Could you give a short history of how you began your calligraphy career and business?
Over my adulthood I did commissions for people and taught some classes in calligraphy and watercolor. In my current setting I offer assistance to clients with their special occasions as well as doing works for exhibition. Teaching others to enjoy and be active in these heritage arts continues to give me great pleasure.
What inspired you to get into calligraphy?
I started doing calligraphy when I was 12 – I was fascinated by the contrast of light and dark, thick and thin.
Where do you seek inspiration?
My surroundings and my children’s interests. I read widely too. There is always something to look at and be inspired by if you open your eyes.
What is the weirdest item you’ve ever worked with or written on in your calligraphy career?
Stuffed fish – never again…..
What is your typical design process?
Lots of thinking…… I seldom put pen to paper for about a week and am just mulling over the project in my mind. Once I have a few ideas I will make thumbnails or small samples and leave them lying around for a bit to see which ones talk to me the most. Modifications are made, revisions done and then I will do 2 full size pieces and offer the one I like the most to the client. Doing two is less pressure to be perfect on one.
What inspires you outside of work?
Everything! I could spend all my time experimenting and playing and trying new stuff that I saw, imagined, read about, thought about when working on a different project, architecture, patterns, knitting, you name it!
What would you say are important things to keep in mind when choosing a lettering style for an event?
Legibility. People have to be able to read it comfortably – some colour combinations make it hard for people to read an invitation and place cards are almost always far too small to be really useful. Sometimes people want lots of swirls and flourishes to make it seem even more elegant but instead people are lost trying to figure out the writing.
How is decorating with calligraphy different than decorating with graphical art?
Words are what connect us. We are not telepathic creatures so we have to be able to connect and words are the glue. The words we pick, display and use tell others a lot about ourselves, our intentions, motivations, thoughts.
What are the particular challenges of being a calligrapher or lettering artist, versus a painting or drawing artist?
Everybody can write so I get a lot of queries to quick, do a few words on something for little or no money.
Do you teach calligraphy?
Love to teach!!!
What one thing is it helpful for a first time client to know about engaging the services of a calligrapher?
Keep your options open and let the calligrapher guide the process. We have done thousands of envelopes, thousands of place cards and hundreds of invitations so learn from our expertise. I almost never show clients samples – it just overwhelms them and then no decisions are ever made. I prefer to do a sample and offer that, taking into account the formality of the event, the colours, the season, etc.
How long before an event, should one contact a calligrapher?
When you start thinking about any items that will have lettering on them, that is when you call the calligrapher. Figure out a total plan of action – save the date, invites, place cards, table numbers, menus, seating plans, signs, thank yous, etc. If you are thinking about lettering in a public space, laundry wall or a special sign, get the calligrapher involved early – we have standards for wall preparation, surfaces, etc that can save a lot of money and time later on.
You can see more of Anne’s beautiful work at Anne Kaese Calligraphy and Heritage Arts.