhu said her business seeks to encourage others to pursue calligraphy, fostering a nurturing environment and an imaginative community.

“For me, it’s just how I relax, and I like to give little drawings and gifts to people,” Sidhu said. “I didn’t ever consider making it a business.”

Sidhu’s fascination with stylized lettering began in high school, she said. As her self-taught craft roused curiosity and enthusiasm among her fellow students, Sidhu said she opted to start a club through which her peers could discover calligraphic methods. She did so with hopes that their engagement would stimulate a sentiment of self-satisfaction similar to her own, she said. Sidhu added that she continued to receive heartening praise from her peers and teachers, many of whom proposed that she translate her creative competence to an entrepreneurial endeavor.

With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Sidhu said she modified the format of club meetings so that they could occur across online platforms. Furthermore, she said she decided to start hosting virtual calligraphy classes, where she was able to encounter and educate gatherings of keen individuals. Sidhu said she has consequently learned to become a more efficacious teacher, altering her explanations to better quench the uncertainties and confusions of her students.

[Related: Student Christina Williams tells clients’ stories through ink]

Eager to share her devotion and excitement, Sidhu said she began composing a monthly newsletter filled with advice and accompanied by a pertinent worksheet in order to stimulate her students’ continued pursuit of the craft. Through interacting with her readers, Sidhu said she finds their responses enriching to her instructive abilities.

Anvi Penmetsa, a fellow second-year computer science student, said Sidhu not only offers her wisdom and support to her students, but also welcomes and addresses the calligraphic interests of her readers. The spirit of openness Sidhu embodies in engaging with her students facilitates an intimate and receptive atmosphere, Penmetsa said.

As such, Penmetsa said the encouraging environment Sidhu cultivates is reflected in her art, which employs floral imagery and affirmative expressions to illustrate notions of flourishing. By including heartfelt words in her calligraphic creations, Sidhu embraces a positive tone of self-appreciation that is then imparted on social media, Penmetsa said.

“She does bring the idea of calligraphy and self-nurturing and self-love close together through her use of motivational quotes,” Penmetsa said.

In describing her approach to calligraphy, Sidhu said she tends toward a more modern aesthetic, adopting a bouncy and lively style that often integrates other forms of artistic creation, such as digital art and drawing. Attributing an effervescence to her artwork, Sidhu said her calligraphy more closely resembles handwriting as opposed to a font. Sony Mansoori, Sidhu’s aunt, said her niece’s artistic inclination has always enveloped a certain imaginative and inventive vision. Noting Sidhu’s innovative spirit, Mansoori said Sidhu is able to invoke her creativity to conjure novel ideas that incorporate calligraphy.

[Related: Alumnus’s business Ang3larts showcases personality through artistic creations]

Sidhu said she finds delight in crafting calligraphic art for people with whom she has fostered a personal connection. In such cases, she said she endeavors to forge a piece that is reflective of the memorable bond formed. Sidhu said she often creates signs for special occasions, such as weddings and anniversaries, and is charmed by the opportunity to participate in the monumental moments enjoyed by others, uncovering satisfaction in their enthusiasm for her art.

“I really like to make work that is directly for someone,” Sidhu said. “I like having the person I’m making it for in my mind because I feel like it becomes more personal and it becomes like a gift almost.”

Although balancing her studies and business often presents a challenge, Sidhu said she is able to discover inspiration and enthusiasm by reflecting on her readers and students. Dedicated to contributing to the community that she has cultivated, Sidhu said she is eager to sustain the connections she has made by way of teaching calligraphy. As she advances through her current scholarly commitments and future career, she hopes to create an accessible course that will allow others to unearth a fondness for calligraphy, Sidhu said.

“I hope that I can continue teaching calligraphy,” Sidhu said. “I feel like that is the aspect (of the business) that is most rewarding to me.”

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Elise Van Meter
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