Oxo tower
London Design Festival slightly passed me by this year. It’s a real shame as there’s usually so many incredible and inspiring things to see, and so much stationery! Unfortunately it coincided with a really busy work week for me so I didn’t get to go along to any of the shows. I did however manage to go along to a brilliant calligraphy workshop at the Snowden Flood shop/studio at the Oxo Tower. I rushed over the river straight after work and it was one of those lovely evenings when you actually remember to stop and look at the views over the Thames.

I must say I hadn’t heard of Snowden Flood before, so this was a lovely introduction. It’s a tiny little shop, full of pretty homewares and stationery, some of which are Snowden Flood’s (and this is her actual real name!!) own designs.

Snowden Flood3
Here’s a few of the Snowden Flood goodies I came away with – gorgeous greeting cards, a notebook and a mug. I also really love the focus on London in her designs – it’s very fitting for the amazing location of the shop!

Meticulous ink
And now onto the calligraphy workshop, which was taken by the completely lovely Athena from Meticulous Ink. I’ve long been an admirer of Meticulous Ink’s letterpress designs so it was really great to meet the woman behind it and be taught some lettering skills. Athena also has the most incredible business cards, as you might expect.

A few things struck me about the materials used in this workshop that was different from others I’d been too. First the iron gall ink – this is Meticulous Ink’s own formula, and it dries so black on the page, and apparently gets darker over time. It also leaves an amazing texture when it dries. Whenever I pick up my lettering practice now I can’t help but run my fingers over the page. Being able to feel, as well as see, what you’ve made is really satisfying.

Meticulous ink2
Next is the practice guide sheets. These are also printed in house, and as well as having horizontal guidelines, as you’d expect, there are diagonal guidelines to help you write at the correct slant. I’d never seen this before and think it’s really clever. When you first look at the page the amount of lines can be quite daunting, but once you’re in the zone it’s super useful.

Meticulous ink3
And finally the nib – this was the favourite of the ones I’ve tried so far. It’s one that’s specifically for copperplate lettering and I felt like I had more control using it than others I’ve used.

I felt like a bit of a fraud, as all the others in the class were beginners and I’d already been to a couple of calligraphy workshops. This meant I was used to holding the pen, and what the different pressures you use can achieve, but my style has a long way to go… I’m not someone who’s very good at practicing so it was good to force myself to do so! In the class, we worked our way through the alphabet, with Athena demonstrating each letter, upper and lower case, and then us practising each one. The end goal was to write our names beautifully on our place cards. Unfortunately,  I had to run off halfway through, and only make it to letter N! But last weekend I sat down and worked my way through the rest of the alphabet and really enjoyed it. So much so that I’ve decided to do to the place-cards at my upcoming wedding myself – eeek! So I’d better get some more practice in in the next few weeks…

Snowden Flood2
Before I ran off, I had a very quick look around the shop and picked out some favourite items, including these School of Life pencils sets.

Snowden Flood
And the gorgeous wrapping paper stand.

You can find Snowden Flood’s beautiful products online, or in the shop in the Oxo Tower.
And likewise for Meticulous Ink, online, or in their shop in Bath.