Today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness day. I’ve talked here before about my many losses, and have done a lot of work for #IHadAMiscarriage, helping to stop the stigma, the shame and the secrecy that comes with miscarriage and other losses, but since this day means a whole lot to me, I always like to contribute a little something to spread awareness and to help, (even in just the slightest way,) mothers who have experienced such heartbreaking losses.
Something that I read years ago that has stuck in my head as a small source of comfort is that some number of cells from every baby that a woman carries somehow travels up to her brain and stays there after the birth (or death) of the baby, and possibly for the rest of the woman’s life. So we literally carry a piece of all of our children with us, wherever we go, and wherever they are.
Hence, this print. It is available here and in my shop as a free downloadable print, and I would love for any of you who are touched by it to do whatever you would like with it. Print it and hang it on your wall. Use it as a screensaver. Or tuck it away in a box, like I have done with all of my ultrasounds, letters to my babies, etc. Hopefully it helps in some way.
As a little thank you to all of you who have supported me over the years, I created these super-cute hex gift tags that you can print out on your own and use for whatever you like. I thought the “Cheers” tag was perfect for a gift of a bottle of wine, but it would be great to attach to a hostess gift for New Years Eve, or really for any occasion. The “Love” tag is also pretty universal, while the two others are more specifically for the holidays.
I used a bit of a watered down white ink on a brush to letter these, and love how the variation in the ink is still visable in the printable. You could almost pretend you wrote them yourself! I won’t tell anyone!
Anyway, HAPPY HOLIDAYS! It’s a little late to receive anything from the shop for Christmas day at this point, but we’re still around Monday – Wednesday of next week if you have any more gifting to do.
To download the printable, just click HERE, and then print, cut, and you’re good to go!
Every year for the holidays I send out a gift to the nearest and dearest to my business. In the beginning, I baked cookies and pumpkin breads. Then I sent chocolates. But in the more recent past, I have been creating prints that were “tinged” with holiday and sending those out. This year, though, I wanted to change it up a bit once again, and I think sometime in February had the idea of creating gift wrap. I literally have been working on this since then. I’d do a word here and there. Come up with new words. New styles. New combinations. I had pages and pages of calligraphy to sift through a couple months ago when we finally were ready to put it all together. And when the test prints arrived, I was so thrilled!
I tried out two different versions of the gift wrap, thinking I would like one better and just go with that. But I couldn’t make a choice. So I decided to print both and give them together as my gift. And now I am offering them as a set of six sheets (3 of each version) for sale in my shop.
I love the black and white because it can be graphic and pop-y, or you can personalize it and make it your own because it’s almost like a coloring book!
Anyway, hope you love it as much as I do. It really was a fun project.
I’m so excited to finally share the photos of Danielle and Brian’s AMAZING wedding at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, MA. Now that is has been officially debuted on Martha Stewart Weddings, I don’t have to keep these photos (all from the talented Erin McGinn) to myself any more.
Emily Starr Alfano of MStarr Design designed this spectacular wedding, and I always love working with her because she has great ideas and lets me run with them. This one was especially up my alley because I grew up with a huge appreciation of contemporary art, spent a lot of my childhood in museums, and even minored in Art History in college. I loved the idea that my work would be showcased (probably for the first and last time) in an actual museum, and I loved taking abstract expressionism as an inspiration for all the pieces.
We stuck with this “brushstroke” idea and used it throughout, even in the lettering, which was also done with a brush. The invitation suite, which was so incredibly luxe with triple weight paper, letterpress, gold foil and colored edging, set the tone for all the paper throughout the wedding. (Since the invites were actually addressed and mailed while I was on maternity leave, the wonderful Li Ward addressed them and did such a great job.)
(This is the save the date (blurry in the background) and the rehearsal dinner invite – there were so many pieces to design for this wedding and I loved every minute of it!)
Can you even imagine what this space looked like in person? So gorgeous!!!
Congrats Danielle and Brian! You were such a pleasure to work with and I hope you loved how everything turned out as much as I did.
A couple weekends ago, I hosted another round of calligraphy workshops. I taught, as usual, a Saturday beginner class and a Sunday intermediate. I have to admit that every time I plan a workshop, I get a little bogged down with the details and all the work involved (as I do everything, including shopping, flowers, decor, favors, set-up, and cooking (with some help from my mom who is a TROOPER)) and start to dread it a little, but once all is said and done with, I have such a great time teaching that I can’t wait to do it again. It’s so fun to see someone pick up a pointed pen for the first time and learn to letter with it, or to expand someone’s practice in an intermediate class and watch them find their own style. Plus, since my work is pretty solitary for the most part, a fun day chatting, laughing, and drinking champagne with a bunch of ladies (and the occasional dude) is such a nice change of pace. Anyway – thought I’d share some pics from the weekend so you can see how much fun we have.
The donuts might be my favorite part! (Kidding…maybe.)
(This is the trick that I teach to get the chemical residue off the nib – I promise nothing illegal is going on!)
Hope to see you at a workshop soon! You can sign up for my mailing list to be one of the first to be notified when enrollment opens, because they tend to fill up pretty fast. Or continue to check my shop for new dates.
Every time I post a photo of my work on Instagram, I am asked what nib, or what ink, or what brush I used. I get it – I often wonder the same thing when I see other artist’s work – and the right supplies are definitely crucial to good calligraphy.
I supply some of my favorite nibs and inks for my students in my workshops, and I also contributed some of my favorites to the Modern Calligraphy Summit supply list, but I thought maybe I’d let you in on the supplies that I use every day – the ones I absolutely can’t live with out.
One of my favorite online shops for supplies is Paper and Ink Arts. They have good prices, almost everything I need, and ship really quickly. I also love that they are a small business, and exclusively dedicated to calligraphy.
Here’s what I always order from there:
Brause EF66 nibs – My absolute favorite nib. I hardly ever use anything else. It’s flexible but creates nice hairlines. Ink flows from it smoothly. Seriously, my #1 love in the world of pointed pen. I buy them in bulk, as you can see above.
Speedball Straight Holder – I use a straight holder (not an oblique) and it doesn’t get cheaper than this. Standard but works totally fine and I can have a lot of them and not feel bad about it.
Canson Marker Paper – My favorite paper for spot calligraphy and practice. It is really smooth and semi-transparent so you can see liners under it without using a light box.
And below are a few other things I use all the time that, unfortunately, Paper and Ink Arts doesn’t carry (yet – hopefully soon, because it would be so awesome to only have to shop in one place.)
My light box – I used the same small, clunky light box for about 10 years, and just recently bit the bullet on buying a new one. And it wasn’t even expensive – I don’t know what I was thinking! I love it!
Tombow Dual Brush Pen – Great marker brush pens, especially for beginners. They come in almost any color you can think of.
More and more, I am asked to design full invitation suites. I am able to play every role in the execution of the suite – from concept, to design, to managing the printing, to addressing the envelopes, to mailing the invitations. I am loving the creativity in this type of work, and it is so rewarding to create a suite that sets the tone for a wedding and that my clients love. I think invitations with a hand lettering focus can be so beautiful.
Here are some of my recent favorites!
This invite is for an upcoming New Year’s Eve wedding with MStarr Event Design. We made it especially festive with gold foil, pops of hot pink, and custom confetti from The Confetti Bar. They actually laser cut my brush lettering into little confetti pieces. I was blown away with how awesome it came out.
The envelopes were vellum, so the confetti and the gold flecked tissue wrap showed through, just beneath the address.
I couldn’t be happier with the way these turned out, and can’t wait to do the day of pieces to coordinate.
This suite was for a beach wedding in the Bahamas, and I also love the way it turned out. Everything was printed in gold foil, and then we hand dip-dyed each envelope and watercolored the corners of each RSVP card.
Each RSVP card was completely unique. (I purposely made them all different even though guests would just see their own – I guess I just did it for myself and for the bride to see!)
It is always such a thrill to see my lettering pressed into paper with gold foil.
Another recent favorite was this invitation for another MStarr Events wedding at The Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston. I used the brushstroke motif repeatedly throughout the suite, and brush lettered calligraphy to give it an artsy, modern feel. The invitations were triple weight, everything was gold foiled and letterpressed – it was unbelievably luxurious!
I also designed the rehearsal dinner invitation, using the same brush lettering for the couples’ names, but with a more simplified design. This was printed in the prettiest rose gold foil, and had a kraft envelope to dress it down a bit.
A recent Save the Date design was another favorite.
So simple, yet striking. I loved the bride’s idea of highlighting the date of the wedding since that’s technically what a Save the Date is all about.
In this suite I designed watercolor illustrations of olive branches throughout. It was so pretty and luxe, with letterpressed olive calligraphy and that sweet watercolor envelope liner.
And this suite for a wedding in Mexico was very charming, all tied together with a crocheted ribbon. I loved the mad libs reply card that the couple included. White foil on kraft is always a winner.
Can’t wait to show you more suites that are in the works!