Go with the flow

It’s rooted in an­cient his­tory, but re­cent years have seen a resur­gence in the art of cal­lig­ra­phy. CATHER­INE COURTE­NAY picks up her pen on an un­usual re­treat

Devon Life - - Retreat -

Aquick Google search re­veals that us­ing a dip pen and ink to cre­ate beau­ti­ful let­ter­forms is all the rage. Mod­ern cal­lig­ra­phy, us­ing freer, more per­son­alised al­pha­bets, is put to good use for in­vites, cards and sta­tionery. But it’s also her­alded as a mind­ful­ness tool, a way to ease stress and train your mind to ‘live in the mo­ment’.

Two peo­ple who know full well how ben­e­fi­cial cal­lig­ra­phy can be are Lyn­d­sey and Er­ica from Anon De­sign Stu­dio in Ply­mouth who of­fer work­shops in the tech­nique and also be­spoke lux­ury day re­treats which com­bine cal­lig­ra­phy with an­other tool to aid mind­ful­ness – yoga.

These re­treats take the form of two work­shops, a morn­ing yoga ses­sion fol­lowed by a begin­ners’ cal­lig­ra­phy class in the af­ter­noon. In be­tween there are re­fresh­ments, plen­ti­ful cof­fee and cake, and lunch.

Er­ica and Lyn­d­sey choose their venues well, to com­ple­ment their work­shops. One of these venues is Pen­genna Manor in north Corn­wall, an 800-year-old stone prop­erty set in 300 acres of coun­try­side.

Tak­ing up an in­vi­ta­tion to ex­pe­ri­ence one of the Anon De­sign re­treat days, I find my­self driv­ing up a wooded lane off the main A39, At­lantic High­way. Pen­genna Manor is beau­ti­ful. The house has been in the same fam­ily for over 150 years and cur­rent sixth gen­er­a­tion Richard, who is on hand with ar­rival cof­fees, has cre­ated a beau­ti­ful pri­vate venue for wed­dings and events such as this.

It’s a fine, warm day and so the 90 minute yoga work­shop takes place out­side, on a pa­tio and lawn plateau over­look­ing the wooded val­ley. The ses­sion is led by Amy from Next Wave Yoga and Ther­apy and she strikes the per­fect bal­ance of gen­tle flow­ing moves which stretch and un­wind tense mus­cles. It’s a blend of hatha and yin yoga. Amy has prac­tised yoga all her life, from child­hood, and she has an in­nate un­der­stand­ing of its abil­ity to re­store weary bod­ies and minds.

Lunch is an­other very care­fully con­sid­ered af­fair. Cold meats and fish with plen­ti­ful sal­ads, fruit and freshly baked sour­dough bread – it to­tally fits with the mood of the day and is laid out on tres­tle ta­bles in a barn just across from the main house.

It’s heads down for the af­ter­noon cal­lig­ra­phy ses­sion and soon ev­ery­one is im­mersed in dip­ping pens into ink bot­tles and trac­ing out let­ters from a work­book. Lyn­d­sey flits be­tween ev­ery­one, guid­ing and shar­ing her pas­sion for her craft, which be­comes in­creas­ingly ad­dic­tive as the af­ter­noon drifts by.

It’s the at­ten­tion to de­tail that marks out any spe­cial event such as this and the care shown by Er­ica and Lyn­d­sey goes above and be­yond. You can sense just how much de­light they take in cre­at­ing the whole ex­pe­ri­ence. There’s the beau­ti­fully wrapped box of de­lights that comes with your wel­come pack­age ahead of the day (in ad­dtion to the gift box you take home with you) and lit­tle touches like the per­son­alised ta­ble set­tings and hand­writ­ten ideas on how to spend your down­time, which on this day was a walk through the fields and wood­land sur­round­ing the manor. It must be a labour of love for Lyn­d­sey and Er­ica to de­vise such per­son­alised and thought­ful re­treats but the re­sult is some­thing truly spe­cial. anon­de­signer.co.uk

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.