At the end of 2014, I promised myself a more creative and inspired 2015. Having kicked off the year with Emily Quinton’s Makelight photography workshop, I could not be happier to have spent the last Saturday of the first quarter (oh dear… Q1… I sound like such a Finance person!) learning calligraphy from the lovely Gemma Milly!

The afternoon workshop was held in the upstairs room at the Red Lemon pub in Notting Hill (Gemma tells me the food is lovely!). Having battled my way through the Portobello Market crowds, I stepped into this room, so beautifully styled by Sundari aka the Wedding Stylist, and immediately regretted not remembering my big camera! My iPhone photos really don’t do it justice, so just multiply the prettiness by ten in your head!

I’m a true believer that if you’re gonna learn something, you should learn from the best. I don’t need to tell you how beautiful Gemma’s work is - just check out her gorgeous website - but what was really inspiring for me was her passion for calligraphy (she’s been doing it since she was 12!).

I loved that Gemma didn’t just launch into the technical stuff but started off with a bit of history behind calligrpahy and the traditional copperplate script. She then demonstrated each stroke on the chalkboard before we practised on paper.

I must admit I was a little nervous at first as I had never held a calligraphy pen before! My first few (ahem, perhaps more than a few) strokes were a little wobbly to say the least, and it took me a while to get the angles right so that my nib wasn’t dragging on the paper making horrible scratchy noises. Thankfully, Gemma was super patient and encouraging, and the small class size meant that she was able to spend time with each of us throughout the class. It was great that Gemma’s lovely husband, Tom - who was offically a student but really should have been in the advance class! - was also there to give us newbies a hand.

After practising our strokes, we had a little break with yummy cakes and I got to mingle with some of the lovely ladies in the class. I’m by no means an extrovert but it’s always so interesting to meet creative people and hear their stories about their exciting businesses!

After the break, we moved onto practising the alphabet. I tried out a few lines of uppercase letters and thought to myself “yeah I’ve got this, I’m gonna move onto words”. And then everything went out of the window! All of a sudden, there were so many things to consider - linking letters the right way, spacing between letters as well as within a letter, keeping everything parallel at 55 degrees, when to apply pressure and when to release, is the nib holding enough ink, when did I last wash out the nib…

I think I was starting to get the hang of it by the end of the class even though I was losing the ability to spell my own name… bizzare I know but I guess it’s a sign that I was taking Gemma’s advice of “treat each letter as a shape rather than a letter” seriously!

Gemma, thank you so much (again) for such a fantastic workshop and the sweet goodie bag! I hope everything goes smoothly with the move and baby! I promise to keep practising and I’ll be the first to sign up to your brush lettering/watercolour workshop!! ;)

Sundari, it was so lovely to meet you in person and thanks for the confetti in the goodie bag! Expect them to make an appearance on my Instagram feed soon!