[Workshop Shenanigans] Modern Calligraphy

MbM_Calligraphy-Workshop_1A couple of Sundays ago, I went along to my first modern calligraphy workshop held at the The Blacksmith & Toffee Maker pub in Angel. I’ve been pretty infatuated with this fluid and rounded form of hand lettering for a few years now (particularly around the time of our wedding when its revival had taken by storm across the US) and have been longing since, to find a way to learn it…..but classes back then just wasn’t easy to come by (or too expensive), and trying to teach yourself or even emulate the style wasn’t really cutting it for me…nor was it any fun!

Well, this summer, much to my delight, when I heard through the blogging grapevine that Quill London (an oh-so-fabulous online boutique that stocks some of the most divine stationery……you have been warned though!) were holding workshops in London, I couldn’t resist jumping on the bandwagon and finally invest in some time learning the skill properly.

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The three-hour workshop, taught by the lovely and talented, Imogen Owen, covered all the fundamentals you need to know of modern copperplate calligraphy with plenty of time to practice all the shapes, strokes, alphabets…etc that you were being taught. Looking back, I’m still amazed at how much you learn in those three hours! Mind you, it does take A LOT of time and patience to get used to the pointed nib! Unlike italic and Gothic lettering, with its angled/bevelled nibs (which I did in fact, briefly dabble in back in high school), copperplate script is different in that the thick and thin style of the strokes are simply down to how you apply pressure onto the nib….for a newbie, perhaps not as simple! ;) And if you’re like me, you may want to keep your ‘perfectionist’ side at bay for the first couple of hours just so you don’t end up with the so-called “calligraphers claw”……and all the frown lines and funny faces that come with the sheer concentration!  :D

Anyway, it really is all down to practice because you are essentially training yourself to write again (a lot beautifully this time!) The more you do, the more it becomes second nature to you….or at least, a lot smoother with a lot less scratching! ;) I haven’t done as many practice sessions since the class but with the little I did last week I can already see an improvement, particularly with those thick and thin strokes. Still a loooooooong way from ‘perfect’ but hopefully in time, and with heaps of practice, I’ll get there! 

MbM_Calligraphy-Workshop_18MbM_Calligraphy-Workshop_10MbM_Calligraphy-Workshop_11MbM_Calligraphy-Workshop_16So, if you’ve had this on top of your to-do list for quite a while too, or you’re just looking for a delightful hobby or perhaps fancy a more creative social outing with a group of friends, then I would highly recommend these classes as they’re not only fun but affordable, condensed, and super informative….plus you get a starter pack, along with heaps of scrummy cakes and tea/coffee on the day! Classes are getting increasingly popular so for more information their next workshop dates or to book classes, hop on over to Quill London’s website. They do also offer limited ‘early bird’ tickets so put yourself onto their mailing list if you’d like to be informed of those upcoming dates first, which is what I did.

Well then, while you do that…..I’ll keep practising and keep you posted with any progress I make, which I hope will be a weekly thing. A massive thank you to Imogen for imparting all of her calligraphy wisdom (you must check out her beautiful stationery!) and to Lucy for hosting such a wonderful set up! I’m SO so glad I signed up!! I do also like to mention the three lovely ladies on my table that I had the pleasure to meet that afternoon, who made it all the more fun; Helen (food blogger at Look What We Ate Today), Jeni (oxford based planner and stylist, Vanilla Rose Weddings) and Viktoria (creative buyer at the fab homewares, accessories and gifts brand called Bombay Duck)……it’s always a bonus meeting genuinely lovely people from at such events and occasions!

Happy days! xx

Ps. thought this quote below was so apt for me……you can only guess what I was doing while writing it :)
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[Image credit: ©MadebyMolu]

[Workshop Shenanigans] Leather workshop with Sabine Gerth

MbM_Leather-Workshop_MAIN Earlier in the month, I got to pop along to Sabine’s workshop that was being held at her lovely new studio in Hackney. After having worked from her small kitchen for the last few years churning out all her beautiful leather wallets, bags and accessories, this big move to a much bigger dedicated studio space meant that she could accommodate the demands of her growing business. And a bigger space meant that she could also hold workshops under her own roof too.

So a bunch of us (Michelle, Viktorija, Jonna, Helen, Diana and myself) were invited to test run Sabine’s leather accessory-making workshop in her beautiful light and airy studio. This workshop pretty much introduces you to basic skills you will need to master the art of making simple leather accessories and in this case a lovely card holder, based on one of Sabine’s finest designs! It includes making a template, cutting leather, staining the edges and adding rivets (this is an alternative to sewing)….and you come home with a snazzy looking card holder! MbM_Leather-Workshop_4

MbM_Leather-Workshop_11All in all, it was such a fun evening getting our creative heads on trying something totally new. I’ve never worked with leather and I was amazed at all the beautiful kinds Sabine had in store. So if this is something you’d like to give a try (you don’t need any experience at all for this) then keep an eye out on Sabine’s twitter page for the next available dates which I believe will be sometime in July. I couldn’t recommend it enough and Sabine is just the kind of teacher you want…..without being too biased of course! :) xx

[Workshop Shenanigans] Gift Wrapping with Jane Means

MbM_Gift-Wrapping_JaneMeans_1-WEBOkay, so for those who don’t know me well, I am probably the biggest gift wrapping/stationery geek you can find – my family and friends can definitely vouch for that! Ever since I was a little girl, I used to intently watch my Dad wrap all the gifts with such precision and finesse that it wasn’t long before I started to try my hand at it and slowly gained the trust to take on ‘gift-wrapping’ role at home! ;) I would even find myself gravitate towards gift-wrapping counters in department stores and shop window displays simply to swoon over the various styles and techniques….perhaps even take mental notes! (yep, I’m that much of a nerd!) And to this day, whether wrapping up a gift for a special occasion or simply parceling up an order for Made by Molu, I get such a high from experimenting with different materials and pretty details to add that personalised touch. I may not be a gift-wrapping expert (nor get enough time these days) but this is one area I know I can let my ‘perfectionism’ take over and feel completely at peace! ;) Besides….who wouldn’t want to receive a beautifully wrapped gift….I know I would!! :D

So, you can only imagine how excited I was when the lovely Marie (aka ScribbleYoga) invited me to come along to the beautiful Clifton Nurseries in Little Venice (north of Paddington) for a gift-wrapping workshop with ribbon designer and gift-wrapping extraordinaire Jane Means! If you are unfamiliar with the name, Jane is highly renowned for her expertise in luxury gift-wrapping having provided her services for large firms and fashion houses like Claridges, Selfridges, Harrods and Dior, not to mention for the Queen and other celebrities (which I found out later!)….and even runs her own series of workshops and classes, spreading the love and ‘Art of Gift Wrapping‘ – and boy was I glad for the chance to go to one!

MbM_Gift-Wrapping_JaneMeans_WEBThis was my first trip over to the Clifton Nurseries and I was hugely impressed to find (even at night time!) this stunning oasis of a garden, hidden away in heart of Maida Vale, West London, surrounded by gorgeous Georgian townhouses. What I later found out is that it’s been there since 1851 so I vowed to myself that I would return some weekend during the day to get a good feel for the place!

Anyway, the workshop was held in the equally gorgeous glasshouse (which houses the cafe and shop) and as we settled around the big wooden table with our glasses of bubbly in hand, Jane took us through some fabulous wrapping styles and techniques, even sharing some very useful tricks of her own! We learnt several ways of creating bows and flowers out of ribbon, making clever little envelopes and gift bags out of luxury wrapping paper, adding personal touches for that extra bit of ‘oomph’ to your gift, as well as the more challenging methods of pleating and wrapping odd-shaped objects. It’s all about show-stopping presentation that can be achieved through simple yet ingenious detailing and styling! No matter how much you’ve done or seen it before, you’d be amazed that there’s always plenty more to learn! :)

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Of all the amazing things made that night, I must admit I found the gift bag, the ribbon roses and the pleat-wrapping technique (around a biscuit tin) the most enthralling. Had I known more about ribbons and the endless things you could make out of it at the time of our wedding last year, I probably could have explored more options and even taken my handmade boutonnieres to a another level! :) It’s such a nifty little skill to have – don’t you agree?

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It’s really is amazing how much was covered in the two-hour session. I was tempted to share a lot more photos on here (quite surprised I managed to take so many in between all the fun and concentration that night!) but thought it was best to avoid a visual overload and give you a teaser instead of what the masterclass entailed. I must say, every time I look at these photos, I’m itching to get my hands on some wrapping paper, ribbon and all kinds of trimmings and ornaments for a gift-wrapping fix……. so it’s a good thing Christmas is just round the corner! ;)

Ooohh…. and on that note, I’m excited to tell you that Clifton Nurseries are holding another masterclass with Jane Means on the 9th of December with a focus on festive gift-wrapping seeing as Christmas is only a few weeks away! So, if you are interested in broadening your gift-wrapping skills in time for the festive season or simply fancy an evening immersed in creative goodness and great banter then I would highly recommend attending this workshop. Jane is truly amazing at what she does and ever so friendly too which made the class all the more enjoyable :) For more details or to book yourself a place (they are limited!) click here.

Well then, have I tempted you enough to sign up? ;) Perhaps, fellow crafter and stationery geek, Marie could help with her account from the night ;)

“Gift wrapping is a delight for a paper nerd like myself; it allows me to put my ever-growing craft collection to use and hopefully make someone feel special in the process. At Jane’s masterclass, beautiful wrapping papers, ribbons and prototypes adorned the table and set the scene for some fun. It was thrilling to learn unexpected tricks of the trade including turning an ordinary wide ribbon and a button into a beautiful rose with just a little help from florist wire and tape.  Like Jane I’m self-taught, but there’s always something to learn (that’s why we love Pinterest right?)  I’d love to tell you more but I don’t want to give it away for the next class, so instead I’ll share some photos later of my gift wrapping adventures.”   (You can follow Marie on IG and Twitter)

A huge and heartfelt thank you to Marie and Wendy of Clifton Nurseries for having me, and to Jane for whisking us off into this wonderful world of luxury gift-wrapping! Had an amazing evening and an absolute pleasure meeting all the other wonderful ladies there too! You can find more of Jane’s masterclasses over on her website or follow all her gift-wrapping antics on her blogFacebook and Twitter……you may find yourself spending hours drooling over hundreds of tantalising images so don’t say I didn’t warn you! :)

Right, I shall keep you posted of any experimenting I do in the run up to Christmas. Until then, happy gift-wrapping folks!! xx

[Image Credit: ©Made by Molu]

Blogtacular 2014 finally booked!

BLOGTACULAR ScheduleSo I finally took the plunge! I’ve been stewing over whether or not to sign up to this two-day event for Bloggers in May next year as it’s a lot of money to shell out for me right now. Nevertheless, I decided I would have to see this as an investment that would help further my skills in the long run especially if I’m serious about wanting to provide “great quality content and beautiful design” on here!! And with an Etsy shop opening soon and other business ventures on the horizon, the more I can learn on styling and how to effectively PR my work, the better it is for me! Well….here’s me hoping anyway!!  ;) To be honest, when Blogtacular announced they have Joy Cho (designer and famously known for her blog Oh Joy!) as the keynote speaker for…..that did it for me. I can’t wait to learn how the schedule evolves now. And, while still expensive for me, thank heavens I managed to bag the early bird ticket too!

Right then….roll on Blogtacular 2014!! ;) Looking forward to meeting more creative bloggers in May! So if you’re attending, let me know! :) xx

[Workshop Shenanigans]: Letterpress printing – round two!

BLOG_STRIP_letterpressAUG_3-WEBOkay, so here’s what I got up to from the letterpress workshop by Turnbull Grey I went along to on Tuesday. I was lucky enough to go to this the second time thanks to a very generous husband who bought be a voucher as one of my birthday gifts (thank you, thank you, thank you!!). If you can remember how excited I was from the first one, you can only imagine my sheer delight when I learnt I was going again!! To sum it up – I ABSOLUTELY love this workshop and everything about letterpress printing! It takes a lot of thought, time and patience to come up with beautiful prints using this traditional printing method (not to mention the need for some serious elbow grease!) which for some isn’t exactly their cup of tea but for me….it’s therapeutic! I get great joy from sketching out ideas to picking out the right wooden types to mixing up the paints and creating my final print on the press! There’s a lot hard graft to this method so you can see why it has become something from a bygone era where everything these days are taken up by digital methods for quick and convenient deliverance. That being said, there is a new-found love and respect for letterpress and many people still incorporate it into the present day printing industry like Turnbull Grey themselves. Personally, I think it adds such a beautiful depth and dimension to the final print – every piece marked with your labour of love – literally!

So, I had a few ideas in mind. With so many of my friends and family having babies this year, I decided i’d do something baby/child related so that I could present them as gifts. Having been to the workshop before, I was able to skip the induction and the Adana printing press and go straight onto the big proofing one which worked well because, me being me, opted for another challenging quote that consisted of 12 words (the last one I did had eight!) so I knew I had set myself a challenge in a limited time frame (three hours!). Even my husband advised that I go with a ‘Plan B’ should I find that ‘Plan A’ does become too time-consuming to put together. But I was determined to make it work (always love a challenge!) so went about picking out my wooden types for my favourite quote from Winnie the Pooh; “sometimes, it’s the littlest things that take up the most room in our hearts” – okay, so I tweaked it a bit so that it read ‘OUR’ instead of ‘YOUR’ and made ‘heart’ plural as I was directing it to both the parents. Anyway, here’s what took place:
BLOG_STRIP_letterpressAUG_1-WEB BLOG_STRIP_letterpressAUG_2-WEBSo what do you think? Think i’m super pleased with how it turned out not to mention the pure satisfaction of actually accomplishing this challenging quote! (FYI – including all the banter, it took me 1.5hours to pick the types and set it all up!) There was a slight amendment in the first set up where after the test-run Angela and I realised that the gap in the middle of ‘MOST’ and ‘ROOM’ was far too wide so decided to add a star motif and then spaced it out accordingly which I think worked really well. I did this in both baby blue and baby pink! Super pleased about the prints and I do hope my recipients love it just as much as I do (especially as they now know that my heart, soul and SWEAT went behind it!!)  :P  I took some better photos (these ones above are off my iPhone so does it no justice!) of the prints, framed, when I got home so will post that shortly!

Thanks again to Chris and Angela for another fun-fuelled workshop! They do have dates up for September workshops so keep an eye out on their website for more details, or simply by following them on Facebook or Twitter. They are based in Clerkenwell so centrally located for us Londoners! :)  So yea, if you like this kinda thing and simply want to try your hand at letterpress printing then go sign up!! It’s just a small group of three so you learn loads and plus get to meet so many other like-minded creative folk!!  :) xx

 

[Image credit: Made by Molu]

[Sneak Peek] Letterpress workshop with Turnbull Grey

LETERPRESS-WORKSHOP-2LETERPRESS-WORKSHOP-1A little glimpse into what took place at today’s letterpress workshop with Turnbull Grey. Once again, I had the most amazing time losing myself into this wonderful and creative world of wooden types and printing presses! I will be posting about it very soon so do come back for more!!! In the meantime, maybe you can try and figure what kind of artwork (or the theme) you think I came up with! ;)  xx

Looking forward to my letterpress workshop with Turnbull Grey tomorrow!

338458_143097879139726_1396490131_o(image credit: Turnbull Grey )

Gosh, I nearly forgot!! I have my letterpress workshop tomorrow with Turnbull Grey who are a graphic design studio in London that run these fantastic workshops. I’ve been once before and LOVED every minute of it and thanks to my wonderful husband, who got me a voucher for their workshops, I’m booked in for tomorrow’s class! I cannot wait!!! And to come back and share it all on here after! ;) Well, if in the meantime, you’d like to have a nosey at what went on behind the scenes at my last workshop then take a look here. I, on the other hand, am going to go finalise what I’ll be printing tomorrow!

Watch this space folks!! :D xx

Screen printed goodies!

Following on from my last blog, here’s a wee look at the things I made using the designs I drew and cut up on that day. I’ve yet to complete the tandem bike print you see on the tea towel by adding the balloon in red…..and which I’m thinking I’ll turn into cushions. So that will be my task for the next spare time I get! :) What do you think –  you like them? :) I’m dithering about whether to sell some of these seeing as they are one-offs…. either way, I will most definitely keep one of each for myself! :DSCREEN PRINTING_TEESHIRT web SCREEN PRINTING_TOTE BAGS web SCREEN PRINTING_TEA TOWEL web

[Workshop Shenanigans]: Screen Printing with Zeena Shah

Well, I finally got round to giving screen printing a go! I have wanted to do this for as long as I can remember really and had planned on checking the Print Club in Dalston out when Zeena announced her screen printing workshop sessions. Having done the lino-printing workshop with her before I decided, without any hesitation, to sign up!  Now there are a few ways of doing silk screen printing but in this session we did the paper cut-out stencil technique and not the photo-emulsion one. What this means is you draw out your designs onto paper, keeping in mind the positive and negative parts of your design which dictate what areas you will cut out. The ‘positives’ is the bit you want to print i.e. where the paint goes through onto the fabric and the negatives are the bits you block out/seal off (now I hope I don’t get this the wrong way round!!).  Cutting out stencils using paper is a labour of love but what is truly great about this method is that you can easily set it up and do it at home, skipping out all the photo-exposing-of-designs-on-to-the-screens part of the process and not relying on bigger equipment, dark rooms etc. It’s ideal for those new to screen-printing or for those who fancy doing some quick short runs of printing as the stencils only last about 3 print runs, at tops,which makes this process all the more bespoke! So here’s a look at what went on that day. In the time we had, were able to conjure up two designs; the first illustration of mine was that of a tandem bike with a balloon (you’ll see I used both the positives and negatives to create my prints!) and then the second I did as a homage to shoe lovers like me! :D I’m afraid the photos are captured through my iPhone so they aren’t the clearest but in my defense, it’s not the easiest to document while juggling stencils, paints and screens! Let me know what you think though!

BLOG_STRIP_SILK SCREEN PRINTING  webAs you can see in the photos below, each and everyone of us had such a great time busying ourselves over our designs and prints! So much so I don’t think anyone of us cared to leave Zeena’s studio to grab a quick bite for lunch! Now there’s dedication for you! :D Seriously though, I think when you’re in your element and having so much fun creating pretty things I dont think you care much about your tummy or anything else for that matter! As part of the workshop, we were provided with a tote bag and a tea-towel to print on. If you wanted any more you could just buy them off Zeena or you could bring extra fabric or t-shirts yourself. I managed to squeeze in 3-t-shirts, two tote bags and one tea towel……and trust me, I would’ve happily sat there and printed away the entire day! It really was sooo much fun and the immediacy of the printing process especially on fabric is so SO rewarding!

BLOG_STRIP_SILK SCREEN PRINTING 2 webI got the chance to meet some lovely and super creative ladies too that day;  from graphic designers to crafters to a vintage furniture restorer! I couldn’t believe that some of them travelled quite the distance just for this event…unlike me who was literally just round the corner! Just goes to show you how popular these classes are!! Anyway, I’ve added a few images of the works of my fellow screen-printing peers just so you can see for yourself how fabulous there were! I’m hoping this will tempt you into signing up to screen-printing classes – whether it’s Zeena’s or some place near you. Zeena has added more workshops that run til September so go check her website out for more details!

BLOG_STRIP_SILK SCREEN PRINTING 3 webThanks again Zeena for this awesome workshop – you’re were totally inspirational and I thoroughly enjoyed every second of it. I left your awesome studio totally buzzing from all the creativity and excitement! As a huge fan of all things ‘printing’ related (from lino printing, to letterpress) I think I may have found my new-found art medium!! ;) I just LOVE how you can transfer all your illustrations and typology onto fabric! I’m hoping to look up some pre-made screens to invest in so I can start churning away more designs from home! It may be a while before I do that but I’ll keep you all posted nonetheless. :D I will follow this post with another to showcase the final products I made…..still dithering on whether to give them away as gifts, sell them or just KEEP them all to myself! :D Hope you enjoyed this xx

Silk Screen Printing Workshop booked!

So I finally went for it!! I’ve been wanting to try screen printing for aaaaaaages but wanted to wait and save a bit before splashing out on a workshop. But thanks to my lovely hubby, I’ve been treated to this workshop run by Zeena Shah…..”see it as an investment” he said! :D Anyway, i’m totally chuffed and even more delighted to be working with Zeena again (she is one talented lady!). I did her lino-printing workshop back in January (click here to see my post) which I thoroughly enjoyed….so as you can imagine….i’m eager to be back in her awesome East London studio and experience the same design process that goes behind her amazing work! So………roll on May!!!! I’m totally itching to start looking at drawing up a few design options already in preparation for this! Eeeeeek  I cannot wait!!!!! xxSCREENPRINTINGworkshop