Thursday, December 4, 2008

Writing all the day long (or how I left my day job!)

I've had a couple of you ask how I came to do calligraphy full-time, and so I wanted to just chat a little bit about it!

A couple of years ago, I had graduated college and was working full-time at a job which was mind-numbingly boring. I would lay in bed at night, dreading the thought of getting up the next day and going to work, and would say a little prayer, hoping that I could move into the direction of doing something I loved and was passionate about. Something creative. Anything other than sitting all day in an office with no windows! I really thought I would go out of my mind.

I started entertaining the idea of doing calligraphy. Now instead of lying in bed and dreading going to work, I would be so excited that I would shake my husband awake to chatter on and on about a prospective future of creating little works of scripted art all day- from the comfort of my desk at home. I knew what type of scripts I was drawn to, but I wanted to mix things up a bit- try something fresh. It took quite a bit of experimenting with countless materials, and many trips to my local art supply shop, but I finally found the medium that worked for me. Using a split, pointed metal nib dipped into ink every couple words or so, I started to get the results I was desiring. It is a super old-fashioned way of writing- akin to using a quill!- and a lot of people wouldn't have the patience for it, but I immediately loved it. Calligraphy, and the idea of creating beautiful little works of art all day long, fit me like a glove.

I started setting up a little website on my lunch hours, and emailed a couple of letterpress studios, asking for a quote for business cards. Kate from Saturate loved my samples, and without telling me, she sent an email to Grace at Design Sponge, who wrote up a little post about my work. Within minutes of that post, my inbox was full of inquiries, and within two months of that, I was doing work for clients like the Guggenheim Museum. I think my story is a bit unusual, as people don't normally rocket from working a day job to creating art full-time in the span of a couple months, and I am just so thankful every day for the amazing opportunities I have had.

Weddings are such joyous, inspiring occasions, and I love getting to work directly with sweet couples every day. The envelope you receive in the mail is the first element to make an impression on guests, signifying what type of event it will be, what the mood will be like, etc. I like to think that all the work I put into crafting each curve and swirl eventually pays off when guests finally open their mail boxes and see that initial "piece" of the wedding, and get super excited about the upcoming event.

I feel so completely blessed to be doing something I love every single day. And to get paid for it, too! My hope is for everyone to be so lucky, and find a career that supports them and inspires them at the same time. It is just too amazing when you find that right fit!


Merissa Cherie said...

That is one AMAZING story! Congratulations! You Go Girl! I love your work :)

Trish Taylor said...

Hi Betsy... I love your two blogs... I, too, taught myself calligraphy and am leaving the day after tomorrow for the pointed pen calligraphy convention in Phoenix AZ. It's in a different place each year... are you affiliated with any guild or calligraphy group!? They are a lot of fun.. I'd love to converse more with you. is my email.
Write soon! Where are you living now?
I noticed you grew up in Tucson...

For love of letters,
Trish Taylor
Austin Texas