MY CULTURAL SPRING EXPERIENCE

By artist Angela Reed

I don’t think I’d be where I am today if it wasn’t for the Cultural Spring.

When I set up Creative Calligraphy in May 2014, running workshops was the last thing on my mind. I thought the bulk of my work would come from weddings and commissions. Then I was approached by Emma Horsman to run a calligraphy workshop for the Cultural Spring and I couldn’t resist giving it a go. Shy bairns get nowt and all that! I was introduced to calligraphy at the age of 12 by my art teacher and other than attending a few classes myself to refresh my skills, I’m pretty much self-taught. I don’t hold any calligraphy qualifications, so I was reticent about holding myself up as a teacher of the craft, despite having done it for so long.

But I’ve actually found that being self-taught is an advantage in the community settings the Cultural Spring works in – people see it as much more accessible. My first course was at Whiteleas Community Centre in South Shields and most of the people who attended are still learning calligraphy with me today. When the first phase of the Cultural Spring came to an end, they were keen to keep going, so they found a suitable venue and started operating as an independent group.

I can see the same thing happening with my current crop from the second phase of the project, which has seen my teaching classes at The CustomSpace, Trinity House and St Hilda’s Pit Head in South Shields. Running calligraphy classes for the Cultural Spring has given me the confidence to run them elsewhere and I’ve taught close to 300 people in the last three years. I have several regular venues and due to the current popularity of calligraphy and hand-lettering, my classes are selling out, often several weeks in advance.

It has been a pleasure running classes on behalf of the Cultural Spring as I am a firm believer in the ethos of the whole project and I love being able to share my skills with people who otherwise may not have taken up the opportunity. The Cultural Spring has allowed me to hone my skills as a tutor, see what works best in terms of workshop content and create a following of calligraphy enthusiasts who keep coming back to learn something new. I have attended training and networking events as a result of my involvement in the project, which has supported my professional development and improved my business mindset.

It has also helped me to think of myself as a teacher and – dare I say it – an artist, much more than I did when I was starting out almost five years ago.

Visit Angela’s website at www.creative-calligraphy.co.uk

Find our about our latest Calligraphy workshops with Angela here: http://theculturalspring.org.uk/workshops/

Have you taken part in one of our workshops, commissions or other projects? Would you like to tell others about your Cultural Spring experience?

We’re looking for people who have engaged with our programme to write short blogs for our website, newsletters and social media pages which will let people know about your very own Cultural Spring journey. Interested? For more information please email georgia.shippen@theculturalspring.org.uk