As some of you might know, we have been holding a series of creative workshops here at Liv’s over the past few months. It’s been great to see our little shop space being transformed in the evenings and used for creative events – there’s a really different atmosphere once we shut the front doors!
One of our most popular workshops so far has been the chance to learn Modern Calligraphy with the wonderful Heather Martin from Feather & Flourish. If you haven’t already met Heather, we thought you might like to find out a little bit more about her… take a look below for some questions we put to Heather about how she started her business and her inspirations!
What made you start Feather & Flourish?
I set up my wedding stationery business, Feather & Flourish, just over two years ago and one of my first customers was a good friend who wanted calligraphy addressed envelopes. I was keen to learn so listed modern calligraphy as a skill I offered on my website before I’d ever picked up a nib! I attended a beginners’ workshop with Judy Broad, followed by a session on coloured inks with Quill London then set about the huge pile of envelopes that needed addressing! I probably binned at least 2/3 of the envelopes I attempted but those envelopes forced me to keep up my practice!
What inspired you to teach others calligraphy?
At the Quill workshop that I attended I got chatting to Lucy Edmonds and Megan Riera who were running the session. I told them that I had gone to London for the weekend in order to learn modern calligraphy due to the lack of availability of anything similar nearer to home. I’m based in the Midlands and I sometimes feel like we’re seriously behind London, Bristol, Leeds and Manchester when it comes to creativity.
I was really keen to share my new-found skills and passion as soon as I felt confident enough, and after lots of enquiries about classes I took the plunge and advertised a few sessions. Once these sold out I set about adding more to the diary and now I’m running around four workshops a month in Birmingham, Solihull, Wolverhampton and Stourbridge.
When I left the workshop at Quill, Megan and Lucy both assured me that I’d be running workshops in Birmingham before I knew it, so when I ran my first session in November 2016 I felt like I had come full circle!
Who are your workshops aimed at?
My workshops are aimed at total beginners to modern calligraphy! I get lots of small groups along, sometimes in preparation for weddings… I must say that 99% of my bookings are from ladies but we’re sometimes lucky enough to have a gentleman join us!
What would your advice be to anyone thinking about taking up calligraphy?
Go for it! It’s such a great thing that there’s so much focus on calligraphy on social media, although it can be very daunting to begin with. I aim to set my students up with the tools they need to make a really good start on their calligraphy journey, and being forced to practice for just under three hours does wonders. Lots of my students can’t believe the progress they make on each page as they go through the session!
The key to maintaining the skills learnt, improving technique and developing an individual style is practice, practice, practice!
What’s your favourite project you’ve worked on?
I think I’ll always be most proud of my own wedding invites, which I created from scratch before I even knew wedding stationery could be work! Our own wedding inspired me to set up Feather & Flourish and although my skills have definitely improved since then, without those invites I might never have uncovered my passion for stationery.
Your experience of running workshops with Liv’s so far…
I love running workshops at Liv’s – it’s such a creative, light and airy space to work in and students get plenty of room to spread out which is important. Kat, Kate and Gina who help advertise and run the workshops are lovely and provide us with tasty drinks and cakes. There’s of course the added bonus that the shop is full to the brim of beautiful pieces and workshop attendees are lucky enough to receive a cheeky discount on the night! Liv’s really is the perfect venue!
You can find more info on Heather and her work on her website here, and on her Instagram too!
If you are interested in coming along to our next Calligraphy workshop, you can find all the details on our website here. Our next workshop with Heather is on the 19th July – we hope to see you there!