In the morning we made cards with owls and lovely quotes to give to mothers, daughters, friends and new granddaughters! And we wrote some fantastic framed motivational quotes.
The afternoon was filled with rainbow calligraphy, making friends and learning a lot about babies and toddlers (they wee in flower pots in banks! So funny!)
Huge thanks to everyone who came and made it such a fun day. You were all FANTASTIC!! And of course thank you lovely Cara, Aga and Camilla from The Little Paper Shop. Your little world is just wonderful.
I can’t wait to come back in September for more. Join me on 7th September for modern calligraphy in the morning and brush lettering in the afternoon!
If you’d like to join me for a modern calligraphy workshop over the summer, here are all the dates you need!
6th June – I’ll be in Coniston (south Cumbria – 45 mins from the M6) all day for a modern calligraphy workshop at Swallows & Artisans. In the morning we’ll learn the basics of modern calligraphy. This workshop is suitable for absolute beginners and is loads of fun! You will learn how to write your own gorgeous script with a dip pen and nib. Stay for the afternoon session where we’ll play with brush pen lettering, colour blending and more!
15th June – Join me in Nantwich at The Little Paper Shop for an intimate and fun modern calligraphy class. In the morning we’ll learn how to hold, load(!) and use a calligraphy pen and write our very own unique and beautiful alphabets. The afternoon session will be all about beautiful brush pen lettering, and we’ll blend colours and create beautiful wall art in modern calligraphy!
21st June – Beginners brush pen calligraphy workshop at Manchester Craft & Design Centre, Northern Quarter. Join me to play with brush pens, colour blending and a relaxed and fun modern lettering workshop! The class starts at 2:30 and ends at 4:30 – why not take the afternoon off work and indulge in a little shopping trip while you’re there?
5th July – Absolute beginners modern calligraphy in Manchester at the Craft & Design Centre. My lovely home from home, the classroom at Manchester Craft & Design is spacious and perfect for learning the beautiful art of modern calligraphy! Every attendee will be given a personalised calligraphy set to take home – included in the price!
I’m really looking forward to another modern calligraphy workshop at Swallows & Artisans next week – there are just a handful of places still available, for both the morning and afternoon sessions (or the full day).
We’re calling it “Beginners to Winners” modern calligraphy – if you’ve never tried your hand at calligraphy before it’s the perfect opportunity to learn a new craft. I’ll show you how to use a modern calligraphy pen, and we’ll learn a simple alphabet first of all. The morning session includes a little quote / greeting card for you to take home.
The afternoon session will be a chance to explore what you can achieve with your new found calligraphy skills! We’ll write our names in 22 carat gold leaf; we’ll have a go at beautiful flourishing, writing with colourful inks and more.
I’m thrilled to be planning a Mother’s Day calligraphy workshop in Kendal the day before Mother’s Day – a relaxed and fun craft session and a chance for you to make memories with your Mum!
This is going to be a real treat – lovely Ashley & Michelle from Green House Floristry are holding the workshop at their studio at The Factory, Kendal. So we put our heads together and planned a workshop where we could combine modern calligraphy with florals and foliage.
For my part, I’ll be teaching you and your mum the basics of a modern calligraphy alphabet. The workshop will be suitable for absolute beginners, and we’ll be writing with a dip pen and nib – old school style! Don’t worry – I’ll show you how!
We’ll go on to make some pretty gift tags and a decorated box with the help of the Green House Floristry girls. It’s up to you how you fill the box you make… with a gift for your mum, grandma or daughter, perhaps? We’ll leave that up to you!
I’m happy to announce a brand new modern calligraphy experience to take you from absolute beginner to star-in-the-making! In just one day!
If you’ve never tried modern calligraphy before, join us in the morning to learn how to use a dip pen and nib to make beautiful flowing letters. We’ll learn how to hold the pen, how to join letters and make a pretty bookmark with a motivational quote for you to take home.
You get to keep your calligraphy kit – a pen holder and nib and a set of worksheets covering all the basic modern calligraphy techniques.
To really get ahead of the game, stick around for the afternoon to learn some trade secrets and develop your style with flourishing techniques and colour calligraphy.
I’ll even show you how to write your initials in 22 carat gold.
This workshop is in two parts, which naturally flow into one another. However if you only wish to learn the basics you can book the morning session only.
If you’re already confident with pointed pen calligraphy and the modern lettering style (perhaps you’ve been to one of our modern calligraphy classes before) then you’re welcome to join us for the afternoon session only.
But I’m confident at least 90% of people can do it – and I really do believe that you only need 2 hours of teaching before you can continue your calligraphy journey to success!
The secret is to practice – have your first practice session at home (if you drink, a bottle of wine is a lovely accompaniment and will help your lettering along beautifully!) within a week of doing a calligraphy workshop.
Calligraphy workshops are different for everyone. Imagine asking 15 of your friends to draw their very best picture of a lion. The results would be soooo varied, wouldn’t they?
My point is that we’re all creatively different. Some of us are arty; others are more careful with writing – but we can all learn lettering even if we’re starting from completely different places.
Most of my calligraphy classes have about 15 students. They’re of all ages, from all kinds of backgrounds and working in all kinds of jobs. Some are graphic designers; others are planning their weddings. Often people are crafty-creative – but that can be anything from felting to making tissue paper pom-poms or being a designer.
One constant is that my calligraphy workshops are a place where people learn. You’ll genuinely go home with a new skill – you’ll have learned how to manipulate a brand new tool (the dip pen and nib) and I hope you’ll be excited and confident about practicing more at home and getting even better!
At the end of my modern calligraphy class, you’ll be happily using your calligraphy dip pen to create smooth and characterful swells and hairline strokes with your nib.
You’ll have learned the shapes of key letters – while we don’t concentrate too much on mastering every individual letter of the alphabet, you’ll have plenty of time to experiment with each one and discover your favourites!
By the end of the class you will:
be writing a pretty alphabet with thick and thin strokes, but you will need a little practice to perfect your curves and curls
be confident with the calligraphy pen and nib, and ready to experiment with different papers, nibs and colourful inks!
be ready to practice at home – and I hope you’ll be excited to keep writing!
My next calligraphy workshops are –
Ziferblat Edge st, Manchester – 18th August at 2pm Tickets £35 (click to buy)
Manchester Craft & Design Centre – 7th September at 1pm Tickets £59 (includes your own calligraphy kit to take home!)
I went down to Manchester the other day to check out Ziferblat (and do some birthday shopping for my man) – and without a shadow of a doubt, if I lived closer to Manchester I’d be working from their comfy mega-living-room at least one day a week.
Ziferblat’s classroom is where my next modern calligraphy workshop will happen. It’s easy to get to, with plenty of space for lots of calligraphers (I mean you!) – I’m really excited to be running a class in there!
Ziferblat, it turns out, is a genius place for self employed and creative folks to get shit done. It’s practically next door to the Craft & Design Centre, and you instantly feel welcome from the moment you arrive.
On a normal visit you’re greeted at the door by a lovely person who’ll explain, in a nutshell, how the biscuits work (They write your name down and what time you got there, you wander off and drink coffee with cakes or whatever, then you pay for the minutes you’ve spent thereon your way out.
On the day of the calligraphy workshop, the classroom at Ziferblat will be set out ready for us with tea / coffee, biscuits etc laid out for us. You could also grab a cake or a sandwich from Ziferblat’s selection on the way in.
Ziferblat hosts (they’re all lovely friendly people) will show you to the classroom when you arrive. I’ll be the one by the blackboard, chalk in hand, playing teacher – I can’t wait!! – We’ll each have a desk (it’s properly like school!) and I’ll set up my little pop up shop so you can buy a pen & nib to take home if you fall in love with calligraphy!
Anything you eat or drink during the class is included in the ticket price of the workshop. Yes – once you’ve bought your ticket it’s all free until the end of the class! And if you’d like to stay for a coffee after the workshop, simply check in at the main desk, grab a comfy chair and enjoy the Ziferblat vibe!
I lose myself in writing. Pen and paper is my happy place. Many of you will too – there is often a moment, halfway through a calligraphy workshop, where I’ll look around and see a calm has settled on the class.
Calligraphy kind of needs concentration and the ability to drift off in equal measure. A little focus is essential in those first hours of learning. But once you understand how your pen feels as it flexes in your hand and glides across the paper to make letters, you can relax a little and let instinct take over.
Your lettering will love you for it.
I don’t know if this is mindfulness – it almost seems contradictory to the notion of self-awareness, to lose oneself in lettering. But to allow your thoughts to drift as you write is a good – a wonderful – thing.
Consider: at first students try super hard to ‘master’ the calligraphy pen. It’s tricky at first to know just where to apply pressure, to add ink, to turn the corner in a letter. But in my workshops I encourage conversation. I comment on students’ work to build confidence. I ask questions; students ask me questions about my background and life, and conversations flow… and while we talk, we relax… that initial focus on every detail of a letter becomes more instinctive, more natural.
I really find it helps to think of other things when I practise calligraphy. My escape is a musical backdrop – soothing or thought-provoking as fits my mood.
A relaxed environment helps too – a glass of wine, an empty desk, a cosy jumper – because soft sleeves just glide across a tabletop! – and will help you to focus on our letter shapes or think of other things as you write in your little oasis of calligraphic calm.
Calligraphy has its very own kind of focus – and it’s a very natural, peaceful one. During my workshops students will often misspell words, even their own names. It’s a good thing! Following the movement and flow of a nib is kind of hypnotic: watching it flex and glide from one letter to another is distracting in the most wonderful way! And for me, focusing on that beautiful flow instead of the order of letters an achievement in itself.
The art of modern calligraphy isn’t all about precision – it’s about beauty, and relaxation, and the pure enjoyment of lettering.