A calligrapher’s journey – my story

Calligraphy workshops are fun. We have a chat, and the more the group is talking during the class, the better – because as you focus on something other than writing, you relax and suddenly your calligraphy becomes more instinctive and natural.

Image credit: Zehra Photography

So we talk about our jobs and lives and why we’re all there learning calligraphy. And I’m always asked how I got started in calligraphy.

I’ve always loved words – from spelling tests at primary school to learning joined-up writing, I was hooked. I read hundreds of books when I was young – weekly trips to our village library were a treat!

Then I chose to learn languages through school, while my friends went on to study art and design. I developed a bit of a fascination with how words are strung together and the nuance of meaning, while my friends showed me their typography projects – and I was hooked.

I dabbled with broad edged calligraphy as a teenager – a brief hobby (along with lace making and playing the flute!) which didn’t last long. But ever since, I’ve been super conscious of my handwriting. I’m a messy writer – and my scribbles will slant to the right, or to the left, or be super straight and neat, or girly and loopy depending on my mood!

Despite stuffing my old pens and nibs in a drawer for years, I later discovered calligraphy is like riding a bike. You don’t forget. So when I picked up a pen again 20 years later it felt natural and I fell in love with lettering all over again.

I was working in marketing at the time and took voluntary redundancy back in 2005. I picked up my calligraphy pens again (and bought a few new ones!) – writing wedding invitations for friends and working on traditional calligraphy poems as practice. In a year I built my business, learned about web design and coding, and began working on weddings locally and nationally.

Credit: Zehra Photography

At first I only had a website. Over the years my brand has grown and I now have a Facebook page, Instagram account, Etsy store and Not On The High Street shop.

My style of lettering has changed so much over the last 12 years: I began with gothic and italic lettering – which was totally on trend for weddings even such a short time ago! – and moved through Copperplate and Spencerian lettering to an organic, modern calligraphy style over the years.

As well as writing for brides and grooms, I write poems for anniversaries and gifts. I teach workshops, I sell calligraphy kits, inks and nibs.

I also write a wedding blog, which has helped me make contacts in the wedding industry and grow my calligraphy business.

And I’ve plans to try new things – in writing and crafts and life – over the next few years. I try to say yes to every new opportunity to make sure my story will continue!

Join me for a calligraphy workshop in Manchester: online booking & info – modern calligraphy workshops