Ardington School of CraftsArdington School of CraftsArdington School of Crafts
Ardington School of CraftsArdington School of CraftsArdington School of Crafts
Ardington School of CraftsArdington School of CraftsArdington School of Crafts
Ardington School of CraftsDoorway
Calligraphy Illumination - Working with Colour and Gold
Course Date: Sunday 12th November 2017
Category: Calligraphy & Lettering Arts
Price: £80


Learn the art of decoration and illumination using gilding techniques and real gold. Create a single initial letter to enhance your calligraphy or design a small miniature with vibrant colour and gold that can be placed in a frame. The tutor is a calligrapher with more than 30 years’ teaching experience and author of a number of calligraphy books, including two on illumination.

Further Detail

You will begin the day by learning how to perfect and transfer a design. You will then be taught to expertly attach gold to your design using a gum; those with some experience will further improve on gilding techniques and application. Enhance your design by carefully painting it with bright clean colour using watercolour and gouache paint. By the end of the course you will have produced a delightful and vibrant piece of work that may be enriched by a small amount of calligraphy or a miniature that can be framed.  

Skills/Techniques Covered

  • forming letters with a calligraphy pen or drawing letters with a pencil
  • creating a design using tracing paper
  • applying gold correctly
  • understanding, mixing and applying colour
  • presentation of work 


This course is designed for a range of abilities including beginners.


Materials are not included in your course fee. Some materials such as gold and gum will be provided by the tutor. The approximate cost of these will be about £3–£4, payable to the tutor during the course. The items you will need to bring with you are listed below.

We do not have the facilities to take card payments in the workshops. Please remember to bring cash or your cheque book if your course involves buying materials from the tutor.

Please bring with you:

  • a sharp HB pencil
  • a small selection of watercolour and gouache paints
  • two paint brushes with excellent points: a No. 2 plus a finer brush (perhaps a No. 00 or No. 000)
  • an old paintbrush for mixing paint
  • some good-quality paper: about ¼ sheet Hot Pressed (smooth) paper such as Saunders Waterford or Fabriano 5 or Fabriano Artistico 140LB (300 gsm)
  • an A4 sheet of tracing paper
  • a sheet of layout paper, photocopy or cartridge paper for the creation of your designs
  • a small piece of silk for polishing your gold
  • kitchen towel or cloth for wiping brushes or pens
  • a pen and various nibs if you wish to add calligraphy to your design

What students have said about this course/tutor:

"The tutor was first rate - made the impossible possible!!" - B Jones

"Totally absorbing...I learnt so much." - J Willis

"An excellent course. Janet's ability in her field speaks for itself...and her enthusiasm was infectious." - M Holcome

Tutor Profile

Janet Mehigan has been teaching calligraphy for more than 30 years, mostly in adult education. She has written several books on calligraphy, many with her colleague and friend Mary Noble, and has contributed calligraphic work and articles to many other books and magazines. 

Janet is a Fellow of the Society of Scribes and Illuminators (SSI) and an Honoured Fellow and past chairman of the Calligraphy and Lettering Arts Society (CLAS). She works to commission, for local authorities (freedom scrolls on vellum and paper) and also for private individuals and companies, producing cards, poetry with illustration and small miniatures. Janet has shown her work in many exhibitions and has demonstrated at Art in Action and the SAA. 

Timings & Refreshments

Coffee is available from 9.45am. The course starts at 10am and finishes at 4.30pm. Fresh ground coffee and a range of teas are provided all day, along with biscuits in the morning, a sandwich lunch and cake in the afternoon. SPECIAL DIETS: If you are vegetarian, please tell us when you book. If you have other special dietary needs/preferences, please see our terms and conditions for detailed information on the food provided.