What use is calligraphy in modern society

You sit at your desk, each one for yourself; the pen scratches over the rough paper, sometimes the hint of a smile crosses her face. Then again she is overcome by a faint melancholy, such as you can feel when one longs for the other while writing.

Two young women and their love affair with the young poet Friedrich Schiller, who is also a pen friend: This is what Dominik Graf's historical drama "The Beloved Sisters" is about. The film won various awards in 2015 because of the leading actors Hannah Herzsprung, Florian Stetter and Henriette Confurius. But the film is also remembered because it pays homage to writing.

These scenes from the film come to mind when you visit the calligrapher Chiara Attanasio at her workplace in Schwabing. Oscar, the French bulldog, lies sleepily under the desk on which the 37-year-old is currently tackling the next jobs: The wedding season is over for the time being, but the big pin party in the Pinakothek der Moderne is on again. Hundreds of invitations go through her desk, on which fountain pens, pens and ink containers are used. Chiara Attanasio gives every name something lively and light at the same time; she makes the letters dance without falling out of rhythm.

Calligraphy is an ancient art, among the Chinese even the emperors strove to master it in this discipline. Making the inside visible, that's what counts. Chiara Attanasio, who chooses her words carefully, prefers to call her job hand lettering. But can you make a living from this craft? "When I started doing this in 2011, for two years I didn't know how to pay the rent. After that, things slowly improved," says the entrepreneur. Business is now going well, because the demand for handwriting is growing to the extent that everyday communication is becoming faster, more digital and sometimes less loving. "People feel a need within themselves, they don't want mass products, but something of their own," says Attanasio.

In the meantime, the Munich resident has discovered new areas of business: she designs logos and messages for shops, which she then paints on the panes herself, she works as a postcard designer and lecturer. If you want, you can also order a calligraphic tattoo from her, which will be scratched into the skin in the studio.

She discovered her passion in elementary school when she filled her homework books with childlike meticulousness and began to experiment with Indian ink. During her apprenticeship as a goldsmith, she felt how much she missed writing. And then, after studying communication design in Munich, embarked on the adventure of giving words their own form.

"Everyone can find their own personal touch"

"Writing is part of good form, which is even stronger in other countries than here," says Attanasio. She thinks it is a shame that schoolchildren these days often only learn block letters and that computers and small devices have replaced pens and pencils. This is one of the reasons why she gives writing courses for children and adults - and first of all takes away their fears. "A lot of people believe that they have an ugly font. But for me it doesn't even exist. Everyone can find their own personal stroke." However, this requires a certain amount of practice, the correct pen grip, the development of a character. And the willingness to do something for yourself before you maybe share it with others. It is just like in Dominik Graf's "The Beloved Sisters": Some letters are written more for yourself than for the addressee.

How much her own style has changed can be seen by looking at old maps of her. The ornate and cocky is gradually giving way to a simpler variant, even if it still has different fonts in its portfolio. When writing, you also find yourself, an inner balance, says Chiara Attanasio. At the same time, it is a physically demanding craft. "In the past I often had back or neck pain, now I can manage my strength better." Fortunately, she has her Oscar so that she can get out into the fresh air during the final phase of a hasty writing job.