A while back I wrote about the careful preparation for writing in a memorial book. http://www.oakleafcalligraphy.co.uk/blog/writing-in-a-memorial-book
The book I was working on is a brand new one - bought by the church (St Chad's, Saddleworth) to be introduced as part of the 800th anniversary of the founding of the church.
Entries to go in the book were sought from anyone connected to the church, and were all sent to me for writing in the book.
I ruled up the pages, and marked each page with the name of the person to be remembered. The format we'd chosen was the traditional one of surname, forename, details with the capital of the surname in gold.
My first job was to put the gold capitals in - I worked on every name in pages scattered throughout the book. I finished the last of many (many!) capitals only to realise I'd done the capital letters of the forename, not the surname.
Oh No. Oh no oh no oh no oh no. (Maybe everyone's forename and surname has the same letter? Of course not!) Oh no oh no oh no. (Maybe if I look away and look back it'll be sorted?) Oh no oh no oh no.
After a quick cup of tea (of course!) I rang the delightful lady who had commissioned the work and made the only sensible offer I could think of - to include a second gold initial and write forename, surname, details instead.
Not only was she completely lovely about my error, she even said "Do you know, I think that'll be nicer".
(I agree, but that's not really the point!)
I can report that everything went successfully from then, and the book was delivered back in time for their 800th anniversary celebrations earlier this year.
Who knows - I might even be trusted to add some entries in the future!
Last weekend I taught "Italic for all seasons" to a delightful group of people at the Trecastell Hotel on Anglesey.
The group had a very successful mix of those brand new to calligraphy and those with more skills.
I tried something new this time - instead of growing confidence by using pencils followed by felt tip or cartridge calligraphy pens, I gave everyone a good metal nib in a holder, and that was the tool everyone used from the start.
It was a great success! I think it was helped by the fact that I had tested every pen so I knew they were OK, but the main success was that no-one had time to build up anxieties about what might or might not work - they went for it and made quality marks with the pens right from the start.
And because we were straight into using the best tools, we had lots of time to play with variations - of materials, letter shapes, tools - all sorts!
When people left, of course they took with them the pen that they knew had created their beautiful lettering, along with a mini portfolio of their notes and their best work.
All this in a room overlooking the sea (almost IN the sea in fact) in a hotel where we were well fed and spoilt. Even the weather - in contrast to almost everywhere else - was lovely (although I'll admit I can take no credit for that!)
I had delightful comments back from people:
"just wanted to thank you again for the wonderful calligraphy course last weekend"
"good to come home with a portfolio of work and pen & ink - no excuse!"
"I have wasted no time in getting the pens out again. It was just what I needed to get me going"
"thank you again for a very good weekend"
If you're thinking "maybe I'd like to give this a try" I am running courses in September and October. The September one is Calligraphy in books - we will have fun learning a calligraphic hand AND making some little books to write in - all guided step by step, I think you'll be amazed at what you can create.
The October course is Calligraphy for Christmas - think reds and greens and hopefully some real gold too.
There are more details for the courses HERE - do please contact me if there's anything you'd like to know.
I would be delighted to create a gift certificate (by hand of course) if you wanted to treat someone to a weekend of fun.
I'm Janet Smith, a calligrapher who loves to experiment with lettering and calligraphy.