The Kesh Experience: The Art of Floral & Event Design (2018)

My first quarter was such a WILD ride. 2Q flew by almost as quickly. Before I get too too far into this packed and jammed wedding season, I need to share both the absolutely stunning Kesh Experience collaboration as well as my 1st calligraphy workshop this year.

Akeshi Akinseye asked me to collaborate once again on her floral masterclass that draws students/floral enthusiasts from all over the country.

Photo Credit: @amyanaizphoto

 

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex: Royal Wedding Pics

Ahh, so much to share, but I would be remiss if I didn't share pics from the Royal Wedding of Meghan Markle to Prince Harry. They wed on 5/19/18 and Meghan was a vision of simple elegance in a custom Monochrome Givenchy gown. Prince Harry was certainly dapper in his frockcoat uniform of the British Army's Blues and Royals. Official wedding portraits by Alexi Lubomirski

Calligraphy by CT & Macy's

I mentioned prior that I had partnered with Macy's recently to teach a mirrored lettering class for their annual Flower Show, Once Upon a Springtime. I've FINALLY been able to share a synopsis of this day along with the professional pictures. Such a great experience and I'm so grateful for all that attended.

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The class was held on the 7th floor inside the Frango Café. Nice and spacious and I was even given a body mic. There was a full class thanks to people waiting outside so no shows places were taken immediately.

This was my first time TEACHING students of varying levels how to actually handle paint pens and write onto mirrored surfaces. I used my Mirror Lettering Guide as a basis for my handouts. The idea is to get comfortable with straight edge tools, centering layouts and becoming adept with a paint pen. It was a thrilling experience, I will likely teach a class of my own soon.

Each student got a pencil, a Bistro chalk marker, a DecoColor paint pen, a "how to" guide and an 8" x 8" mirror. They were surprised that they were able to walk with all of these supplies, but my goal/desire is that they will be able to successfully letter mirrors later either for fun or profit. In other words, I want you guys to keep practicing! Thanks again to Macy's for inviting me, I had a great time!

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Photo credit: Jesus Santos Photography | @eflash35

 

 

 

Calligraphy by CT Inside Weddings Feature

SO excited to announce that my work has been featured on Inside Weddings! I wrote quotes on frosted 8 ft panels for a Kesh Experience floral masterclass back in November.

It was a new experience for me lettering such a frosted panel vs. an acrylic or mirrored surface. The results were awesome though as the room ended up looking like these panels were in subzero temps!

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Photography credit: Collin Pearson Photography

Check out the entire spread at Inside Weddings! Thanks as always to the amazing Akeshi Akinseye of Kesh Events for including me in this ridiculously gorgeous creation! 

I'll be back soon as I have a TON of info to share! The timing of this feature caught me by surprise! --ct

Calligraphy by CT Paper Goods Available on Etsy

I did a couple of padded products a short time ago and decided to make the balance available on my Etsy shop. Check them out! 

 I decided to mix some of the offhand flourishing techniques I learned in  Heather Held's  class with some bouncing baseline modern scripts as a bag stuffer for an event. Thought I'd sell the overrun. Super cute, I keep one in my purse! Perfect for a small biz pro or busy bride on the go!

I decided to mix some of the offhand flourishing techniques I learned in Heather Held's class with some bouncing baseline modern scripts as a bag stuffer for an event. Thought I'd sell the overrun. Super cute, I keep one in my purse! Perfect for a small biz pro or busy bride on the go!

 I based the cover of this sketchbook from a  drawing I did on a welcome mirror at Venue SIX10  last year! I took a pic of the mirror, scanned it in my computer, cleaned it up and added to it. Being a native Chicagoan I was pretty proud of how it came out. Perfectly imperfect but captures the essence of our hard working, much maligned, world class city. Only 2 left in stock, order today!

I based the cover of this sketchbook from a drawing I did on a welcome mirror at Venue SIX10 last year! I took a pic of the mirror, scanned it in my computer, cleaned it up and added to it. Being a native Chicagoan I was pretty proud of how it came out. Perfectly imperfect but captures the essence of our hard working, much maligned, world class city. Only 2 left in stock, order today!

Meghan Markle's Background as a Calligrapher

I've been a longtime fan of Meghan Markle mainly because of her role on the hit show "Suits". I bumped into an article a few years ago that revealed the fun fact that she was indeed a real live calligrapher and it endeared me to her even more. 

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Not only did Meghan do calligraphy projects between acting gigs, she also (like myself), taught formally at her local Paper Source. The Beverly Hills Paper Source confirmed that Meghan taught all levels of students and even scored the envelopes for Robin Thicke & Paula Patton's nuptials.

 Envelopes hand addressed by Meghan Markle for Robin Thicke and Paula Patton's nuptials. Source:  Reddit

Envelopes hand addressed by Meghan Markle for Robin Thicke and Paula Patton's nuptials. Source: Reddit

She also handled Dolce & Gabbana's celebrity correspondence over the holidays so this freelance work was far from casual.

She credits her foray into calligraphy with attending an all-girl Catholic school that had strict standards for penmanship (raising my hand with you again Meghan, I too attended Catholic school). Here is more of Meghan in her own words discussing her penmanship with Larry King:

Now that Meghan will become one of the most famous women in the world thanks to her fast approaching nuptials to Prince Harry, its nice to know that she is so real and relatable. I encourage everyone to binge on Suits because while the character she plays is obviously fictional, it will still give you an opportunity to witness her soft spoken demeanor and just HOW adorable she really is. I TOTALLY get why the Prince swept this one off of her feet!

From one calligrapher to another, I wish them nothing but good things.

--ct

Heather Held: The Passionate Pen

I recently attended "The Passionate Pen" with the wonderful Heather Victoria Held out in Arlington Heights. It was a wonderful treat... 

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Heather has a large following and most of the other students (from the Chicago Calligraphy Collective) had taken other courses and were well acquainted with her. I was grateful to have been a part of this class after finding out that Heather is booked through 2020! The warm up exercises, the approach to actually practicing and dedication to diligent study was much appreciated and will absolutely impact my routine.

Heather explained the origins of English Roundhand, and also shared Ramon Stirling’s Roundhand exemplar. SO MUCH info to go through. Definitely a challenge but I am determined to have a new approach.

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Thanks to the Chicago Calligraphy Collective for bringing Heather to Chicago, I am forever changed from the experience and I wish her well with the rest of her dates/workshops. Til' we meet again!

 Our class... Really, a special time, I'm SO glad I took this class and had this experience! 

Our class... Really, a special time, I'm SO glad I took this class and had this experience! 

 My first attempts at off hand flourishing... Long way to go!

My first attempts at off hand flourishing... Long way to go!

--ct

 

Calligraphy by CT Partnering with Macy's!

I'm excited to announce that I'll be teaching a mirror lettering class at Macy's on Thursday, March 29th! Unfortunately, the class sold out pretty quickly. If all goes well, I'll be adding mirror lettering to the courses that I teach. I'll come back and post pics!

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Stunning Wedding Celebration at Tribeca 360

Yes, its February and I am just now posting for the New Year. 2017 featured a whirlwind of events that I was excited about participating in. Just an amazing year. This season is getting started in the same way, with new projects, new clients and more challenges as we move through the year.

I got some pics from an event that I did "day of" stationery for on 12/30. Tina LaMorte of NJ based Oh So Fab events tapped me to do an "ombre" table. I'd never done this before. I split the list up into three parts and lettered the first section in a pale pink, the middle a deeper shade of pink and then the last section fuchsia. It came out looking wonderful! I also executed some mirrors behind the place cards for other guests who had open cocktail seating.

Gorgeous, detailed shots being delivered to me after an event is a real treat because there is no guarantee that happens! Please enjoy and I'll be back with more updates in a more regular fashion! 

Photo credit: @dweissstudio | Planning: @ohsofab_events | Venue: @tribeca360

Painting a Frame

Quick tutorial on painting frames. I have been finding that as soon as I find an ornate mirror, regardless of whether its the color I'm looking for or not, I buy anyway and paint if necessary. The mirrors are simply becoming too contemporary now and clients want ornate/vintage looks.

Wanted to share my process in case any of my D.I.Y. brides/grooms need to acquire this skill as they get closer to the big day.

 Photo of the mirror subject for painting. Again, any hint of an ornate pattern on these mirrors no matter the color and I'm likely painting. The mirror that I'm finding are so contemporary now, I have no choice. I like that this one was white too. Blank canvas so to speak.

Photo of the mirror subject for painting. Again, any hint of an ornate pattern on these mirrors no matter the color and I'm likely painting. The mirror that I'm finding are so contemporary now, I have no choice. I like that this one was white too. Blank canvas so to speak.

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Use painters tape around the edges. This is critical. You want to make sure you don't have to use paint remover after you finish painting the frame. Go slow and make sure it is perfectly flush. If you leave a sliver open you'll see a line of paint afterwards. This brand of paint is a "paint and primer in one" so I went right into painting. I definitely recommend a primer though, at least one coat prior to painting. It makes a difference in terms of consistency of coverage. Make sure the frame is dust free as well.

 Tape off the mirror using newsprint if possible. I used to use newspaper, but I've found that a pad of 24" x 36" newsprint is PERFECT for an average sized mirror. You can seriously tear a sheet off of the pad and be fine. save a few folds here or there. Make SURE you tape it off securely on the edges because the paint will find ANY breaches.

Tape off the mirror using newsprint if possible. I used to use newspaper, but I've found that a pad of 24" x 36" newsprint is PERFECT for an average sized mirror. You can seriously tear a sheet off of the pad and be fine. save a few folds here or there. Make SURE you tape it off securely on the edges because the paint will find ANY breaches.

 Then go ahead and spray the frame evenly. I'd do 2 coats unless you have time for a third. Make SURE to get the inner frame right by the tape because this area will be noticed if you don't have decent coverage there. LET THE FRAME SIT FOR 4-5 HOURS IF UNABLE TO LET SIT OVERNIGHT. Even after 4-5 hours you risk a SLIGHT indentation of your fingerprints on the sides. So much work, I wouldn't risk it.

Then go ahead and spray the frame evenly. I'd do 2 coats unless you have time for a third. Make SURE to get the inner frame right by the tape because this area will be noticed if you don't have decent coverage there. LET THE FRAME SIT FOR 4-5 HOURS IF UNABLE TO LET SIT OVERNIGHT. Even after 4-5 hours you risk a SLIGHT indentation of your fingerprints on the sides. So much work, I wouldn't risk it.

 Finished product!!! Client didn't want gold, but a champagne. I thought it came out really nice. Shipped out of state and arrived without incident! Congrats guys!

Finished product!!! Client didn't want gold, but a champagne. I thought it came out really nice. Shipped out of state and arrived without incident! Congrats guys!

Calligraphy by CT YouTube Channel

I'm back. Finally replaced the laptop that I killed last season with a fatal spill of coffee so I'll definitely be able to blog more. I've missed blogging for sure!

I've started a YouTube channel and have been uploading vids as I work. I've got a few to upload from my Instagram that were informative as well. At least I can upload longer versions to YouTube.

Follow me! Here is the link: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJTnpyLEnj9B3C7QBlscj7w

I can't get a unique URL until I get 100 followers so I've got a LONG way to go! Please, help me out by subscribing! In the meantime, please enjoy some of my most popular videos so far below...

Wedding Mirror Seating Chart Ideas

Mirror seating charts are STILL extremely popular. I did my first one back in 2013 and 4 years later, they are likely my most popular item and MOST inquired about "day of" decor element.

This post is for those of you getting married that may be wondering exactly what kinds of mirrors you can have designed. The two most popular ways (and there are alternate ways to display each type) are:

  • Alpha Order - Guests organized by last name. I like to add a letter or letters above each "section/group" of names in order to make scanning/finding your name easier.
     
  • By Table - Guests seated by table name or number - This is a lovely look and one that clients ask for most often, however I like to remind them that anything over 14-15 tables may make it harder for guests to navigate.

Other add ons:

  • Be Our Guest
  • Where Am I Sitting?
  • Please Be Seated
  • Please Find Your Seat
  • Wedding Hashtag
  • Thank you for sharing in our special day

Another Free Download - Calligraphy Worksheet

I've got another free download! Check out these exercises. These strokes will be helpful in gaining control. You should be able to press (firm pressure) and release (ease up on your pressure) with greater control as you continue through this journey.

I have put together a video walking you through practicing with this sheet, check it out and download and practice yourself!

New Font by Deb Sementelli! Cinque Donne

I am so excited to introduce you to a fresh new font by Deb Sementelli. Deb is responsible for some of the most popularly used wedding fonts in rotation now. Bellucia, Dom Loves Mary and Cantoni Pro to name a few.

This new font has been fashioned solely by Deb and is a labor of love that reflects a tribute to her sisters. With plenty of alternates, ornaments and flourishes, this font speaks to the kind of creative, signage, and wedding/shower invitations we are seeing all over the internet today. Its fun, whimsical and can be dressed up or down. I believe it is a MUST have for graphic designers, stationers and lettering artists everywhere!

GRAB THIS FONT NOW AND SAVE 50% OFF!
Use code: Blog50OFF

So glad to be able to offer this fabulous product! Please take advantage now as this offer is limited!

Be back soon!

--ct