BRIDES magazine feature | Spring 2019

“… this stunning shoot, styled by events planners For The Love Of Weddings, is a floral fairytale brought to life. Petals in a palette of soft peaches and pinks – offset by foliage and pops of purple – set the tone, complemented by tables adorned with yet more flowers, sumptuous silks and opulent gold touches. Add luxe bespoke stationery, a beautifully ethereal cake and an exquisite gown and you have the key to unlock the Secret Garden wedding of your dreams…”

~ BRIDES magazine, March / April 2019 edition

Photography – Jessica Reeve Photography –
Venue – Dorfold Hall
Stylist – For the Love of Weddings
Cake and illustration – Amy Swann
Stationery – By Moon and Tide
Florist – Lucy the Flower Hunter
Hair/makeup – Jodie A Smith
Hair Accessories – Clare Lloyd Accessories –
Dress – Emma Beaumont Atelier –
Tablescape linen and bridal bouquet ribbon – Kate Cullen –
Linen for styling stationery, shoes and cake – Lancaster and Cornish –
Shoes – Emmy London
Suit – Whitfield and Ward –
Chairs – Chairman Hire –
Models – Catherine Barrett & George Palmer
Tableware – Vintage Gold China –

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.



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

Calligraphy adventures at Kirstie Allsopp’s Handmade Fair 2014

Oh my goodness… when I first got the call asking me to give a calligraphy skills workshop for Kirstie back in May I said yes without even thinking about it. The excitement grew until all of a sudden it was the 18th of September and time to catch a train from the Lake District all the way down through London and Hampton Court Palace for The Handmade Fair. Over three days I helped almost 300 craft lovers make their first steps with quirky calligraphy – and you know what? It was a fabulous experience and one I can’t wait to repeat!

Kirstie Allsopp's Handmade Fair 2014 (39)

The three calligraphy skills workshops were fantastic: everyone tried really hard, I saw some really exciting lettering and charming characters both in person and on paper! We took some photos over the weekend to tell our story, from around the fair, inside the workshops and backstage – I hope you like them!

Kirstie Allsopp's Handmade Fair 2014 (1)

Arriving at The Handmade Fair on Friday morning was a little overwhelming! Even stepping out of Hampton Court station there was a line of people heading for the fair, and it felt very real all of a sudden! We landed on site around 11am to find the place already buzzing, there were thousands of people exploring the exhibitor tents, in the workshops and food areas. We found our lovely papercraft tent manager Emma who helped us settle in and showed us where to find all of our supplies ready for the first workshop at 2.

Kirstie Allsopp's Handmade Fair 2014 (2)

The first thing to do was collect our Expert badges – and customise them. I felt a little pretentious walking around with a badge proclaiming I was an Expert, so I crossed it out and changed it to Wizard. (Later that day, someone asked me what a wizard was and I had to explain about spells…) My partner in crime, super roadie and better half Steve was more subtle, simply asking for an S at the front of his badge.

Kirstie Allsopp's Handmade Fair 2014 (3)


Kirstie Allsopp's Handmade Fair 2014 (4)

We got lost twice in the first hour, and I couldn’t find the papercraft tent or any of the skills workshops on the map! My puzzled expression is one I wear often, and it doesn’t take much to confuse me…

Kirstie Allsopp's Handmade Fair 2014 (5)

All too soon it was time to welcome people into the calligraphy skills workshop. I really wanted to give the workshops a personal touch so I handed out pens at the door – it was lovely to meet everyone on that first day and helped calm my nerves! We sold over 84 tickets to the first workshop…

Kirstie Allsopp's Handmade Fair 2014 (6)


Kirstie Allsopp's Handmade Fair 2014 (7)

The beautifully decorated papercraft tent, with me up at the front being teacher! The ‘stage’ was quite high up! I felt like I was King of the Tent – not a comfortable place to be! – and as soon as I could I jumped down to come and see what my students were doing… and they were doing so well. A wonderful start to the weekend.

Kirstie Allsopp's Handmade Fair 2014 (8)

It really helped to see how students were holding the pens and what they found easy or struggled with. Writing thin hairlines was the easiest part; moving the pen upwards on the paper always proves difficult though, and it simply takes practice to develop that light, smooth touch with the calligraphy pen. The next step is to apply pressure on a downwards stroke of the pen, and this is a brave step. With the nibs we were using (Gillott 303 nibs from Blots Pens) the trick was to be brave and apply plenty of pressure, bending the nib enough for the tines (the two points at the end of the nib) to part, spreading the ink between them.

Kirstie Allsopp's Handmade Fair 2014 (10)


Kirstie Allsopp's Handmade Fair 2014 (11)


After our first successful workshop we tidied up and headed straight for the Prosecco van! Thank you organisers for putting it right outside the papercraft tent!

Kirstie Allsopp's Handmade Fair 2014 (13)

The Wizard badge was removed and we relaxed and enjoyed the fair for the rest of the afternoon. We made a few changes to the format of the workshops for day 2: rather than relying on the screen, which was too small to demonstrate how the calligraphy pen would flex and bend to make nice letter shapes, we decided I should give a very quick demo and spend the rest of the workshops amongst the students.

Kirstie Allsopp's Handmade Fair 2014 (14)

On day 2 we put our plan in place – and it worked a treat. I loved seeing what everyone was doing, and how people were really experimenting with the pens to get the best out of them. It makes me smile to remember the man who drew a bunny, and I’m pleased we had such a fantastic group of students… because that was the day the guy with a camera turned up! Talk about surprised… but I think we coped (basically: I jumped down from my throne and ran around the tent trying to hide from the camera while he filmed my students… it worked. I’m only kidding, he was great really!)

Kirstie Allsopp's Handmade Fair 2014 (15)

The papercraft tent beginning to fill up for day 2, and two of my class stars are here: Kate has been learning calligraphy for a year and she writes about her experiences on her blog at Olive and Reid. She’s really inspiring and I’ve learned a lot from her blog. Have a read: Then there is Jamie’s friend who asked some great questions about calligraphy – I wish I’d had more of a chance to talk to both of you two!

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How exciting to have lovely Poppy Chancellor in the calligraphy skills workshop for the afternoon! Poppy’s writing was already full of character, and her enthusiasm is infectious. I do think I look like an elf in this photo…

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Kirstie Allsopp's Handmade Fair 2014 (18)

Err… hello, camera guy!

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Kirstie Allsopp's Handmade Fair 2014 (20)

This is me running away…

Kirstie Allsopp's Handmade Fair 2014 (21)

It really was good to see everyone’s writing and to be able to demonstrate the way the pen moves as well as correcting a few of the most common beginners’ mistakes: it’s ever so easy to tilt the pen to one side when it should be fairly flat on the page – and I enjoyed being able to help people and see their writing take shape!

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Kirstie Allsopp's Handmade Fair 2014 (23)


Kirstie Allsopp's Handmade Fair 2014 (24)

We were writing names on little paper gift boxes, and I suggested people write either a short name or even initials on the lid of the box. In this corner of the tent the lady in blue had written such beautiful initials, they were fabulous.

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One of my favourite photos: I can’t remember the conversation, but this lady was wonderful – and what a brilliant picture!

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Introducing my “who-are-you-what’s-that-thing-and-I-can’t-remember-how-to-use-words-this-is-embarrassing” face. Pretty, isn’t it… we have more of these photos and they only get worse – but they make me giggle. A crazy highlight of the weekend!

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Boy, did we need an alcoholic iced tea from Harry Brompton’s after that! Cheers! Sadly we couldn’t stay for the staff party as we’d arranged to go to a concert in Camden that night – a little rock music to bring us well and truly back down to earth 🙂

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… and on to day 3, our final calligraphy skills workshop and a chance for some last minute shopping! This is me outside our little home from home…

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Inside, another packed out workshop and a fantastic bunch of calligraphy students.

Kirstie Allsopp's Handmade Fair 2014 (30)

Asking everyone to gather around to watch as I demonstrated the movements of the pen was really helpful. I can’t remember if it was day 3 when we had a dozen or so left-handed students, and I was a little stuck – it was fascinating to see how left-handers write, and in theory it shouldn’t be hard to write with a calligraphy pen – but the difficulty comes from normal handwriting: left-handers have a way of curling their hands around and above their day-to-day writing and are used to forming letters differently. This is what makes calligraphy tricky to learn, unfortunately. I mentioned the left handed calligrapher, whose website is here – for inspiration. There’s an interesting video here too: – although the writer is holding the pen way too close to the nib!

Kirstie Allsopp's Handmade Fair 2014 (31)

I wish I knew what I was explaining here… or why I pull faces when I talk! In the background you can see our favourite person Emma in the pink vest – she was the manager of the papercraft tent and we couldn’t have done it without her! She’s talking to Nigel the tech guy in charge of the microphone – who I was secretly calling Mike (with the mic…) – he even had a go at calligraphy, what a star!

Kirstie Allsopp's Handmade Fair 2014 (32)

Backstage at the papercraft tent and this is where we assembled all of our little boxes, sorted pens and papers and for one terrifying half hour on Saturday lost all of our nibs! (My fault – I left them on the teacher’s desk!). Steve was the best helper I could have had – my boyfriend, roadie, manager, counsellor and tactician. What a star.

Kirstie Allsopp's Handmade Fair 2014 (33)


Kirstie Allsopp's Handmade Fair 2014 (34)

After the third calligraphy skills workshop we were done! Time to tidy up, buy a bit of ribbon and head back into Camden for our last gig of the weekend. Before that though… a final few photos as we left the Handmade Fair…

The pompoms were multiplying so fast! Impressive…

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We didn’t manage to sneak into the super theatre to see any of Kirstie’s interviews – we’ll put that on the list for next year instead!

Kirstie Allsopp's Handmade Fair 2014 (36)

(I should explain my hand and the bandage – I’d been running and fallen pretty badly a couple of days before the fair, and I was lucky not to break any bones. I landed on my hand and grazed it quite badly so I just had to cover it to write.)

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What a shame we weren’t allowed into the VIP tent, even with our Wizard and Sexpert badges – but the nice security man let us have photos taken with his puppy.

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Kirstie Allsopp's Handmade Fair 2014 (40)


Kirstie Allsopp's Handmade Fair 2014 (41)

A successful weekend, an amazing experience, and an exhausting one… time for a little snooze amongst the pompoms!

Kirstie Allsopp's Handmade Fair 2014 (42)

claire gould calligrapher signature Thanks to:

  • Kirstie Allsopp, Jamie Stimpson, Lisa McCann at
  • Papercraft tent manager extraordinaire the lovely Emma and everyone at Brand Events
  • John at Blots Pens for supplying us with penholders and nibs – I buy nearly all my calligraphy supplies from John and can’t recommend him highly enough
  • Hobbycraft for supplying our ribbons and ink (even though it was cheap fountain pen ink… it did the job)
  • Most of all my boyfriend Steve for coming along and helping with absolutely everything. I love you!

Here’s a closer look at the handwritten box project:

and here you can see the movement of the calligraphy nib as I write:



You & Your Wedding magazine – calligraphy for a glittering wedding style

Featured in You & Your Wedding magazine, July / August 2014

“Pair shimmering details with burnished bronze topped with glossy roses, and watch your top table style spring to life”


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I may be a little biased but I think handwritten calligraphy is the perfect finishing touch for any and every wedding style – and it seems the team at You & Your Wedding magazine agree! Their glittering wedding reception shoot made a real statement with lush colours and sparkling – well, everything!

The shoot featured:

Floral arrangement Zita Elze
Goblet vase Zara Home
Hurricane vases Wilko
Glasses and plates Amara
Place cards Calligraphy for Weddings
Table cloth John Lewis


Part two…

“Continue a decadent theme and create a magic reception style with gold-sprinkled accents and sequin-covered centrepieces”


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Stationery from Blush
Invites Bohemian Dreams and William Arthur
Envelope Calligraphy for Weddings
Card Quill London