Olive & Reid Studio


Luxury calligraphy London

Calligraphy at The Handmade Fair 2014, London


  I found out about the Handmade Fair because Claire Gould, calligrapher and owner of Calligraphy for Weddings, was running a workshop. She lives in the Lake District, so it was a rare chance to meet her in London.

I won't lie, I'm not a crafter, so felt very out of place among the knitting needles and fat quarters (whatever that means). So overwhelmed that I didn't even take photos of my day, mostly.

I fortunately did find some things a little more my artistic style:

For my calligraphy inspiration, I stumbled upon a medium I thought would be cool to try: chalk paint. Mainly attracting up-cyclers looking to renovate furniture, I saw a brilliant example of what you could do with American Decor and Annie Sloane chalk paint.

Americana Decor at The Handmade Fair

I tried it out on some tile offcuts, but I think I need some kind of glaze to finish it off.


By the time 2.30pm rolled around, when it was time for my calligraphy workshop with Claire, I had:

  • stopped off for ice cream at 10.30am
  • watched two people battle it out for 45mins on stage to transform a white cotton t-shirt into something (a somewhat surreal scenario in which they were on stage and I was in an audience filled with enthusiastic card waving crafty lady fiends!)
  • learn the art of creating the perfect bow with Jane Means

Christmas bows with Jane Means at The Handmade Fair

Calligraphy workshop with Claire Gould

I said my quick 'hi' to Claire before she got started, and got settled in with the others in the class. I really enjoyed seeing people pick up a calligraphy nib for the first time, and listening to the kinds of things that they said about it. Check out Claire's wrap up of the fair. She did a brilliant session, and I was trying not to be too much of crazy fan girl especially while she was so busy setting up and packing up.

The best thing take away from the session for me was Claire's advice to not think of calligraphy writing as you would with a normal ballpoint pen, but rather to consider that you're moving ink around the page. That's a brilliant way to describe it. My other takeaway is that if you're carrying a nibbed pen in a plastic bag, be careful where you put that bag. I put it under my butt, and that nib ripped a hold in my jeans and gouged its way straight into my flesh.

Apart from the show, I really loved visiting another new cool place in London: Hampton Court. I mean, would you look at this place!






I even got to see Kirstie Alsopp in the flesh!

Kirstie Allsopp at The Handmade Fair