CALGARY -- It's more than beautiful handwriting. The artist can tell a story, not only with words, but convey an emotion with the way those letters are presented.

Calligraphy dates back thousands of years but is seeing a resurgence in Calgary.

Alma Taylor is a 39-year member of the Bow Valley Calligraphy Guild — one of the largest in Canada with upward of 150 members.

Taylor is passionate about calligraphy.

"It's the hands on creativity of it all, it really inspires you," said Taylor. "Paper, oh my gosh, just touching paper and holding a pen and dipping it in ink, it's all exciting."

Taylor says she's learning all the time and while in-person classes are canceled because of the pandemic, on-line sessions are replacing them. She says one of the benefits to them is geography is irrelevant.

"We have more time on our hands, people are looking for things to do," she said. "It got me through the winter sitting here lettering taking zoom classes from around the world, Mumbai India for this one, so it's amazing so there's so much out there."

Thea Lynn Paul has been practicing the art form for the last 16 years.

"You can do calligraphy with a pencil or a ball point pen," said Paul.

"You can do it with basically anything but you can also acquire more tools and papers and inks and paints and that possibility is endless."

Paul is enjoying time teaching her family the skills she's learned. Her seven-year-old granddaughter, Summer, is getting the hang of using an inkwell and dip pen.

"She's just soaking it all up," said Paul. "As I show her things she wants to learn more and it's a real pleasure being able to do that."

Guild member Annette Wichmann is the owner of Kensington Art Supply and Instruction. She started seeing more people coming into the store prior to the pandemic looking for calligraphy supplies.

"And then COVID I think accelerated that, so people had time and wanted to explore this saying yah I always wanted to improve my hand writing or do something fun," said Wichmann.

The skill of handwriting might be fading with more people young and old texting or emailing but Wichmann says there's still no replacing the feeling people get when they receive a hand written letter in the mail.

"I used to get letters from my grandparents and that form of communication could be lost," said Wichmann. "Who sends snail mail anymore? Well, calligraphers do."

The Bow Valley Calligraphy Guild is celebrating 40 years in Calgary this year.

For the month of June it is planning to host an exhibition at the Central Library — subject to COVID-19 protocols — with the hope of getting more people interested in the art form and signed up to be members of the guild.

Learn more about the Bow Valley Calligraphy Guild online.