Mothers as Artists

When I was a little girl, I used to watch my mother. She was a calligrapher. My father made a light table for her where she laid down her pages and, bent attentively over the light, she wrote. The light table illuminated a lined page behind an unlined parchment page so that my mother could write a straight script across the parchment without marking lines on the parchment itself. She would write fancy scripts and make lovely flowers, gilded with silver or gold from her tiny paint pots, and create something beautiful: a wedding invitation, a birth announcement, a wall hanging, a bookmark. Her pens had special, pointed nibs that she dipped in black inkwells, from which flowed many precious words, often from scripture and sometimes from poetry. From my mother, I learned that mothers are artists.

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About Author: Jane Beal

Jane Beal, PhD, is a writer, educator, and midwife. She holds a Certificate in Midwifery Mercy in Action College of Midwifery and a graduate Certificate in Narrative Medicine from Bay Path University. She has served with homebirth practices in the Chicago, Denver, and San Francisco metro areas and in birth centers in the US, Uganda, and the Philippine Islands. She is the author of Epiphany: Birth Poems and Transfiguration: A Midwife’s Birth Poems. She teaches at UC Davis and the University of La Verne in California. To learn more, please visit and

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