Last Wednesday, the 16th August, was the inaugural World Calligraphy Day and I was delighted to be invited to The Pen Museum in Birmingham to share in the celebrations and attractions hosted by The Manuscript Pen Company.
As a seasoned member of Stationery Addicts Anonymous, this event was right up my alley. Though the museum itself is quite small, the amount of pen history and expertise is immense there. I was in my element.
Judging by the number of people attending and enjoying World Calligraphy Day this year, both at The Pen Museum and on my social media timelines from around the world, this event can only go from strength to strength.
The Manuscript Pen Company Ltd has been connected with the pen trade since 1856. They are at the forefront of pen nib manufacturing and design in the UK. World Calligraphy Day was the celebration of the history, penmanship and progressive product development and all things calligraphy related.
There were 4 workshops to take part in during the day. These commenced with Graphic Designer and Calligrapher Alice Mazilli of Ampersand Alice who hosted the Handwriting Workshop For Children. Next was Modern Calligraphy For Beginners with Joyce Lee of Artsynibs which I was really keen to join in with. Unfortunately for me this was incredibly popular and all spaces were taken very quickly.
I did stay to take photos and notes on technique. It was many years ago that I started trying calligraphy, and, as I’m re-learning, it’s a skill that needs both practice and patience. Not only did I learn a lot from Joyce, but, I also spotted my live tweet from the day up on the screen!
There would have been many more Instagrams and tweets for #WorldCalligraphyDay but there was so much going on during the afternoon, that time got away from me. You’ll see from the square format of several of my photos that they were intended for social media of course!
The 2pm workshop from Artist, Designer and Letterer Rob Draper was by far my favourite despite not technically being calligraphy.
I’ve seen some of Rob’s amazing coffee shop work on Twitter. It was a pleasure to meet him and watch him work as well as being taught some new skills too.
For this workshop we had to think of two words and then try different styles of lettering for each word. I chose the name of this blog to work with but with only half an hour it was difficult to get a result though lots of practice was done!
I’m going to continue working on this when I get some spare time and then I can share the finished result.
This is also where I wished I’d made a note of the names of the pens we used as I think I need a set! At least I remembered to take a photo so I should be able to find them online.
The 4th and final workshop was held by Traditional Calligrapher Stephen Duckett. Once again the room was full to bursting, and, once again, I wasn’t quick enough to grab a seat. However, being a spectator to Stephen’s craftmanship was rewarding in itself; this is where we also learnt the art of the wax seal.
I don’t think my own calligraphy will ever reach the standards of any of the day’s tutors, but, in just the few days since, the lovely boyfriend kindly remarked that I was getting better already 🙂
I’ve been practising on this downloadable worksheet and you can too!
The other highlight was getting my handwriting analysed by Sandra Grayson which was also rather enlightening. With limited time and space people were asked to just write a simple sentence in pen or pencil. For an unknown reason my weapon of choice is pencil.
The other half picked up straight away that I skipped a couple of letters in morning! I’d say this suggests my thoughts work faster than my fingers but what did Sandra deduce from this short sample?
I love the recognition of the first two and on the whole this is accurate! I prefer ‘impatient’ to absent-minded on this occasion but, in real life, she’s spot on!
In roughly 4 hours at the Pen Museum I learnt so much and had a really enjoyable time. Huge thanks to Manuscript for hosting this event. See you next year?
Charlie Stockbridge, Managing Director of Manuscript Pen Company, had this to say:
“World Calligraphy Day was a resounding success. Our aim was to take the stigma away from calligraphy whilst celebrating the craft. We’ve achieved our aim and seen people all over the world and all ages get involved.
“Both online and offline, people were celebrating calligraphy and the Pen Museum was the perfect location to discover more about the history, tradition and beauty of calligraphy and pen manufacturing.
“Calligraphy is a really hot topic and definitely on trend. World Calligraphy Day celebrated the best of the craft and, with the numbers we’ve reached, we hope that people will continue to put pen to paper in the years to come.
“We’re already looking forward to World Calligraphy Day 2018, with bigger and better things to come!”
I was sent a set of coloured duo-tip hand lettering pens plus a beginner’s calligrapy set so that I could practice my renewed hobby.
This is certainly a slow-paced way to write and create. However, it may be the perfect antidote to the speed of online communication in my opinion.
Will you be taking part next year my fellow stationery addicts?