My Favorite Part of July

calligraphy, friendship, travel, updateVirginia HartComment

It's hard to believe we're about to say hello to August, but as I look back on this month, I wanted to share my favorite part of July. A couple of weeks ago, I attended my first IAMPETH Convention in Franklin, Tennessee. IAMPETH stands for International Association of Master Penmen, Engrossers, and Teachers of Handwriting. The convention was basically one-big-week-long-calligraphy-art-camp-heaven. People flew in from Canada, Kuwait, Japan, Italy, Great Britain, and from all four corners of the U.S.

Highlights included meeting one of my first online calligraphy teachers in person (she was/is a huge inspiration to me!), meeting people I stalk on Instagram (some people even knew me as @ihartvirginia which cracked me up!), taking classes from talent that blew my mind, and being surrounded by people who were excited to talk about all the things I never get to talk about. Being an artist and working from home can often feel incredibly isolating, but I left there feeling so inspired!

Not to mention, I had an amazing roommate and got to spend time with one my best friends in the world. Here are a few snapshots from my week!


^I quickly learned how to pack all of my supplies including a whole lotta ink! Check out that nifty container of mine :) That's my girlfriend, Mimi, who was on my flight down to Nashville (she lives there, and was up here celebrating her birthday!) and she found those cookies in a store in LGA. Her real name is Minnie so we always say we need a brand together called something like, "Minnie Ginny" -- so you can imagine my excitement when she pulled those out!

When we arrived at the convention, we received a goodie bag and binder full of all the class notes (even the ones we didn't take - score!), and I had to take a picture of the box holding my binder :) Also, this may not excite many people reading this, but LOOK AT ALL OF THOSE DIFFERENT NIBS!


^My roommate, Jenny, and I walked to get lunch every day. (Yep, Jenny and Ginny - ha!) It was crazy hot, but it felt like a nice break from the hotel's air conditioning and a good way to stretch our legs. That's her showing me how to use the magical fountain soda machine that has a million different choices and flavors. (Things like that don't exist in NYC.) I don't normally drink soda, but after really early wake-up calls/class all day/late nights of trying to squeeze in work, it was necessary.

Oh, and then that's some majuscule practice and the prettiest washi tape I've ever seen, and I had to document that our teacher recycles communion glasses from her church for ink. Ha!


^Here I am learning flourishing! I took another class on wedding invitation design and was flipping through my instructor's work, saw the "Ginny and Patrick" piece, and had to document! :)


^Here we are with that teacher, actually! She was one of my absolute favorites. Not only has she been designing wedding invitations for over 50 years, she writes calligraphy on animal skins...! My oldest brother (my very first calligraphy teacher!) would love her. And then there's my attempt at some brush lettering and shadow work in another class.


^My roommate for the week lives in DC with her husband (and hedgehog!) and we met in a class in Brooklyn and immediately hit it off. Do you ever meet someone and you're like, "they're a good egg" and you know that you could talk to them for hours on end? That's what happened. We exchanged cards, and kept in touch, and that rooming situation could not have worked out better! And thennn we found out, after both of our friends picked us up separately one night, that they knew each other! Such a small world.

Also, the first image is a beautiful Nashville boutique my girlfriend helped style - love!


^So, after we figured out that our people knew one another, we all hung out at as a group and went to the cutest little town in the middle of nowhere. I drank sweet tea out of a mason jar and ate the best pesto chicken salad I've ever had.

iampeth-7^Oh, Mimi. Good friends love you even when your laugh looks like THAT! (What is my hand doing?!)


^She moved from NYC to Nashville a little under a year ago so when I booked this trip, I knew I wanted to set some time aside to spend with her, and I stayed a couple nights with her in her adorable loft after the conference wrapped up. She is a stylist and visual merchandiser and the fact that she has a separate coat rack, styled all pretty, made my day. In boarding school, I used to show up to her room and be like, "I have nothing to wearrrr." And she was all, "Oh girl. I'll hook you up." I adore her home decor, too, because she doesn't just fill her space with cookie cutter pieces. She also works for a furniture company and knows the deal, making her home personal and unique.

Not only is she creatively talented, she is a little chef and made the best homemade pizza! We lived together in NYC years ago and one year she made me a birthday cake from scratch, and my mind was blown! I had never seen someone not use a box or a tub of pre-made icing. The girl of many talents, that one.


^In related Mimi-is-so-cool news, she busted out some leather samples and wood glue and declared that we should make tassel keychains. Can you see why I love her? :)


^After a day of exploring Nashville and an artist flea market, we ate fresh peaches, grabbed a raw snickers bar and smoked coconut ice cream made with almond milk from a new restaurant in town, and sat outside her building (and pool!) on our last night.

Tennessee, you were tremendous. What a wonderful week!