I taught two calligraphy workshops at Smock, a paper print shop in Syracuse earlier this month! I've been a huge fan of Smock products for years, especially their gift boxes. We have several we use for storage in our apartment (they look really cute on bookshelves), and I also love using them to ship invitations to my bridal clients! Their team could not have been nicer these past few months as we collaborated on the details of the event. I took a tour of their facility this summer which immediately transported me back to the print shop at UVA. Nothing like the smell of ink! It wasn't until I lived in NYC and took a class at the Center for Book Arts that I learned how to print letterpress - and funnily enough, I ordered all of my plates from Boxcar Press, the umbrella company to Smock and Bella Figura. Therefore, I obviously felt incredibly honored to have the opportunity to teach at their annual holiday sale. Syracuse also happens to be where my in-laws live so it was a treat having an extra reason to visit family!
Class attendees received a folder with exemplars (including one I made into a bookmark!), samples of my favorite paper, guidelines, and a 12-page curriculum. They also received a wooden ink pod, ink, my favorite pencil, an oblique calligraphy pen, 2 nibs, a scratch pad and gift cards from Smock, and a red Le Pen just for fun.
Oh, and black totes to carry everything home with their names written from a squeeze tube of puffy paint ^ which was honestly harder to do than I thought it would be haha!
We went through the miniscules (aka lowercase letters), and I was so impressed by how quickly everyone was grasping the technique.
I designed my class with a lot of troubleshooting tips. Although I've taken countless classes myself at this point, I also attempted to teach myself calligraphy years ago. How'd that go, you ask? It was a disaster, and looking back, I was doing SO many things the wrong way. However, I honestly think it has helped me to know what not to do so I can pass on that wisdom to others. All sixteen of my students were so sweet that weekend. I've since heard that they're really enjoying practicing their new skill as well. One student said she couldn't believe how relaxing and calming calligraphy was -- when you're focusing on the rhythm of your letter strokes, it's hard to think of anything else. Being able to turn off all other mental noise is rare these days!
^above pictures all taken by Amelia Beamish
^ a couple snaps before another workshop the next day
I really loved the decorative paper runner Smock made from their paper and how all their patterns magically work so well together.
How fitting that I got to stand beneath a giant heart to sell some extra kits!
^what I bought at their sale!
The sale prices were amazing, by the way. Like, too-good-to-be-true-and-you-wanna-grab-everything-in -sight amazing. If you're near Syracuse and like paper products, I highly recommend making sure you go to any future sales and stocking up on all of your wrapping paper, birthday cards, thank you cards, stocking stuffers, etc. You seriously can't beat the quality either. I would've bought more if I hadn't been traveling by bus!
We also collaborated on the calendar on the left ^ that we gifted to the calligraphy class attendees, anyone who shopped with a reusable bag or spent at least $25. It's a digitally printed blue marble paper, and all the text is letterpress printed including my calligraphy! I'm honestly obsessed with how it turned out and can't wait to hang it up all year. We hosted a giveaway on Instagram with the last 30 of these calendars, but if you're in the market for something similar, Smock also has these designs.
P.S. Stay tuned on my Learn page for my upcoming class schedule! We're pushing back the December 4th class to early 2017 to accommodate schedules -- that one will take place at a store in Brooklyn and I'll keep you posted on the details as we confirm them. If you're interested in hosting a class (in or outside of NYC!) or a private lesson, please shoot me a message!