Fancy getting crafty and doing some DIY wedding stationery? We try our hand at a calligraphy class in Glasgow

Participants get everything they need to start their calligraphy journey (Photo: Amy McGilly Photography)

How many times did you take a blank page of your school jotter and write your name repeatedly in a ‘fancy’ font? I loved nothing more than practising my ‘autograph’, just on the off-chance I’d end up famous after primary seven and need an impressive-looking scrawl.

So, when I had the chance to learn calligraphy from an actual professional, I jumped at the chance. Jen Fisher at Toasty Type has been creating beautiful artwork from her studio in Glasgow’s east end since 2018, and in the past few months she has been offering beginners’ calligraphy classes from the stunning new House of NAF! in the city centre for anyone looking for an introduction to the specialist craft.

Everyone was concentrating so hard, you could hear a pin drop! (Photo: Amy McGilly Photography)

I was warmly welcomed and handed a ten-page workbook, a special ‘brush pen’ and other bits (including sweets – result!) to get me started. Jen talked us through the basics and began teaching us the ‘drills’ of calligraphy – the essential pen strokes that ensure your words look chic rather than amateurish.

I never turn down a chance to get creative, so I knew I’d enjoy it. But I didn’t realise just how much of a skill it is, and had naively imagined I’d be ready to join Clintons as a greetings card designer as soon as the class was over. Jen confirmed that calligraphy is a refined skill that must be mastered, showing us examples of her work over the years. The difference as she gained expertise was remarkable – you could really see the passion on the pages and just why she has a busy diary bursting with client commissions.

Left: Owner Jen greeting the keen learners at the start of the workshop Right: Owner Jen is on hand during the workshops to give guidance and support (Photos: Amy McGilly Photography)

If you imagine you’ll be able to do your wedding stationery, table signs and everything in between after a two-hour class, I’d say think again. Put in the work now and really hone your skills and I reckon you’d be ready by 2025. If you’re getting married a bit sooner, I’d leave the work to an expert like Jen – you want these things to look beautiful and she’s more than capable of doing just that.

As for me, I’m sticking to the day job, but I’ll be practising hard over the next few months with an eye to producing some top-notch Christmas cards.

The dates of Jen’s next ‘Beginners’ Brush Pen Calligraphy’ classes at House of NAF! (6pm to 8pm at £45 per person) are available to view on her website. Book here.

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