Eleanor Winters Copperplate Workshop in Singapore

This is the absolute, honest truth. Attending an intense, 2-day copperplate workshop with Eleanor Winters has got to be the highlight of my calligraphy journey for 2014. I’ve had her book, Mastering Copperplate Calligraphy, for a couple of years now but there was a lack of motivation in me to start learning Copperplate on my own.

Eleanor Winters Singapore via Happy Hands Project

 

As a self-taught calligrapher, I’ve spent 2 years to find my own style. I’ve always practiced and have been happy to finally find a style that I could call my own. I tried to study Copperplate from Eleanor’s book, but I had no idea if what I was doing was right, or even acceptable.

Call it fate, or just pure luck, but I was very fortunate to be get a seat on Eleanor Winters’ series of calligraphy workshops here in Singapore. I was so excited that Wednesday morning in August, oblivious to the heat and crowd. Clutching my bread and coffee, I eagerly made my way to The Letter J Supply studio. And for the next 2 days, I was a bright-eyed student, ready to learn all that I can.

 

Eleanor Winters Singapore via Happy Hands Project

Eleanor Winters Singapore via Happy Hands Project

 

We were a small group of 8, each one of them an interesting character. During the class we were all mostly quiet, either writing or listening. Eleanor was an awesome teacher. She was very detailed in teaching the letter forms and the variations that we can do with it, while adhering to the rules of Copperplate. The concept may be strict, but the results are definitely beautiful. Having Eleanor beside me was very beneficial because I found out instantly if what I was doing was right. I became comfortable with an oblique pen, and even the tools that weren’t working for me then just started working great! So I guess Eleanor brought with her some magic calligraphy dust and sprinkled it on all of us when we weren’t looking.

Eleanor Winters Singapore via Happy Hands Project

 

I feel that I’ve grown quite a lot as a calligrapher after taking the class with Eleanor. What I love about her is that she’s all business when it comes to teaching, but was always ready to give constructive criticism. She was always willing to answer any questions we may have. So was the 2-day copperplate workshop tiring and intense? Yes. Was it worth it? Yes. Would I do it again? Definitely!

Eleanor Winters Singapore via Happy Hands Project

 

Eleanor Winters will be back in Singapore (gasp!) in January 2015, and will be teaching different calligraphy classes at the Letter J Supply studio. A super huge thank you to fellow calligrapher Joanne for hosting the workshop series!

Review: Walnut Ink Crystals

Walnut Ink Calligraphy via Happy Hands Project

I’ve purchased my walnut ink crystals months ago when I went on an online shopping binge for calligraphy supplies. I finally had the time last weekend to open my jar and do a little test. I was surprised to see that the ‘crystals’ were not the coarse crystals I thought it would be. Confession: I imagined them to be big and coarse crystals, similar to bath salts. In reality, it’s coarse, dark, and in powder form – which actually makes sense as it has to be mixed with water to be able to use it as ink.

So what exactly are walnut ink crystals? It’s dry powder made from English peat moss (not walnuts!) that is mixed with water to use for calligraphy, painting and staining. Writing with it creates varied tones, from deep browns to light sepia.

Walnut Ink Calligraphy via Happy Hands Project

Making the ink itself is easy as pie for there is no perfect formula. I used about a teaspoon of the powder to half a cup of lukewarm water, which resulted in a deep brown tint. Mix more water to the mixture and you get a lighter colour. You may use tap water as well, but lukewarm water dissolves the crystals faster. Just have a small jar ready and put in your preferred amount of crystals, fill the jar with water, and mix till there are no solid crystals left. Use as you would use regular ink for calligraphy. A little goes a long way!

I was a bit wary about how thin the mixture turned out to be. In my experience, thin, watery inks are synonymous to feathering. But I proved myself wrong. Oh, how I loved writing with it! It was super smooth, and I adore how the hues vary the more I write. I had no problems with the ink flow at all. I swear I couldn’t stop writing with it! I used it on my Daler Rowney layout pad and have yet to try it on different types of paper, but so far, so good! You have to try it for yourself.

Walnut Ink Calligraphy via Happy Hands Project

The walnut ink crystals were purchased from Paper & Ink Arts, written on a Daler Rowney layout pad with a Nikko G nib.

Calligraphy Workshops at The Workroom

I’ve been over at my friend Ruth’s studio, The Workroom for 2-hour modern calligraphy classes the past few months. How fun! Aside from the calligraphy classes hosted at the studio, there are several crafts being taught there as well – printmaking, sewing, and children’s art workshops just to name a few.

Calligraphy Workroom SG via Happy Hands Project2

At The Workroom, we had male participants who would like to learn the art. Oh, you can easily tell how different their writing styles are with those of the women! It’s always fun to be at The Workroom and meet all these creative people. I love seeing their practice sheets taped onto the wall to dry. Just in case you’re looking for more craft classes, you can always sign up here for more.

Calligraphy Workroom SG via Happy Hands Project

Another great news that I’m excited to share – a 2nd studio has opened last 19th of July at 19 Lorong Kilat! This means more crafty fun for all of us! Like The Workroom on Facebook to be in the loop.

Calligraphy and Watercolour in Yellow and Emerald

Ian-Kres Logo via Happy Hands Project

Ian-Kres Wedding Invites via Happy Hands Project

I really enjoy designing for weddings, especially invitation suites. Do you know what I love most about this invite? Apart from the sweet bride being awesome to work with, they actually gave me creative freedom. I got to play around with their wedding colours to my heart’s content! I’m very happy to share with you the wedding of Ian and Kres.

We started the design process with the wedding logo, and it turned out to be fairly swirly yet uncomplicated. I used emerald green and sunflower yellow to paint the floral motif that was ultimately used in their Save the Date cards and invitation suite. The best feeling has always been seeing all the elements fall perfectly in place.

Ian-Kres Wedding Invites via Happy Hands Project

Congratulations, Ian and Kres, it was wonderful working with you! Photos above were captured by Nelwin Uy Photography.

#EatDrinkArt Exhibition at Mad Nest

EatDrinkArt via Happy Hands Project

I was very busy for a couple of weeks, putting together an artwork for Mad Nest‘s #EatDrinkArt Exhibition. 14 artists have been engaged to come up with a work of art using ‘mystery ingredients’ found in Mad Nest’s kitchen. Exciting! I didn’t know what ingredient I was going to have until I went there myself.

I was assigned some raw linguine, and got to pick a pack of star anise as a secondary ingredient. The challenge? Coming up with a creative idea to incorporate the edible elements with my craft! In the end I decided to use the items in their raw, organic form and combine them with my brush calligraphy. Images of a homey kitchen, smelling of star anise with sounds of tomato sauce bubbling nearby filled my senses. I wanted an artwork that will remind one of the feeling of homecoming, dropping your bags and heading straight to the kitchen and see Mom working her magic. I wanted to evoke that feeling. It’s a feeling I truly miss. I wrote a quote by Federico Fellini that I thought would be most suitable – ‘Life is a combination of magic and pasta’. Here’s a peek of my work in progress.

The great thing about #EatDrinkArt is that a percentage of the proceeds will go to the Business Times Budding Artists Fund, which ‘originated from a conviction that no child should be denied the opportunity to pursue arts training due to a lack of financial resources.’ 

The exhibition will run from 18 June to 3 September 2014 at Mad Nest along East Coast Road. All the artworks exhibited at #EatDrinkArt are for sale, so it would be very much appreciated if you can help me spread the word and help the youth pursue their passion for the arts. All the artists have put a great deal of effort in their pieces, it’s really worth a visit! More photos can be found here. All photos courtesy of Lucent Pictography. I’m extending my thanks to the wonderful people of Uniform for inviting me on board this exhibition.

Happy Hands Project on Society6

Society6 Calligraphy via Happy Hands Project

I’ve had my Society6 shop for quite a while now, even before I opened my Etsy shop. However, I didn’t feel that my calligraphy at the time was good enough to share with the world, so I pulled my items out. Well, thanks to the online community, I feel more confident now and realised that perfection isn’t everything. So, I’ve had enough of the drama and finally resurrected my shop at Society6 again!

I have 2 calligraphy prints there, both applied to different material – pillow covers, laptop skins, stretched canvas – and prints in different sizes, of course. I’m planning to add more prints in the coming weeks once I get a breather from all the commission works I have right now. Can’t wait! In the meantime, here are 2 inspirational quotes from Dr Seuss and Mark Twain.

Help me spread the love!

Maybelle Imasa-Stukuls in Singapore

Maybelle in Singapore via HappyHandsProject

Just the other day I remember a discussion on the Flourish Forum about Maybelle Imasa-Stukuls’ calligraphy exemplar. Some were wondering if it would be worth attending her class or just purchasing her kit online. The kit alone is such a treat – I can stare at Maybelle’s handwriting all day! However, if you know that she’ll be in your city, I’d say go to her class instead. An in-person workshop is a much better option if you have a choice.

Let me tell you why.

Maybelle Imasa-Stukuls in Singapore via Happy Hands Project

Being in Singapore, I was so fortunate to have Bloesem Creative Space invite Maybelle for a series of classes. To say workshops by renowned calligraphers are rare here would be a total understatement. I’ve never gone to a calligraphy workshop before so this one will practically be my first ever. Being a fan of her works and style for ages, I was super excited to say the least!

It was a glorious Sunday morning. After having breakfast with my husband at the Tiong Bahru Bakery, he walked me across to Bloesem for the 3-hour class. You know what made the morning even more glorious? I had a front row seat! Exactly in front of Maybelle! It was very inspiring to hear how she started out and be able to observe how she actually writes. It’s very beneficial especially for beginners because simple things like incorrect writing angles will be easily addressed. Anyone’s free to ask questions, too. And the kit. Oh, the kit. I know I already have a lot of ink holders, pens and a million other odds and ends, but I love all the handmade tools and letterpress exemplar that Maybelle brought for the workshop.

Maybelle Imasa-Stukuls in Singapore via Happy Hands Project

Maybelle Imasa-Stukuls in Singapore via Happy Hands Project

Aditionally, I believe it’s Bloesem’s interiors that really set the mood for such an enjoyable class. Who wouldn’t love practicing calligraphy in such a lovely space with rays of sunlight peeking through? We were all pampered with refreshments as well – all cooked lovingly in Bloesem’s kitchen. After mingling with Maybelle and the ladies, champagne was served. Yes, you read that right. We were that spoilt.

Maybelle Imasa-Stukuls in Singapore via Happy Hands Project

 

Maybelle Imasa-Stukuls in Singapore via Happy Hands Project

I guess all this pretty much sums up why I think an in-person workshop would be well worth your time. Be sure to check Maybelle’s workshop page as that’s where I found out she was coming here and almost fell of my seat. Bloesem’s classes always have something interesting being offered as well. I would go to every single class if I could!

For my very own Happy Hour Workshops here in Singapore, I’ll be announcing a date (or dates!) soon. Leave your email here to be in the loop.