It’s fair to say that 2020 has been a year like no other.

Covid-19 sent the world into a tailspin, with the UK Government imposing a national lockdown in March in a bid to curb the spread of the virus.

Restrictions eased over the summer and schools returned as normal in September, but a second lockdown was announced in England that lasted throughout November.

With several vaccines currently in the pipeline, there are hopes that things will finally get back to normal in early 2021.

It will probably take a little while for everyone to get back up to speed though!

Looking for silver linings in 2020

While it’s been a tough year, it hasn’t been all bad and I think it’s important to look for the silver linings.

My workshops and weekly classes ground to a halt in March and the spring/summer programme ended up being postponed until autumn/winter.

But I was still able to take on commissions – and I qualified for financial support from the Government’s Self-Employed Income Support Scheme and emergency funding from Arts Council England.

Being self-employed meant I could drop everything to help my children with their online learning when the schools closed – not everyone had that luxury.

reed family time
Spending more time with the family

Several of my friends have worked full-time, at home, throughout the pandemic and struggled to juggle their work with home schooling.

We fell into a routine pretty quickly and with my husband working from home since March, we’ve spent much more time together as a family.

We even managed a couple of holidays in the summer – and I definitely count being able to visit Meticulous Ink in Bath as a highlight of 2020!

Learning new business skills

Other highlights (I know, it sounds odd) include being able to pivot my business.

I haven’t gone as far as moving workshops online like many calligraphers, but I have been able to teach in other ways, thanks to the Shipley Art Gallery, South Tyneside Libraries, The Cultural Spring and Gateshead Libraries.

I’ve put craft packs together and recorded demonstrations – and it’s pushed me out of my comfort and left me less fearful of video (although I’m still not a fan).

calligraphy filming

I’ve also been able to take part in online workshops myself, learning Italian Hand with Heather Victoria Held and Pointed Pen Uncials with Joy Daniels.

If I’d had to travel to attend an in-person event with these talented ladies, a barrier of some sort would no doubt have appeared!

Taking part in these classes – and envelope exchanges organised by the European Pointed Pen Collective – has expanded my calligraphy community and introduced me to new calligrafriends.

Keeping my New Year Resolutions

Carving out some time to practice calligraphy for myself has long been on my list of New Year’s Resolutions – this year I actually managed it!

Thinking back to the aims I set myself for 2020, I’ve ticked every single one off the list.

  1. Set aside some time to be creative
  2. Try other creative pursuits
  3. Learn new business skills
  4. Read more books and listen to more podcasts
  5. Reclaim my evenings

Having ‘spare time’ forced upon me has certainly helped and the slower pace is certainly something I’ll be carrying into 2021.

I haven’t got as far as setting myself some goals and targets for the coming year though! How about you?

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