As a visitor to this page, we will assume that calligraphy is of interest to you. Maybe you’re just thinking about taking it up, or you’re a keep amateur, or perhaps it’s even part of your job.
On the whole, calligraphy is a solitary activity, and many calligraphers talk about the pleasure of time running at a different speed once you’re deeply absorbed into working with your words and letters.
But we’re sociable creatures, and getting together with other calligraphers is a great thing. There are calligraphy groups, guilds, and societies across the world, and hopefully there’s one near you.
As well as the social benefits, there are plenty of reasons to join your local group.
Most groups organise workshops throughout the year, and do their best to bring in excellent tutors – you may even find that you’re attending a workshop with someone who is “famous” in the calligraphy world, teaching in your locality- what a treat!
The workshops also give you a chance to try all sorts of different calligraphy related subjects – different hands, or tools, or techniques that complement your lettering. Some of these will catch your imagination and might completely alter the path of your calligraphic journey – others you might enjoy the experience but decide it’s not for you. I have never attended a workshop where there’s been nothing to spark my imagination.
Some groups offer ongoing courses to beginners, and even if they don’t, they’re likely to know what’s available in their area.
And it’s not just about great tutors. It’s so inspiring to be mixing with other calligraphers – some or all of them may have more experience than you – which is great news for you! The sharing of what people are working on is inspiring and motivating (and yes, might be scary at first, but you’ll soon realise other group members only want to support you.)
We sometimes get stuck with our own calligraphy – either with a specific issue or perhaps getting into an uncreative rut: well the people at your local group become your pals to help you out.
All groups also share information that’s coming in. Some have websites and newsletters, others make excellent use of email to share the latest. So you’re likely to find out about events locally, nationally and even internationally that may be of interest.
Most groups also have projects they work on together: this might be an exhibition, collaborative working on something (like the creation of a tea towel or recipe book), or envelope exchanges. This gives you a chance to work on something you’d never otherwise be able to do.
Some groups attract members from outside their local area simply because it’s great to belong, the information and activities are accessible from afar, and maybe the members get to attend an occasional workshop.
You might be thinking – how do I find where my local group is? We’re going to answer with a UK bias, and say that both the Calligraphy and Lettering Arts Society (CLAS) and Society of Scribes and Illuminators (SSI) have lists on their websites of local groups and who to contact.
On our website, we have links to over 20 Calligraphy Societies (UK).
And if we know calligraphers at all, some of you are thinking “but I’m not good enough”. If you’re interested in calligraphy then I think you’ll find you ARE good enough, and a local group will be thrilled to have you…. So what are you waiting for?