Makers Corner: Abi Gill Calligrapher

Screenshot_20180529-221616_1

We caught up with Abi who kindly shared her hobby and passion with us.

Please tell us about yourself?

I’m Abi and I am the founder of Abigail’s Calligraphy based in Haringey, north London. I started practicing calligraphy seriously about three years ago and have slowly started turning it into a business, mainly providing calligraphy for weddings but also making cards and gifts.

Can you please tell us what inspired you to turn your hands to calligraphy?

I’ve always admired beautiful handwriting. It’s a huge part of someone’s individuality. But it’s also something we see less and less of, as we all communicate through our phones and computers. I don’t know what most of my friends handwriting even looks like! I decided to take a couple of calligraphy courses to unwind and rediscover the beauty of creating something hand written.

The more I practiced and learnt, the more inspired I became. There are hundreds of different styles of calligraphy, known as scripts, many dating back hundreds of years. I learnt to write italic script, which is one most of us are familiar with. Perfecting a script takes years of practice and an eye for the technical, each script has different rules on the necessary angles and line heights. I branched into modern calligraphy too, which is a little more free flowing and is popular at the moment. This is what I use for most of my products.

What is it like to juggle your passion whilst holding down a full-time job?

Calligraphy is my hobby and it’s how I relax. I try and spend as much time as I can writing, but it can be hard. I work full time for the youth homelessness charity Centrepoint. Sometimes it can be hard to find as much time as I want to for my calligraphy after a full day at work. If your craft isn’t your main income, I think it’s important to be kind to yourself and not pressure yourself to work on it when you’re not in the right headspace or you’re tired, otherwise it becomes a chore rather than an enjoyment.

How do you limit your impact on the environment?

I create a whole range of calligraphy based products but I’m mainly selling cards at the market. The thing that strikes me about most card shops is the amount of single use plastic wrapping every single card. Nobody wants a grubby card, but we also don’t need the plastic to be single use. My cards are in plastic so you can pick them up and have a good look, but when you buy one I’ll keep the plastic to use again and you take it home in a recyclable paper bag.

Can you please tell us of your future aspirations?

I feel like I am very much at the start of my calligraphy business journey and I’m really excited to see where it will go! I love providing calligraphy services for weddings as it’s such a special thing to have something unique and handmade at your big day, so I hope to reach more brides and grooms! Alongside cards and postcards, I also want to explore where else I can use calligraphy. Ideas are always welcome and I’m always up for collaborating with others!

You can view more of Abi’s pieces at our 6 July Makers Market at The Bernie Grant Arts Centre. Until then…

Screenshot_20180529-221443_1

Makers Corner: Victoria Tojeiro of Victoria Draws

VicT3

WHO IS THE LADY BEHIND THE ILLUSTRATIONS? 

Hi. I am Victoria Tojeiro of VictoriaDraws.

CAN YOU EXPLAIN YOUR DESIGN PROCESS, OR WHERE YOU TAKE YOUR INSPIRATION FROM?

Since I’ve been old enough to hold a pencil I’ve drawn. My infant sketchbooks are full of horses, unicorns, fish and even the odd princess, as well as scraps of stories inspired by my favourite books. I remember announcing to the family that when I grew up I wanted to “write stories and draw the pictures.” Bar the princesses and unicorns, my current sketchbooks aren’t too different, filled with sketches and stories of animals doing silly things.
My ambition remains the same, but having no formal art qualifications, I found myself floundering a couple of years ago and so started VictoriaDraws as a way to showcase my illustrations and to give me a sense of drive.
I’ve found the experience surprising, frustrating and totally exhilarating. I realise that I really enjoy creating artwork for people’s homes, and since starting the business, I have even been asked to design wedding invitations and create pet portraits; things I never would have seen myself doing a few years ago. My confidence has had a massive boost, and I find myself more energised and more determined than ever.
Vict4

WHAT IS IT LIKE OWNING YOUR OWN BUSINESS AND JUGGLING LIFE?

I work full time as a primary school teacher so there is a lot of juggling that goes on in my life! During the week I tend to stick to creating content for social media and my blog, as well as sketching out new ideas on the commute. I save the real work for the weekends and holidays, where I can be mostly found in our box room either painting or frowning at photoshop. I paint everything by hand, and then clean things up on photoshop, which I’ve had to teach myself to do but I’m getting there!

THANK YOU, VICTORIA, FOR TELLING US ABOUT YOURSELF. CAN YOU IMPART WORDS OF WISDOM TO INSPIRE THOSE STARTING OUT?

One of my favourite quotes (which appears as a print and is the feature image on this post- I love it so much!) is by Maya Angelou, and I find it in equal parts inspiring and also a motto to live by; “Nothing will work unless you do.”
Vict4

Makers Corner: Stella Salumaa of Burglar Cat

Who is Burglar Cat? 

Burglar Cat is a one-woman undertaking and is based in East London, UK. But originally I am from beautiful Estonia.
I was drawing cats being naughty burglars for my very first attempt  screen printing and that is when Burglar Cat was born.
It is now developed into hand painted tote bags, prints, comic books, playing cards etc.
I love anything silly and that is how I like to draw and illustrate.

Can you tell us what inspired you to became a maker and please describe the making process?

As far as I can remember, I have always loved making and drawing things. I usually just draw something and I get ideas from around me.

What is it like owning your own business or like many, juggling multiple jobs?

I work full time as an animator and I do my own artwork on the side. It can be difficult and tiring, but it’s definitely worth it and makes me happy.

Can you impart a quote or words of wisdom to inspire?

Always do something . Draw, paint or whatever medium it is that you like. It might not always come out perfect. But keep at it until you do something you love, then it’s all good.

Shop the Burglar Cat collection.