5 Years of Tom's Studio - No.1 Tom's Studio x Illyahna Johnson

To celebrate five years since making that first pen for Gemma and the beginnings of Tom's Studio,  I decided to create a collection of pens in the original design which celebrate what I'm most proud of since starting the studio.
No.1 in the series and the most important to me is collaboration.  I've met and worked with so many amazing crafts-people, calligraphers and creatives over these five years.  The work that we've produced together have been the pieces that I am the most proud of and I've made some lovely friends along the way.
When Illyahna (@illyboodesigns) dropped me a message to enquire about a custom pen, the conversation quickly snowballed into a vision of a pen that would take the best from both our talents.  You wouldn't believe it at first glance, but the body of this pen is actually made from paper! To make it I hand laminated GF Smith vellum white paper using eco-resin to make a solid block. then turned it on the lathe to create the comfy undulating form. It was then over to Illy to work her magic,  I had no idea what she would do but when the pens (one for her and one for this series) arrived back in the post,  I was blown away!  

custom calligraphy pen
The detail and craft in her design is absolutely phenomenal! To make it she used a variety of inks including metallic rose gold to create a truly stunning and unique piece.
The pressure was certainly on for me to then lacquer and sand to a shine without undoing all of her beautiful and hard work.  Fortunately, it was meant to be and the finished pen came out perfectly and ready to meet its new owner.

Over to Illy:
What do you say when one of the designer’s you most admire invites you to collaborate with them? Well, the answer should always be ‘HELL YES’! This opportunity has been phenomenal. Working with Tom has truly been a gift. What started out as a small request for a custom pen, suddenly turned itself into one of the most exciting opportunities of my calligraphy career. I have been creatively stretched, which has certainly pushed me to new heights. For those of you who know the writer Elizabeth Gilbert, you’ll understand when I say, this is some ‘Big Magic’ right here!! Thank you so much to Tom’s Studio for this opportunity!
 
I'm Illyahna, also known as Illy or Illyboo, which was my childhood nickname. I'm the modern calligrapher and lettering artist behind Illyboo Designs.  
 
Although I still consider myself a bit of a newcomer to the world of modern calligraphy, I have many years of creative experience under my belt. From studying fashion and knitwear at the Royal College of Art in London to working in New York, I've definitely developed a great eye for beautiful design. My love for calligraphy properly began the first time I picked up a nib and eagerly set myself the challenge to create all my own wedding stationery. 
 
Since then, I never looked back and decided to set up Illyboo Designs, to share my passion for calligraphy. I now offer a range of workshops for all abilities, kits so you can practice at home and calligraphy for live events, weddings and more. I'm also always open to new and interesting ideas.  

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