What a great Friday it’s been!  Even though I am still a little under the weather, good news seems to be coming at me from all sides today.  One of the most exciting things I am looking forward to this weekend is our inaugural Twelve supper in Birmingham!  Our friend Carrie Montgomery was kind enough to let us use her amazing loft space to host the dinner.  We have some exciting new things we are introducing at this supper as well, so I can’t wait to share those after the event.  Stay tuned to our hashtag #twelvesupper on Instagram and Twitter to follow along as our participants start to prep!

Speaking of Instagram, I came across a photo by Brock Seabrook (Pop Up Supper) of their new chalkboard menu a few days ago.  I made the comment “beautiful” because you could tell a lot of work had been put into it.  Well, last night at Church Street Coffee and Books, my friend Carrie Rollwagen told me about the girl behind the art – Kelly Cummings.  Kelly is taking on a 365 challenge to hand letter something every day.  I got the opportunity to ask her a few questions about this project, as I find it really inspiring and unique.  Here is what she said!

“Last year I pursued a lot of growth for myself and for my business, I attended an intensive called Making Things Happen along with some related branding webinars (Making Brands Happen), helped to start a group for young creative female business owners in Birmingham, read The Happiness Project, and after recommendations from several friends who are skilled at calligraphy, I signed up for a copperplate calligraphy class with Deb Warnat here in town. I’m a full time photographer, and I photograph mostly weddings, and had begun to hand letter addresses and names with a dip pen and ink for my packaging, but had no formal training and I really wanted to step it up.

When you first start calligraphy you quickly run out of things to letter. Addresses get boring and coming up with street names becomes difficult, so you start to letter anything and everything. As I’d been surrounding myself with positive and motivating sources with all of my self improvement efforts, I really enjoyed sharing sayings and phrases on Instagram. They weren’t always motivational, one of my favorites was “American as Apple Pie,” and another was “Fried Green Tomatoes.” I really enjoyed how much people engaged with the lettering, it’s definitely growing exponentially in popularity, but there’s something more accessible about this kind of text versus wedding photography, which certainly doesn’t appeal to everyone (though I really love it!).

I love the smell of the sumi ink (it smells like dirt), and I love how much there is to learn and experiment with. You can use nearly any liquid in a nib and you can mix your own colored inks with gouache, you can buy different holders and different kinds of nibs, and even vintage nibs. There are tons of amazing calligraphers to follow and learn from, and you end up adding your own twist to the letters and flourishes.

Lisa Congdon, a legitimate artist and illustrator, took on a 365 lettering project in 2012 and I really loved all of the quotes she lettered. I read that she started the project to encourage her calligraphy, and in the end she hadn’t spent much time on traditional script, but had developed two distinct styles of lettering that she turned into fonts, and she also has a book deal going. I don’t have my sights set on a book deal, but I was really inspired by her commitment to the project.

I’ve often wished I would do a 365 day photography project but honestly photography consumes so much of my life that editing and posting a photo a day doesn’t really appeal to me, that sounds like extra work. Funnily enough, since I don’t have a scanner at home and usually don’t want to wait for the ink to dry, my method at home is usually to take a photo of the lettering and manipulate the colors in photoshop. But I actually really enjoy all of that.

I also really really hate resolutions so I’m honestly surprised I actually took this on. Announcing a project like this to the world helps to keep you loyal, though! Since I had already been trying to fit lettering into my evenings when I got home from work, just for myself, I knew I would be happy for the time I set aside with a purpose. Deciding what to letter is quite hard, I can’t seem to make myself decide before the day of even though I have been collecting quotes for a while.  I’m sure there will be days when I don’t feel like lettering, or days that I’m really busy, and fortunately lettering could even be just a letter or number written with a pencil. My favorites are definitely the quotes and phrases, one of my favorite Pinterest boards is the one filled with “words”, I love reminders to be more productive, intentional, to do it now, to be positive. It’s not that I am a ray of sunshine, I can really be quite sarcastic and I rarely bounce out of bed in the morning. Lettering is an escape from sitting behind the computer, it’s a chance to do something with my hands, pursue a craft, improve and learn (I currently love looking at the flourishing of professional artists and designers), and since I do have a full time job, it’s a fun side project rather than work.

In the future I definitely hope to put more prints up in my Etsy Shop, and I’d love to get more proficient in chalk and learn the Spencerian script. It’s really open ended otherwise, I definitely love all of the side projects it has lead to so far and am really curious to see where it goes, there are so many days left in the year!”

You can find Kelly in these places:
Lettering by Kelly Cummings

Lettering by Kelly Cummings