As many of you know, I've been a Calligrapher and Lettering Artist since 1988. My work has been wide and varied. Some jobs you want to do, others were quite frankly a pain in the bum. Each had it's own merits and challenges.
Professional, qualified, Calligraphers are getting pretty thin on the ground. We are becoming a specialised industry. While there are still plenty of Calligraphy Groups around, they are more 'interest' groups rather than anyone wanting to take on work and use their skills.
I live in North Yorkshire. The county is wide and spread out. Fewer people even know what a Calligrapher does these days, never mind needing their services and the ones that do are pretty reluctant to pay a decent hourly rate for the work involved.
"Surely, you just pick up a fancy pan,
filled with ink and write, don't you?"
I wish it was that simple. The 'in' joke amongst Calligraphers is that you can become a brain surgeon in less time! And actually, it's not too far from the truth!
I remember, when John, my business adviser with Action For Blind People suggested I specialise in Wedding Stationery, I laughed! At the time I was lucky enough if I did 1 or 2 wedding orders a year. The thought of ditching all the other work, in it various guises, made my stomach churn. I just about made enough to keep the doors open at the studio. To ditch the small amount of work that was coming through seems nothing close to madness!
I resisted.... well, I actually, didn't resist fully, I made more of an effort as far as I was concerned, made up some Wedding Invitation portfolios and got them into shops.... the business didn't come my way and I continued to take on small jobs, which took a great deal of time and effort, but had very little reward.
I did this for a further 3 years. I did it till I could take no more. I felt the life was sucked out of me and this also coincided with the break-up of what I thought at the time was a 'perfect' relationship (Please excuse me here,while I laugh my stripy socks off!).
For the following year I took stock of not only my life, my relationship (and the no good for me characters, I seemed to attract!) but my business and my feeling towards that too. I'm a big believer in "If you always do, what you've always done, you'll always get, what you've always gotten!". Things had to change... I had to change! My attitude and my fears regarding my work had to change.... and change it did!
I have things I need to 'get off my chest' and most of all, I hope my story, in time will give hope, inspiration and motivation to others.