2015: a year in calligraphy

I should really blog to remind myself what I’ve done so I can look back at the year and see what I’ve achieved, rather than coming to write a post like this and knowing I’ll make some things up… or forget, or get dates wrong.

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So here, a half-remembered calligraphy journal and review of the year just passed.

Last year’s resolution was to ‘do more shoots’ and it worked. I shipped samples all over the UK and now have some amazing images of my work to show for it.

I realised I love shoots. They’re challenging creatively, the wait for images is exciting and even when I can’t be there on the day it’s great to network with other creatives. I have met some fab photographers and stylists along the way, people who I find inspiring and will be happy to work with again.

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When I wasn’t creating new designs for shoots, my day to day calligraphy work carried on much as it always has with envelope addressing, naming invitations and a scattering of bespoke commissions from early in the year.

A notable addition was my Not on the High Street shop, which brought in extra pocket money at the beginning of the year especially. The top selling item there was – until November – ‘Will you be my bridesmaid‘ cards. I tried calligraphy kits and pens, one poem print and some wedding stationery: very much testing the waters for NOTHS so far. Their T&Cs are very strict so I didn’t want to overcommit especially in summer.

In the end this wasn’t a worry so I will look to sell more via their website in 2016.

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Over the summer I got involved in some larger scale and creative lettering, particularly with the team at Aspire Photography Training as well as on shoots for Melissa Beattie and Ashley Edwards. Some was tons of fun to do; it was all a learning curve. I find writing on muslin very difficult and won’t volunteer to do it again!

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At Aspire I wrote on chalkboards for a shoot later in the year. That was fab – the trick is window markers rather than chalk or pens. The results are in the English Wedding Book.

Mirror writing was another hit in 2015 for real weddings. It’s a treat to write on mirrors and glass – they’re so smooth and the pen glides along glass so beautifully. But it takes very careful planning and a long time measuring up: my secret is dots of white marker to show measured spacing and masking tape instead of ruled lines. The logistics of mirror calligraphy are fun too (as UK courier companies won’t deliver mirrors without a huge fee) – one lovely customer came to meet me in a car park near the motorway; another collected their mirror from a Manchester calligraphy workshop; lovely Emma Tebbey collected an enormous Laura Ashley mirror table plan from my apartment.

Emma has been another highlight of my year. Her vision leads to some amazing creative projects. She asked me to write on pieces of slate for Askham Hall‘s brochure so I wrote a menu on a surprisingly huge chunk of slate as well as place names on smaller pieces. I also did some gold ink calligraphy – using my new Finetec palette – on navy card for a shoot with Taylor & Porter in Cornwall, which Emma styled.

The shoots mentioned above have led to some amazing coverage in top wedding blogs: Wedding Sparrow, Magnolia Rouge, Junebug, Love My Dress, Grey Likes Weddings and Style Me Pretty.

I really need to add a ‘press’ page to my website!

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In early summer I signed up to teach at The Handmade Fair again. The plan was as last time: midday workshops teaching the very basics of lettering to 100 people at a time. We refined our kits to make setting up more streamlined. I was on the TV ad – which was hilarious – and before the event I had some calligraphy projects featured on Whimsical Wonderland Weddings and The Handmade Fair’s own blog. The show was a whirlwind; our workshops were one of the best-selling in the wedding tent, we even met Kirstie Allsopp very briefly as she swept through the green room on her way to the big top for a show.

Teaching at The Handmade Fair is very rushed. It’s loads of fun – but I don’t think you can really teach enough in such a short time period. I’ll happily hand over the gig to another calligrapher next year. I prefer teaching workshops in smaller groups now, and my Manchester workshops have been fantastic. The first, in August, was a trial run for The Handmade Fair but went so well I held workshops in October, December and January, and there are monthly workshops planned for 2016.

The most recent workshop was so much fun: my friend Paul Kyte came along to make a film of the day to showcase the workshops, and I was really pleased with how it turned out – thrilled, in fact! I didn’t pull weird faces or sound like a crazy person… and he made the workshops look pretty, exciting and fun! (Which they are!)

A final highlight to 2015 – and a great way to end the year on a high – came from my first workshop in August. Illustrator and cake designer Amy Swann came to the very first workshop and brought along some floral illustrations which blew me away! She asked me to write a calligraphy logo for her, which I did, and we then worked together on a series of styled wedding shoots and got to know each other’s work well. So in November Amy & I hatched a plan to design some cards and prints to sell for Christmas.

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Amy illustrated floral wreaths and borders, and I added calligraphy and arranged for everything to be professionally printed. We sold a few of everything, and most are still available on Etsy – but the main hit was our calligraphy family tree. This flew off the shelves at Not on the High Street as a Christmas gift and is still on sale now.

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2016 will bring new challenges. My main focus will be:

  • using the images from shoots for social media
  • working on shoots at Aspire with more of a plan to include saleable items and key sellers
  • developing workshops and relaunching my calligraphy kits (I’ve already ticked this off! You can buy the calligraphy kits here)
  • keeping a record of what I do so I can blog about it next year!

Calligraphy kit uk gift packaging

New calligraphy starter kit with book!

Calligraphy kit uk gift packaging

Learning calligraphy has never been so easily accessible. Through my workshops at The Handmade Fair and in teaching at Manchester Craft & Design Centre I’ve learned just how quickly some of you take to beautiful lettering – and you’ve inspired me to update my calligraphy starter kit with a new version for 2016. This calligraphy kit has EVERYTHING you’ll need to get started. We think it’s the best you can buy.

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Order your calligraphy starter kit today and you will receive a dip pen, brush lettering pen, jar of ink, paper, gridlines and 36 page instruction book. The book is the pièce de résistance of the calligraphy kit: with 36 pages of step by step instructions, guides, letters and alphabets alongside beautifully styled calligraphy photos it will make learning your new craft a glorious journey.

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Many calligraphy kits on the market only include a dip pen and metal nib with some examples and alphabets. Others – the cheaper versions – only include a brush lettering pen and a booklet. Ours gives you both, with a colour printed book and guidelines to follow. Experimenting with modern lettering and playing with brush pens are both so much fun – so explore both!

You can order your copy of the calligraphy starter kit NOW on Etsy or via my Not on the High Street store:

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Not on the High Street calligraphy kit

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Buy now: Etsy | Not on the High Street

Calligraphy workshops in Manchester: see our new film from the classroom!

Friday the 15th of January was our first calligraphy workshop at Manchester Craft & Design Centre. 13 lovely students came along, and we learned – as we always do – how to get to grips with a dip pen and pointed nib, working our way through some simple exercises and learning a basic calligraphy alphabet. For the first time ever, the day was captured on film by lovely Paul Kyte Wedding Photography for the pkprophoto.uk blog.

26th February: modern calligraphy – full details & online booking here
18th March: brush pen lettering – full details & online booking here
29th April: modern calligraphy – full details & online booking here
27th May: modern calligraphy – full details & online booking here

It was a great day – I remember lots of giggles and as everyone mastered their pens it was just fantastic to see all of your different lettering styles emerge.

Huge thanks to everyone who came along: Fiona (thanks for the interview!), Kay, Emma and Jessie; Sue and Emma, Amy and Kerry, Vanessa and Gemma, Louise and Nicki – you were fabulous. Oh, and you’re film stars!

I can thoroughly recommend Paul Kyte to any wedding business owners who are looking to collaborate on a ‘how to’ style film to use online; and especially to brides and grooms looking for really good photography and an unobtrusive, super friendly photographer with something different to offer! Check out the pkprophoto.uk blog for more info.

I’d like to credit those of my fellow film stars whose websites I know:

Claire

New! From £1.60 each: place names in calligraphy

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Much of my work in 2015 was creating bespoke lettering sample for photographers and wedding stylists. I love designing for a new brief, and knowing my calligraphy will be heading out for an adventure – and today was my first piece of calligraphy to head off to a photoshoot. These place names are of course available to buy for weddings too: and the matching accessories for couples who like to do things differently can be purchased as bespoke items.

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Luxe hand written calligraphy place cards in red ink on a super soft watercolour card. These place names are strokeable… their super soft finish is pure luxury. Choose these little cards for an informal celebration in an intimate or rustic wedding venue.

 

Click here to buy

Every card is handwritten for you in modern calligraphy lettering, with a traditional metal dip pen and red calligraphy ink. Cards are hand torn, English milled paper with depth and a smooth texture – the essence of quality.

Ordering is really simple: buy the listing, and send your list of names in the ‘notes to seller’ when you place your order. Your cards will be written and despatched within 14 days.

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I also write calligraphy love letters, perfect for Valentine’s Day. They’re priced from £30 for up to 60 words and are a lovely gift which your other half will treasure forever. Email to check my availability, and include your wording for a price. hello@Calligraphy-for-Weddings.com

New calligraphy workshops in Manchester: 26th February 2016

FOR LATEST WORKSHOP DATES SEE Manchester Calligraphy Workshops

I’m thrilled to be able to announce another calligraphy workshop in Manchester on the 26th of February and I’d love you to come!

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Workshops in 2015 were fantastic: everyone got to grips with their calligraphy pens quickly and there were some amazing scripts taking shape… we even played with flourishing and different lettering styles, which was so much fun to teach! There’ll be more of the same in 2016, and this is your chance to come and see what it’s all about!

To book, visit Etsy.com/shop/calligraphystore or email me: hello@Calligraphy-for-Weddings.com

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The February workshop will be for absolute beginners once again. It’s going to be lots of fun and I’d LOVE for you to come and join me for a day playing with pens and learning gorgeous contemporary scripts. We’ll be at the Manchester Craft & Design Centre in the Northern Quarter from 11am until 3pm and there are 14 spaces available – booking starts today!

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You’ll learn:

How to hold, wiggle and write with a traditional dip pen
The basics of contemporary lettering
It’s a hands-on day so I’ll be demonstrating a little, but most of the time you’ll be writing and I’ll be giving pointers and helping you

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I’ll provide:

Calligraphy pens, paper, inks
Practice sheets and examples

You’ll need:

Just your lovely self
Lunch won’t be provided, but there’s a fabulous cafe on site – full details will be provided on booking.

You’ll take home:

Your pen and nib set, paper and practice sheets
Guidelines for practicing at home
The beautifully lettered goodies you’ve written on the day!

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The price is £59 payable on booking. To book either visit my Etsy shop Etsy.com/shop/calligraphystore or email me: hello@Calligraphy-for-Weddings.com. I can accept payments by bank transfer or PayPal, whichever is easiest for you.

The class will begin at 11am and finish at 3pm. The location is very easily accessible in Manchester’s Northern Quarter – details and directions will be provided on booking.

There is space for 14 students so please book early!

I’ll be teaching the class myself and will be there all day to help you learn your calligraphy skills 🙂

Book your place today! click here to reserve your place

 

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Book your place today! click here to reserve your place

A modern version of ‘Bless This House’ – and the perfect Christmas gift available now

Christmas brings families closer, and is the perfect time of year to give a sentimental gift to your loved ones. The words from a Muppets’ Christmas Carol are wonderful – I couldn’t resist writing them in calligraphy on this beautifully illustrated print by Amy Swann. We’re selling copies at an introductory price of only £18, and you can order yours today in time for Christmas.

Click here to buy

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Bless us all,
who gather here
The loving family
I hold dear
No place
on earth compares with
home
and every path
will bring me back
from where I roam

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With beautiful images by the fabulous Melissa Beattie Photography
Illustration by the incredible Amy Swann

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Calligraphy Christmas Cards – just a few left!

Time is running out to buy Christmas cards for 2015, and we have a few of our lovely illustrated designs left to sell: if you’d like to buy yours you can find them sold in packs of 4 on Etsy.com or as individual cards at Not On The High Street. Browse here; choose your favourites; click on the links below to buy online. Thank you so very much for supporting an independent small business this Christmas!

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Set of 4 illustrated calligraphy Christmas cards available on Etsy.com. Includes 4 different designs, with white envelopes. Blank inside for your own message. Click to buy
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Set of 4 illustrated calligraphy Christmas cards available on Etsy.com. Includes 4 different designs, with white envelopes. Blank inside for your own message. Click to buy

 

Where to buy

Each set of 4 Christmas cards includes 4 different designs, as shown below. To buy all 4, click ‘Illustrated calligraphy Christmas Cards Pk 4

To buy single cards, please click the links alongside the images shown below.

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Christmas card: Christmas waves a magic wand over the world and behold everything is softer and more beautiful – single card available exclusively on Not On The High Street. Click to buy
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Christmas card: Christmas waves a magic wand over the world and behold everything is softer and more beautiful – single card available exclusively on Not On The High Street. Click to buy
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Christmas card: These wonderful things are the things we remember all through our lives – single card available exclusively on Not On The High Street. Click to buy
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Christmas card: These wonderful things are the things we remember all through our lives – single card available exclusively on Not On The High Street. Click to buy
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Christmas card: leave a little sparkle wherever you go – single card available exclusively on Not On The High Street. Click to buy
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Christmas card: leave a little sparkle wherever you go – single card available exclusively on Not On The High Street. Click to buy
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Christmas card: I will honour Christmas in my heart and try to keep it all the year ~ Charles Dickens – single card available exclusively on Not On The High Street. Click to buy
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Christmas card: I will honour Christmas in my heart and try to keep it all the year ~ Charles Dickens – single card available exclusively on Not On The High Street. Click to buy

With beautiful images by the fabulous Melissa Beattie Photography
Illustration by the incredible Amy Swann

Elegant Autumn Wedding Inspiration featured on Elizabeth Anne Designs Blog

It’s been an incredible year for calligraphy and for this little business – I love collaborating with new people, and Melissa Beattie is one of the most amazing wedding photographers I’ve ever known. This wonderful shoot was styled by Louise from B.Loved and Styled by Louise, and featured on top wedding blog Elizabeth Anne Designs.

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Stationery was 100% handwritten, with Saunders watercolour card and an apricot ink. I tied the invitations with delicate metallic gold thread, matching the fine hairlines in the lettering.

 

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Melissa and Louise asked me to write a muslin backdrop in apricot ink, with the quote “The leaves are falling like they’re falling in love with the ground” – perfectly autumnal.

 

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A simple welcome board was written in brush calligraphy – one of my favourite pieces!

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The entire shoot was beautiful, and this is all because of the amazing team chosen by Melissa and Louise. The magical location, Healey Barn, is a perfect setting for an autumn wedding and I love how it was styled for the day. The gorgeous bride with her boho dress and fabulous bouquet makes this shoot one of the loveliest I’ve ever been involved in. Thank you so much, Louise and Melissa!

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Melissa Beattie Photography
Louise Beaukes Styling
Healey Barn
Instagram: https://instagram.com/crippsbarn/ (Also hashtag #crippshealeybarn)
Forage and Blossom
Dresses: Luellas Boudoir
Bridal Accessories:
Stationery and Calligraphy:
Silk Ribbons and Table Runner:
Makeup: Dani MUA
Hair Stylist: Steph O’Neill
Master Cakesmith:
Model: Emily Barnes from Tyne Tees Models

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