Italian wedding styling inspiration with calligraphy

Delicate styling and the softest colour palette make this Italian summer wedding inspiration look like a dream. I love the combination of different looks – the palest blue lettering for invitations and envelopes; the fashion editorial style of the leatherette invitation wallets; the greenery-filled bouquet.



Images by Jenny Heyworth Photography for Aspire Photography Training

Location: Count Ceconi – Graphistudio
Models: Abi Monks, Eddie Kilty & William.
Calligraphy: Claire from  By Moon and Tide
Flowers: Tracy Burr from The Flower House

Mixing inks for modern calligraphy

I’ve been mixing my own calligraphy inks since I started writing back in 2005. I’ve learned a lot along the way and wanted to share my top tips for mixing calligraphy ink with you.

All images by Emma B Photography

Why mix your own ink? Why not just buy calligraphy ink?

There are a few good ink brands on the market – but for colours they don’t allow much creativity, and sometimes they can be runny or of a consistency which doesn’t work brilliantly with a pointed pen for modern lettering. Mixing your own inks gives you an infinite choice of fun colours and complete control over the consistency of your inks.

Gouache as a base for calligraphy inks

I’ve used gouache inks from day one. Winsor and Daler are both widely available, and both have a fab colour range and are ace for mixing at home.

Gouache is amazing for its opacity. With a little white mixed in, almost any colour can work beautifully on dark papers – creating strikingly beautiful letters.

How to mix gouache for modern calligraphy

You need three ingredients:

  1. gouache (sold in tubes at most art stores)
  2. water
  3. gum arabic* (via art stores or online)

(You can skip the gum arabic if you’re just playing or practising, but it helps bind the pigments together so you can easily rub out pencil lines on a finished piece of calligraphy.)

How to mix your own calligraphy inks with gouache

Start with a pea-sized blob of gouache in a small jar. Use a paintbrush to slowly add drops of water, and mix in a little at a time. You’re aiming for a runny consistency which will give a strong colour (ie not too watery) on the page. Add a drop of gum arabic when you’re happy with the result – and then try it in your pen!

The best test of consistency is to write with your gouache ink. If it’s too thick it won’t flow well in your pen; too thin and there’s a risk it will drip in big blobs onto your paper. (If this happens to you often, try using less on your pen at a time. Paint it on with a paintbrush rather than spooning it up with your nib.)

Getting the best from gouache calligraphy inks

Treat your new handmade inks to some fabulous coloured paper – the darker the better.

Try using a dash of white as a base for all your inks – this will make them stand out beautifully on black, blue or any other dark paper colour.

Metallic gouache is wonderful too. I love Winsor & Newton’s gold and silver. Mix these only with water and gum arabic (no white!) and keep it quite thick for a gorgeous shine to your calligraphy projects.

Come to a modern calligraphy workshop and buy colourful inks in my pop-up shop!

Friday 11th August, 1pm – Manchester Craft & Design Centre – tickets £65
Friday 6th October, 1pm – Manchester Craft & Design Centre – tickets £65
Friday 20th October, 10am – Anthony Burgess Foundation – tickets £30*
Saturday 21st October, 10am – Anthony Burgess Foundation – tickets £30*
Friday 24th November, 1pm – Manchester Craft & Design Centre – tickets £65

*Workshop only price – calligraphy kits will be available to purchase on the day


Photography credits: | | | | | | | | |

A modern calligraphy workshop in Manchester: Friday 11th August 2017 at 1pm

It’s 6 weeks until my next modern calligraphy class in Manchester’s fabulous Northern Quarter. I’d love for you to join me – classes are small and relaxed, with around 10 – 14 students learning how to write beautiful modern letters.

Image credit Inbetween Days Photography

Classes are aimed at absolute beginners. We start with how to prepare your nib and make simple marks on the page – within 2 hours you’ll be writing a gorgeous script in your very own style.

Photo credit Inbetween Days Photography Brighton

You even get to take home your personalised calligraphy kit and buy extra goodies from my little pop-up shop on the day!


These lovely pics are from fabulous photographer Laura at Inbetween Days Photography.

British Flowers Week – a glorious summer photoshoot and a fabulously floral Wild & Painterly wedding invitation

I’m always thrilled when Annabel from Love My Dress features photoshoots with my calligraphy. This time, doubly excited because the invitation suite featured is a collaboration with my fave illustrator, lovely Amy Swann. Captured by amazing photographer Jo Bradbury, this shoot sings of blissful summer days filled with colour, birdsong and laughter.

Flowers are by the amazing Claire at Wharfedale Grange. Dresses are  ‘Gardenia’ by Claire Pettibone and ‘Berangere’ by Cymbeline.

“I spotted the hand-written talent of wedding calligrapher Claire Gould, of By Moon and Tide a mile off…” ~ Annabel Beeforth, Love My Dress

Amy Swann’s statement wedding cake is out of this world – a creation of pure beauty which perfectly captures the essence of a summer meadow. You can almost see the poppies swaying in the breeze…

The invitation is a bespoke version of the Classic Peony design, which is available for purchase here. The torn edge version with handwritten calligraphy starts at £7 per invitation – please get in touch for a quote.



Rose gold bespoke wedding calligraphy invitation on BLOVED blog

It’s always so exciting to see my calligraphy on a major wedding blog, and last week was the turn of one of my favourites – lovely BLOVED blogger Catharine featured a bespoke illustrated invitation with hand lettering in a rose gold inspiration feature.

This richly illustrated invite suite has such a pretty aesthetic for a summer wedding, with illustrated florals by my wonderful friend Amy Swann. Protea and tumbling foliage create depth and texture in the design – in this case we added a touch of rose gold leaf from Hanover for extra sparkle and shine!

The lettering was handwritten in Finetec rose gold ink – with everything from place names and menus lettered by hand in the same colour.

To see the full shoot on BLOVED blog, please click:


Photography: Brightside Photography
Stylist: Elizabeth Hall Event Design
Venue: Turvey House
Hair: Hair Hostess
Makeup: Adele Faye Make Up
Campervan photobooth: The Boho Booth
Flowers: The Flower Story
Wedding Dress: Truvelle
Groomswear: Hugh Harris Formal by Design
Accessories: Miss Clemmie
Stationery: Amy Swann Cakes and Stationery with Calligraphy for Weddings

Inside my modern calligraphy workshop – a photo diary with Zen Photo, Manchester

All this year I’m inviting photographers along to my modern calligraphy workshops in Manchester, to help me share them with you and show you what happens during the class! I was so pleased to have lovely Zenna Barry from Zen Photo in Manchester coming to the calligraphy class in May – we had such a great day and I’m excited for June’s class already!

Zenna took such beautiful pictures during the workshop – I hope they’ll give you a taster of what the calligraphy workshops involve, and encourage you to come and join us soon!

She also had plenty of time to get to grips with a dip pen and nib, and to create her own beautiful letters. And she was so good at lettering!!


My workshops are held at Space2 in Manchester’s fabulous Craft & Design Centre. I love the place – the artisan shops are full of incredibly beautiful ceramics, papercrafts, jewellery and more.

Every student at the modern calligraphy workshop takes home a simplified version of my calligraphy starter kit complete with pen and nib, ink, brush lettering pen and worksheets. Every kit is personalised too!

Some of my favourite examples from the day – I love Carole’s beautiful quote written with a dip pen and then brush lettering pen – after just over 2 hours of learning modern calligraphy!

Calligraphy kits include alphabet samplers to copy, and cheat sheets to trace for a little extra confidence!

Each class has a lovely mix of attendees – crafty folks, wedding creatives, brides-to-be and their friends. Corrie’s business The Soirée Stylists hires out wedding props and styling touches – so calligraphy is a natural skill to add to her repertoire!

Reviews & recommendations

a wonderful afternoon learning the art of modern calligraphy with the amazing Claire Gould @bymoonandtide thank you so much you are a brilliant teacher.” Nicola Williams (learning calligraphy is one of her 40 things to do before she turns 40 – she completed a half marathon this week too!)

Fantastic workshop. I’ve learnt so much! Now for the practice!… Thanks Claire for your patient guidance and tuition, it was great fun” Clare Love

Best workshop ever! Loved every minute. Thank you so much” Kathryn Mitchelhill

Thank you Claire, it was a lovely afternoon, would definitely recommend it!!” Sarah Cooper

Had the most amazing day with @bymoonandtide at a modern calligraphy workshop in Manchester’s Craft & Design centre. Thanks so much for a fantastic day – I loved every minute & can’t wait to get practicing!Sally Jane 

If you’d like to come along this month there are a handful of places left and you can book online here: Modern calligraphy workshop, 23rd June

I’m running workshops in August, October and November too – to find out more and book your places, please visit By Moon & Tide: Workshops


Thank you Zenna!

Huge thanks for the images of May’s calligraphy class to lovely wedding photographer Zenna Barry from Zen Photo in Manchester. She’s an absolute star and comes highly recommended by me!

Raw Romanticism featured on Rock My Wedding Blog

I woke up this morning to a flood of Instagram tags and Facebook mentions because of this beautiful shoot I was involved in earlier this year. It’s always such a treat to see my calligraphy on Rock My Wedding. Experimenting with banana leaf paper was wonderful – it’s a beautiful surface to write on and allowed me to challenge myself and my nibs! The dusky pink ink worked beautifully and I love the images Agnes Black created of my work.

The full feature is here: Raw Romanticism on Rock My Wedding. Feature writer Fern loved the styling and look of the shoot: “We are so lucky at RMW to receive the most beautiful shoots in the business, so much so that I often feel at a loss for words when it comes to the describing the styling. The colours, the textures and the attention to detail in this stunner from Louise at One Stylish Day are just SO beyond any waffle I can spout up here. If you’re a pastel lover, but want to use these shades in a modern, sophisticated way – then this is how to do it.”

The calligraphy on the cake and cookies is by Rachel Hanna, cake designer at Marie Anoinette Cakes. Rachel attended one of my modern calligraphy workshops in Manchester last year. She’d already experimented with writing on cakes and wanted to explore lettering in more detail.

During the class we looked at the shapes of letters: where to include a thick stroke and where the finer hairlines should be. When writing on wedding cakes or recreating calligraphy lettering with a pen the crucial skill to master is the flow of lettering. Joining strokes are just as important as the letters themselves: they should flow beautifully, smoothly and with effortless-looking curves rather than corners.

It’s so nice to see Rachel’s lettering as a part of this shoot, and I’m looking forward to teaching a little more about lettering on cakes this Friday! (my first calligraphy class of the year, and I’m so excited!)

Photography by Agnes Black

Beautiful and cosy: hygge wedding style inspiration with calligraphy

I think most of us ‘do’ hygge without conscious effort… who doesn’t like snuggly things, romance and nature?! I love the concept and how this lovely word is melting into our consciousness and making us more aware of life’s simple pleasures.

The handwritten touch of calligraphy fits perfectly with a hygge wedding style.  Having those personal, handwritten elements is really special – the calligraphy stationery I designed for this styled inspiration shoot is welcoming, friendly and pretty without being too formal.

Translating hygge into a wedding context was effortless for the team of super stylists and creatives at Aspire Photography Training. Please visit my friends’ websites to see more beautiful wedding and photography inspiration: