What is it like to attend an LKC Calligraphy Workshop?

In the words of one of my favorite women and poets:

You can’t use up creativity. The more you give, the more you have.
— Maya Angelou

I studied public speaking in college, and I believe that words are powerful, especially when you are using them to speak what you have learned into another human being for them to soak up. I will never be a perfect teacher, speaker, or articulator, but I will never stop pursuing it and growing in that art and skill as I share what I love with those willing to learn.

In this journal entry, you will learn what the LKC calligraphy workshop experience is like, see beautiful behind-the-scenes photos from the afternoon by the talented Allie Thaxton (Do me a favor and go check out her beautiful work!), learn the top 4 reasons why this was my all-time favorite workshop I have taught, and you will get to hear what this workshop experience was like from my students perspective, not just mine!

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On Saturday, September 15th, I had the honor to invite beautiful women into my home to teach them the art of dip pen calligraphy. When they walked in, they were instantly greeted with the smell of homemade cinnamon toasted pecans fresh out of the oven (Yes, my husband is the best as these are his creations!) As they walked into my kitchen, they found light refreshments, filled their plates with berries, and tasted the beloved Berry La Croix! (Is there anything more refreshing?) Then after we mingled, we moved right in to where all the magic would happen. They each sat down at their own seat signified with a hand-calligraphed name tag intricately wrapped in white ribbon on their own personal #LKCwhitebox.

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If you’re going to live, leave a legacy. Make a mark on the world that can’t be erased.
— Maya Angelou
  This white vase is the one we used at our wedding to wash each others feet as our first act of service towards each other.

This white vase is the one we used at our wedding to wash each others feet as our first act of service towards each other.

  Left to Right: Brooke, Kate, Taylor, Me, Joshua

Left to Right: Brooke, Kate, Taylor, Me, Joshua

To start, they each went around the room and shared a fun fact about themselves, where they were from, and why they chose to invest in this workshop, and ultimately themselves. Then, it was time to each open their white boxes. This is always one of my favorite parts because it kind of feels like Christmas morning for me. (I came home on Christmas day in a stocking, so I am slightly obsessed with Christmas!) One of my greatest strengths is gift giving, and I love watching people open gifts that I hand picked for them. I intentionally create each box with my students in mind, and there is no greater joy than to see them finally see what is inside their perfectly packaged white box!

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So, what is an #LKCwhitebox ? That is one of the best parts of this workshop, that at the end of it all, you get to walk away with all the tools you need to continue your dip pen calligraphy journey. Everything in the LKC white box is yours to take home, and it is exactly what I started my personal journey with:

  • LKC Dip Pen Calligraphy Apprentice Journal (Hand designed by me!)

  • 2 different nibs

  • 1 dip pen

  • 1 jar of black calligraphers ink

  • 1 water well

  • Multiple practice worksheets

  • …and a few other surprise goodies! (You will have to come to my workshop to find out what those are!)

After they have opened their workshop boxes, they hear me begin to dive in head first to teach them everything I know about dip pen calligraphy. I believe that when you teach, you must start at the beginning, and with the foundations. Before they even pick up their nib or dip pen, we walk through the first few pages of the LKC Dip Pen Calligraphy Apprentice Journal so they know what to expect and how to leverage it. From there, I break down in depth the following:

I- The nib

II- How to hold a dip pen…and ALL the different types of dip pens!

III- Issues to avoid with your nib

IV- How to care for your nib…and one of the MOST common things people don’t do before using their nib!

V- Proper pressure

VI- The architecture of calligraphy

VII- Stroke breakdown

VIII- The 7 main types of strokes that make up the alphabet

VIIII- How to grow your own personal calligraphy style with time

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  Explaining how the angle of your wrist is so important.

Explaining how the angle of your wrist is so important.

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Once all of the foundations have been covered, the nitty gritty of learning starts, and each student picks up their nib, and starts trying to calligraph. The most crucial part of coming to an in-person calligraphy workshop is that you get someone right there behind you to teach, correct, and adjust your form, pressure applied, and how you are holding the dip pen…me! Now it is time for you to hear from two of my students exactly what it was like for them when they attended my workshop as you also watch them learn from me in the photos below.

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I had been following Ashley on Instagram for a few months when I saw the post about her calligraphy workshop.  I rushed to sign up because I’ve adored her beautiful style and wanted to learn more about this beautiful art.  It was so simple to register, and she asked thoughtful questions during registration to ensure a great experience at her workshop.  

Ashley was so gracious to welcome us into her beautiful home, and she made me feel like a friend rather than a student. She took time with each of us to correct our form, give advice, and the sweetest compliments.  It was so fun watching her share something she loved, and she translated that love to all of us in the class.  

Dip pen calligraphy is so much harder than it looks!  As an avid brush calligrapher, I loved learning this classic style, and can definitely say I’ll be reaching for my dip pen for all my future calligraphy projects.  Having a personal teacher and all of her knowledge was so worth the investment in a passion project of mine.  Ashley is just the sweetest soul, and I left her home with a happy heart and the prettiest white box filled with so much promise for my calligraphy art. 

-Kate Stahon

I have wanted to take one of Ashley's calligraphy workshops from the moment I became a customer of Letter and Knot Co for my wedding last year. Hesitant at first to make the investment, my husband urged me to invest in myself and go for it-- I am so happy I did. The one-on-one attention, coaching, and teaching I received at her workshop was priceless. Thank you, Ashley, for setting my soul on fire with a new art and creative outlet. Ashley's soul is as beautiful and creative as her art and it was an honor to learn from her!

-Taylor Wilson

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This was my all-time favorite workshop to teach for four main reasons:

I- It was hosted in my home: If there is one thing my husband and I love to do it is host people in our home. There was nothing more special than having the honor of teaching these women in my personal LKC Studio where I am inspired every to create. I hope and have all intentions to host many more workshops in my home.

II- I taught at the farm table my sweet father handmade for me: My father is a lifelong carpenter, and he is exceptional at his trade. I learned the wonder of bringing beautiful things in my mind to life with my hands from him as I spent my childhood days in his workshop with him. My wedding gift from my Dad was this hand crafted farm table that he made from 1800’s wood from an old odd-fellows building in Massachusetts where I was born and raised and we shared our first meal at our wedding at this table. To teach here for me is to carry on his legacy in my life through the art of dip pen calligraphy.

III- There was a special guest: My husband, Joshua Steven Craft! My husband is really smart (He tries out for Jeopardy every year!) and he is always learning new things. I was so honored when he asked to learn something from me. It is not every day you get to smooch on a calligraphy student, so I took full advantage of that!

IV- I love investing in women in my own community: Each of these girls lives in Louisville or the surrounding area. Two of them are brush calligraphers wanting to take their calligraphy to the next level by learning dip pen calligraphy, and one of them was completely brand new to calligraphy. I have worked with women in many capacities for years and I love investing myself in others.

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I truly hope that this helps you to get a glimpse into what the LKC Dip Pen Calligraphy Workshop is like. It would be an honor to have you sitting in one of those wooden chairs at my next workshop, and I am so looking forward getting to invest in you!

Sincerely-

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Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant.
— Robert Louis Stevenson
Ashley Craft