RD: Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
My name is Connie Chen and I am a Master Penman. My love for letters began with my mother, who understood the power of penmanship, instilled in me the discipline to practice, and trained my eye to observe. But it wasn’t until a year ago when I discovered the steel nib. I live with lupus, a chronic autoimmune disorder, and my severe flare-up forced me to take a medical leave from Wellesley College. Little did I know it was the beginning of my unexpected journey with my writing and my faith. Every day after close reading and meditation on the Word, I praised God with my strokes. Calligraphy was my form of worship. With each image I searched for the true words within me that best articulated my relationship with God and design and write to push for active reflections on our faith. These devotions cumulated into my Instagram @colorsofchrist. By His grace, I can sit with my feet freely dangling, move my arms with strength and steadiness, and create with my brain without pain.
RD: How and when did you first discover Rhodia products?
CC: I was searching for a product that would not snag, feather, or bleed, and one accessible to my students around the world. It is very helpful during teaching to have a standard reference point where students can process immediately the proportions and slant I am writing on.
RD: Which are your favorite Rhodia products?
CC: Dot, grid, and lined—I love them all. But if I had to pick one, it would be the dot pad with all its freedom.
RD: Do you always use the same product(s) or do you change periodically?
CC: The dot and grid pads I use mostly for teaching, and the lined for note taking and letter writing. I also love my webnotebook journal where I keep many of my inspirations.
RD: Do you use them in any way that is specific to your work?
CC: The Rhodia pad is always on the Material’s List for my courses. It is so efficient say “Here the shade would be one grid tall” to a student on the other side of the world and be understood immediately.
RD: Does using Rhodia products make your job easier in any way? (Do quality tools make the job easier?)
CC: Definitely. I can always count on it to perform and when something does not work, I know it’s not the Rhodia.
RD: Pencil, pen, or other? Favorites?
CC: My hand carved ergonomic obliques (available on connie-chen.com/penholders) and goat hair brushes for Chinese calligraphy.
RD: Where do you regularly purchase Rhodia products?
CC: I usually purchase mine from Amazon.
RD: Is there any way we could improve on your favorite product?
CC: I would love to see a Rhodia black paper series (dot and lined). To my knowledge, there isn’t yet a lined black paper comparable to the quality of Rhodia paper for calligraphy.