Despite initially disliking Chinese calligraphy, sophomore Ivy Luu learned to adore the process and later won competitions at her Chinese school. Luu quickly developed her Traditional Chinese calligraphy skills by dedicating time and practice to her newfound passion. As a result, she discovered the burning desire to perfect it.
Attending a Chinese school where calligraphy is a mandatory class, Luu started learning calligraphy when she was in second grade. She was originally discouraged by her lack of skill in the art, but decided to practice and improve her calligraphy to meet her teacher’s expectations.
“Seeing other people writing super well [motivated me],” Luu said. “The school posts [our] artwork on the walls, and I [was] like, ‘Oh, I want to be on the wall too.’”
Luu relishes the process of writing calligraphy, because she can take her time and her mistakes are only shown to her teacher. Regardless, she strives to write more steadily to perfect her calligraphy.
“Sometimes, my brush [seems] heavy, and it gets tiring, so that’s why my writing is shaky,” Luu said. “It doesn’t hurt [my arm] a lot, but it’s tense.”
Luu often writes Chinese idioms in calligraphy, which helps her learn new phrases in Mandarin. She enjoys writing characters with more strokes, as it allows the calligrapher “more control in the overall character.”
“The more strokes [a Chinese character] has, the easier it is to write,” Luu said. “If it has lesser strokes, [then] you have to make the strokes more precise, [so] people can see it easier,”
In class competitions, Luu has placed in the top three and won a cash prize. It took her four years of polishing her writing before she has won her first competition.
“I [was] very surprised after winning my first competition,” Luu said. “I thought I wouldn’t win, because the other competitors were very good. I felt very happy since I never really win anything.”
While she wants to calligraphy in different languages such as English, she has not found the time to teach herself yet.
“Us high schoolers don’t have much time [for that],” Luu said. “We have a lot of homework, so it’s going to be very rare that I am going to be able to [practice calligraphy] at home.”
Nonetheless, Luu hopes to continue learning calligraphy until she graduates high school. She does not plan to abandon her hobby as she anticipates the day she can compete with other students outside of her Chinese school.