But today Gemma Milly has taken off her wedding veil, and is back in the shoes of a stellar stationer.
We've been big fans of Gemma's beautiful designs and illustrations for some time, and now she's sharing her skills with calligraphy workshops in the prettiest of places.
We'll let Gemma tell you a little more about them, along with her top tips for DIY calligraphy, with gorgeous photography by Roberta Facchini.
Gemma Milly's Utterly Indulgent Calligraphy Workshops
The event was held in the Parlour at Peggy Porschen on Sunday 12th April. It was a more intimate class as the room was quite dinky, but it meant lots of 1-2-1 tuition for all the ladies that attended.
As this was a complete beginners workshop, it was nice to be able to give lots of individual attention everyone and give them personalised tips and advice.
We kicked off with pink lemonade and macarons whilst I took them through the history and basics of copperplate calligraphy, and demonstrated how to use a dip pen.
We went through each of the basic strokes together to make sure everyone had had a good understanding of how to use their pens, and then everyone had a chance to practice their alphabets and hone their skills.
Refreshments came in the form of Champagne strawberry cupcakes, and were divine!
Gemma's Top Tips for DIY Calligraphy
- Get a good nib! For beginners, I recommend the Nikko G or Gillot 303. The Gillot has a enough flex to make it easy to use, but not so much that you’ll end up with ink splots all over the page.
- If you can’t get your ink to flow, hold the nib in a candle flame for a couple of seconds. It’s guaranteed to work perfectly after that.
- Angle your paper not your wrist to get your calligraphy to slant nicely. This will save you the discomfort of hand cramp and ensure your calligraphy looks lovely and smooth.
The Most Common DIY Calligraphy Mistakes
- Thinking that calligraphy is handwriting – it’s not! It’s much easier to master the skill if you can switch off the part of your brain that wants to write as you would with a biro – think of calligraphy more as an art form such as painting.
- Slow down! Writing too quickly will cause your nib to scratch and your letters look messy. Calligraphy is definitely a mindful art, and patience will only make it look even better.
Oh what a wonderful day out – I can't imagine anything more fun and relaxing. And having tried them myself a few weeks ago, I (Claire here!) can confirm, Peggy Porschen's cupcakes are delicious!
Gemma's classes are all finished now for the summer, while she goes off to have her baby! (Eek, congratulations Gemma & Tom!) But she's already planning a Christmas calligraphy workshop at Millbridge Court in Surrey, so keep your eyes peeled to her website for more information – and peruse her pretty paper goods while you're there!