Autumn 2017 calligraphy workshop dates – Manchester

Friday 22nd September, 2pm – Beaumont Organic – tickets £45

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*

*starred workshops include a personalised calligraphy starter set for you to take home, with a pen and nib set, alphabet sample sheets, example quotes and a box to keep your calligraphy goodies inside.

All workshops will have a little pop-up shop for you to buy penholders and nibs, brush lettering pens, hand mixed inks in a rainbow of colours, and calligraphy books to guide you in your practice at home.

{Image credit Paper & Primrose}

Wedding invitation wordings for 2018

Image credit Jo Bradbury Photography. Illustration by Amy Swann. Featured on Love My Dress

The internet is far from perfect. Google for inspiration for wedding invitation wordings and you’ll find advice from 2007 alongside recommendations from 2017. And when you read some of those old fashioned wordings you could be forgiven for thinking that’s how everyone’s writing their invites.

You couldn’t be more wrong.

Captured by Brightside Photography, with illustration by Amy Swann and featured on B.Loved Blog

Just as wedding dress styles have changed in the last decade, so have invitations.

“Mr & Mrs Smith request the pleasure of your company for the marriage of their daughter…” is falling by the wayside along with stretchy white chair covers and mason jars.

Modern brides and grooms are choosing their own wordings, and sending invites which sound brilliantly personal, friendly and real.

Image credit Jenny Heyworth Photography for Aspire. Styling by White Feather & Co.

So forget about writing to your friends to request the pleasure of their company and send invites which are more you.

Try these wedding invitation wordings for size:

Emily & Joshua
are getting married
and would love
you to join them
at [venue]
on [date]
at [time]

Emily & Joshua
joyfully invite you
to their wedding
at [venue]
on [date]
at [time]

Together with their families,
Emily & Joshua
invite you to join them
for their wedding
at [venue]
on [date] at [time]

Short & sweet is definitely the way forward for wedding invitation wordings. If you’re considering handwritten calligraphy invites, then a shorter wording will make them really affordable too!

Image credit Jenny Heyworth Photography for Aspire. Styling by White Feather & Co.

Simple, friendly wordings alleviate any pressure to mention your hosts by name – an especially thorny issue if your parents have remarried.

Keeping your printed wordings simple doesn’t mean you’re giving guests less information – all you need is a wedding website where you can share as much information as you like – from RSVPing online to accommodation lists, timings, taxi companies and even the story of how you met.

Photo credit Amanda Karen Photography Featured on the English Wedding Blog

I just love that wedding invites in 2018 are heading for simple design-led styles. And by pairing your printed invites with a simple website you can share ten times the information you’d ever have seen in a pocketfold invitation back in 2007!

Image credit Photography by Kathryn

Shop minimal wedding invites with calligraphy: or bespoke, handwritten designs:

Learning modern calligraphy – the top 3 questions & answers for beginners

1. What should I practice on?

I’m kind of proud to inspire all my students to go home and practice straight away – always the first question in a calligraphy class is what kind of paper to buy.

I use a premium printer paper – it has to be 100gsm or more, and if you can get it, find laser printer paper – it’s smooth as silk.

The paper I use in my workshops is from Rymans, but I’ve had great results with HP papers and supermarket ‘premium’ papers too.

But don’t confine your practice to plain white papers. These are perfect for alphabet drills, but it’s important to practice creatively too – try coloured inks on coloured cards for little quotes every now and then as well!

2. Why are my lines jagged (on one side)?

A jaggedy line on your downwards strokes almost always comes from holding your pen slightly leaning to one side.

It’s a really common tendency to roll the nib ever so slightly so you’re pressing a tiny bit harder on one side of it (usually the left).

Correct it by rolling your nib ever so slightly to the right – even try twisting it in the nib holder with your fingers to see if that help you get a smoother line.

The reasoning behind this is that your pen is designed to have equal pressure on each side of the nib. It will write smoothly when the nib is allowed to part in the centre without increased pressure on one side.

Remember practice makes perfect. As you gain confidence in using your calligraphy pen you’ll also naturally write more smoothly, and a little faster – writing too slowly on a downwards stroke can also cause your lines to be a little jaggedy at first.

3. Should it be making these scratchy noises?

Ah… a class favourite! This is one of the most common questions, and the answer (which you already guessed, right?) is no. But you’re not alone – it often happens to beginners.

There are 2 main reasons why your calligraphy pen is making scratchy noises as you write:

Pressing too hard. At the start of every workshop I ask students to practice really light strokes of the pen – an upwards stroke should be super light, while even a downwards stroke should move smoothly down the page – concentrate on writing at a steady speed too.

Lifting the end of your pen too high. Be aware of the vertical angle of your pen. If you find your nib is pointing downwards into the paper, it will catch more easily – hence the scratchy sound as it moves along the page. A lot of calligraphy beginners lift the end of their pen quite high as they work down the page. If this is you, try to slide your entire hand / wrist down the paper as you write, which will help maintain the angle of your pen and reduce scratching.

If you’re learning calligraphy and have a question, please email as I’d love to try and help you too!

If you haven’t been to one of my modern calligraphy workshops and can travel to Manchester, come and join me at the next date. Calligraphy workshop info

If you can’t make it to a class, try my online course! I’ve just reduced the price to £49 – this includes 6 video tutorials and loads of downloadable templates and examples to help you learn. Subscribe: Making Beautiful Letters

All images by lovely Jenny Heyworth Photography

Natural calligraphy for a wildly romantic beach shoot in France

Organic calligraphy in soft tones for a styled wedding shoot on the French coast – dreamy inspiration captured beautifully by Amanda Karen Photography early in 2017.

“Over the years, these shores have become film sets or playgrounds for the rich and famous. Their beauty has also inspired artists such as Picasso and iconic writers. So, when I was searching for an extraordinary location for a bridal inspiration shoot, there really was nowhere more perfect.” ~ Amanda Karen Photography

The stationery follows one of 2018’s strongest wedding invitation trends: it’s all about paper rather than card. Paper allows you so much more creativity with soft textures and organic styling; while I love writing calligraphy on card for its smoothness, there’s something warmer about papers, especially the textured grey-blue I used for the stationery in this shoot.

The lettering itself is natural, flowing and soft. When working with handmade papers you can really let yourself be creative; using your imagination rather than rigid guidelines gives a freeflowing, romantic finish to the calligraphy.

“The oh-so appropriately named By Moon and Tide created truly charming stationery for this shoot that again mixed light, elegant calligraphy with textured heavyweight card. The fine lines and hand-drawn elements were just divine.”

Romantic calligraphy and soft, natural textured papers work beautifully alongside loose bouquets and floaty gowns – and look incredible in a beach setting. The gown by Leanne Marshall is just wonderful in this stunning landscape.

If you’re looking for wedding styling ideas with a natural twist, do explore the full blog feature on French Wedding Style – every detail is beautiful and the overall look is easily achieved on any wedding budget.

Huge thanks to lovely Amanda Karen Photography for sharing her beautiful images with us, and for capturing my calligraphy with such a wonderful understanding of the delicate details which are the focal point of the calligrapher’s craft.

For wedding invitations and stationery in this style please email with your wedding date. Prices start from £2 for place names and £6 for handwritten invitations.

Location: Cap D’Antibes
Creative direction and florals: Azur Flowers
Photography: Amanda Karen Photography
Dress: Leanne Marshall at Heart Aflutter Bridal
Hair and makeup: Aglaia
Stationery: By Moon & Tide Calligraphy
Silk ribbons: Kate Cullen
Crockery: Anthropologie

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.