We are pleased to bring you the amazing talents of stationery designer, artist, and all around cool chick Alice Gabb for our very first calligraphy course here at Barnes Class, It’s Polite to Write. Alice’s talents have been showcased everywhere from Anthropologie, Kensington Palace, and Secret Cinema, and she has over 7 years experience under her belt. From her studio, we sat down with Alice to find out just how calligraphy can be accessible (and fun!) for beginners like us.
Tell us about your journey to become a calligrapher.
I taught myself 3 years ago, but I’ve been illustrating lettering for 7 years as I’m a stationery designer, so I was very familiar with the subtleties of the Copperplate alphabet, which is where the Modern Calligraphy style stems from.
What has been the most challenging piece you’ve done? Alternatively, what is the most rewarding?
I mostly create work for weddings, so that is incredibly rewarding in and of itself, it’s a real honour to be involved! The most challenging work is when the client supplies me with heavily textured or fibrous paper which does not mix well with modern calligraphy, let me tell you! But usually there is always a way- it just involves lots of ink splattering and takes a few months off my overall lifespan….
What is a good start for someone who is interested in calligraphy? Is it an expensive or costly hobby?
I don’t think it’s expensive at all! My Beginners Kit and Perfect Practice Pad come to £31. This includes everything you would need to learn such as inks, nibs, advice and a penholder.
Once you get the hang of it, nibs need to be replaced from time to time and they are generally under £2 each and you may choose to buy some fancy inks which are around £5-10 a bottle (they last for a very, very long time). You could really go to town (like I have because it’s my job!) on custom penholders and gouache to mix your own colours, but you can achieve fantastic results with only the very basic of equipment.
What is a good first project for someone just starting?
Anything that involves one or two words! Think labelling jams or chutneys, or my favourite – place names. Place names on your table, whether it’s for a buffet or a seated dinner, make your event look so pretty! Mistakes are only natural in calligraphy, but little place cards are cheap, and with one name to write, it’s not a problem if you mess up and need to throw a little place card away and start again. Envelope addressing is seriously advanced in my book, that really sorts the wheat from the chaff! But if you really want to get better quickly, addressing envelopes for an event will improve your technique immensely, if you have the patience for it and plenty of spare envelopes to account for mistakes!
We can’t wait for our first calligraphy course with Alice! Like our Facebook page to receive first notice of the course listing!