Tag Archives: crafts

Art in Action

I thought you might be interested to see the first blog post by Julie from Jewels Arts and Crafts centre.

Art in Action.

If you are local to Houghton Regis, why not check out the groups and classes for adults and children that go on week by week at Jewels.

Welcome to Bill’s Space.

 <img source="pic.jpg" alt="My logo, lettering ."</img>.

Bill’s Space is aimed  at  anyone who has a love of calligraphy, or lettering. Especially beginners and those who  are  having trouble getting started.  Featuring videos and worksheets, links and articles, all with a bias toward art, calligraphy, lettering, and teacher’s resources, and updated as new material comes to my notice.

A Jack of All Trades. Always aspiring to become a master of lettering, I learned a basic italic hand at school, and became a regular at the local library calligraphy section. It took some years to find a local evening class but once there I found myself able to help fellow students with their struggles. Shortly after this I became a tutor myself at evening classes and also started a local church group.

Back in the eighties my work was exhibited in Luton Library.

For 6 years I was privileged to lead a Calligraphy Workshop/Retreat at Belmont Abbey, Hereford.
Any scribe will tell you that people wrongly assume that if you can put letters on paper you will be able to paint them onto almost anything. Brushwork, though, is a completely different technique to master. Luckily I was able to join a 1 year full-time C&G signwriting course and then worked for some time as a signwriter, but I never lost my love of penmanship.
I hope I can help you on your journey.

Bill’s Space was originally set up to promote good lettering. It has now metamorphosed into an all round meeting point for artists, calligraphers and teachers, worldwide, to relax while they search for that little something different to put in their resources locker. Recently a new group, CALLIGRAPHY at Bill’s Space Mk II, has been set up on Facebook to run alongside the original site. Whether you are a beginner or have years of experience come and join in the fun. The more experienced scribe is encouraged to give help and assistance where needed.

A click on this image will take you to a comprehensive catalogue of tools and materials

I recommend that beginners go straight to Getting Started in Calligraphy where you will find a comprehensive guide on what you need to get started and links to the various lessons.

If you are looking for inspiration a browse through the links pages might just give you the nudge you need.

If you have any comments, questions, or suggestions, please do not hesitate to contact me through the contact box here-under.

I hope you have enjoyed your visit. Please come again and tell your friends.

For embedded links to all my pictures, prices for commissions etc.,  don’t forget to visit my website, Calligraphy by Bill Grant .

Keep watching this space.


If you would like to donate a few pennies to help with the upkeep of Bill’s Space, please click on the button to link with Paypal.  Many thanks.

JEWELS. Another knot in my golden thread?

Isn’t it strange, how sometimes, something catches the eye and demands your attention?

An unexpected treasure.

Walking through the shopping precinct in Houghton Regis, a small town between Luton and Dunstable, that Gill and I rarely visit, I noticed a shop window full of old reconditioned sewing machines.  It was not the machinery that had attracted me but the various display cards that accompanied them which were all written in a very distinctive hand.  Then I realised it was not just sewing machines for sale but a whole range of art and craft materials, and what scribe can stop themselves from entering what they see as an Aladdin’s cave?

Just a glimpse.

Cutting a very long story short.  I found that the cards in the window were written by Julie Kent, a co- student of the calligraphy class I had attended in Dunstable College, some thirty-ish years ago.  Though we have both taught and practised our art in the same area for all this time, we had never come into contact again.

Now, it seems that Julie, in partnership with Les, runs this emporium as an outreach for a local church and offers facilities for children’s groups, various classes, arts/crafts, and yes you’ve guessed it, CALLIGRAPHY WORKSHOPS .

Subsequently I have returned on two occasions during calligraphy sessions and having met the participants and seen some of their work, I must say I am impressed, not only with the standard of work achieved, but with the enthusiasm, commitment and friendliness of all involved, and the TEA!  Hot, strong and sweet!  Oh! and each time I have walked away with a bag full of goodies.  Brand names at very reasonable prices.  I can’t wait to get to grips with the Fabriano papers.

Some of the works created by Julie’s group.

On top of all this, Julie continues to take commissions. Not only for calligraphy but also her beautiful watercolour paintings.

Some of Julie’s pieces .

Congratulations to all you hard-working folk at JEWELS ARTS and CRAFTS CENTRE, Bedford Square, Houghton Regis.  You are doing a wonderful job.

I hope you have enjoyed this foray into deepest Bedfordshire.  I hope it will be a reminder to us all to keep our eyes open for those little gems that are literally on our doorsteps.

A link to my subsequent Calligraphy Workshop at Jewels.

Keep watching this space.

Hints and Tips

Just a few things that might make your calligraphy a little easier.

A simple light table.
There are commercially made light-boxes etc available.
Mine is made from a sheet of toughened glass 18″ x 26″ with ground edges. I am lucky enough to have two pieces so I can double the size if necessary. It sits upon a strip of quadrant screwed to the edge of the desk and rests on the shelf above. The light itself was designed to be used beneath a kitchen cupboard.

You could make a frame to hold the glass and enclose the light for table top use.

In answer to a question that crops up from time to time.I draw as few lines as I can practically get away with. I have a guideline sheet, landscape on A3, marked up with 1/8″ lines, that I slip under the page I am working on. I use multiples of 1/8″ for x height and choose a nib to suit. If I do have to draw lines I still use the same measurements, so rather than draw lines to fit ,two, three, four, etc. nib widths, I will chose a nib to fit within these multiples of 1/8″.
In workshop situations I always tape a 1 metre steel rule to a table. Most people find it simplicity itself to run a large set square down the ruler rather than make dots on the page.


With a ruler gripped or glued to the edge, a set square that runs along the quadrant, A guideline sheet marked with 1/8″ lines, you are ready for any eventuality,  just as long as you are working on paper rather than heavy card or very dark colours. In any case, this is very useful set up if you have to draw lines and have not got a drawing machine.
Now you need to make up templates of your most used formats.
This one is A3 size with 1/8 inch guidelines. It will still come in handy if you can only print it off on A4.
Template A3 double page, img, jpg
Perhaps the regular certificate inscription, envelope, place-card, or Wedding Album. A spiral or two will come in very handy.
With compasses, first make an arc 1/2″ radius to the left of the centre line. Move compass point to the bottom of the arc then open the radius until it joins the top of the arc. Draw the right-hand arc. Move the compass point back to its first position and open the radius until it joins the bottom of the arc. Keep stepping back and forth until the desired size spiral is complete.
If you wish to also put in a guide line for x height, follow the same steps adding the required measurement.
calligraphy templates.combinations.jpg
After sixty years I have worked out a way to find how much space I need to complete a page of text.
The x heights from top to bottom of the page on the left show a gap for ascenders and descenders. Those on the right just one free line for either mingled asc / desc or uncials, capitals etc. Using this method, all you need to do to work out the space needed to complete a project is to write out the longest line of text, then adjust the nib size for each x height. Fit the nib to the x height rather than draw lines to correspond with nib widths.
I made up this template as I had a regular batch of Wedding albums to inscribe.
Even if you are working on dark card, it is a simple matter to fold the page and mark off the points then pencil in the lines.  Much easier than having to measure everything each time.
Blundell Harling A1 Challenge Lightboard
Have fun.  I shall be back soon with some more hints and tips.
Keep watching this space.