The Beginning Hand: Kent Satterfield’s Experience in Calligraphy

Kent Satterfield and his wife Linda, from Greenville, South Carolina, came to the Folk School for the first time this spring–with Kent taking a calligraphy class and Linda taking one of our popular leather shoemaking courses with Molly Grant. “I’ve never felt that I was much of an artists nor craftsman,” Kent told us, but after a weeklong calligraphy course, he’s starting to feel otherwise. 

We love hearing about students’ first time at the Folk School, and are overjoyed when they tell us our noncompetitive, nurturing environment helped spark their creativity. We talked to Kent soon after his weeklong class wrapped up about some of the highlights of his experience. Read our interview with him below!

Curious about calligraphy? We have a handful of classes coming up this summer and fall–browse our offerings and register online today!

JCCFS: Tell us a little bit about yourself. What’s your career? What are some of your hobbies or other creative pursuits?

KS: I live in Greenville, SC and was born and raised in Greenville County. I retired in 2017 after a forty year career in public accounting. Since retirement, I’ve become an Outward Bound instructor with the NC Outward Bound School. I spend a lot of time outdoors, hiking, running, bicycling and playing tennis. I play the piano but other than that I’ve never felt that I was much of an artist nor craftsman; taking this calligraphy course has caused me to begin to think otherwise.

JCCFS: What led you to the John C. Campbell Folk School?

KS: I’ve seen the catalogue over the years and have been intrigued by the diverse types of courses the School offers. When I saw the catalogue last fall, the calligraphy course caught my attention and I decided to come take it and experience the Folk School. And my wife Linda decided to take the shoemaking course, which she loved (and she now has a beautiful pair of shoes she made with her own hands).

Kent with his wife Linda

Starting with proper form

Kent working hard in our spacious and well-lit Book Arts & Paper Studio

Kent’s workstation, with the instructor’s oversized letters acting as a guide.

JCCFS: What did you cover in your calligraphy class, “The Beginning Hand” with Michael Hughey?

KS: I, along with most of the other students, was an absolute novice in calligraphy. Michael is an exceptional teacher and his knowledge of the subject is unmatched. We started at the very beginning – how to hold the pen – and then took each step from there. There was the ideal mix of group instruction and individual work, with Michael providing individual feedback and suggestions.

JCCFS: What was your favorite part of class?

KS: I enjoyed seeing the progress that each of us made as the week went on. I also like the immediate feedback calligraphy provides – write a letter, word or sentence and you can see immediately what can be done to improve it the next time. We had a lot of laughs, mainly at ourselves.

JCCFS: How did you feel at the end of the week compared to the beginning of the week?

KS: At the end of the week I felt like I was a calligrapher! Okay, at least much more of one than at the beginning of the week. I was able to write things that to a layperson looks pretty amazing while we can spot the flaws and all the “coulda, woulda, shoulda’s”.

I was psych’d to create a piece for Linda about her making a lovely pair of shoes. She was totally surprised, impressed and appreciative (just like spouses are supposed to be about gifts 😉)

JCCFS: What was your favorite part of the Folk School experience? 

KS: Linda and I especially enjoyed talking with other students and instructors at meals. The food was great by the way. Discussing the courses being taken, hearing people’s stories, and making new acquaintances was all delightful. We were both a little surprised by how much we enjoyed this, and by how much we loved the overall experience.

JCCFS: On a similar note – what parts of campus did you enjoy?

KS: We took walks in the mornings and especially enjoyed the Rivercane Trail and the garden area. The entire campus is beautiful and peaceful. We stayed in Hill House and our accommodations were great. We were also very impressed with the studios and how well-equipped they are.

JCCFS: What advice would you give someone who’s thinking about coming to the Folk School?

KS: Come with an open mind and heart and don’t worry about what skills or experience you may lack. Instructors will meet you where you are and your fellow students will be super helpful also.

JCCFS: That’s great! Before we go, anything else you’d like to say about your experience here?

KS: Much like The Terminator: We’ll be back!

Kent’s nametag – great calligraphy practice!

Kent at Closing Ceremony with his surprise for Linda!

Upcoming Calligraphy Classes

Enhance your script writing style with the graceful flow of ink across the paper. Add visual flair to your lettering skills for spectacular cards, invitations, books, journals, or any other personal work of art.

June 11-17, 2023

Illuminated Letters with a Golden Touch with Sharon Coogle

July 7-9, 2023

Pointed Brush Lettering with Margaret Amoss

July 23-28, 2023

Pointed Pen for Copperplate with Michael Smith

October 15-21, 2023

Alphabet Playground with Sharon Coogle

Practicing calligraphy letters
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