Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Man 'Ministers' through Calligraphy; Each Creation Has Own Story

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Man 'Ministers' through Calligraphy; Each Creation Has Own Story

Article excerpt

Byline: Mary Maraghy, Clay County Line staff writer

You could call him a love letter-er.

In his fancy script, calligrapher Adam Darm of Orange Park has printed, illustrated and given away hundreds of scriptures, inspirational messages and poems on 8-by-11-inch handouts.

Some call it his ministry.

Darm is preparing items for a fund-raiser next month called Gourmet Night. About 30 area restaurants provide signature dishes for the event which benefits the Lighthouse Learning Center, a therapeutic preschool in Orange Park for disabled children.

For years, Darm has bought tickets to the event for his children's teachers. About eight years ago, organizers learned Darm was a calligrapher. They recruited him to make name tags, signs for each restaurant, plus appreciation placards for the event's volunteers and contributors.

The retired University of North Florida professor was happy to do so. He even joined the board of directors.

Throughout the years, people have brought Darm hundreds of witty sayings and meaningful prose, including the Serenity Prayer, The Prayer of Jabez and An Irish Toast. He adds pictures -- such as birds, flowers or nature scenes -- to enhance the message and he hand-colors each with markers.

Each calligraphy creation has a story behind it, he said.

Darm has distributed them on cruise ships and airplanes. One man sent them to his family members in Jamaica. A friend gave Darm's creations to employees he had to lay off in hopes the gesture would soften the blow.

The handouts have been framed, tucked away in keepsake boxes or hung on walls in Clay County and around the world.

Darm produces a handmade calendar every year that he sends to about 550 people on a mailing list who have become fans of his work. Some send him money for postage so that he will keep the tradition going. But it's not necessary, he said.

"They are gifts that I give to people. They're priceless," he said. "I'm just the messenger."

His life of lettering began when he was drafted into the U. …

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