21 09, 2016

{Calligraphy Workshops} Boston Workshop with MStarr Design & Ruth Eileen Photography

By | September 21st, 2016|Calligraphy, calligraphy workshops, learn calligraphy|0 Comments

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We had SUCH a great trip to Boston a few months ago and we are looking forward to returning in 2017 for another round of beginner calligraphy workshops with MStarr Design taking the lead on our coordination and design. Emily always finds the best vendors and creates such a fun atmosphere for our attendees. Take a peek at the workshop magic below with photos by Ruth Eileen Photo, florals from Wild Folk Studio, rentals from Peterson Party, all melded together at Lookout Farm Hard Cider.

Our beginner calligraphy workshops delve into the art of modern, pointed-pen calligraphy starting with the tools themselves, then jumping in to practice strokes while we help each student individually, then moving on to Laura’s introductory alphabet. We also discuss tips & tricks that we use daily in our business and cover supplies care and continuing education.

If you’re looking for a fun afternoon learning a beautiful art, grab a few friends and join us this year coming up in Houston, Austin, Los Angeles, San Francisco, NYC, DC & Honolulu.

You can also find out what cities we will be visiting in 2017 {including the Boston area again!} and sign up to be notified once the schedule goes live later this year!

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14 09, 2016

{Calligraphy Tip} Working with Macarons

By | September 14th, 2016|Calligraphy Business 101, Creative Tip, learn calligraphy|0 Comments

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Ah the macaron…one of our very favorite treats! We occasionally get to letter on these beauties and one of the most frequently asked questions is about the ink. Specifically about eating the ink. While personally I’d probably still eat a macaron with regular pen on it, we don’t recommend feeding your client’s wedding guests standard ink in bulk, and fortunately there is an alternative.

Edible ink pens! Yes, we only use edible markers when writing on food that is for anything other than photo shoots. There are many brands available, although the colors are somewhat limited. The brand I personally use is this one.

A few tips to keep in mind are:
1. The pen won’t necessarily work when the macarons are super fresh. Be sure to wait a few hours before trying to write on them.
2. You want to be very delicate with your touch – pushing too hard will crack the shell!
3. Consider using gloves. Technically you are handling food, so at the very least you want to very thoroughly wash your hands before touching, but we have very thin latex gloves in the office that don’t restrict my writing.

As we’ve mentioned before, when doing lettering to get that “calligraphy look” you want to do write monoline first and then go back filling in your thick lines.

If you need some guidance on where your thick lines should go, we offer a basic lettering guide in our shop!

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Photos by Anne Kim

12 09, 2016

{Calligraphy Tip} Dealing with Ink Bleeding or Feathering

By | September 12th, 2016|Calligraphy, Calligraphy Business 101, learn calligraphy|0 Comments

Ink_bleed

It is common for calligraphers to experience ink that bleeds or feathers, particularly when writing on paper that you didn’t purchase yourself {i.e. envelopes that are shipped/dropped off for client orders}.

There are a few different factors that contribute to ink bleeding – here are just a few:

  1. Low quality paper
  2. Paper affected by moisture/humidity
  3. Thin ink

Any or all of the above factors can result in feathered ink as seen in the image at the top of this post.

Unfortunately for paper affected by moisture, there isn’t much you can do expect try to be sure that you prevent paper from being exposed to these elements. For the other two, you can thicken your ink using an ink thickener, like the one we offer with our calligraphy inks found here. The steps for thickening your ink are:

  1. Pour some of your ink into a different jar {like these!}; you never want to pour thickener into your original jar of ink {the one shown below were we at the bottom of the ink available in the jar so I was fine with thickening all of it}
  2. Mix a few drops of thickener into the ink.
  3. Test the new ink – if the ink is still bleeding, add more thickener. If it’s too thick, it won’t come off your nib and you should mix more ink back in.
  4. After a few trial and error rounds, you should be good to go!

You want to always be sure to test a small amount of ink with the thickener to be sure that they mix well together. If the thickener and ink are not compatible the ink can become congealed and unusable.

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Our ink thickener is compatible with the inks sold in our ink sets, but there are other ink thickeners available such as gum arabic found here.

Ultimately quality supplies, including paper & ink, will make for a much less stressful calligraphy experience! We offer our signature practice pads in our shop here, all made with quality paper for calligraphy practice.

Photos courtesy of Red October Photography

 

9 09, 2016

{Lifestyle} Simple Champagne Punch Happy Hour

By | September 9th, 2016|lifestyle, photography, style|0 Comments

champagne-party-2Our friends over at Karson Butler Events were kind enough to introduce us to a tasty lemonade champagne punch at their Capitol Hill studio, and when we couldn’t remember what went in it, we had to frantically pull together an easy alternative. I think the first time we thought we were making the one Emily had made us, but later realized that we were missing the lemonade concentrate from hers. This version from All Recipes is so easy though, that we’ve been making it for our Old Town studio workshops ever since. Alicia from Love Knot Photo came by to help us document this tasty beverage below or you can check it out over on SMP Living! All the shopping details to put together your own champagne punch party are below as well…

It’s seriously so easy and it can easily be doubled or tripled as needed for parties. To make the beverage all you need is:

  • 1.5 bottles of chilled champagne
  • 1 bottle of ginger ale {2 liters}
  • 2 small packages of frozen strawberries {when we make this for multiple classes we just get a larger bag}

That’s it! Just combine the 3 ingredients, stir & serve.

Of course for our purposes we always like to dress things up with coasters, napkins & stir sticks..enjoy!

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Shop this setup
Drink dispenser {we spray painted our stand gold}
Bubbly Bar Sign
Best Ever Coasters
Napkins
Stir Sticks

Heart Coasters

 

8 09, 2016

{POP UP SHOP} If you’re in the DMV area…come see us at the LHC Studio with Mintwood Home!

By | September 8th, 2016|decor|0 Comments

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6 09, 2016

{Calligraphy Supplies} New Inks for Fall!

By | September 6th, 2016|Calligraphy, Calligraphy Business 101, learn calligraphy|0 Comments

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It might not officially be fall, but we are still so excited to introduce our newest shades of calligraphy inks! You can now shop our deep purple Aubergine and burnt brown Fig in the calligraphy supplies section of our LHC shop here.

These inks join our recently released fan favorites – we love seeing your pics of them on Instagram – of Dove Grey, Peony Pink and Night Navy. All of these inks come pre-mixed and ready for use, just as shown. The lighter colors have beautiful opacity, all write extremely smooth and are waterproof.

You can find these plus all of our preferred calligraphy supplies, including metallic inks, practice pads & of course our Laura Hooper Calligraphy video tutorial + starter kit for learning the art here in the shop!

Here are some pics of the newest inks in use…

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Happy lettering!

xo,
Laura

3 09, 2016

{Calligraphy Tip} Working on Wood Boards

By | September 3rd, 2016|Calligraphy, Calligraphy Business 101, Creative Tip|1 Comment

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Wood boards can be a beautiful addition to any wedding or event, but they definitely take a considerable amount of preparation, set up and then of course the lettering itself. This can lead to a potentially tricky conversation with clients who might think “it’s just writing on wood, right?”. Wrong. As anyone who has attempted to work on wood boards knows, it’s never that simple. But there are some key tips that will help you with your board preparation and also making your lettering look like a pro!

First we will cover the tools you need:

  • Wood board in the size desired – these can either be purchased {raw} pre-cut at craft stores such as Michael’s & Hobby Lobby or you can custom cut them out of plywood from home improvement stores. Given how much we value her hand, Laura isn’t “allowed” to handle any cutting, but our team does produce all of our boards in-house.
  • Wood stain – we prefer this stain but there are other options, too
  • Latex gloves
  • Painter mixing stick {usually free in the paint section}
  • Sand paper or power sander for the especially bold {please abide by all safety precautions!}
  • Clean, soft, cotton cloth {we buy packs at home improvement stores – here are some from Amazon}
  • Blue painter’s tape
  • Medium point white paint pen – we prefer these water based Sharpie paint markers

The first step is to prep your wood by thoroughly sanding the entire surface. This means all sides, edges, corners. You don’t have to sand the backside, but we do.

Once sanded, it’s time to stain the wood. Wearing latex gloves open the can of stain and make sure you thoroughly mix it with a paint mixing stick or other stirring utensil. Dip the cloth into the stain and smudge stain evenly over the surface of the wood. We like to stain the back side first, let it dry, turn it over and stain the front. We only apply a single coat to the board.

Now here is what we think is absolutely KEY. Allow your board to completely dry. We let our boards dry at least overnight, but usually longer – days or even weeks. We prep boards in our most commonly ordered sizes and keep them on hand, allowing them to dry for an extended period of time. This is a very important step and can mean the difference between crisp sharp edges with your ink versus bleeding and feathering at the edges. Your stain must absolutely be fully dried. This means same-day prep is out. Again, this is just how we do it, but it has worked well for us.

After you have allowed adequate time for the stain to dry, physically touch the board to determine if it feels damp or tacky at all. Again, if it is not 100% dry, you need to allow more time.

Consider what you would like your board to say and measure out the lines. Laura likes to use removeable blue painters tape to mark where her writing lines will be – this is one of our preferred tips! Just be sure that after you {oh-so-easily} remove your “lines,” that you remember to go back and finish your descenders.

This portion of the process does take a considerable amount of time as you have to calculate spacing, count characters, etc. It can take a couple hours when working on a large seating board, and you want to be sure to account for this timing when you are quoting a product.

Now it’s time to letter! With experience, you will find it easier to gauge how much space your wording will take, but until then you can pencil out your art first. If it’s not covered perfectly, you can erase after the board is finished…and fully dried of course!

Using the paint marker, write out your wording in monoline first, then go back in and fill the thicker areas. This will give your lettering the look of calligraphy. You only want to fill in where the thicker lines would go in pointed-pen calligraphy. Remember, this is for the downstrokes only! Be sure not to fill in your entry or exit strokes with thickness.

If you need help working on your basic lettering, we offer an alphabet exemplar here!

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You can see in this close up image that the top portion has the thick lines filled in and the “izabeth” portion has the second line added for the thick line and Laura is going back through to fill it in. The date below is still in the original monoline lettering.

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Allow time to dry and give your work a final once-over. Remove your painter’s tape, erase any pencil marks, and voila!

Have other tips for lettering on wood or what us to cover another topic? Let us know in this comments below!

xo,
Alyssa

30 08, 2016

{Calligraphy Tip} Modern Calligraphy Summit 2.0

By | August 30th, 2016|Calligraphy, Calligraphy Business 101, calligraphy workshops, learn calligraphy|0 Comments

modern-calligraphy-summit-2Looking to take your calligraphy & lettering to the next level?! We are excited to spread the word that MCS 2.0 has been in the works & registration is OPEN NOW…but the EARLY BIRD cart closes tonight, August 30 at 11:59pm PST.

We aren’t teaching in this round, but you can bet we will be taking the courses! The lineup is AMAZING & includes invitation design: start to finish, brush calligraphy, watercolor illustration & digitizing, classic Copperplate, layouts & lettering styles, everything but paper {hello rocks, leaves, glass, wood & more!} and so much more.

The early bird enrollment closes today 8/30 at 11:59pm PST, so do not wait if you want to learn ONLINE from 7 wonderful instructors. In addition to the reduced registration rate, there are a few bonus videos offered JUST to those who enroll this period including a session on styling & photographing your work, using the iPad Pro & even a session for lefties!

Click here or in the pic above to visit the MCS 2.0 page for details and to ENROLL NOW!!

If you still haven’t signed up for the original Modern Calligraphy Summit, you can find details on that one here. It includes our beginner calligraphy course, envelope layouts, developing your own style, digitizing, flourishing, floral embellishment, watercolor lettering & more. It includes instruction from 9 different professionals & is a great option as well!

Maybe you aren’t looking to improve your calligraphy craft or try new styles/mediums, but are looking for guidance on the business end of things? If that sounds like you, be sure to check out the Calligraphy Business Bootcamp! We will cover how to set up the legal side of your business, client intake & communication, marketing, pricing & growing your business. Check out the website for more details, but know that the Early Bird rate is limited to 50 attendees and over 25 have already claimed their registration!

28 08, 2016

{LHC Studio} Gold & Rose Gold Desktop Goods

By | August 28th, 2016|Calligraphy Business 101, decor, lifestyle, resources, tips|0 Comments

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Photo by Sweet Root Village

We are frequently asked about our gold & rose gold office goodies {yes, we have sets in both colors!}, so we thought we would round up some resources for you!

Is it really necessarily to have gold scissors? Of course not, but it makes bland office work a bit more enjoyable & we are never opposed to that…
If you love a good name brand set, Kate Spade has a full line of gorgeous office goods. But, there are plenty of non-name brand items that look great, too {almost all of our goods are generic brands linked below!} so we’ve sourced some of our favorite options below:

Gold & Acrylic Stapler
Gold & Acrylic Tape Dispenser
Gold Scissors
Rose Gold Scissors

Gold Paper Clips
Pencil Holder
Rose Gold Stapler & Tape Dispenser
Gold Washi Tape Set

Happy desktop shopping!
xo
Laura & Alyssa

26 08, 2016

The Ins & Outs at Laura Hooper Calligraphy

By | August 26th, 2016|about laura, advice, Calligraphy, Calligraphy Business 101|0 Comments

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Photo by Abby Jiu

On many occasions when we tell people that aren’t familiar with the wedding or stationery industries that we “run a calligraphy/stationery business” we receive one of two responses. 1. “oh yeah, fancy writing” or 2. “But what is your real job?”

While love the art of calligraphy & even more so find joy in sharing it with so many interested newcomers through our workshops, starter kits & social media platforms, Laura Hooper Calligraphy has been Laura’s “real job” and sole source of income for over 14 years. She has been fortunate to have part-time staff for about 8 years {starting with one assistant & building as needed}, and for the past 2.5 years there have been two of us full-time {Laura & myself, Alyssa}. We currently employ 6 part-time staff in addition to a few outsourced components of the business {accounting, graphic design, website work}.

So with that said, below are a few of the methods of income revenue for us here at Laura Hooper Calligraphy. This is definitely not a comprehensive list of the potential sources for any calligraphy business which would also include commercial lettering, logo work, art for online shops such as Minted and more.

Handwritten Work ~ This is what started it all for Laura over 14 years ago. This includes envelope orders & reception work {escort cards, place cards, signs, wood boards, etc}. For some calligraphers this would also include custom commissions such as poems, vows, art pieces {like a “print” but a one-off handwritten piece}, etc ~ we no longer offer this type of work, but it is very common.

Custom Print Orders ~ After doing solely handwritten orders for a couple years, Laura started receiving requests for fully designed & printed invitation suites as well as reception paper goods. We also offer custom map cards for welcome bags, posters for “guest book” signs, etc. This requires design skills {Illustrator/Photoshop} & printing. Laura started working with a graphic designer as this point who digitizes & lays out her work for print. This is also when we started finding our printers, some of whom we still work with to this day.

Teaching Calligraphy ~ Right about the time that I started working for Laura full-time, we had just released our first calligraphy starter kit for beginners & our friends at Karson Butler encouraged Laura to do her first in-person workshop. Thanks to our newly created starter kit, we had a nice curriculum laid out and took it from there. Fast forward to 2.5 years later and we’ve taught over 2,400 students around the US & Canada and shipped over 4,400 kits worldwide!

Shop goods ~ In addition to the above, we also offer party goods in both our LHC shop & Etsy shop. These includes napkins, coasters, stir sticks, greeting cards & more for weddings, showers, parties, home decor, etc. All of our items feature Laura’s calligraphy and are all mass produced. We offer custom napkins, coasters & stir sticks but with higher minimum orders and the price point is a bit higher since we can’t order them in bulk. The shops also include all of our preferred calligraphy supplies.

So there you have a very basic breakdown of our main activities here at Laura Hooper Calligraphy! Laura certainly could not do it all alone, so we are so grateful to have a dedicated team behind the LHC brand. If you are looking for more specific details on how to operate a calligraphy or other small art related business, be sure to check out the Calligraphy Business Bootcamp coming from Modern Calligraphy Summit next Spring! You can sign up here to receive more information as it becomes available.

xo
Alyssa

p.s. to read more on how Laura got into the world of calligraphy, check out this older post here!