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
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 […]

How I started my first bullet journal

April 13, 2017 by Angela Reed in Blog 1 comments tags: bullet journal, stationery
I’ve started my bullet journal and I must admit, I’m getting a little addicted! I still haven’t fully moved away from my diary and notebooks, so it has become an extra thing to do. But I’m sure once I’ve found my groove it will be my go-to organisational accessory. I really enjoyed meeting up with the Journaling North East group last month (read my blog here) to gather some tips and advice on bullet journaling and what it’s all about. But it still me a while to build up the courage to put pen to my lovely new Leuchtterm 1917. I joked to Gail Armstrong, from Start with a Doodle, who introduced me to bullet journaling, that I’d need a bullet journal for my bullet journal – and I wasn’t wrong! I was planning pages and making lists in one of my notebooks that Gail pointed out would have been the perfect way to start my bullet journal. So, after finding a rather fitting quote from author Jodi Picoult to put on my cover page, I got started and since then, I’ve found it hard to stop! As I was aiming to start using my bullet journal in April, I decided […]

Jarrow Hall re-opens for Easter holidays

April 10, 2017 by Angela Reed in Blog 0 comments tags: Bede, Bede's World, Jarrow Hall
Jarrow Hall is keeping the memory of Bede alive in South Tyneside. Like many, I was shocked when Bede’s World suddenly closed its doors in February last year, leaving the culturally and historically significant site facing an uncertain future. However, Groundwork South Tyneside and Newcastle (STAN) stepped in to manage the site and it is now fully re-open, following a soft-touch launch in October last year.   Jarrow Hall Anglo-Saxon Farm, Village and Bede Museum. More the £120,000 has been invested so far in the redevelopment of the site, now known as Jarrow Hall Anglo-Saxon Farm, Village and Bede Museum. It has also hosted more than 1,000 schoolchildren in the last six months. At weekends and during school holidays, however, it has been about attracting families and as regular visitors previously, we were excited to attend the re-launch day We had the perfect weather to enjoy all the activities on offer, with an unusually sunny Spring day kicking off the Easter holidays. James and Sophie got stuck into some Anglo-Saxon crafts and made rune necklaces, enjoyed a pony ride and explored the natural play scape before heading off to feed the animals on the farm.   A “treasured piece of local […]

Letters in response to InCoWriMo 2017

April 06, 2017 by Angela Reed in Blog 0 comments tags: InCoWriMo, letters, penpals
I love it when letters drop through my door! And I’m not talking the ordinary bills and junk mail – I mean proper, handwritten, well thought out letters. They make me smile. In February I took part in International Correspondence Writing Month (InCoWriMo) and I’ve since had several responses from the people I chose to write to. The first one was a Harry Potter postcard from Maria in Galway, Ireland. She revealed that she had lived in Newcastle last year and was happy that someone from the north east of England had written to her. It really is a small world! My second letter was hand-delivered when I bumped into Fiona, from Darlington, at a meeting of the Journaling North East group. She was the closest person I wrote to and I was the nearest person she heard from! “Your letter surprised me the most, I think,” she said.   Letters are a glimpse into different lives The other replies have come from much further afield – Shir in Israel, Sarah in Canada, Elena in New Zealand, Tiffany and Erika in the USA and Jessica in Malaysia. They vary in length, from a few lines to several pages, but they […]

Quentin Blake: Inside Stories

April 04, 2017 by Angela Reed in Blog 0 comments tags: children's books, exhibition, illustration, Inside Stories, Laing Art Gallery, Quentin Blake
Quentin Blake draws with a scratchy pen dipped into a pot of Indian ink. When he was drawing The Twits, he chose a particularly hard and scratchy nib. When I asked my son why he thought this was, he said “to make them look messy”. Not a bad observation for a seven-year-old! As a calligrapher, this little piece of information obviously stood out during our family trip to the Inside Stories exhibition at the Laing Art Gallery in Newcastle. The exhibition, from the House of Illustration, gives a unique insight into the origins of some of Blake’s most characteristic and popular creations. I grew up with Blake’s illustrations and now my children are doing the same. James in particular is a huge fan and loves to copy the pictures from his favourite Roald Dahl books, including The Twits and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. He’s quite the little artist, so I wanted to take him to the exhibition to inspire him and keep that fire going in his imagination. It’s telling that I had to drag him away from the three drawing activity stations within the gallery space to show him various things on the walls around him. Both he […]