Archives for posts with tag: calligraphy
A selection of students' work  .

A selection of  work – traditional and experimental -by students at Surval, Switzerland

Running workshops on calligraphy and handwriting skills in schools is something I have done quite a bit of in the last few months.  My recent trip to teach at Surval Montreux ,an International School , with spectacular views overlooking Lake Geneva in Switzerland,  was a particular highlight – in all senses of the word !

The cream building, top right, is the international school where I was teaching in Switzerland

The cream coloured building, top right, is the international school where I was teaching in Switzerland

I had previously completed a commission for the entrance hall of the new school and I was thrilled to be invited to visit and have the opportunity to teach pupils from all over the world. The sessions took place over three days, giving me time to work with different age groups and deliver a variety of activities. The participants engaged well, despite the jet lag (and unfamiliar surroundings for some new pupils ) . I loved their enthusiasm and ability to slow down , absorb and apply the techniques to be able to create something they were really proud of . I am hopeful that some of them may develop a real interest in lettering arts and spread the word within their own families and cultures .

Work by students after just two hours

Work by students after just two hours

(More information on the workshops can be found in the school website link above .)

A while back I bumped into an ex school pupil I had taught about 20 years previously. I was heartened by her comment that she still had good handwriting.

Teaching youngsters can be challenging but knowing that there is a possibility that you might make a  difference in their lives by sparking an interest or helping them develop life long skills makes it very worthwhile.




Detail of quotation by Gandi .  Gold and metal leaves , gouache and trocol bronze powder.

Detail of quotation by Gandhi .
Gold and metal leaf, gouache and trocol bronze powder.

I am pleased to announce that an exhibition of my work has just been set up and will be on show from tomorrow, 12th July , in North London , N2. I am participating in the  East Finchley Open  which takes place over two weekends

This annual event invites the public to visit  “open houses” in the area to view work by members of EFO , a group of  local artists and crafts people . It is a wonderful way to engage and inform the public, spend time with other exhibitors and have the opportunity to sell originals, cards and prints.

D H Lawrence quotation

D H Lawrence quotation (before gilding)

I have been working  on new designs , such as the detail shown here , and developing some pieces that had their origins at my V&A studio . It has been really rewarding  having time to revisit and build on this work.

Metalwork features too (another V&A influence) , with framed brass plate etchings and lettering designs transformed into small iron work sculptures by blacksmith Agnes Jones .

More images to follow of the venue and my work .



In the past 7 days  I have run a one day workshop, 2 half day workshops and 4 different evening sessions teaching  handwriting or calligraphy with adults and taught regular handwriting lessons with children.  Not every week is as full but much of my time this year has been taken up with a variety of  interesting and sometimes challenging teaching commitments . V&A workshop , work in progress by Win

The first, which I have spoken about in a previous post, was my V&A workshop. We studied the work of writing masters first hand from the National Art Library archives  and used specific models from the Spanish calligrapher Francisco Lucas’s  rotunda style lettering (Redondilla). This was used as a basis for developing a script to use within a collaged design. 

My next participants were school children. My challenge was to inspire pupils from the ages of 7-11 to improve their writing. With only short sessions in each class I created ways (including standing action games) to focus attention on aspects of writing such as the scale and proportion of letters. The oldest children, however, were given a treat of trying out copperplate lettering with dip pens and ink. Messy but fun.


My next three workshops were simpler to prepare as they have been tried and tested before.  One was for an enthusiastic group at Idler Academy on Italic scripts.  The other two were  for regional calligraphy groups  on two of my favourite teaching topics: developing an original script and using words as patterns. The results were most impressive! The  images below are by members of North London Lettering Association.Summer by Sue M

Two recent workshops were  particularly  challenging.  The first took place at Idler Academy. I had three hours in total to introduce beginners to calligraphy. Using dip pens and ink they were able to write an uncial script  with confidence by the end of the session. I repeated this with another group in the afternoon and they too did really well .

The second three hour workshop was organised by How To AcademyI  taught a group of adults about the process of how to develop more stylish handwriting . I chose an italic form as my model and gave them strategies and techniques  to be able to practice and progress

NLLA workshop

Acidulate 1 “The Genuine Article”, shown here, is my contribution to the exhibition 26 Words. The processes I used for this work enables me to replicate the design . I will be producing further limited edition brass etchings soon as two have been sold already, including the original framed version.  No two are the same as variations in the strength and immersion time in the acid and the post-etching surface treatment affects the patina and depth of etching.

KANGAROO; Dame Kanga’s keepsakes by Sue Hufton and text by Roger Horberry

The exhibition is a real must see (and read!) with  many creative interpretations and expressions of our 26 random words . You can find skill , imagination and brilliant inventiveness on display. I also recommend reading the stories behind the collaborative partnerships on the website



The variety of materials and techniques used by exhibitors also has to be mentioned. Mark Noad, chairman of LetterExchange aptly described the project as “the interplay between medium and message”.The lettering is written on and inscribed, etched  or cut into surfaces ranging  from stone ,metal , glass and ceramics, to collage, paper, prints and fabric.

EXCUSATION; Robbie Schneider , text by Stuart Delves

EXCUSATION; Robbie Schneider , text by Stuart Delves

Here are some of the exhibits by  Sue Hufton, Rosella Garavaglia and Robbie Schneider.

GLANCE: Rosella Garavaglia , text by Sarah Farley

GLANCE: Rosella Garavaglia , text by Sarah Farley






You will  find information about the exhibition on the poster here (click to enlarge) or visit the website (link above). It will be touring next year.




Boat .Imitation gold and silver leaf and acrylic inks on black paperIn the latest edition of “The Edge”, the CLAS magazine, there was a flyer for next August’s  Festival of Calligraphy. This popular annual event run by CLAS will take place in Malvern , Worcestershire next year.

Along side tutors Vivien Luniss, Nancy Ouchida -Howells , Massimo Polello (Italy) and Peter Thornton (USA) I will be running two courses there. I am teaching drawn letter design, inspired by applied lettering at V&A and modern gilding techniques.

Annotated note bookThe pieces shown here were created by  artists and calligraphers who recently attended my shorter version of this gilding course at West Dean College.  These examples show many of the techniques and materials we explored, from acrylic ink glazes on transfer gold to incising through imitation leaf with fantastic results !

Seahorses.Rooster. imitation and gold transfer

Textures in black and whiteIt is great to be back to my blog after a Summer break .

It has been a productive time for me, not only in my studio ( where I have completed 2 commissions and enjoyed inscribing gifts for friends ) but I have also delivered lectures and workshops to some very different audiences.

Idler Academy was the venue for a taster session improving handwriting . I taught a lively group who were keen to begin the process of reinventing and smartening up their handwriting . So, they had a  practical purpose for taking a closer look at letters.

The next group I visited, at Tigerprint studio , were interested in finding out more about calligraphy to enrich their design work. Following an illustrated lecture on my personal and commission work they watched me demonstrate  different calligraphy pens and scripts . As professional card and product designers,  they use a great deal of handwritten text in their work . I enjoyed being given a tour of the studio. It was such a creative environment.

My final group were calligraphy enthusiasts (from beginners to professionals ) who were from Belgium , France and Holland . They shared a love of letters and words and were keen to learn new techniques . I spent 4 days near Aalst, in Belgium, running a residential workshop on techniques for using paper as a three dimensional surface to complement calligraphy.

Monoline textures We also explored textural patterns and how to combine text and form successfully. Here are some examples of different textures created  by the students. There will be more on paper sculpture DSC05230in the next blog. monoline lettering textures in shades of blue

Elle Decorate magazine interviewed me for a small feature on handwriting a while back . It was published this month and I am quoted on the many benefits of writing by hand . This has prompted a number of people to contact me to discuss how they can improve their writing style. I offer a correspondence course , sessions at Idler Academy as well as tuition at my studio in North London . I am delighted to see that there is renewed interest in this basic skill.

Toby`s dragonWhen teaching adults to modify their writing , a major element in achieving success in this depends on  their commitment to writing  exercises and practice but with children I find that after a day at school, writing lines of letters switches them off completely. To motivate them I use a multi sensory approach and devise games and activities to keep their interest while they practice.Toby`s drawing

Toby, a pupil of mine who has found writing very difficult, is enjoying learning his letter joins by making letter patterns on his drawings ! Here are two examples .

Bridgette Stocks, one of my recent students on the Calligraphy with Design Degree course , chose to focus on designing  teaching aids for  handwriting  for her final project as she hopes to work with  adults and children with  their writing skills when she finsihes her studies.. She designed and  digitising a lower case alphabet  and made a wonderful tactile wall hanging with lino printed  letters and stiching . This picture shows Bridgette ( left) working on her hanging with  fellow tutor Sally Mae  at the studio at Kensington Palace. Bridgette and Sally Mae at KP

Her work, along with those of other graduates will be exhibited at the Degree Show from 3-7th July , 10-5 weekdays and 12-4 weekends at University of Sunderland Campus , Docklands E14 9 SG. Images of the excellent work of this year`s graduates can be viewed on this website.



Extract from Ghosts Passing, a novel by Emma Cameron

Extract from Ghosts Passing, a novel by Emma Cameron

What an incredible time I had last week preparing for and “performing”at an event at Keats Festival , “International voices with Parnassus Poets and Guests “, curated by London Literature Lounge and hosted by Anjan Saha . I have often demonstrated calligraphy for the public but this was a new departure where I interpreted the words of  writers and some of  the Parnassus poets as they read their work. My designs were then shown to the audience and displayed as I explained my creative processes and reasons for layout, colour and script.

Extract from a novel by Sangeeta Bhargava

Extract from a novel by Sangeeta Bhargava

A few days before the event I was sent copies of the readings and I admit to wondering if I had taken on too much of a challenge , as three page extracts from novels and many versed poems arrived in my inbox. I decided that I must develop a strategy for interpreting the 7 pieces. I gave myself 2 hours maximum to immerse myself in each piece, come up with extracts to write out and develop a design to the point where I could carry on with it to completion at the event.

Extracts from a poem by Anjan Saha , Justice /Just I/ Just Us , detail

Extracts from a poem by Anjan Saha , Justice /Just I/ Just Us , detail

So, unlike  usual calligraphic practice, I had to think quickly and instinctively  chosing appropriate paper, tools and scripts and  I let the  designs develop as I worked on them. Some were easier to respond to than others.  So, no ruling up, no time to rewrite , adjust and perfect. This was meant to be spontaneous , lively and ephemeral and I had to keep telling myself this -and still do -when I see a wobbly letter or ink blot ! By the time I had finished, my studio looked as though it had been hit by a tornado  -with paper, pens and paint absolutely everywhere . However, I had to keep some sense of organisation and carefully labelled each tool and mixture of paint that I used with the relevant name of the writer so that I could access them instantly on the night.

Extract from Towers, a short story by Karen Onojaife

Extract from Towers, a short story by Karen Onojaife

During the event it felt good to be familiar the words that were being spoken as I picked up a pen and worked on the designs in front of me. It was  also wonderful talking to the writers and audience afterwards. I had concerns that my interpretations of their the words may not have been in line with their own  but I was soon reassured and received the most enthusiastic responses from them.   I am now looking forward to seeing where this is going to lead me-more collaborations, exhibitions, multi media projects perhaps? …The discussions start next week when I have recovered !

Extracts from the poem, Taking the Medicine, by Ishaq Imruh Bakari

Extracts from the poem, Taking the Medicine, by Ishaq Imruh Bakari

I always find it heartening to see how far people will travel to pursue their calligraphic interests.  My recent workshop at West Dean College  attracted students from places as far flung as N Irelenad, Cornwall and the Lake District.

We spent three days immersed in words, paint and different pens as we explored aspects of  design and how best to convey meaning of the words we choose to write through colour, script and layout. As well as some experienced calligraphers we also had an  artist, crafts people and a book maker in the group enabling everyone to broaden their horizons as they gained tips and learnt from each other.Students work WD

It was clear from the outset that they were determined to get as much as they could from the course. After a full day in the classroom many would return to work at their drawing boards until 10 at night or they would be burning the midnight oil reading some of the calligraphy books from the college library. WDapril13 008 Their dedication bore fruit. with some confident lettering and  great designs emerging on our last day.

students work WD 4.13These photos show just a few of the exercises  they were exploring. In the “five boxing wizards” layouts each student chose a different word to convey but they had to use the same text . Then the group had to try to guess what word each person was thinking of, simply by looking at the design. I dont think we were exactly right but certainly got a feel for the meaning.

I look forward to returning to West Dean in August to teach modern gilding techniques and next year I  have been invited to run ny design workshop again, which is good news as it was a really great three days.