Writing has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember.
When I was little, I used to write my own stories and by the age of 11, I had set my sights on becoming a journalist.
One of the reasons I love my Creative Calligraphy blog is to scratch my writing itch!
Now I’m delighted to be writing not only for myself, but for The Pen Shop.
I was approached by Tony Short, who heads up the e-commerce team, after he found me on Twitter.
We first came into contact during International Correspondence Writing Month (InCoWriMo) in February.
A picture of a letter I sent to Joyce Lee, of Artsynibs, caught his eye and he got in touch to see if there was any way in which we could collaborate.
I didn’t need much persuading to visit the company’s HQ on the Team Valley Trading Estate in Gateshead.
It was actually a surprise to find that the company was local to me.
The original InCoWriMo tweet came from @PenWriteUK and after a little digging, I discovered its links to The Pen Shop and also T & G Allan.
I have fond memories of browsing the stationery in the T & G Allan store in Whitley Bay, which is sadly now closed, during my time as a trainee reporter for the News Guardian in the town.
The first T & G Allan store was set up on Collingwood Street, Newcastle, by brothers Thomas and George Allan, as a newsagents, stationery shop and bookseller.
Gifts, pens and greetings cards were later introduced and new stores were opened.
The company first opened The Pen Shop in Newcastle in 1946 – the first specialist writing instrument shop in the UK.
There are now 19 branches of The Pen Shop across the UK, as well as the last remaining T & G Allan store in Morpeth, Northumberland.
I’m delighted to be working with such a prestigious brand, which has strong roots in the north east and remained a family business until a management buy-out in 2015.
My first blog for The Pen Shop – a question and answer session to introduce myself – is already online (you can read it here) and I’m looking forward to writing more.
The aim is to promote the beauty of good penmanship and calligraphy in particular, using products from The Pen Shop’s impressive range.
This week, I was invited to the Eldon Garden Shopping Centre branch to select some products.
I’m particularly looking forward to trying the Lamy Joy and Safari pens, with their interchangeable nibs.
They’re a best-seller and the limited editions usually fly off the shelves.