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Hello!

Welcome to my blog. I hope you enjoy and are inspired by the stories I tell and the suggestions and thoughts I share. To find out more about what These Are The Heydays is all about, click here

- Diane

Have a go at calligraphy

Have a go at calligraphy

It has unintentionally turned out to be a recurring theme of my employment history, that in job interviews I've claimed to be able to do whatever that role required, whilst actually, in more cases than not, I haven't been able to at all. Where I've been successful at getting appointed, I've subsequently spent considerable time and energy furiously learning on the job and hoping no-one would notice I had no idea what I was doing. 

Over the years, I've come to realise two things - 1) that pretty much everyone else is doing exactly the same thing (it would have been a LOT less anxiety-inducing if I'd known that at the time), and that keeping on learning new things is critical to my general wellbeing and happiness.

So when I saw that wonderfully talented crafter (is that an actual word?) and stylist Emily Dawe (that's her at the top of the table in the pic below) was running a modern calligraphy workshop, I signed up immediately.

Calligraphy is something that's always fascinated me and that I've wanted to have a go at. And with my younger daughter's wedding coming up in January, I also thought if I could make a reasonable fist of it I might be able to offer my services to write the place cards, table plan, signs for the loo, whatever.

I joined the other lovely participants at a pop-up Tea Pigs shop (if you don't know their teas, by the way, you should definitely try them, they're delicious) in uber trendy Shoreditch where, armed with our special calligraphy pens and ink, we set about learning how to write.

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We began with a series of drills designed to help us understand how to create the thick and thin lines and swirls (I'm fairly sure there's a proper technical term for those and that's not it) that are critical to calligraphy writing. Obviously I've only smudged my efforts so you can tell them apart from the guide versions. Ahem....

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With that mastered (now, now. Be kind), it was on to the alphabet. Or rather, the modern calligraphy alphabet.

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And then, whaddyouknow, we started putting the letters together in words. That's the guide example first, and my unexpectedly not so ham-fisted copy underneath.

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By this stage - almost at the end of the two hour workshop - I was having such fun I really didn't want it to to be over. Just time to have a go at one, very important set of words....

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I'd like to say it was all down to my natural talent that I managed to do all that in just two hours, but for the sake of fairness and honesty, the credit all needs to go to Emily's clear, gentle and patient teaching.

It turns out calligraphy is not only immense fun to learn and do, it's also the perfect antidote to the screen dominated, fast-paced, constantly multi-tasking lives we all lead. If you're going to get your lettering looking lovely, you have to concentrate, focus and take it slowly and carefully. 

I'm officially completely hooked and have already spent several enjoyable hours practicing and experimenting since I did the workshop. Of course I couldn't resist trying out some of the wedding words. What do you reckon?  

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You can find out where there are courses near you by googling 'modern calligraphy courses', and I know Emily plans to run more workshops in London in the future, so you can contact her through her website or on Instagram where she goes by the name of editbyemily

Do you do a craft of any kind? If so, what? Show off your skill by posting a pic in the comments. I'd love to see!

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