BACK in the early 1990s, I spent a year teaching English in Japan. One of my schools thought it would be interesting for me to learn some Japanese skills, which is why I found myself taking part in shodo – Japanese calligraphy. When done properly, this can be a beautiful thing: each kanji or Japanese character captured with an artistic swish of the brush. Unfortunately for me, shodo custom insisted that people use their right hand. As someone very left-handed, this left my attempts looking like someone at nursery had been having a fun time with ink.

Calligraphy as an art has existed as long as people have been writing manuscripts. It subsided in the west with the arrival of the printing press in the fifteenth century, but has enjoyed regular renaissances since then. The first of these happened in the late-nineteenth century with the work of William Morris and the growth of the arts and craft movement. In the UK, Edward Johnston emerged as the pioneer and father figure of modern calligraphy: it was he who designed the san-serif Johnston typeface used on the London Underground.

In recent years, calligraphy has come back into vogue once more. It’s a skill that taps into ideas of mindfulness, that fits in with slow movement principles, and generally kicks back against the encroaching growth of technology. Not that modern calligraphers eschew technology completely. Seb Lester is the leader of a large pack of Instagram calligraphers, with over a million followers watching videos of his work.

Back in 1972, meanwhile, a young student called Steve Jobs dropped out of his college course, but stayed on campus, sitting classes that looked interesting. One of these was in calligraphy. ‘It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can’t capture,’ Jobs wrote later. ‘Ten years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. We designed it all into the Mac.’ In Salisbury, we are lucky to have Anne Waddington, founder of Font and Flourish, who is currently running regular classes at Boston Tea Party. Anne is someone who has been fascinated by the subject ever since she was first taught italic handwriting aged 11. After a career as a barrister and a psychotherapist, she has come back round to pursuing her first passion. When I caught up with Anne last week, her enthusiasm for her subject was infectious. She explained how for her, calligraphy is all about the art of communicating, finding your style and expressing yourself.

Such are Anne’s talents, she might even be able to make a calligrapher out of me.

For details of the Font and Flourish courses, contact Anne on 07913 172552.