“Do you do yoga?” I asked Erica Loesing, owner of Yes Ma’am Paper + Goods, as we walked up the stairs to have lunch on the rooftop. She looked at me a bit puzzled and replied that she does. “Aha!” I thought. “That’s why she’s so zen!” And zen Erica is. Seriously. It was precisely her mellow mood and encouraging voice that put all of us at ease during “The Craft of Hand Lettering” workshop that is part of CAMP‘s offerings. But, let’s rewind for a second.
When we arrived at the workshop space, we were greeted by beautifully styled tables set amidst the most amazing natural light. The space is known as the Wigwam Collective, a collaborative studio in Atlanta. We mingled for a bit before finding our place setting, which was identified by a hand lettered pumpkin. How fitting for this time of year! I was happy that I had arrived around the same time as a few other attendees and that we bonded over not quite knowing where to go once we arrived at the building. Thus, by the time we got upstairs, I felt like I already knew some folks. All of the attendees were really nice and were there for different reasons. Some, like myself, were there just because they thought it would be a fun class to take. Others were there to hone their craft.
Once the workshop began, we started out by scribbling with crayons to loosen up our arms. We were told to make big, lazy marks using our whole arm (vs. wrist) and to switch directions at times. It was an excellent exercise, since adult learners often are a little tense and concerned about doing something “right.” It was also the perfect exercise to prepare us for making various lines and letters once we got the hand lettering tools in our hands.
After a few minutes, it was time to move on to the focus of the workshop…hand lettering. Erica started by explaining each of the items that was placed on the table in front of us. I appreciated that she shared with us her process for prepping her nibs and using the materials as well as some of her favorite brands of ink. I also loved that she passed around examples of her own beautiful work. Hand lettering plus letterpress?! Yes, please!
Throughout the workshop, Erica helped us troubleshoot whenever we hit a snag (or heard a scraping sound as we moved our pen on the paper). We practiced varying the weights of our lines based on the amount of pressure we applied to the nib and doing down- and upstrokes in preparation for making letters. Erica walked around and gave us encouragement…praising our progress and giving us gentle corrections along the way. In the end, she helped us to embrace our own unique styles of lettering.
I couldn’t believe how relaxing the workshop was. In addition, I couldn’t believe that I was actually halfway decent at hand lettering. (I don’t fancy myself as someone with particularly “pretty” handwriting. On the other hand, both of my parents and my husband have beautiful penmanship!) If hand lettering (or calligraphy, as you may know it) is something that you’ve always wanted to try, I would definitely recommend this CAMP workshop led by Erica of Yes Ma’am Paper + Goods. I walked away feeling like I learned a ton and with a solid foundation to practice on my own at home. Plus, I left inspired to create more with my photography…especially after meeting Morgan Blake (official workshop photographer), a fabulous Atlanta photographer that I’ve been following on Instagram. I can’t wait to see her photos from the event!
Instructor + walnut inkwell + Hello postcard: Yes Ma’am Paper + Goods
Stylist: Xanna Kidd
Pen Pouches: IceMilk Aprons
Totes: Hello, Lunch Printing