Thursday, September 22, 2011

My Interview with Laura Hooper, Calligrapher

In an era of evites and quickly dashed off emails, there is something so charming about receiving a note or invitation with beautiful penmanship on crisp, bright, high quality stationery. While my handwriting hasn't evolved much beyond the lessons of Ms. Dryden's 3rd grade class, there are those like Laura Hooper of Laura Hooper Calligraphy who can transform the written word into intricate and romantic pieces of art. With the holidays approaching and the season of wedding engagements about to begin, I felt it was a wonderful time to learn a bit more about the world of calligraphy from one of the foremost leaders in the field.

Laura Hooper's work has been featured numerous times in Town and Country Weddings, Martha Stewart Weddings, Inside Weddings, Bride and Bloom Winter, Ceremony Magazines OC & SD and The Knot Magazine and has won numerous awards for her work including Best of the Knot in 2010 and 2011, MyFoxLA Hot List Winner for Best Invitations, Best of Project Wedding and many more accolades that can be found on her website On top of all of this, she is incredibly passionate about her work and it shows in her stunning invitations and wedding pieces, custom hand drawn maps and elegant place cards (which we recently featured at a private luncheon with Dior.)

CME: What inspired you to get into calligraphy? What did you do before becoming a calligrapher?

LH: I took a job that required basic calligraphy and it blossomed from there. I’ve always been artistic, so making a career out of my art was a more comfortable fit for me than the insurance office job I had right out of college.

CME: Do you have any other creative outlets such as painting, drawing, etc.?

LH: Yes, I do like to paint, especially with watercolor. One of my grandmothers was a caricaturist and a painter as well, so I think it comes from her.

CME: How many unique writing styles do you offer?

LH: We have about 25 different styles, but we are known to “match” fonts if a client requests it. I do have to mention that it will not be exact however…I can’t write the same as what comes out of a computer!

CME: What are some cost-saving tips for those looking to use a calligrapher?

LH: Don’t even look at the higher priced styles. For our clients, we would encourage them to stick to Tier 1. Or if you really want a fancy style, use it on your invitation {pricing does not vary based on calligraphy style} and use a simpler, coordinating style on the envelopes.

CME: Do you offer classes for calligraphy or where would you recommend those that are interested in calligraphy learn more about it?

LH: I do not offer classes {especially since I’m fully self trained and wouldn’t know where to begin to teach it to others!}, but you can get more information at your local calligraphy guild which is listed at the website for the Association of Calligraphy Arts.

CME: What was your handwriting like when you were younger?

LH: Very neat! An eighth grade teacher once remarked in front of the class that my notes were the neatest she had ever seen. It has always been clean and easy to read ~ now I just get to be a bit more creative with it.

CME: Do you have a favorite font? What are you currently attempting to master?

LH: I don’t have a favorite font, but I do like the look of our Ella font. It’s simple but fun and works for nearly any project.

CME: What type of paper works best for calligraphy?

I like high quality papers made by Crane’s and Strathmore best.

CME: What’s inspiring you in the paper craft industry now?

LH: Textures. I love incorporating textures into our design suites and also using high quality envelopes that we can letterpress directly onto.

CME: What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever done calligraphy on?

LH: I’ve done calligraphy on many things; mirrors, wood, plexiglass lighting panels. If you send me something, it’s likely I can find out a way to write on it!

CME: How soon should a potential client contact you before a party or event?

LH: It depends on the size of the project and when the client wants to get their invitations mailed. But generally six weeks before you want your product returned to you is a good time to check-in, however I only need 2-3 weeks or less to get an order done. If you still have time to make decisions or changes, we will let you know.

CME: What is the sweetest message you’ve been a part of writing?

LH: I don’t do it often because there simply isn’t enough time, but I have written out vows for clients before. When someone puts their feelings of love and adoration onto paper, in a beautifully calligraphed form, there is nothing sweeter.

To see more of Laura's work, please visit her website Laura Hooper Calligraphy or check our her wonderful blog Lucky Orchid Wedding. Thank you, Laura, for taking the time to share your work and wisdom with us!

All Pictures Copyright © Laura Hooper Calligraphy 2011

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