How did you get into Calligraphy?
When I was in junior high, my mom had this old fashioned calligraphy book with instruction on how to hold the pen and what not, for one of those marker calligraphy pens. I remember going over the technique but it wasn’t until about a year and a half ago I picked it up again. When my husband and I moved out to San Clemente from Chicago, a random art box got mixed up with our stuff. After calling to find the owner, and no response, I opened it up, and inside were a bunch of art supplies, paints, paper, palettes, and a few nibs and a calligraphy pen. The rest is history.
What do you like about teaching workshops?
All of it! Teaching has been a passion of mine since high school. I’ve taught piano since then and love the journey that it takes you on. The questions, the amazement when something clicks, it’s so fulfilling!
What does your beginners class cover?
My beginning calligraphy class covers three techniques used to kickstart your love affair with calligraphy. Included in the registration price is a calligraphy kit which includes a straight pen holder, beginner nib, 1oz. black ink, alphabet guide and exemplar in my calligraphy, and practice sheets. I go over how to hold the pen, when and how to apply pressure to the pen, and the in’s and out’s of each letter in the alphabet. It’s a lot to cover and sure is hard at first, but by the end of the class, each student leaves with a grasp on dip pen calligraphy.
What makes your calligraphy style unique?
I’m self-taught. It’s raw and organic and fits my personality.
Any tips for new calligraphers?
YES. Ask questions and be humble. It’s always best to come from humble beginnings, in my opinion. You become a stronger business person and artist by learning things through making mistakes or asking for advice from someone whose work you admire. Once I learned to just put my embarrassment aside and ASK, so many doors opened for me.
What not to do?
Copy other artist’s work. For a couple reasons. Obviously, it’s just wrong, but more importantly to me, I feel that people have the ability to be so gifted but when you look at and copy other’s work, it starts to becomes a road block for real, genuine creativity. It’s hard to find it, but I think once it is found, you don’t ever stop learning and getting better.
Favorite must have supplies or suppliers?
Well, I love love Windsor & Newton Gouache. I use it to mix up custom color inks. It’s awesome! And my favorite supplier is, of course, Paper & Ink Arts.
What other projects are you working on?
Besides teaching calligraphy, I also teach Floral/Botanical watercolor, and love it. But I spend most of the time designing and creating paperie for weddings.
How does a project evolve?
For an invitation suite, I always begin by exploring visually with a couple. They send me inspiration, or their pinterest link usually, and I get a grasp of what the theme for their wedding is, flowers they’re using, color palette, etc. Before I begin any artwork, I always sketch everything out, from the layout down to each word, and from there I move to painting and inking. For the watercolor part, I usually try to bring in floral elements that will be used on their wedding day, or even a wash for a splash of color to place on an element in the suite. The calligraphy is usually reserved for certain phrases, such as their names, “RSVP,” “Details,” etc. but once this is all written up and the artwork is finished, I scan it all in and begin designing in Adobe Illustrator. Once the design is approved, I send it to print!
You work with your husband...can you tell us more about that?
Yes! John has been amazing…best decision I’ve made in my business so far. For many reasons. One of them being, we are opposite brained when it comes to business. He’s so organized and strategic and has come up with a system for my workshops when it comes to when and how to order materials, packaging each kit, and correspondence with new shops. Because it’s wedding season for me right now, and I do all of the design, he’s been behind the scenes, booking classes, ordering and packaging materials, and researching shops for me to teach at. I teach roughly four classes a month, and all I have to do now is show up and teach! It’s amazing! He also packages wedding suites, does Post Office runs, makes me lunch, feeds our kitty and looks really good doing it.
Stay tuned for future workshops with our new friend Jenna.
xo - Pigment