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! 😉

 

 

 

Tool Kit Card – retired but not forgotten!

I guess it’s unusual for a Stampin’ Up! demonstrator to be using retired products and I appreciate that it may be a little frustrating if you fancy making this card but the products are no longer for sale, apologies for that.  However, there will be many people, like me, who purchased this set and would like some ideas – hence the ‘retired but not forgotten’ slogan.  As soon as I saw this set, I had to have it as my Dad is a retired joiner so it is the perfect set for cards for him – although I’m not sure how many cards with tools I can get away with sending him! My Dad is the most practical and capable person I know and I like to think that my crafting genes have descended from his practical ones! Mind you, my Mum’s no slouch in the crafting department either, particularly if it comes to knitting which I’m certain she can do with her eyes closed!  Anyhow, “Nailed It” and the accompanying die set “Build It” are a great set for masculine cards, which I find are rather a tricky genre.

For this card I used:

11½” x 4⅛” scored at 5¾” brown card, I used Crumb Cake but any brown will work

5¾” x 1¼” strip of the same brown card

6” x 3½” piece of silver foil card

5¼” x 2¼” Very Vanilla card for the liner

2” x 4” of coloured cardstock for the tool handles

SU! Nailed It stamp set

SU! Build It Framelit Dies

SU! Hardwood background stamp

SU! Pinewood Planks embossing folder

To make the toolbox handle, take the cardbase and mark the centre of the top edge of the card.  Place a shaped die to cut out the handle hole; I used an oval die measuring 2⅛” x 1⅛” from a label set I have but you could use a rectangle or similar, you just need a ‘hole’ shape!  Fold the base card along the score line, place the die centrally about ⅜” from the top edge and run through the Big Shot cutting both layers.  If it doesn’t quite cut through the bottom layer, it will make an impression so you know where to reposition the die to cut through that layer.

To shape the corners of the toolbox, mark the top edge 1½” along from each edge and 1¼” down each side and join with a pencil line.  Cut along these lines through both front and back pieces.  Erase any pencil marks still showing.

Your now have your basic toolbox.  You can use it like this or add more interest by stamping with the Hardwood stamp or using the Pinewood planks embossing folder.  I’m going to emboss this one.  Position the front of the card into the embossing folder and run through the Big Shot.  Repeat with the small piece of card.

Apply glue to the side and bottom edges of the small piece and attach it to the bottom of the base card.  It should make a small ‘pocket’ to put your tools in.

Make the tools by cutting out of silver foil sheet.  You can stamp and colour the tools but I decided to do a quicker version by just cutting out the tools using foil sheet and then adding handles onto the screwdriver, saw and hammer.

To make the tool handles, ink up the hardwood stamp and stamp onto the coloured cardstock you’ve chosen for the handles.  I’m using real red card and basic grey ink.  It’s easiest to lay the stamp face up, ink it up and then place the cardstock on top, cover with a piece of scrap paper and then rub over with your fingers.

Align the hammer, screwdriver and saw framelit handles with the printed grain and cut out.  Trim to leave the handles only and glue onto the tools.

Position the tools where you want them in the tool box and then dab a bit of glue behind the tops to secure.

Add a sentiment.  I stamped ‘Happy Birthday’ from the Perennial Birthday stamp set onto one of the ovals I cut out earlier for the toolbox handle.  This card would also be great for a retirement or ‘significant’ birthday when gold or silver glimmer paper could be used instead of the foil sheet for extra wow!

Using the Nailed It stamp set, stamp some screws, nails and nuts onto the card liner and the envelope.  Stick the liner to the card.

You’re all finished!

Another version with darker card for the ‘wood’ and grey handles

 

 

Thanks to Amanda Fowler of Inspiring Inkin’ for the inspiration for this card.

https://www.inspiringinkin.com/

 

Images ©Stampin’ Up!