Calligraphy workshops, potatoes and wet pants

I’ve had the loveliest working weekend, starting on Friday at Beetham Nurseries and finishing at Shed 1 Gin on Sunday afternoon.

These were my autumn-themed calligraphy classes, with fab people who took to calligraphy like ducks to water. We wrote trick or treat, we flourished wildly, loved and hated z and b, and one of us ended up with soggy undercrackers after a potato emergency.

Before I go into that, I have happy news for anyone in Furness who’d like to join me for a Christmas calligraphy workshop. We had so much fun at Shed 1 Gin yesterday (very much thanks to lovely owner Zoe and her afternoon tea + gin magic) that we’ve already booked in a date for Christmas!

I’ll be at Shed 1 Distillery on the 10th of December from 2 – 5. Places are limited so book as soon as you can! Book your tickets

… and this time I’ll be more organised. I learned an important potato lesson, which had the worst possible consequences for my drive home (although I was chuckling all the way…)

If you’ve been to one of my calligraphy workshops, you may well have met Peter.

Peter is my potato – named by one of my classes at Rheghed, I think – because of course, every calligraphy potato needs a name, right?

More specifically, Peter is my calligraphy nib potato hedgehog. (Nibs come with a special lacquer coating which stops them rusting in shops and in storage before use. The lacquer has to be removed for the ink to run properly on the nib, and the starch in potatoes is the best way to do this. You poke the nibs in a potato for a minute or so, and they work like a charm.)

Peter (oh and by the way, there’s a new Peter for every class) is crucially important at every calligraphy workshop. Without him, my nibs don’t work. I should never, ever forget Peter.

With 15 minutes to go, I realised I’d forgotten to take Peter to Shed 1. Figuring the distillery would be full of all kinds of gin-making magical botanical ingredients, I thought perhaps there’d be a spare potato in the back, so I asked Zoe for help. She had, rather wonderfully, a lemon and a quince. I thought a lemon might work (the quince being reportedly rock hard) so I stuck a nib in it, waited a minute with everything crossed, and… my nib smelled beautifully lemony but the coating was still there. The nibs weren’t going to work.

Grabbing the keys to my little mini, I raced out of the car park and drove the two minutes to Booths in Ulverston, dashed in, grabbed a potato, flew through the self-checkout with my massive purchase, and made it back to Shed 1 just in time.

One tiny little error was made at this point. It being a humid kind of day, and having done actual running with my legs, I’d had my car window open. When I got out of the car, I turned the ignition off and opened the door and the window almost closed, but not quite. The gap at the top was 1cm if that. I decided no one would nick it, and with my calligraphy workshop starting in a matter of seconds, I left it a teeny weeny tiny bit open.


On with the calligraphy class…

During the calligraphy workshop – which was amazing – nibs sufficiently treated by my new Peter-the-calligraphy-nib-potato-hedgehog – the heavens opened. There were cracks of thunder, the rain was torrential, Zoe’s juniper tree outside the door got about 80 buckets of water within minutes, and the car park puddles turned into little ponds.

Despite being fascinated by the rain, thunder and lightning outside, not once did I think of my little mini with its almost-closed window.

Until I sat in it.

I’m sure you’re with me at this point: the driver’s seat was more than a little bit soggy. There was nothing I could do but pop myself into the car, and enjoy the ride home after a brilliant day, with a very wet top, leggings and pants. A first for a calligraphy class – but a brilliant weekend of workshops nonetheless!

Special mention as well for the afternoon tea made by Zoe at Shed 1 – it was absolutely delicious with gin-jam-glazed fruit scones, strawberry shortbreads, parkin and lemon meringue bites. I will stake claim to the best-tasting calligraphy workshops the world has EVER seen, right here in Ulverston!

Join me for more calligraphy workshops in Cumbria!

Introduction to modern calligraphy at Rheged

Sunday 24th of September
£55 for 3 hours includes hot drinks
Book your tickets

Christmas calligraphy at Rheged

Sunday 19th of November
£55 for 3 hours includes hot drinks
Book your tickets

Christmas calligraphy at Quirky Workshops

Saturday 25th of November – Greystoke, Penrith
£55 for 2.5 hours includes hot drinks and home made biscuits
Choose either a morning or afternoon session
Book your tickets

Christmas calligraphy in Kendal

Friday 8th of December – Quaker Tapestry Museum
£45 for 3 hours includes hot drinks and biscuits
Book your tickets

Christmas calligraphy for beginners at Shed 1, Ulverston

Sunday 10th December
£45 for 3 hours includes a Welcome G&T and home baked treats!
Book your tickets