Modern Calligraphy 101 with Lamplighter London

Town Hall Hotel Corner Room interior London The long dormant calligraphy enthusiast in me leapt back to life last Friday when I attended a 2 1/2 hr Modern Calligraphy 101 workshop led by Chiara Perano at the London Town Hall Hotel’s photogengic restaurant, Corner Room.  After a few attempts at learning calligraphy on my own through books, I packed all my tracing paper, writing instruments, ink and instruction books securely in a box. I had run out of patience and figured I should face the sad fact, my talent lies elsewhere.  It never dawned on me that maybe all I needed was some personal instruction and attention from a pro.

London Calligraphy workshop Town Hall Hotel

Calligraphy starter set

There were six of us in total at the Corner Room basking in the soft East London light and eager to learn from Chiara, a self taught calligrapher & founder of Lamplighter London, who has been offering workshops around the city over the last year. She went over the correct posture for optimal writing, an introduction to the materials often used for calligraphy and how to position the pen. We then worked on practicing strokes and tracing from the letter guides and built up to going free form.  I was not very good – the glass of prosecco may also be to blame. What I produced looked more like my normal handwriting rather than the characteristic elegance of calligraphy but it was helpful to have an instructor there to point out how to correct the problem and demonstrate how it should be done.

Calligraphy Workshop in session at Town Hall Hotel London

Workshop in session. Photo by Chiara Perano

More than anything, I just enjoyed watching Chiara write.  She made it look deceptively easy, with a slight hand movement a graceful flourish effortlessly appeared on the page.


Time passed by much too quickly during the workshop but by the end I was able to produce the letters J and O that I was pretty proud of. I was also delighted to learn that all the materials provided at the workshop were free for us to take home to practice with.

Photo by Henry El'Day

My freestyling in action. Photo by Henry El’Day

And practice I have. Over the last few days I’ve been working on “hello” every morning while enjoying my bottomless cup of coffee. I’m really enjoying this therapeutic ritual of working with my hands as a start to the day – and it definitely beats catching up on emails! I’ll strive to continue working on my letters regularly and hope to make it to Chiara’s level 2 class once I see signs of improvement.

If you’re interested in taking Chiara’s beginners modern calligraphy workshop at the Town Hall Hotel you can sign up here.

Note: I attended the workshop as a guest of the Town Hall Hotel. All views are my own.

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