Pen & Tell – the magic of calligraphy with Judy Broad
In the AHC marketing team, we’re all stationery devotees, so it’s little surprise that we couldn’t wait to speak to Judy Broad of Judy Broad Calligraphy, to learn all about her business and share our passion for pens! Judy is based near our hotel Great Fosters in Windsor, and we are delighted to offer a gift experience for two in partnership with Judy, including a two-hour private calligraphy session followed by afternoon tea for two at Great Fosters. You can find our more about this lovely gift here. £230 for two, includes two hours of private tuition and an afternoon tea for two.
Read all about our chat with the lovely Judy below…
Tell us Judy, what makes you a ‘modern’ calligrapher?
A very good question! I think I tend to see myself as a calligrapher rather than just a modern calligrapher as I have trained in the traditional scripts but it would be true to say I am asked to write in a more modern style these days and I also teach Modern calligraphy. Modern calligraphy has its foundations in the traditional script known as Copperplate but the rules are relaxed and it has more whimsical and contemporary feel.
How did you come to run your calligraphy company?
I had been introduced to calligraphy many years ago and remember loving it at the time. Life however got busy and I forgot all about calligraphy and generally being creative. It was about seven years ago that my niece was getting married and she asked me if I could still do the “fancy writing”. And so I rediscovered my passion for calligraphy and being creative. I saw an opportunity to start a business and feel super lucky to be able to do something I love.
Where do you find your inspiration for different styles of text and motifs?
I think you can find inspiration all around you. I am always on the look out for different things that inspire me. I might see some packaging that I like or a colour combination on some fabric and I will store that in my head or my phone to use it at some point. My children purchased a wallet for me for Christmas from Mulberry and the packaging was so gorgeous with a beautiful wide grosgrain pink ribbon and pink gift tag. I tucked it away and have used something similar for my new version of my Starter kits.
For beginners, what do you need to get started at home?
One of the great things about calligraphy is that you don’t actually need a lot of expensive kit to get started. You basically just need some ink, a penholder, a nib and some paper and you are ready to go. You do however need the correct combination of tools. You can find everything you need to get started in my Starter Kit.
What do you need to write on unusual materials – stone, transparent paper etc?
It can be great fun and a challenge when you get asked to write on unusual surfaces. I have written on all kinds of surfaces from leaves to tambourines, from agate slices to glass and wood. There is usually a solution and if I am unable to use a nib I may use a brush or a marker.
Do you have any tips for us on how to put together something impressive for our loved ones to receive in the post? How do you create the ‘wow’ factor with your correspondence?
Firstly, I truly believe we all love discovering an envelope with our name hand written on it amongst all the usual bills and flyers. Of course it is easy to just pick up your phone and send a quick text or email. If you send someone a handwritten note for whatever the reason it just shows that you care and have actually put aside some time for that person. The note can be tucked away in a drawer or box and becomes a memory.
Once you have learnt calligraphy the opportunities to be creative with your correspondence suddenly increase. You can make a huge impact by just addressing the envelope in a creative way, using different coloured inks and adding a touch like a wax seal.
What do we need to create wax seals at home?
You can purchase ready made seals and wax sticks in all kinds of different colours to create wax seals at home. You can also create your own custom wax seal with your initials or another design personal to you. They are the perfect finishing touch and elevate your stationery to something special.
What are you preferred materials to write on?
I think I am a paper girl at heart! I don’t think you can beat classic black ink on some thick ivory paper stock. I do enjoy working on other surfaces though. Tambourines have been popular recently for weddings. I would love to be a fly on the wall and hear the noise!
Why do you think calligraphy is so enchanting?
Calligraphy is an art form and when you watch someone write in calligraphy it can definitely be enchanting. The pen and nib appear to dance across the page. I have found people love to watch me write. They often comment that it looks like it has been printed. For me I love that you are creating something totally unique, something imperfectly perfect!
Do you find practising calligraphy ‘mindful’? Might it be a good skill to acquire during this difficult time?
Practicing Calligraphy is truly mindful and people often comment on how therapeutic it is. I think it is the perfect activity during this time. You find yourself relaxing and becoming totally absorbed in what you are doing. Time just slips away and you feel a whole lot calmer after some practice. So yes definitely worth learning during this time. Of course you do need to practice to improve and as we all have a bit more time at the moment now would be the perfect opportunity to learn.
Judy Broad starter kits and courses, including our private course with afternoon tea at Great Fosters, are available here: judybroadcalligraphy.co.uk