The Handbook
The Handbook

School was a simpler time. I remember my parent’s giving me a pound each week to spend at the school tuck shop. This tuck shop consisted of binders, planners, HB pencils, Tippex and endless ink cartridges to fill up my mountain of fountain pens. Unfortunately those cartridges would usually then explode in your pencil case and you’d have blue stained hands for the rest of the school day, which was never a good look. Ink cartridges aside, does anyone else miss the luxury of handwriting and how buying new stationary made everything just a little bit more manageable? We’ve become so computed into typing away our work notes or filling out spreadsheets that we’ve lost the ability to write by hand and the fun that comes with a little bit of ink and a fountain pen. 

While we’ve been locked up inside for the last three months, uncovering new skills is something we’ve all tried to do, from perfecting the perfect loaf of bread to making our nan proud with our croquet skills. For me, it’s been reigniting a lost flame with handwriting, more specifically calligraphy. 

It’s a skill that tests your patience, helps you build your concentration and allows you to be creative without having to worry about getting the paint tones correct. Here’s why you should pick up your pen and get calligraphing…

You’ll Be Learning A New Skill In The Process

By this point in lockdown you’ll have perfected all of your pre-coronavirus ambitions, from baking the perfect banana bread to knitting your Nan a scarf, but now it’s time to journey to the world of calligraphy. 

Calligraphy is an art form in its own right. The lost art of calligraphy journeys back centuries. We can see it in some of the earliest forms of writing, from ancient Greece to ancient China. It’s an art form that stems back thousands of years. We can see it carved in stone, in important religious testimonies and sprawled across walls, and yet, today it’s an art form that’s often overlooked. 

Rather than worrying about your brushstrokes and paint palette, calligraphy allows you to reconnect with the simple structure of the alphabet and how each letter has its own unique form. It’s a chance to rediscover the simple formulation of each letter, from the twirling S’s to the structural I’s. Like all new skills, it tests your patience and ability to persevere, and the result can be beautiful. 

It’s Challenging In A Good Way

Just as learning to play the guitar or letting a cake rise in the oven takes time, so does calligraphy. No two letters are the same. There’s 26 letters in the English alphabet, times that number by two because you’ll need to perfect your capital letters too, and don’t even get us started on the numerals… 

It’s a skill that’ll test both your handwriting and your patience. It’s going to take a lot of practice to perfect it, but that’s the beauty of adopting new hobbies and skills. Don’t expect it to be easy. You’ll have to practice, practice, practice each letter until it’s near perfection. 

You’ll Be Able To Reinvent Your Handwriting Style

If years of type, type, typing away on your keyboard has left your writing hand weak, unused and outright lazy, calligraphy will help you reignite the flame and will see you jazzing up your humble handwriting into pronounced prose. You’ll redefine your jotted down shorthand to-do lists into their own work of art.

It’s a test of time and it’s quite entertaining to see the gradual change. If you’re just starting out, why not keep track of your progression in a notebook and you’ll be able to see your change of scruffy notes into twirly letters in no time. 

You’ll Be Able To Upstage With Your Birthday/Wedding Invites

While calligraphy was first developed for religious manuscripts and important documents in bygone centuries, today we’re most used to seeing its sprawled over wedding invitations, party name cards and spread over restaurant specials boards. 

Once you’ve defined your own set of letters, you’ll be able to revamp your friends wedding invites, kids birthday party invitations and get to work on those Christmas cards early.

It Looks Great As Wall Art

Once you’ve perfected your alphabet and your numerals, put your new calligraphy skill to the test and write out your favourite movie quote or a message that empowers or inspires you to strive for your life goals and achievements. Pop your message, saying or phrase on some white card and put it inside a frame to hang on your wall. It’s one of the easiest ways to decorate your home and you’ll be saving on the pennies.

Where To Learn Calligraphy?

London Calligraphy 

On a mission to reintroduce the art of handwritten letters, Katie, founder of London Calligraphy, hopes to bring a splash of luxury, class, and more than anything, something truly special through her company and workshops. 

Whether you’re a novice in the calligraphy department and want to uncover your hidden talents, or you’re looking to expand your skills further, London Calligraphy has a workshop to fit all abilities. You’ll learn the lost art of calligraphy and soon be creating handmade invitations for your next celebration. They also provide a great calligraphy service too, if the skill isn’t quite right for you.

Quill London 

Unlock your inner creativity with a little help from Quill London, London’s first modern calligraphy workshop and studio. 

Drawing inspiration from all over, Quill London helped bring the lost skill back to the UK through their workshop series. During lockdown, Quill brought their London masterclasses online, allowing eager calligraphers the opportunity to learn a new skill while cosied up inside. No experience is necessary, and every class option provides you with all of the materials you need so there’s no worrying about what calligraphy nib to get or what ink works best.

Tea and Crafting 

Tea and Crafting’s beginner workshops provide you with all of the tools, skills and techniques needed to perfect the delicate craft of calligraphy. You’ll even be provided with take home sheets so you can practice your craft until you’ve perfect every letter of the alphabet.

Best Kits For Beginners

For those wanting to begin on their own journey of calligraphy, here’s a few kits to get you on your way.

The Handbook has teamed up with The Grill at The Dorchester for an exclusive competition. Entrants will have the chance to win a dinner for two at The Grill at The Dorchester when it re-opens! www.dorchestercollection.com