LAURA CARTLEDGE: Collecting hobbies is becoming my hobby...

Calligraphy with Kirsten Burke
Calligraphy with Kirsten Burke

There’s no prizes for guessing one word that I would use to describe the recent calligraphy class I attended (hint: look at the picture), but there are lots of other adjectives that fit, too.

Mostly, it was addictive, soothing and brilliantly fulfilling.

So much so, when I came away it felt a bit like I was in a trance with only the ink smears down my arm to remind me where the morning had gone.

Granted, it was no real surprise to find out that it was something I’d enjoy.

I do, after all, like my arty things and it is, obviously, a form of writing which I suppose I am a fan of too.

The class saw Kirsten Burke – a master of pretty text whose previous clients include Harrods and Selfridges – play tutor at a pub in the Witterings.

After watching her at work, I have to admit sitting down to a page of blank paper was a bit daunting.

The brief sounded simple enough, all we had to do was design a Christmas card which she would then take away, scan, and print us ten copies of.

But what?

Just a technique I’ve never done before and a million festive motifs to decide between...

Not so simple.

Thankfully I had time to let my brain put on the brakes a little as we began by tracing over Kirsten’s alphabet examples which gave us both a feel for the nib and a false sense of confidence.

Going it alone wasn’t as effortless as the expert made

it look.

But with some guidance and some mutual ‘I really dislike the ‘r’’ from other students around the table, I ploughed on with the task in hand.

And, when the going got tough, I did what many people do in our modern age – I turned to Google.

A quick search led me to a host of brilliant ideas and, with the idea of shaping the words into something festive catching my eye, I decided to make it even more challenging for myself.

You’ve got to love a trier, right?

I hadn’t lost all grasp of reality and soon abandoned my attempts to mould ‘festive best wishes’ into a Christmas tree.

A bauble, however, that had to be possible. If I hadn’t written it too big, that is, and instead just popped some holly on top in the hope people would mistake it for a Christmas pud.

Needless to say, my calligraphy has room for improvement, and thanks to being able to purchase a proper pen there and then, I fully intend to get some practice in.

‘When?’ asked my partner as I proudly told him of my plans.

At the same time he gave me a look I am starting to recognise as one you might give a cat when it keeps bringing in ‘things’.

I’m collecting hobbies, you see, as my later purchase from a charity shop of a ‘beginner’s glass engraving kit’ only proved.

It’s for a rainy day – like the colouring magazine I haven’t opened yet and the crochet blanket that still looks like coasters.

Part of me wonders if the weather of late is a sign even nature wants me to get on with it...

Twitter: @LSCartledge