On Saturday just gone, I spent the loveliest afternoon with Ofe from Ollie's Studio for one of her modern calligraphy workshops. She lives just outside Cheltenham, England and offers these workshops in Dublin four times a year. As I mentioned in a previous blog post, I bought myself some calligraphy supplies a few months ago - nibs, inks, pen holders, paper and a manual - but I never got past the first couple of pages.
Having the opportunity to be in a workshop with Ofe and lots of other wonderful women was just what I needed to kick start my calligraphy bug again! It was so much easier to learn and practice with a genuine calligraphy expert there to guide us. The class was two and a half hours long but it absolutely flew by, we were all completely immersed in our own little pointed nib worlds.
We started with nib care - did you know nibs are coated with oil to stop them from rusting, but the ink won't stick to the nib in this state so it needs to be removed? We did this by sticking the nib into a potato. I know, cray. You can also leave it in boiling water for a minute, run a flame over it or suck on it! (Something about enzymes in your saliva) After that, it was basic strokes, letters of the alphabet, joining letters into words and we just had enough time at the end to try some 'bouncing baseline' variations. It was so enjoyable.
As soon as I was home, (well, as soon as the kids were tucked up in bed) I picked up my copy of Kirsten Burke's 'Secrets of Modern Calligraphy' (get it on Amazon here) and practiced for another hour or two. I'm definitely going to be incorporating some calligraphy into my work soon, I just need to figure out how! Watch this space :)