Archives for category: handwriting lessons for adults
ruling pen and black ink

ruling pen and black ink

Before and after samples from a student on the handwriting improvement course

Before and after samples of handwriting 

This title is part of a recent commission I undertook for a jazz composer who will be performing in London during the Jazz Festival. The composer wanted something designed and executed by hand to reflect the style and message of his music. Something he felt a typeface couldn’t easily achieve.

Similarly , I have recently been teaching a group of employees of a well known retailer to be able to adapt their own handwriting  to create a more stylish and sophisticated look. Why ? Because management were of the opinion that a printed note to a customer does not reflect the ethos of their company which prides itself on attention to detail and customer care. In their opinion a well crafted handwritten letter would express just that.

When I teach handwriting improvement courses for adults, I often receive the same message from participants. Many wish to relearn and develop their handwriting skills to be able to send letters and notes that more accurately reflect their personalities and express a more meaningful and heartfelt message. Some wish to improve to indicate a higher standard of professionalism at work whilst others wish to recapture the enjoyment of the writing process and be able to communicate this to others with confidence.

Before and after samples from a participant in the 6 week Idler Academy  handwriting improvement course

Before and after samples from a participant on the 6 week Idler Academy handwriting improvement course

Whatever their reasons, it is clear that writing by hand can provide a very different  visual message to an effortlessly typed note on the computer. A recent report on scientific findings , published in New York Times also emphasises the proven benefits of writing by hand, including creative thinking.

To quote the article:“It is not just what we write that matters but how “ . Whether it is handwriting , formal presentation calligraphy and lettering or more informal personal calligraphy,  I totally agree !



Following a really positive weekend, teaching first years on the SSI Advanced Training Scheme, I began to reflect on the impact of space and light on our working practice. We were at a conference centre in a beautiful rural setting with uninterrupted views of the Cotswold countryside.Did it contribute to the widening of horizons in our creative thinking ? It certainly felt like it .

Moving Forward . Gravity lettering layers on rollered background.

Moving Forward- created at V&A; non contact lettering using dripped acrylic paint and gestures using the body on canvas

In my personal work my horizons were expanded by being in a huge studio at the V&A. It enabled me to pursue new areas of research, try out techniques and materials , work on a larger scale and push the boundaries of conventional calligraphy. However, the shrinking of output and scale of work  when I finished my Residency , due mainly to space issues, prompted me to set up a second work space in my home .

View of one area of my V&A studio

My original loft studio , looking out onto gardens and allotments, is now my  contemplative space for drawing, planning, research and my calligraphy and gilding.

loft studio

View of part of my loft studio

My bright new workshop, on the other hand , is ideal for anything large or messy. Perfect for my acid etching and  canvasses and acrylics. It is a great space for teaching too . I am now running regular adult handwriting improvement classes and calligraphy sessions in the studio.

Having two dedicated work spaces has provided me with a wonderful freedom to expand my creative practice

Second studio

The new studio during a workshop