Archives for posts with tag: handwriting tuition for adults

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



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

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.