Bella Figura Calligrapher!

calligraphy, stationery, weddingVirginia Hart1 Comment

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:


If our calligraphy style is requested, we (the calligraphers) do that portion of the design behind the scenes with the Bella team. 

So wait, you might be wondering -- will I still be working with other clients directly? Absolutely. I will be taking on a limited number of custom suite designs per year where my business, Virginia Lucas Hart, will handle every detail. You can contact me here and we will create whatever you dream up, sharing private Pinterest boards and become fast friends haha! Joking, but not really ;) I will also still be providing some spot calligraphy to other designers. But since I'm currently a one-person operation and I'm spreading my time between several different services, I couldn't contribute to as many invitations as I wanted to -- until now! This partnership will allow me to contribute more love, to more people. At the end of the day, that's really all I want in life!

Although I treasure Bella's unbelievable talent and attention to detail, the thing I adore the most is their people. They are incredibly friendly and cheerful (has such a significant impact!), and have welcomed me to the Bella family with open arms.  I've talked to countless stationery dealers on the side, and I have never heard anything but glowing praise about Bella's products and customer service -- something I find so important and all the more reason why I'm so honored and grateful to be working with them.

In May, Bella introduced their new spring designs to their dealer network at a gorgeous pop-up event where I greeted guests from all over the country alongside the uber talented Sarah Hanna at our calligraphy bar!

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It was super exciting to showcase five new suites, designed by Jessica Tierney featuring my calligraphy. Have a look below!


featuring my Lorelei calligraphy

black paper + matte copper foil + foil edging + modern tile patterned liner


featuring my Evelina calligraphy

cotton white paper + grey letterpress + landscape orientation

hand painted florals  + blackberry ink edging + monogram crest


featuring my Imogene calligraphy

dark grey paper + silver matte foil + blind embossing edge detail + marble liner


featuring my Odette calligraphy

textured ivory cotton paper + bronze foil + foil edges + foil floral liner


featuring my Marlow calligraphy

white and grey paper + black letterpress + black painted edges + brush stroke striped liner

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What's your favorite??? I'd love to hear because I swear, y'all, mine changes by the minute.

Interested in any of these? Or something similar? Or something else you see on their site? Stop in one of their stationery dealers -- you can find one near you by going to their homepage and clicking on the "find us near you" button at the bottom and zooming in on this map -->

Or! You can also place an order directly on their website.

Also, if you're interested in me matching your envelope calligraphy or day-of-event goods, I'm more than happy to help. It's been wonderful working on the orders that have already rolled in since our launch. Love, love, love. Stay tuned for more of our creations! :) 

POP of turquoise

calligraphy, weddingVirginia HartComment

We're fortunate to be surrounded by some of the best restaurants in the world here in New York City, but one of the things I daydream about on the regular? ...being able to throw a dinner party. I realize this sounds silly, but we don't have a kitchen table let alone a dining room table, and the biggest quantity of guests we've had to dinner is, ah, one. I still remember a particular night when a friend was over. She used our step-stool as an extra surface area to help prep the artichoke lasagna we later ate on our coffee table. It's absurd, but let's be honest, I consider any cooking attempt a success these days as long as I remember to remove everything I store in the oven before I preheat. 

The main inspiration for such daydreams has to be my mother. She has always created the most beautiful place settings for as long as I can remember, especially on holidays and other special occasions. Even on not-so-special occasions, she'll throw together a basket of pinecones, light some tall candlesticks, and pull out napkin rings, adding her own magical flair to the meal. And regardless of the kind of day, she always uses cloth napkins. Will I ever be someone that uses cloth napkins? I tell myself I'll attempt this habit once we have a nearby washing machine.

Another source of inspiration? Weddings. I love seeing the arrangements and decor! I designed these menus (and calligraphed place cards pictured below) using turquoise watercolor for a wedding this past spring and I wanted to share the dreamy photos by M2 Photography of how they were displayed. I promise you'll be inspired to throw a fancy dinner, too!


photos: M2 Photography, florals: Belovely Floral & Event Design, venue: Fairmount Horticulture Center, rentals: Barnes Handcrafted Farmhouse Tables

Don't you love the pop of turquoise? Also, are these not the most gorgeous pictures?! You can see a full feature of this adorable couple and their gorgeous Philadelphia wedding on Wedding Chicks, by the way! Off to daydream s'more.