Saturday, March 31, 2012

My First Repurposed Leather Journal

Look what I made!!!




Fun inserts

Pencil/pen slots and map lining

Two friends and I drove up to Carmel for a workshop with fabulous bookbinder Bonnie Stahlecker. Our goal was to create handmade travel journals with repurposed leather covers. Our modus operandi was to have fun doing it. Both accomplished!

Jen Grove, Doris Sisk and I joined four other calligraphy friends (Ellen Simon, Kathy Laporte, Pat Ward, Pam Weaver) and a new friend named Jean Ann at Nature's Karma for the workshop. It was great to see lovely Jane Farr, who came by for a few minutes to say 'hello'.

I will be posting photos to my wedding blog in a few weeks of two very large wedding letters (as vows) I did for a sweet couple. They met me at Nature's Karma to pick up the letters I'd done for their upcoming wedding in Ireland. Their reactions were more than I could have hoped for. Meeting them was as much fun as the workshop. "Perfection" was one of the words they used upon seeing their letters, but their smiles and appreciation were the perfection to me.

We also had the opportunity to visit a few of Carmel's lovely galleries, where we saw fellow calligraphers Erika Woods and Yves Leterme's exciting work and met Susan Mauck, an excellent portrait artist. We had an early supper in Carmel before heading for home, tired but happy - each of us with a beautiful new handmade book to enjoy. Jen, Doris and I had so much fun we plan to get together in two weeks to make more books!.

If you get a chance to take a workshop from Bonnie Stahlecker, do it! She is excellent at her craft, and is always well-organized, gracious and very helpful.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Practice, practice, practice!

That's all for this week. Just lots of practice...many more like these. Outdated phone book pages are good for reusing this way with the added bonus that they force a lighter touch or the very thin paper will tear. I am working on several projects at once, but can't post them yet. In between - lots of practice.

Side note. Many years ago Peter T, a favorite calligraphy instructor, cryptically replied, 'those who can, do' or something similar when I asked him for advice about my flourishing. I thought he was trying to tell me I should not be flourishing, but I think I misunderstood. Barring the awkward left swing on the flourish on the p in the first photo above, I think my flourishing is pretty okay. I think I was too timid early in my calligraphy career. I'm not now.

Have I posted the above yet? My grandson did some finger painting. I asked for the yellow piece. I sealed it with an acrylic medium and then lettered a Pablo Picasso quote on it, framed it and hung it in my kitchen. I love it! Our first collaboration! The bold lettering is Neuland and the light is my copperplate script. Art by Jace.

Friday, March 16, 2012

A Little Bit Techie: Facebook, Etsy, Pinterest, Flickr, Blogspot, website, Photoshop and Calligraphy

Let's get a little bit techie this week.

Have I told you about my new Facebook Fan Page? I believe it's now called a Facebook Business Page. I recently changed mine from Jan Hurst Calligraphy and Design to Louisville Calligraphy and Art. If you are on Facebook, please go have a look and LIKE my page. (I always 'like' businesses back that like my page.) I read that if I ever get to 1000 'likes', my Facebook page address will become much shorter and more easily recognizable. To paraphrase Sally Field's gushing Oscar acceptance speech, "Please Like me! Please really like me!" I'd love to get rid of all the ding-dang numbers in my FB page address, and I have a long way to go! Urging your friends to also 'like' my page would really be appreciated too.

Have I told you about my Etsy shop? Please visit me there too! Friends and fellow calligraphers Jen Redmer and Terry Gustafson Kempfert urged me to get on Etsy, as did Sandy Wright, my soon to be daughter in law, who spurs me to be more technology oriented. I've also been on Pinterest for quite a while now, but I'm still working on how to integrate all this technology. I haven't tried Flickr yet, but am told it's something I need to do. Blogs, websites, Facebook, etc. - so much to do, so much to learn.

If you're not on Facebook, it is a part of what's called the social media network. As such, it does have a lot of your personal information, which scares many off. As I understand it though, you can control how much you 'put out there'. I find it a wonderful means of staying connected to like minded friends and acquaintances, to stay informed and to inform others, and hopefully it will become a nice avenue to promote my business. I have both a 'regular' page where I interact with friends and acquaintances and the business page.

Pinterest is a free, fun place to see new ideas, lots of recipes, crafty ideas, wedding ideas, home decorating ideas, trash-to-treasure ideas...just a great idea machine all around. A caution - it is a time grabber, especially at first. You can easily get lost checking out so many 'boards'. Pinterest is like a virtual bulletin board or inspiration board where people can 'pin' things of interest to them. There has been some concern of late about copyright issues, but I think if you follow the guidelines you won't be in any trouble. Pinterest's founder is working on clearing up any vagueness. Though it's not meant to be primarily self-promotion, it does have a self-promotion aspect to it and works well to drive people back to your other online sites. (Again, I'm trying to learn more about that.) When I joined you had to be invited by another member. If that's still in force and you want an invitation, let me know.

Blogspot and Wordpress are two of the best known blogging sites. I started with Blogger/Blogspot and have a few blogs. I love to blog. In person, I don't 'talk' so much; online, I can be a talking fool. If you haven't done so already, please visit my other blogs. I have them all listed with clickable links at the top of this page and also top right. To come back to this page, simply press the left arrow button on your tool bar.

I started with one blog. Letterlady is the moniker I chose when I first started playing with online sites. Jan Hurst had a few takers already (You may find my name as a beer afficianado in the UK, a doctor associated with the University of Louisville, and a stripper, among others.) I have kept the letterlady designation as part of my online address in one form or another, incorporating it into the addresses of my main art blog: Letterlady's Letters, which you are reading now (thank you very much!) and my wedding blog: WeddingLetterlady. I have another (my original) blog which became more of a family blog two years ago when I became a grandmother. (If you want to see photos of the cutest two year old boy in the world - yes, I am biased - that is the place!) A few others have taken the letterlady name as well now, including a writer and another calligrapher. As an old tv commercial used to say, 'Do not be fooled. Buy the original.'

I was too slow on the website uptake to get my own domain with the letterlady designation. My website is a commercial one through Kodak called PictureTrail. Now that Kodak is in financial distress, I am not sure what may happen with the website: I would like to learn to build my own website, but PictureTrail is so easy - and it lets you start for free until you outgrow the space. I now may have to upgrade for the second time, or cull my gigabyte-eating photos. Gigabyte is another techie term, but you probably already know that!

Besides social media, by which all of the aforementioned can be designated, I have been a Photoshopper and digital artist for many years. In 2003 I wrote an article for Somerset Studio magazine about my digital collages, which were a fairly new artform at the time. Coincidentally, my outside-of-the-home worklife ended soon after I wrote a story for the prestigious publication, Automobile Quarterly, about another digital artist, Robert Michaels. No, the two occurrences were not related.
Somerset Studio, Nov/Dec 2003:
Robert Michaels/AQ:

(Haven't we all learned so much, so fast!) Now, having had Ray Richie, a calligraphy and graphic artist friend to put a monogram I designed (duogram according to Crane's) into vector format so my client could use it in a large size, and seeing the much finer results obtained that way, I am determined to learn Illustrator one day - hopefully sooner than later.

Enough tech talk for one week. Back to the calligraphy desk! I don't know everything about these newish formats, but I will be happy to answer questions if I'm able. Comments and questions are always welcome!

Posted this blog earlier and can't believe I failed to mention the little bird, Twitter! Do you tweet?

Friday, March 9, 2012

My "Major Prize" a la The Christmas Story

I recently learned (see earlier post) that I'd won a prize in Lisa Engelbrecht's blog drawing. To me, it was better than the infamous 'major prize' in "The Christmas Story". (Who can forget the Italian 'fra-gi-le' on the shipping box?)

My 'major prize' arrived earlier this week. Fun packaging!

Inside the envelope, the prize was wrapped in red sparkly tissue, and closed with this darling letter button pin.

The prize was a signed copy of Jill Berry's book, "Personal Geographies". It looks intriguing and I look forward to delving more deeply into it.

A cool bonus was the label from Lisa in a funky gothic style of lettering that procliams: Letterista Style.

Otherwise my week has been full. Lots of Jace time (his 2nd birthday was March 2, a day now made infamous by killer tornadoes, the worst we have ever known here.) I was involved in a photo shoot to mark his day, shopping for presents, the actual party, and lots of calligraphy, which I will share another time.

Come to think of it, this darling toddler is my real major prize...the prize of a lifetime.

Friday, March 2, 2012

My Little Guy is an Artist

I attended a Nashville Calligraphy Guild retreat last weekend (Scribehaven at Lake Barkley in Kentucky) and have spent this week preparing for Jace's birthday and squeezing in some calligraphy envelopes when I could. Since I have nothing of my own to post, I am posting my grandson's art exploits.

Jace the Face is a painter. A real live child artist. His mother lets him express his sitting on the table (she was right there, and it keeps the paints away from the walls.)

The one on yellow paper will be mine!

I love seeing my little child artist getting into this so completely.

Part of his "I'm two!" birthday presents included a fresh supply of Crayola washable fingerpaints and paper. One day maybe we will create together!