There's nothing funnier than having studio lights set up in a corner of your home, microphones clamped on the edge of your desk and a camera pointing at you while your cat prowls around looking for new stuff to destroy.
But you know what? I really enjoyed making my online calligraphy workshop. Imagining there were real people inside the camera (you!), ready with calligraphy pens, worksheets and questions, made it so much easier to talk about learning to make beautiful letters.
I'd planned the online workshops based on my modern calligraphy classes in Manchester, which I've been running every six weeks or so since 2014. The content is very similar, and when I was writing my script for the online workshop I used many of the questions I've been asked in the past as inspiration.
Believe it or not, the online calligraphy workshop is scripted... and quite carefully at that. Nonetheless, when it came to the day my confidence to 'ad lib a little' fell apart, and we did far too many takes with me fluffing my lines, waffling like an enthusiastic crazy person, or giggling and rolling my eyes to a chorus of "I'll just do that bit again, sorry Paul."
It helps to work with a friend. Lovely Paul (aka Paul Kyte Photography) came along to one of my Manchester workshops and made a promo video early in the year. He's one of those confidence-inspiring, professional people who make you feel at ease in front of the camera. I know Paul via the English Wedding Blog - something I've been writing for a few years now, and where Paul has had his photography work published more than once.
So we set up by about 10am, and spent a full day making the calligraphy workshop for you. My cat, Bertie, was wandering around (cue a few dozen outtakes) but we managed to wrap up filming by the end of the day.
I'd prepared all of the worksheets in the weeks beforehand - some of them are what we use for the calligraphy classes in Manchester as well. And I'd set up a little backdrop with props from my actual studio (which is carnage... there are so many piles of paper, boxes of pens, and just random boxes all over the place we couldn't have filmed in there! It was kind of nice to move to a tidy room for the day!), and bought flowers for our 'set' from my lovely friend Katie at Made in Flowers, in Kendal.
After the filming was done, poor Paul had to spend quite a few days editing my strange facial expressions (top tip: never pause a clip of my face. Ever. I look sooo weird when you slow me down!) and cutting all of my fluffed lines to put together the final workshop tutorials. He was brilliant. We'd originally planned 6 video tutorials, each about 5 minutes long. Paul made 7 videos, including our little promotional clip, and focused on the calligraphy demos and examples to make a couple of the tutorials up to 10 minutes long. I guess writing alphabets in calligraphy can't be rushed... and I'm a slower writer than I think!
It's crazy what went into these calligraphy tutorials, and I really hope my funny face / hair / feline don't put you off learning modern calligraphy. I owe a massive thank you to Paul Kyte for his friendliness, patience, professionalism and his attention to detail - those close ups of the calligraphy pen bending to make thick swells have me transfixed every time I see them.
I hope my enthusiasm for writing - and teaching - modern calligraphy really comes across, and I hope you'll LOVE learning to write with this workshop. As well as the video tutorials we also have worksheets, tips, FAQs and a transcript for each lesson (what I was meant to say!) - and you can sign up here today!