As I learnt at my Quill London Beginners Modern Calligraphy class, modern calligraphy is not all fancy Shakespearean typography and rigid structure. It is freer, much more open to interpretation and, as it turns out, much harder than it looks.
Quill London are a stationary brand that also run regular calligraphy workshops in London and they are so popular that they often sell out the same day as advertised. I have been wanting to try my hand at calligraphy for a while now, especially with the wedding coming up next year, so when Quill announced some extra dates with talented calligrapher Megan Riera I quickly snapped up a spot alongside beautiful ladies Liv and Jess.
This particular calligraphy class was held in the large West Elm central London flagship store on Tottenham Court Road. Along with around fifteen other women, we took our places on one of the tables in the back rooms where every guest was given the materials they would need, including:
- A Nikko G nib
- Higgins Eternal Ink
- Conqueror practice paper
- Layout paper (a thinner paper for tracing)
- Megan’s examples
The class began as the store was closing to customers, where Megan introduced herself and outlined what would happen over the next hour and a half. We started with warmup exercises to get a feel for the nib, followed by practising individual letters and finally joined up words (gulp).
The two most important things to remember with this calligraphy are to apply pressure on downward strokes (to get that lovely contrast between thick and thin lines) and to ensure your hand and pen are always facing towards the top of the page as we naturally write slightly to the side. Also when joining up the letters to form words, it is a case of learning how to ‘end’ each letter in a way that means it can be stylishly joined to the next as it is often different to the joined-up handwriting you learnt at school!
I have to admit, I wasn’t a natural at calligraphy (and ended up being the only one who’s hands and workstation got covered in black ink) but Megan was incredibly supportive, as were the rest of the attendees, many of whom had come alone. Megan would demonstrate for the group and then check in on each of us as we practiced what we had just been shown and I definitely appreciated this one-to-one time.
The 1.5 hour class flew by and before we knew it, we were packing up our supplies ready to continue practising at home. We all really enjoyed the class and it felt good to have tried a new skill, no matter how unskilled we may have been! (Thank goodness for a long engagement). I would definitely recommend the Quill London Beginners Modern Calligraphy class for anyone thinking of trying their hand at Calligraphy – let me know how you get on!