A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to attend one of Artsynibs brush lettering/modern Calligraphy workshops for beginners.
As a stylist within the creative industry, I’ve always been a little embarrassed of my handwriting, it’s almost as though I’ve had arrested development in that area of my life and my hand writing hasn’t really progressed much since I left junior school! It’s often a requirement of my job that I write with a flourish and I’ve been asked to adorn blackboards for TV Commercials and film a live Christmas video of me setting a table for the event & my infantile hand writing skills, have in these circumstances, brought me out in hives. I have learnt clever strategies to help me out which have even involved a projector & no I’m not even joking, but when Joyce asked me if I’d like to attend her calligraphy workshop I was all over it.
What I thought I would learn in 3 hours clearly was a big mis judgement on my behalf, Joyce has been practising this art for many years and is highly skilled, but it was amazing what techniques I did pick up in the short time that we had.
The classes are held in Form Lifestyle store which is a beautiful new interior and gift store in Manchesters Northern Quarter. They are kept quite small in numbers of attendees so that Joyce can be on hand to help each individual as much or as little as is needed. We were given an introduction to some of the techniques we would need to get the most out of our session, such as to keep quite fluid and relaxed in our writing arm and to take things very slowly and not rush and most importantly to breathe, which is easier said than done when you are concentrating deeply, but important to remember so that all the other rules fall into place.
Form Lifestyle Store
Each of us was given an instruction manual and special paper on which we could practice the different pressures to apply to the pens, which sounds easier than it is and then we were let loose on the alphabet which is broken down into similar styles of letters. We were given two different pens, one which is similar to a felt tip pen but specifically for brush lettering and the other which is slightly more difficult to use for a beginner can be dipped into an ink pot or metallic paints and used in a more traditional type of calligraphy writing. I hope I’m getting this all correct but if you attend one of Joyce’s courses all will be made much clearer? Before starting her own series of workshops, Joyce was a school teacher and has the patience and skills to pass on her knowledge in a simple and effective way.
These photographs were taken at the event by @thepublishedimage all others are my own
At the end of the three hours, which went so quickly as we were having so much fun, we all felt as though we had definitely learned the basics of modern brush lettering and had the elemental skills to take away and practice more. As well as our instruction manual and spare paper, we were given the two pens I’ve just mentioned and a pot of walnut ink to take home and Joyce also kindly provided us with cupcakes and prosecco or tea and coffee throughout the session.
If you struggle to buy a certain person in your life a gift at Christmas, because we all have those people in our lives, that seemingly have everything right, a workshop to attend and learn a new skill, is a wonderful present and something to look forward to in the new year.
As well as modern calligraphy and brush lettering, there are plant workshops from GeoFleur and linen printing workshops from ren London, dates yet to be confirmed.
Beaumont Organic also in the Northern Quarter of Manchester run a series of workshops from their beautiful three storey shop. One of my favourites which I intend to go to next year is a macrame workshop run by the lovely Sam from Pretty Little Knots. You can see the range of workshops including Sams here.
Lever Street in Manchester is home to The Ministry of Craft where you can learn anything crafty from dress making, to linocut printing, lampshade making or knitting.
Agapanthus another one of my favourite shops, for vintage treasure hunting, have a lovely space upstairs in their store where they run regular chalk paint workshops where you can learn to transform an old piece of unloved furniture back to something that looks like it’s been brought back from a French Brocante.
If photography is your thing or you know somebody that would like to improve their skills with their dslr or bridge camera and learn some food styling tips along the way, workshops are held at the Wilmslow home of food stylist Nikki Bewell with technical camera tuition taught by Jane Burkinshaw of love your lens. Available dates throughout 2018 can be found here.
photo credited to Nikki Bewell
& finally if you still have time to squeeze a wreath making workshop in before Christmas, there are several in and around the Manchester area. First up is on 6/12/17 at Rose & Grey Interiors in Altrincham, hosted and taught by Chloe Robinson Designs who has a beautiful flower stall at Altrincham Market.
Farrow & Ball on Deansgate in Manchester are hosting a Christmas wreath and crafting workshop at their store on 9/12/17, with the hugely talented David from Frog flowers. Tickets are available throughout the shop.