Going from self-employed to employed again

June 28, 2017 by Angela Reed in Blog 0 comments
Not many people go back to being employed once they’ve experienced the freedom of working for themselves. I always thought I’d find it hard to work for someone else again after striking out on my own and running my own business for three years. But that’s what I’ve done (sort of) and I’m really enjoying it! The more eagle-eyed amongst you will have noticed me mention in a previous blog post that I had taken on a new part-time job. Now that I’m settled in, I can reveal that it’s a press and PR role at The Customs House in South Shields, which makes the writer in me very happy. But although it’s freelance and I’m still self-employed, all of a sudden I have a boss again! Fortunately, my immediate boss happens to be someone I’ve known and worked with since the age of 18, which is how I got dragged into being ’employed’ again. When the opportunity arose, I was the first person she called – and you can’t turn a good friend down can you? There were other temptations too – a more regular income, putting my journalism skills to good use, working as part of a team, representing […]

Investing in product photography

June 14, 2017 by Angela Reed in Blog 0 comments tags: calligraphy; photography; branding
Product photography is not my strong point. I’ve relied on my phone to take pictures for the best part of three years, with professional shots of my calligraphy being few and far between. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve taken part in a couple of styled shoots and received a handful of images taken by photographers at weddings I’ve been involved in. But I haven’t really had an extensive set of shots taken since I started out in May 2014 and the business has changed massively since then.   My business image was in need of an update. Every year, my business birthday seems to prompt some tweak or another – a little bit like when you start making new year’s resolutions! This time, I decided to invest in some product photography. I feel a lot more in touch with my branding as a result of working with Hollie Ellis Design and I’m also in the process of having my website updated by Jackdaw Web Design. I was keen to get some new imagery to reflect this and really show my work in the best light – literally. Everything needed to be brighter. So, I pulled a few samples together and […]

Spotlight Stationery: Made in Germany

June 05, 2017 by Angela Reed in Blog 0 comments tags: stationery; spotlight stationery; subscription box; pens; pencils; notebooks; postcards
Danke schoen Spotlight Stationery for my latest stationery fix! May’s subscription box theme was Hergestellt in Deutschland – Made in Germany – featuring artisan products and premium brands made in – you guessed it – Germany. The first items I pulled out of the box were a handmade notebook and a selection of colourful patterned envelopes from Bindewerk, an independent bookbindery in southern Germany. Hidden in a red envelope were brass coloured binder clips from Rico Design, a leading wholesaler of arts and crafts materials, based in Westfalen. The envelope also contained a brass coloured, barrel-shaped pencil sharpener from family-owned Mobius & Ruppert, founded in 1922 and now in its fourth generation. Two pens contained in the box – the Slider Memo XB and Line-up – came from another family-owned business, Schneider, which was established in 1938. There were also two pencils from Stabilo – the Schwan 306 HB and Othello 282 2B – which was originally called Schwan-Stabilo and established in Nuremburg in 1855. Johann Sebastian Staedtler began shipping pencils around the world from Nuremburg in 1840. I already have a few Staedtler items in my pencil case, with their erasers being my favourite when it comes to rubbing […]

What to expect from one of my workshops

May 30, 2017 by Angela Reed in Blog 0 comments tags: calligraphy; workshops
I have a bumper list of workshops coming up that will keep me busy right up to the summer. I’ve even got some penciled in for the autumn! I also have some amazing new images from a recent workshop I did at the Customs House in South Shields, taken by Corrina Atkinson Photography. It’s the first time I’ve had professional shots of me running a workshop, so I thought I’d put them to good use and write a blog about what to expect when you sign up for one of my workshops.   I run a range of different sessions, which I’ve outlined below, but at each one you can be sure of a warm welcome, relaxed atmosphere, good company and the chance to discover an enjoyable new skill. There’s also usually coffee and cake, or tea and biscuits – or both! If you’d like to read more from a participant’s point of view, there’s a lovely guest post from Michelle Nicol, who joined us at the Customs House, on the blog here.   Drop-in sessions These are very much a taster session and I have mostly been asked to run them for the Cultural Spring as part of their consultation […]

Calligraphy Workshop at the Customs House

May 22, 2017 by Angela Reed in Blog 0 comments tags: calligraphy, customs house, wordstruck, workshop
Having seen examples of Angela’s beautiful calligraphy, I’d been inspired to pick up my special ink pens and nibs and give it a try. But as, with so many things, I never really set aside the time to do it. So it was a real treat to be able to spend a couple of hours learning from a master and trying it for myself at a Creative Calligraphy workshop at The Customs House.   An introduction to calligraphy There are many different styles of calligraphy, and for this introductory workshop, Angela showed us how form letters in the foundational style, a nice rounded and decorative form that’s good for beginners. She began with a demonstration, showing us how to shape some of the simple lower case letters in her beautiful flowing hand. It can’t be easy to write and explain how you’re writing at the same time, but Angela made it look effortless. Back to our tables and with all the pens, paper and worksheets provided, we got to practising and very quickly realised that it’s not as easy as it looks.   Learning our A, B, Cs Rather like going back to our early days of learning to write […]

Spotlight Stationery: Review and Giveaway

May 15, 2017 by Angela Reed in Blog 44 comments tags: stationery; giveaway; subscription box
As you know, I’m a big fan of sending and receiving snail mail. Handwritten letters and pretty packages in the post brighten up the usually dull offerings of bank statements, utility bills and junk mail. One item of post guaranteed to make me smile is my monthly Spotlight Stationery subscription box. I’m on to my third box now and I have been introduced to many wonderful creative businesses I may not have heard of otherwise.   April’s Theme: Flora and Fauna Each box has a theme and last month’s was Flora and Fauna, featuring stationery inspired by nature. This included a Creature Candy notebook, Longtree notebook and card, Rossi pencils and a Zebra pen. Lizzie Barker created Creature Candy to raise awareness of Britain’s declining and protected wildlife species and raise funds for conservation charities. She donates 10 per cent of the sale price of every product sold to six different British wildlife charities and her notebooks are printed on sustainably sourced paper. The Red Squirrel illustration on the front of the notebook I received is extremely cute. Lonetree was founded in 2011 by sisters Emma Bensalem and Sara Hall, who take their design inspiration from everyday objects. The notebook […]

Calligraphy time-saving tools

May 04, 2017 by Angela Reed in Blog 0 comments tags: calligraphy; calligraphy hacks
Time is precious, right? And we never seem to have enough of it. Balancing anything in life seems hard these days, especially when it comes to running a small – actually, make that micro – business like mine. But I have discovered a few calligraphy hacks recently that have saved time when it comes to writing, whether it be workshop preparation, or working on commissions.   Using a rolling ruler One of the banes of my life is ruling guidelines, but it’s a necessary evil! A simple tool to make the process easier is a rolling ruler, which glides down the page to produce horizontal lines, vertical lines and even helps measure angles. This is perfect for calligraphy practice. Of course, if you’re working on a commission, you have to rub these pencil lines out. One of my many fears is that the ink will smudge – no matter how long you leave it to dry – and you will end up having to start all over again. This is where my light pad comes in.   Investing in a light pad This handy gadget – popular with crafters of all types – was top of my wish-list at Christmas […]

Sunderland 2021: Backing the Bid

May 01, 2017 by Angela Reed in Blog 0 comments tags: Hull 2017, Sunderland, Sunderland 2021, UK City of Culture
Sunderland is one of 11 places bidding to be named UK City of Culture 2021. The campaign is attracting a huge amount of support and according to Ladbrokes, Sunderland is an early favourite to take the title, which brings with it a £3m funding boost. Born and bred in Sunderland, I’d be delighted to see the city win.   Sunderland will always be home. I remember the buzz surrounding Sunderland when it became a city in 1992 and I think the UK City of Culture has the potential to recreate that sense of civic pride. The city’s fortunes have fluctuated over the last 25 years, but overall I have watched Sunderland grow as a city. I may have moved up the coast to South Shields, but Sunderland will always be home. I have lived, studied and worked in the city and continue to spend a lot of time there. Penshaw Monument is still a welcome sight after a long car journey. If Sunderland is successful in its bid, it will follow in the footsteps of the UK City of Culture 2017, Hull, which is where my mam hails from, although she’s now lived in Sunderland for longer. We spent a […]

Modern Calligraphy Workshop: Author event with Imogen Owen

April 26, 2017 by Angela Reed in Blog 0 comments tags: author, imogen owen, modern calligraphy
When I heard Imogen Owen was coming to the north east to promote her new book, I didn’t hesitate to snap up a ticket, even though it meant an almost two-hour round trip! I follow her on social media and having seen her recent appearance on Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch, I was keen to meet her in person and hear more about her approach to modern calligraphy. It’s a style I’m keen to try this year, but confidence is holding me back.   Traditional v Modern Calligraphy My calligraphy skills are rooted in more traditional styles, such as italic and copperplate, where there are rules to follow and it’s quite rigid. I like that! Modern calligraphy is a lot more fluid and there’s a lot more scope to develop a signature style, which Imogen and other modern calligraphers I know have certainly got. I’ve never been a rule breaker and I’m a total perfectionist, so I’m concerned that modern calligraphy is probably never going to agree with me! But it turns out my knowledge of copperplate is good grounding for modern calligraphy (although not essential) because they share the same basic elements. Both involve using a pointed nib to create […]

Calligraphy drop-in at The Creative Space

April 18, 2017 by Angela Reed in Blog 0 comments tags: calligraphy; workshop; cultural spring; creative space
The Creative Space is a pop-up shop opened by the Cultural Spring in the Bridges shopping centre in Sunderland. As well as showcasing the work of the Cultural Spring over the last three years, it will act as a venue for a range of free arts workshops, film screenings and live performances. It will also be highlighting the city’s bid to become City of Culture in 2021. Visitors are being asked to contribute their thoughts and ideas on arts and culture in Sunderland and South Tyneside and what they would like to see happen or change in their area. The Cultural Spring is funded by the Arts Council England and was set up to get more people in Sunderland and South Tyneside to experience and be inspired by the arts and culture. It worked in 10 wards – five in Sunderland and five in South Tyneside – to put a range of workshops on the doorsteps of people who traditionally wouldn’t access the arts. For more about the first three years, read my previous blog here. For the last year of the three-year project, I ran calligraphy workshops at Whiteleas Community Centre in South Shields and the group is now […]