Aside from the actual enjoyment of doing hand lettering, part of my reason for attending the course on modern calligraphy earlier this year was to be able to create sentiments that aren’t available with stamp sets. Never was this more applicable than when my friend asked me to create some simple but rude cards! She didn’t want fancy writing as that was too nice(!) so I went for block lettering with a mix of lower case and capital letters.
Another friend has just set up a cat rescue charity and is having a launch party and fund raiser at the end of the month so she asked me if I could create some cat-themed things for them to sell to raise money. I started by sketching out the letters on graph paper and then traced over them onto tracing paper using a marker pen.
The next stage was to put the card base and lettering template onto a light box and effectively trace the letters onto the card base. I don’t concern myself if the letters aren’t perfectly traced – they are hand-lettered after all – but having the lettering set up ensures that the sentiment is central and the letters are equally spaced.
To add a little texture and Christmas theme, I ran each piece through a snowflake embossing folder in my Big Shot and added a cat silhouette using glitter card/DSP and the Stampin’ Up! cat punch.
Lastly, the pieces were mounted on coloured card bases.
I’ve also been playing around with arranging lettering from various cat-themed items I have around the house and making them into frames.
The fund raiser is for The Cat Welfare Group and will be held on Saturday 30th November 2019 at Lock’s Heath Working Men’s Club, Duncan Road, Park Gate, SO31 1BD between 16:00 – 18:00. Pop along for the opportunity to buy some great goodies for Christmas made by local people, have a cuppa and a piece of cake and support a very worthy cause.
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
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! 😉