Our CraftCourses Christmas do: learning calligraphy together online


Here at CraftCourses website we are a small & dedicated team of 6 people, and whilst we often work remotely, this year has had a big impact on us, like the rest of the world. The thought of not being able to get together for our Christmas 'shindig' to celebrate making it through 2020, set us looking for a crafty alternative. Kate got in touch with the fabulous Calligrapher, Julie Chaney, and asked if she could host a live online calligraphy course for us. 


Here's Fran to share the great experience we had:


Our alternative Christmas 'shindig' brought us all together!


We asked Julie if she could arrange for a kit to be sent to our HQ with calligraphy pens and her exemplars for us to use during our session. She was super and sent this in plenty of time so I could post them out to our remote colleagues (I even included some chocolate - everyone needs a sweet treat this year.) The exemplars gave us an introduction to the alphabet, but also included some festive-themed messages. 


We felt very professional with our ink pots and calligraphy pens


We scheduled in a date for our live online calligraphy lesson and I got super excited about the opportunity to catch up with everyone, on a none work basis. Aled got a bit nervous that we were all going to judge him for his handwriting skills (he was very quickly reassured by Julie once we got going.) Julie let us know how to prep our work stations and make sure we had something soft under our exemplars (kitchen roll or newspaper is ideal). I have a white desk in HQ so made sure to put down plenty of paper to protect it (I'm known for being a bit clumsy)!


Stations prepped and kitchen roll on hand- just in case 


I joined the call, pen poised and eager. Julie gave a lovely warm introduction to us all, made sure we had everything we needed and told us a little of the history of Copperplate Calligraphy and where the name came from. I was mesmerised by Julie's demonstrations - she made it look so easy. With clear directions and guidance, Julie got us all loading our pens with chinese ink, teaching us how not to make a total mess. I then commenced my calligraphy journey, I think we were all nervous putting pen to paper on our first letter but Julie immediately reassured us. 


As beginners we started with the alphabet


Aled's handwriting fears were quickly allayed by Julie, who taught us that Copperplate Calligraphy is a series of connecting lines, rather that one constant flow of the pen. Learning when to press lightly and then when to press down hard on to the paper for a thicker line was tricky but I was learning fast. Suki was a bit nervous to share her progress but when she did we were all super impressed with how quickly she had picked up the skill!! 


Suki will be writing like this in no time!


Magda had told me before the course that she wouldn't be able to do it! She was awesome, and had the steadiest hand out of all of us!

Mark was really surprised to learn that being left handed was actually a super power when it comes to Copperplate Calligraphy, as we had to write at a 55 degree angle and left handed writers more naturally write at this angle! 


This really got us in a festive mood and had us planning our Christmas cards


I worked through the letters of the alphabet and then progressed on to the seasonal greetings, which were much harder, as I had to write whole words and make sure they all looked like they flowed. Julie continued to demonstrate how best to achieve the style, but also reassured us that we were just beginners and we were doing incredibly well for our first try. 


We were asked to think about quotes that were important to us to try some freehand caligraphy without the examples underneath. I remembered a treasured memory of my Nana who always used to misquote famous sayings...


Fran's favourite quote from her Nan- not quite right


Julie had provided us all with some blank Christmas cards, so that we could have a go at making our own with this new skill. I drew on the 55 degree angle, as a guide, and I was thrilled with the results - Julie's training really had paid off - all of my family will be getting a card with Copperplate text on this year. 


I was super impressed with myself managing this freehand


If you want to try your hand at this incredible craft, then you can do so by booking a beginners online course with Julie here.

Our team were super pleased with what we were able to achieve and it brought us all closer together too. 


Kate: 'What did everyone think of that?! I loved it'

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