Wonderful Writing Workshop

Last Sunday, I attended a taster workshop to learn about dip pen and brush pen styles of modern calligraphy.  The course was hosted by the The Modern Calligraphy Co. and is one of Kirsten Burke’s range of classes.  I chose it after being inspired by Kirsten’s YouTube videos and trying out one of her books.   The workshop itself is set in an idyllic location in the West Sussex countryside and, despite looking a little austere from the outside (it’s a converted Victorian sub-station), the interior is stunning; bright and airy and adorned with inspirational artwork.

The welcome was warm and friendly and was accompanied with mugs of tea, coffee and biscuits. Each of the wannabe calligraphers had a work area complete with hand lettered name tag, tools and worksheets.  I was on a table with two lovely ladies, Hilary and Barbara, and we managed to do a lot of nattering in addition to our calligraphy!

Our fab instructor was Maisie and she had a relaxed, informative and entertaining style of tuition which I very much enjoyed.  We were also lucky enough to have a guest instructor, Sophia, who was veryhelpful,  encouraging and supportive throughout.  The day started with a demo from Maisie and then we were straight onto guided exercises learning how to use a dip pen and ink.  The first of these exercises were drills, so practicing downstrokes with heavy pressure and upstrokes with light pressure to get the hang of the thick and thin lines and how often to dip the pen.  These exercises, whilst not appearing to be very interesting, are essential to building muscle memory to enable one to produce beautiful calligraphy.

During these exercises, we also had a go at blending different colour inks to create ombre writing – very cool!

We then moved onto letters and were taught how to use metallic paints with the dip pens instead of ink.  This produced absolutely stunning results, even on my beginner attempts!

Next was a demo on brush pens showing the variety of types of pen and ways to use them and then we were back to our drills again, trying out a multitude of pens.  Again, we were shown the different ways to blend the colours and were encouraged to play around.

Next stop was a scrummy lunch.  And it was HUGE!  There was a massive buffet style selection of cold meats, cheeses, warm quiches, breads, olives, salads, dips, fruit and cake, plus hot and cold drinks.  It was a lovely day too so we were able to sit in the garden to eat our lunch and be refreshed ready for the next task.

In the booking confirmation email from Maisie, we had been asked to think of a 4-8 word phrase which we would turn into our own art work.  Kirsten herself gave us a demo on how to structure the word art, and then we started off sketching.  It was a really interesting exercise; working out which words to put where, what style of lettering to use, whether to use capitals or lower case, what colours etc.  Once again, all the instructors were on hand to offer advice and encouragement.

The phrase I chose was a quote from my Dad, which he often utters after explaining (once only) how to do some D-I-Y job that he could do in his sleep, and either me, my sister, Mum, Mr L (or anyone else for that matter) is currently messing up and will require the explanation repeating!  I thought it would make a great Father’s Day card.

Once the design was finalised, I went over to the light box to trace the design onto the card.  I was using the dip pen since it was a small project so I decided to have a little practice on my scrap piece, trying out different colours for the ‘shout’.

After completing the writing, I added some tiny splatters of ink and gold paint and left it to dry, mounting it onto a black card base when I returned home.

There’s a small shop at the workshop selling the products we used so I bought myself a dip pen starter kit, an inspirational book and some of those gorgeous metallic paints.

Mr L requested a card for his Dad for Father’s Day so I had a go with my metallic marker pens and dropping inks from great heights for this card!

Lastly, for a bit of fun, I made this for Mr L from the cats!

I enjoyed the workshop immensely and am currently trying to persuade Mr L that he’d enjoy it too as it’d be great fun to do together.  There are full day and half day sessions, evening sessions (with wine and canapes – how civilised!) and family friendly workshops.

If you’re interested in attending a workshop, you can find out more at

www.themoderncalligraphyco.co.uk

Sophia can be found at

www.thehanddrawnbean.co.uk

 

p.s. If you’re reading this on 16th June 2019 and fancy a go, you can get the ultimate beginner’s guide to modern calligraphy free in the Mail on Sunday.  Yes, you will have to be seen buying the Mail but you can always wear a disguise! 😉

 

 

 

Marvellous Metallics

Last week I used foil sheets and embossing folders to provide interesting focal panels.  This week, I’m still embossing but using metallic embossing powder and heat.  I love using the metallic powders on dark card stock, especially the heating part – watching the powder melt and transform from matt granules to glorious shine!  Line style stamps work best for this technique so I decided an outing for the floral elements of Tea Together was in order.

I began by generously applying the Embossing Buddy over my Basic Black card front to remove static and oils from my fingers which would attract the embossing powder.  Next, I random stamped the various images using Versamark, rotating them and stamping off the edge too.  I also stamped another small flower on a scrap of black card, the sentiment and the large rose onto the liner.  I then applied gold embossing powder to the stamping and heat set it.

For my mat layer, I didn’t have enough gold foil sheet so I manufactured a bit using embossing powder.  This is a handy tip to employ too if your embossing powder doesn’t quite match your foil sheets.  To do this, I simply pressed the edges of the card onto the Versamark pad and then applied the powder.  It wasn’t completely uniform, more of a ‘hammered’ finish but I liked it.  If you wanted it to be smooth, you can apply another layer over the top.

My sentiment was embossed onto velum, which is not very forgiving when it comes to adhesive as the adhesive shows through.  I applied a large blob that I knew would be covered by my small flower decal and some teeny tiny dots behind the letters.

The last stage was to add the liner to the inside and then assemble the layers and top it off with the flower decal on some foam dimensionals.

My second card used the same stamps on Basic Grey card and silver embossing powder.  For the mat layer, I used plain velum for an understated look.

The third card features Night of Navy card and copper embossing powder with a copper foil sheet mat layer.

My last card used Basic Grey and silver embossing powder and the small flower.  After heat setting the powder, I used the Chalk Marker to add three small lines to each petal for some added interest.  The background looked a little bare still so I also added little groups of three dots.  (I was introduced to the “power of the dot” when I did my cake decorating course in prep for making my wedding cake).  Small but very effective!

Four cards using the same stamps and technique but with quite different results!

 

 

 

 

 

Images © 2019 Stampin’ Up!

Farewell Dragonfly Dreams

This week’s post says goodbye to the Dragonfly Dreams stamps and matching Detailed Dragonflies as they are one of the many items that has not made the cut to be included in the new catalogue, launching on 4th June.  I’m sad to see them go although they will not be leaving my personal collection any time soon as they are one of my most frequently used sets and are so versatile.  I’ve made anniversary, birthday, sympathy and thank you cards and I’ve even been able to use them to make those tricky masculine cards too.   The stamps have been used to make lovely wrapping paper using brown ink on brown parcel paper, topped off with a fabulous tag sporting a die cut dragonfly.

I saw the design for this card on Pinterest and thought it looked really stylish.  The key to this is using foil card in embossing folders, it gives a really stunning effect. For this card, I used the copper foil card and the planks embossing folder.

The dragonfly topper was cut from black glitter paper.  I’ve found a useful tip when using detailed dies like this is to use some waxed paper between the die and the card, it helps to release the card from the die.

I usually stamp the inside of the card and the envelope to coordinate with the card front but this time I used the embossing folder to decorate these elements.

The result is a simple but stylish card.

The different coloured foils really change the feel of the card.  Lovely Lipstick foil, Layered Leaves embossing folder and silver glimmer paper make this card.

Silver foil paper and black glimmer paper feature on this card.

 

 

Images © 2019 Stampin’ Up!