I announced on social media in May how honored I am to be the newest Bella Figura calligrapher, and I'm finally getting a chance to dedicate a post to this incredible new partnership!
But before I do, I'm going to share a little personal history...
In the beginning of 2011, while enrolled in an evening greeting card class at Parsons, I met a talented classmate who introduced me to pointed-pen calligraphy. Needless to say, I look back on that as a defining directional shift in my life for which I feel incredibly fortunate. That same sweet classmate also told me to peruse Bella Figura's website for inspiration. And inspiration did I find! I simply couldn't get over the calligraphy talent, let alone the beautiful craftsmanship of their letterpress printing.
I've been fascinated with printing techniques for quite some time, which had a lot to do with why I chose to focus one of my UVA degrees in Printmaking. I did mainly lithography and wood / linoleum relief printing, and spent many-a-late-night in college in the printmaking studio, covered in ink. And there I was, years later working a desk job in Manhattan, and I found myself missing the methodical and physical steps in the act of creating and printing something with my hands.
Bella Figura not only inspired my quest to learn calligraphy, their work inspired me to enroll in a letterpress intensive a few months later in 2011 at The Center for Book Arts here in NYC. I'll never forget showing up for my first class after a long day of work; the familiar smell of ink and the clanking sounds of the presses immediately transported me to a feeling of being home. I cherished that class, and ended up creating letterpress chevron desk calendars and selling them on Etsy. (Big hug to anyone who remembers those!) Although I currently outsource all my printing, I never anticipated how helpful that class would later be in understanding and appreciating that part of my business.
Fast forward to 2015, when I was introducing myself to the wedding circuit of NYC as a full-time calligrapher and designer. I reached out to Bella's new flagship store here in Manhattan, an introduction I revisited the following year when I was exploring teaching opportunities. Speaking of, you might recall the workshop I taught at Smock, Bella Figura's sister company, last year.
As things do, one thing led to the next, and when they asked if I'd be interested in being one of their calligraphers (alongside such remarkable talent!), my smile practically leaped off my face. Since they have remained such an enormous source of inspiration, it truthfully felt like a dream come true.
Bella Figura offers one of the largest collection of letterpress wedding invitations in the world, all printed from beautiful Syracuse, New York (where my husband is from), but their calligraphers are based all over. So, how does it work? You can walk into any of their stationery dealers or their flagship store here in NYC, and design a custom invitation suite (or other stationery goods!), with the ability to choose from a number of things including calligraphy styles, like mine below: