1. What Paper and Ink product(s) can you not live without? My first choice is always watercolor paper and Arches Black Cover. These two products are my “go to” for cutting postcards. They are heavy duty and I can do a variety of surfaces. Another product that I like is called the Kraft-Tex, Kraft Paper Fabric. It’s durable enough for mailing postcards. I also use it to wrap my journals when I get a year’s worth…can you tell I like postcards? One more product that I’m really excited about is the Cocoiros Lettering Pens. I got the type with the flexible tip. It writes like a small brush but is sturdier. Of course I got the whole set in all the colors along with the pen bodies and caps…couldn’t help myself!!
2. Why do you choose to shop at Paper and Ink Arts? There is a huge product line that is offered specifically for calligraphers. It’s what I consider one stop shopping. The customer service is such a pleasure. I really appreciate that.
3. How did you get started in calligraphy? Tell us a little about your story! I’ve always loved handwriting but never considered it seriously. I had never heard of the word calligraphy. I received an award in sixth grade for my handwriting but was never encouraged beyond that. My jobs since college had demanding work schedules that were not conducive to going in that direction. What really got me interested and started was my aunt, Willy Gardner. She would send the most beautiful calligraphic envelopes to us over the years, most of which I still have. When I took my first class in 2009 from the community college, I found that I couldn’t get enough of it. I couldn’t learn the different hands fast enough. When I go to conferences, the classes I take are always lettering classes. Then I practice, practice and practice. At this point in time I find that I go through phases and work on a particular hand or two for several months. Right now I’m in the fraktur/pointed pen variations mode (it breaks up my practice switching from one to the other). I enjoy making and sending postcards, recipe cards (it’s not a postcard if it isn’t delivered by the postal person), card sets and wrapping paper using craft paper.
5. What recommendations would you make to someone just starting out with calligraphy? The most important suggestion I can offer is to take classes whenever possible. Books are great. I concentrate on studying the exemplars. But to really get a feel for the basics of holding the pen correctly, pen angle, slant, height, width, spacing, correct posture etc. a teacher can get one started in the right direction which helps fine tune technique. The other suggestion would be to find a guild to join. That’s a good opportunity for classes. Also check out local community colleges or adult education courses.