Words and the beauty of calligraphy

March 27, 2017 by Angela Reed in Blog 0 comments tags: calligraphy, words, writing
A love of words is something copywriter Michelle Nicol and I have in common. She wrote this blog for her business, Wordstruck, after we met up last month and she has kindly allowed me to share it here.   Words are all around us. You and I see thousands of them everyday – on the products we use; in shops, on transport, on street signs, posters, and on the screens we increasingly carry around in our pockets and bags. How much attention do you pay to them? Do they fade into the mass of background chatter? What does it take for a word, or phrase to stop and make you take notice? I have a natural affinity with people who share a love for and an appreciation of words, so it was delightful to get to know Angela Reed of Creative Calligraphy when we caught up over a coffee and a chat recently. We had a lot in common, so it was a long chat. Angela makes words look beautiful, by writing them in elegant, sweeping calligraphy. She often works on commissions for weddings or special events, times when words take on special significance. On her website, Angela tells us that calligraphy comes […]

Workshops helping towards business goals

March 23, 2017 by Angela Reed in Blog 0 comments tags: calligraphy, workshops
When I set my business goals for 2017, running more workshops was a definite priority. I was given a great start when my group from the Cultural Spring decided they wanted to continue when the first three years of the programme came to an end. We found a new home at Westoe Crown Community Hub in South Shields and attracted a few new members who heard about the group through the centre. Our first 10-week course there has just come to an end and we’ve had a full house. One of the aims of the Cultural Spring was to establish groups that would become self-sufficient, so I’m delighted to have kept this merry band of budding calligraphers together. We’ve built up a lovely rapport over the last year and I’ve had some lovely feedback from the participants, with the majority saying the course was excellent. Other comments included: “The teaching is good. I think the balance is just about right – demonstrations then practice. Help is always at hand.” “The people are very friendly and the atmosphere is very good.”   “Angela was always happy to help when needed but allowed us to get on when required.” “I have enjoyed […]

Bullet journaling for beginners

March 20, 2017 by Angela Reed in Blog 2 comments tags: bullet journaling, diary, notebook, writing
Bullet journaling should be right up my street! I carry a diary and a selection of notebooks around with me and a bullet journal brings their contents together in a beautiful analogue bundle. I hadn’t heard of a bullet journal until artist Gail Armstrong introduced me to hers when she attended one of my calligraphy courses for the Cultural Spring last year. I didn’t see the attraction at first, but I’ve seen an increasing amount of chatter about bullet journaling on social media lately. So I decided to investigate further and joined the Facebook group – Journaling North East – that Gail runs for other enthusiasts in the region. They hold regular meet-ups and I was finally able to make one this week. Gail explained how she discovered bullet journaling 18 months ago, when she gave up her job and went into creative coaching. She now combines her art and coaching via Start With A Doodle. “I’m a very tactile person and I love writing, so it was perfect for me,” she said. I was delighted to find myself in the company of other stationery touchers and their wonderful notebooks, to see how they had been transformed into bullet journals. […]

Artists embark on a Fifth-Size Book Adventure

March 16, 2017 by Angela Reed in Blog 0 comments tags: artists, books, libraries
Artists are being given a unique opportunity to take part in a project inspired by a collection of fifth-size books held at Newcastle City Library. The books are usually stored away from public view on account of their large size. But they have been dusted down (in some cases literally) to inspire a six-month project entitled The Fifth-Size Book Adventure. It has been developed by Jane Shaw, from People into Enterprise and Durham Creatives, and is funded by Arts Council England. The programme is limited to 20 participants and 100 people have registered their interest so far – including me! I went along to an information day after hearing about the project via Durham Creatives. Having never heard of a fifth-size book, I was intrigued, especially when I Googled fifth-size book and couldn’t find a definition! It’s basically a library classification system, with the majority of books on the shelves classed as first-size. The further up the scale you go, the larger the books are! Jane describes the fifth-size book collection as a “really eclectic” mix of old and also quite new books, covering a range of subjects, from crime rates to maps to mechanical drawings to suits of armour. […]

Signage for weddings and events

March 13, 2017 by Angela Reed in Blog 0 comments tags: calligraphy, events, lettering, signage, weddings, wooden boards
Signage is a big thing for weddings and events at the moment. A quick search on Pinterest will generate hundreds, if not thousands, of results. And they come in all shapes and sizes and are made from all sorts of materials. I’ve had two requests for signage recently, which definitely took me out of my comfort zone. I’m delighted with how they both turned out though and most importantly, so are the clients! I got chatting to Barbara Compton, from Centrepiece in South Shields, after calling into her wonderful shop for a post-coffee browse with a couple of friends. I’d met her previously, at a wedding fair, and was delighted to see her set up in Harton Village (conveniently situated next to a florist and a cake maker). Centrepiece offers an event dressing and prop hire service, but from the shop they also sell seasonal goods from the likes of East of India. She had a gorgeous mirror on display that was just begging to be turned into something more and we started to discuss what could be done with it. I’ve written mirrored table plans before, but Barbara opted to go for some welcome signage along with an order […]

International Women’s Day Conference 2017

March 09, 2017 by Angela Reed in Blog 6 comments tags: IWD2017, IWD2017NE, north east, women in business
International Women’s Day marked its 106th anniversary this year. I had no idea it was that old, until I was given a brief run-down of its history at the opening of the International Women’s Day Conference 2017 at the University of Sunderland. The event was organised by Jeni Banks, managing director of The Mussel Club, Sharon MacArthur, owner of Red Handbag, Louise Kennedy, managing director of Oculus HR, and Cheryl Holmstrom, business development manager for business, law and tourism at the university. It was the first event to be held at very impressive Hope St Xchange, a contemporary workspace for innovation-led businesses at the university’s city campus. The theme was Ordinary Women with Extraordinary Stories, linking in with the overall International Women’s Day theme for 2017 of Be Bold for Change. All the speakers, who came from a wide range of backgrounds, had to be bold at some point in their life and career. I love a good back story and I’m always fascinated by the paths people have taken to get them to where they are today, especially other women who have  set up their own business. The keynote speaker was Fiona Cruickshank, an angel investor and chairman of […]

When calligraphy makes people cry

March 06, 2017 by Angela Reed in Blog 0 comments tags: calligraphy; emotion
I’m not one to advocate making people cry. But it’s nice to know that something you’ve created has touched a nerve with someone. And happy tears are ok, right? Two recent calligraphy projects had the desired impact when they reached their intended recipient. The first was something I made for Michelle Rose from Custard and Bear, who is a great source of advice and support when it comes to marketing. I was intrigued when she tweeted a link to wedding blog Brides Up North that featured a story about her 2008 wedding to husband Kieran. Turns out one of their wedding photos appeared in a music video for the band Train. Amazing. Inspiration struck and I decided to write the opening lyrics from the song Drops of Jupiter for her, after finding out how special the song was to them. It was a good excuse to put my new Finetec Colours palette to good use and it also tied in nicely with my InCoWriMo project. Her response almost had me in tears! She wrote on Facebook: “When was the last time you got a ‘just cos’ letter in the post, something for no other reason than for the pleasure of […]

Spotlight Stationery: Letterpress Box Review

March 03, 2017 by Angela Reed in Blog 0 comments tags: letterpress, review, stationery
I’m so happy to get my hands on my first Spotlight Stationery subscription box. I’ve been stalking the business for some time on social media now because I just love the concept. I’ve even struck up and online rapport with the owners, Mary and Rob Wright. But it’s taken me a while to take the plunge and sign up. A picture on Twitter of some hand-stitched notebooks due to go out in February’s box finally tipped me over the edge! Call it fate, but I couldn’t have picked a better time to join. February’s theme was letterpress, something I have been fascinated with since handling some letterpress wedding stationery for a bride a couple of years ago. There’s an amazing art behind it and the results are just beautiful to look at and feel. “This is a theme we’ve been planning for some time as part of our efforts to support artisan stationery producers,” the introduction reads. “We’d been looking for the right supplier but when we met the owners of Ledbury Letterpress at a Christmas fair last year, we stopped looking.” Ledbury Letterpress is the creation of two friends, Rebecca Jones and Charlotte Evans, with help and support from master printer […]

Letters sent around the world for InCoWriMo 2017

February 28, 2017 by Angela Reed in Blog 1 comments tags: InCoWriMon, letters, penpals, writing
InCoWriMo has been my project for February and I’ve really enjoyed taking part. International Correspondence Writing Month – to give it its full title – encourages people to send a letter a day throughout the month of February. I’ve recently rediscovered my love of letters, after taking part in a letter exchange before Christmas and rediscovering some old penpal letters from my teens. So I used InCoWriMo as an excuse to make friends around the world again! Not surprisingly, the people taking part share a lot of creative interests, such as writing, calligraphy, arts and crafts, bullet journaling and a love of stationery. I mainly used the address exchange on the InCoWriMo blog to fill my calendar for the month, although I also included friends and clients. A number of people stood out because we shared the same interests. For example, a woman in Argentina said she was trying watercolour painting, brush lettering and bullet journaling – three things that I’m also trying to get started with. I also wrote to another brush lettering newbie in Malaysia and calligraphers in Italy, Hong Kong and the USA. Location also played a part – I wrote to a woman who lives in […]

Workshops well underway for budding calligraphers

February 18, 2017 by Angela Reed in Blog 0 comments tags: calligraphy, workshops
My workshops are proving popular at the moment. Maybe the new year kick-started a creative streak in people? I was invited back to Hawthorn Arts in South Shields at the weekend to stage a second masterclass. The first one was held in November last year and was very well received. This one was actually oversubscribed! I worked with Hawthorn Arts director and lead artist Graham Hodgson to devise a session that would complement his follow-up illustration class. Some of the participants came from existing classes at Hawthorn Arts, but they were all beginners when it came to calligraphy. We started with some pen exercises to get people used to a broad-edged nib. Then we got down to practising the uncial alphabet with the aim of writing a few lines from Wordsworth’s ‘I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud’. Those continuing with the illustration class will create an illuminated letter for it.   I love how everyone quickly develops a love for certain letters and dislike for others – and is quick to share their preferences with the rest of the class! And there’s always a few ‘a-ha’ moments when the penny drops, like slightly adjusting the angle of the nib to […]