Magic HandsHow a football-loving chemist became a calligrapher

“Destiny is often a determined parent.” — Twyla Tharp

“You can’t have handwriting like this son! Come on in here and practice!” That was my father’s assessment and admonition of my terrible handwriting when I was in third grade (who doesn’t have terrible handwriting in third grade?!).  I was most inclined to play football after school, homework, and chores. So my father made a deal with me: “No penmanship practice, no football,” he said nonchalantly.  (It should be noted that my father also thought that football was a “barbaric sport”). What’s a nine-year-old kid who absolutely loved football to do? I accepted his deal, only to continue playing football.  I thus performed the perfunctory assignment to get back to my real love!  From 3rd to 5th grade I was practicing penmanship for 30 minutes a day, five days a week.

Over the years, my penmanship developed into a unique style.  Acquaintances would often ask, “How did you get such beautiful handwriting?” I would reply with the above story. I was often asked to write quotes and statements for friends.

Then in April of 2008, a co-worker took a look at my laboratory notebook (I moonlight as a chemist by day) and said, “Did you write that?! Wow, man, that’s pretty cool! You should do calligraphy.  People do wedding invitations and envelopes using calligraphy.” Initially, I thought little of this.

“Ever notice how ‘What the hell?!’ is always the right answer?” ~Marilyn Monroe

Then one day I bought a calligraphy pen on a whim.  ’Let’s see where this goes…’ I thought.  I found I liked it.  A lot.  Like, a whooolllleeee lot!  When I recognized I was developing an enduring passion for calligraphy, I bought a book for instruction and practice and contacted professional calligraphers for advice and help.  One, Michele Papineau, responded in kind.  She has since become my mentor and a friend.

Since then my passion for calligraphy has literally flourished.  I enjoy writing names and quotes in exquisite lettering styles and flourishings.  While I thrill in doing calligraphy in any manner, I especially enjoy doing both place cards and envelopes. Place cards put one’s name on the marquee.  Lauren Brady of The Write Image said, “Invitations tell a story — the moment the envelope is opened guests know what type of wedding they will be attending.” I agree. Presenting such an invitation enchantingly provides a beautiful opening scenery, the prelude to an extravagant affair!  I believe my calligraphy provides that very stage.

I have developed a flair for hand-lettering in a variety of styles, from the whimsical to the formal to the fancy flourish.  All of my lettering styles are done by hand with brass dip nibs and ink or water-based pigments such as gouache. I produce quality work and take pride in my keen sense of attention to detail and providing exquisite art.  It is pleasing to receive compliments on my work and more pleasing to see the ebullience on the faces of clients when they receive their completed projects.  My desire is to create for you an exquisite collage of calligraphy in all facets.

My art has been featured in both the inaugural and second issue of Salt Lake/Park City Bride and Groom (“Fresh Greens” and “The Icing on the Cake”, respectively) magazine. It is also featured in the 2012 Issue of Latter Day Bride (14 “WOW-FACTOR” Design Ideas for Your Wedding).  Follow me via Twitter and Facebook for more features.  I look forward to working with you, enhancing your intimate engagement and enchanting your guests.

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