Every creative person gets the fear: it takes warm and generous customer reviews to set things straight. I wrote two calligraphy poems for Margaret and her words put me on top of the world. 

Close up of a calligraphy commission with decorative border illustrated in green and pink with flowers and gold leaf. By Claire Gould at By Moon and Tide Calligraphy, north west England

Margaret's review for her calligraphy poem gifts:

"Dear Claire

My parcel has just arrived. 

They are beautiful you are so talented. 

Thank you sooo much and for doing and  sending so promptly. A week tomorrow is the wedding and I’m extra excited to be giving them this beautiful gift. 

Many many thanks 


(Spring 2024)

Photograph of a calligraphy poem commissioned as a wedding gift. The illustration includes a green border with swirling pink cherry blossoms and a gilded initial letter. By Claire Gould at By Moon and Tide

The poems were for Brendan and Nathalie's wedding. I never asked, but I assume Margaret had written the poems herself. They were absolutely lovely, and really personal. I do love putting people's self-penned poems into caligraphy!

I know these were very special poems and will mean the world in years to come, so I took great care to transform them into a beautiful and unique wedding gift for the couple. 

Custom calligraphy poem with a pen laid across the finished design

Commissioned poem by a UK calligrapher

The story behind Margaret's calligraphy poems

In case you're curious how it's made! Margaret chose a calligraphy style and saw an illustration on my website, and asked me to combine the two. 

As these are special wedding poems she asked for 23 carat gold letters, which I decided to complement with gold swirls in the border. It's lovely to have that trust with a calligraphy commission: a little creative licence always gives the best result. 

Does it surprise you that I use the same tools to write poems as I bring to my modern calligraphy workshops

I often use a straight penholder with a 'G' nib for pointed calligraphy. For smaller, more delicate work I might use a Gillot or EF Principal / Hunt 22B nib. 20 years in (almost) and I use the same tools as you will if you come to a calligraphy class. 

My modern calligraphy kits include the same items: a G nib (Nikko or a similar brand), lush black Sumi ink, as well as all of the worksheets you need to get started and practice calligraphy.

Modern calligraphy kit. Photographer credit Marion Botella Product Photography

Photo credit ©Marion Botella

Writing poems (or shopping lists) is a better way for beginners to practice calligraphy than pages of As, Bs, Cs and so on. (Those are called alphabet drills, and depending on your mood they can be fun, therapeutic or frustrating as hell!) 

I'll tell you if you come to one of my calligraphy classes: keep your practice FUN with quotes, cheeky notes and your favourite swear words - whatever makes you smile!

Before long you might find yourself writing a thoughtful calligraphy poem or letter for someone in your life!