I used to love playing about with all sorts of different arts and crafts when I was young. I’d decorate jars with glass paints, make my own marbled stationary and model little creatures out of bread dough. I was never going to win any prizes for my artwork, but I used to have tonnes of fun anyway!
Fast forward over 10 years and I haven’t really done anything particularly artistic since those schooldays. All that changed a few weeks ago though when I headed down to London for the Viking Arty Party!
Viking are a leading office goods, stationary and crafting supplier and had put together a series of taster sessions with top London craft companies for a group of bloggers to take part in.
First off, I have to mention the venue because it was beautiful! We were in one of Lumiere London’s three loft studios and it was a gorgeous space with serious interior inspiration around every corner, plus a huge brunchtime spread to keep our tummies happy as we worked.
First up was a beginner’s modern calligraphy workshop held by the oh so talented Suzie Dicker of À L’aise, a luxury stationary and leather goods brand. (She created Tanya Burr and Jim Chapman’s wedding stationary by the way… just throwing that little fact in there!)
Suzie talked us through the basic technique used to create the different pen strokes, explaining that it’s all about how much pressure you put on the nib and hold the pen.
As I’m left handed, it took a lot of effort to start off with and as everyone else began writing out the alphabet in beautiful cursive I felt like I was learning to write all over again! After I got the hang of it though I started to relax and have some fun. In modern calligraphy you aren’t tied to a certain style and are free to get creative with your own flourishes, anything goes!
I think I’ve been bitten by the bug now as I can think of all sorts of ways to use my new found skill. Let’s just say this year’s Christmas gift tags are going to get the personal touch!
Suzie offers a service where you can pick a greeting card and give her a message which she’ll hand write in beautiful calligraphy. You can even have the envelope addressed in the same style too! Just enter the code SUPER15 in her shop for a 15% discount, valid until August 31st, 2016.
Next up I settled down for a class by Samuel Tsang, author of The Book of Mindful Origami. He taught us how to fold a single sheet of A4 paper into an envelope, and then guided us through a mystery creation. I was quite amazed when I folded the last section, turned it out just like Sam indicated and low and behold, I’d made my first origami paper crane!
Sam taught us that origami is like yoga for the mind! The simple art of clearing your thoughts and focusing on what you love whilst you fold the paper can help you to relax and put you in a meditative, zen like state without you even realising it. He had a really lovely, unpretentious way of explaining it all and told us some beautiful stories about the history of the craft, including that of Sadako Sasaki and the 1000 paper cranes.
Finally, I had a go at block printing guided by Jane from Tea and Crafting, who teaches lots of different craft workshops in central London.
This was by far the messiest activity but is an incredibly fun and easy thing to have a go at at home and you can use your new found skill to decorate all manner of things! For our session, we each drew and cut a simple shape out of a piece of foam, glued this with Pritt Stick to a piece of perspex, then dipped it in paint and used it to print a repeat pattern onto a box file.
I found a silhouette of a Scottie dog on Pinterest. Other people who were far more gifted artistically than me went to town with flamingos and strawberries and lipstick patterns – we turned out to be an imaginative bunch! I think they turned out really well in the end… don’t you?
And with that, the Viking Arty Party came to an end and we all spilled out into London covered in paint and ink and smiling like the kids we used to be, clutching a bag of crafting goodies from Viking so that we could carry on the party at home! If you haven’t done any crafting since you left school I can wholly recommend it!
Thanks go to Viking and Search Laboratories for hosting such a wonderful event and bringing out my inner child!