Calligraphy Workshop at the Customs House

Having seen examples of Angela’s beautiful calligraphy, I’d been inspired to pick up my special ink pens and nibs and give it a try. But as, with so many things, I never really set aside the time to do it.

So it was a real treat to be able to spend a couple of hours learning from a master and trying it for myself at a Creative Calligraphy workshop at The Customs House.


An introduction to calligraphy

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The workshop kit provided by Creative Calligraphy.

There are many different styles of calligraphy, and for this introductory workshop, Angela showed us how form letters in the foundational style, a nice rounded and decorative form that’s good for beginners.

She began with a demonstration, showing us how to shape some of the simple lower case letters in her beautiful flowing hand.

It can’t be easy to write and explain how you’re writing at the same time, but Angela made it look effortless.

Back to our tables and with all the pens, paper and worksheets provided, we got to practising and very quickly realised that it’s not as easy as it looks.


Learning our A, B, Cs

Rather like going back to our early days of learning to write the alphabet, we practised tracing and forming each letter.

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Michelle concentrating on her letter forms.

The lovely large, airy and bright studio room in the Customs House was a perfect venue for the workshop, and took on a hushed tone as we concentrated on drawing out letters in ink on paper.

The challenge with calligraphy is to get used to a new way of writing familiar letters.

It’s more like painting, or forming shapes, as you apply each stroke of the pen always from left to right, trying to keep it at the correct angle to produce an elegant effect.

Looking across at my rows of repeated letters, it was obvious to me that I needed more practice to learn how to do it consistently.

My ‘a’s looked like ‘d’s and my ‘o’ and ‘c’ ended up more egg shaped than rounded circles.

With a good mix of demonstration and practice, Angela guided us through forming the whole of the alphabet, both upper and lower case over the course of a couple of hours.


“Quiet and meditative” practice

Quietly focusing on forming beautiful letters had an almost meditative effect and the time passed very quickly.

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Some of Michelle’s Roman capitals.

We soon developed our favourite, and not so well liked letters, and by the end had gained enough confidence to try putting them together into words and phrases.

The workshop was a great introduction to a very enjoyable and creative pastime that’s relatively easy and inexpensive to practice.

So if you’re looking for something a little different and creative, then check out future workshops to help you get started.

I use letters and write every day. Following the Creative Calligraphy workshop, I’m looking at them in a new light and appreciate the craft and time that goes into creating a beautiful handwritten manuscript.


A guest post by Michelle Nicol, from Wordstruck.

Fancy joining a workshop? You can find our latest sessions listed here.

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