Calligraphy artist shares skill
By Kaila Mellos
Andrea Factor, a Scripps Ranch resident of seven years, has been interested in calligraphy and mixed media art since she was a child in the early 1960s.
“My parents’ friends would ask me to write out the addresses of their invitations, that kind of thing, and I used just to fool around with it; it was nothing serious. But after I married my husband, I took up the pursuit and at that time in the seventies, there were tons of classes,” said Factor, recounting how her longtime hobby began.
When she started taking her classes in the 1970s, she lived in Huntington Beach. There was a “renaissance” of calligraphy happening in Los Angeles during this time, and it made it easy for anyone to find classes to further their skills, Factor said.
In doing this, Factor was awarded the honor by many juried councils to have her work exhibited in shows and galleries through both the San Diego Watercolor Society and the Society for Calligraphy of Southern California.
“[At these exhibits] you just don’t walk in and submit your work; it has to be accepted into the exhibits,” she said. “So, just about everything I’ve ever submitted there, I’ve gotten into their exhibits, and that’s nice.”
During one of her showings, Factor was given another opportunity in life that she loves just as equally as doing the art herself: teaching.
A viewer of her artwork asked to be introduced to her to learn how to do a specific type of lettering she was showcasing in the exhibit.
“I was doing a style of hand, kind of ‘Lord of the Rings’ and he taught it, but he wanted to learn how to do it better,” Factor said. “He became a student of mine for a number of sessions. We worked together and I helped him with his uncial [lettering]. That’s kind of how I got started in teaching.”
After that, Factor got involved in private lessons and in-home teaching for calligraphy and lettering. She has been a teacher at the Poway Adult School since 2013,
“I need to share my knowledge. The teaching and the doing are two different things, but very equally rewarding …,” Factor said. “To open the eyes of other people and let their energy and creativity flow through encouragement, I think it’s exciting to see students’ work. Many of my students have far exceeded me, and I said, ‘you should be teaching this class so I can take it from you.’”
Factor says that anyone can learn the art of calligraphy. All it takes is the motivation to keep practicing to improve. She is still taking classes virtually at Santa Monica College during this pandemic when she can’t teach in the classroom.
According to Factor, “art nourishes the soul,” and learning to do something creative is a great outlet to feel better during this time. She practices this in doing artwork for herself and some small commissions that she has done over the years.
Factor is open to hand lettering anything for anyone interested in a specific quote, diploma work or invitations. Those interested in hiring her for commission work may contact her by email: email@example.com.