The Joys of Gifting
As the Christmas season approaches, we turn our attention to spending time with family and friends and of course, practice the joy of giving with gifts to cherish and engage our nearest and dearest. We continue our small series of getting back to crafts and creating something beautiful to keep, by speaking with the talented Ashley Jones, founder of design studio Pale Press.
How did Pale Press begin?
I’d spent my professional life working in a variety of roles from art galleries to advertising, yet nothing seemed to feel like the right fit. I’d studied English Literature but always loved to be creative in my spare time and after helping create stationery for a friends’ wedding, I decided to take the leap and start Pale Press London. I’d always had a passion for hand lettering and illustration, so it instantly felt like the obvious thing for me to be doing… I only wish I’d done it sooner!
How challenging was it to learn modern Calligraphy?
It’s important to ensure you have the right materials before you set out to learn the skill. I spent some time practising with the wrong type of nibs for modern calligraphy, but once I had the correct tools, I found it much more gratifying and easier to create the style I was looking for. I’ve always loved handwriting, so felt quite comfortable in my practice but that’s not to say there wasn’t a huge learning curve (and still is every day).
What does a typical day entail?
As cliched as this sounds, every day is different. Typically, if I’m working from the studio, I try to increase my productivity by time-blocking so that I don’t attempt to do everything (and subsequently nothing) all at once. I’ve found this is essential when you are your own boss.
Some days might be spent addressing envelopes in modern calligraphy, some designing stationery or others involve me hand lettering at events. My favourite days are when print deliveries come in and I get to see my designs in the flesh. It’s especially nice to see your modern calligraphy letterpressed or foiled onto beautiful paper stock.
Where do you get your design inspiration from?
I get inspiration from all sorts of places – namely; interior design, ceramics and nature. Pinterest is also a great source for collating inspiration imagery in one place.
What advice would you give to someone looking to start their own business?
Be prepared to make mistakes, work long hours and wear a lot of different hats. If you’re truly passionate about the business you plan to start, then it’ll all be worth it.
How can others get into modern calligraphy?
There is such a huge resource for people wanting to learn modern calligraphy. So many beautiful, informative books are readily available as well as workshops run by talented modern calligraphers throughout the UK. In addition to these resources, it really is all about putting the hours into practice.
Any ideas on how to incorporate modern calligraphy into your life if you don’t have an invite to design?
You can incorporate modern calligraphy into your everyday life in so many ways. You can easily create your own greeting cards, wrapping paper or gift tags. If you’re throwing a dinner party, you could hand letter your guests names on placements – why not be creative and use fresh leaves or even place lettering directly onto the plates?
What are Pale Press London’s plans for future?
To continue to work with brands I admire. To create beautiful stationery for wedding and events. To expand my offerings from bespoke to customisable suites. I also would love to learn a new skill could be incorporated into my design. I find it’s so important to do this in order to keep your mind (and work) fresh and constantly evolving.