Returning to workshops in the ‘new normal’

Almost six months after lockdown started, there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Navigating a business through the coronavirus crisis has been tricky to say the least – and at times I’ve been tempted to throw in the towel.

Commissions with gorgeous stories behind them (I can never resist them) and funding boosts from both the Government and Arts Council England have kept me going.

Now, having been given the green light to run in-person workshops and my weekly classes again, I’m so pleased that I didn’t give up so easily.

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Running my first post-lockdown workshop

I held my first post-lockdown workshop at Linnels Farm, near Hexham, on August 18 – just over five months since my last session at the Shipley Art Gallery in Gateshead.

The demand is certainly still there – we had seven people book within 48 hours of the workshop starting, taking our small group of three up to 10.

Fortunately, there was plenty of room to spread out, with social distancing, as well as copious amounts of hand sanitiser and face masks, now becoming the norm in such settings.

I’ll admit I was nervous, mainly because I was worried the experience wouldn’t be the same for those taking part, but it turns out everyone had a great time.

One of the participants even took the time to e-mail me afterwards, saying: “It was completely absorbing and thoroughly therapeutic.”

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Keeping workshop participants safe 

As lockdown restrictions continue to ease, my regular venues have re-opened, with carefully laid out plans to keep people safe.

This includes the aforementioned social distancing, as well as the use of hand sanitiser, face masks, reduced class sizes, no shared materials and bring your own refreshments.

Each setting has their own measures in place – if you have any questions at all, please just ask! We’ll do our best to alleviate any concerns. 

I’ll be running workshops at Re-Create Today in Whitley Bay, From Loft to Loved in Sedgefield, The Spa Hotel in Saltburn and Linnels Farm, in 2020.

The majority of dates have been filled with bookings carried over from the spring/summer, but there are still some places available.

My weekly classes are also returning – and some Christmas-themed workshops have been pencilled in for December, so watch this space!

Thank you for your support

I’m looking forward to getting back to teaching and seeing everyone again, although I’m wary of the fact there could be more changes afoot.

The Covid-19 crisis has created a lot of uncertainty for everyone, particularly small businesses, so I’m grateful for all the support I’ve received from clients and the calligraphy community.

(Kate Watson from Olive and Reid Studio compiled this great insight into the impact Covoid-19 was having on calligraphers at the start of the lockdown.)

I can’t wait to get back to ‘the new’ normal and hopefully, I’ll be able to start planning for 2021 in the not-too-distant future. I’ve already bought a diary!

For workshop details, visit the events page.

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