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#LearningViaCalligraphy with Magnolia Calligraphy

An interview with Jennifer behind Magnolia Calligraphy. We're bringing you stories from our workshop attendees to see how they took what they learned to forge their own path to success.

A beautiful wedding stationary set designed by Magnolia Calligraphy.

I took Sylvia’s beginner brush lettering workshop with a friend of mine back in February 2016. We both wanted to learn something new and my friend was also set to wed that July, so we thought we could both pick up some calligraphy skills to prepare for the wedding.

To be honest, I didn’t intend to or imagine I would end up doing calligraphy professionally. It just sort of happened. After the brush lettering workshop, I kept practicing almost every day until July came along. The same friend that attended the class with me had asked me to help her out with her seating chart and place cards. That was my very first commission and I was intrigued! From lots of love and support from my friends and family, I started Magnolia Calligraphy.

A mirror with hand lettering done by Magnolia Calligraphy.

Once I started my business, the first thing I sold was a set of 100 place cards for a couple getting hitched in Columbia! I was literally over the moon when I got compensated for the commission work. It was definitely rewarding to get paid for the goods I provided, it covered the cost of the supplies I’ve purchased to complete the project. I even had some funds left over to purchase more supplies. The most rewarding part is when the client genuinely appreciates my craft – and it’s the best feeling!

A glass name card with beautiful white lettering on it.

Initially, I found my customers through an ad I posted on Kijiji and Facebook’s local wedding forums. However, thanks to Instagram and my website, I'm much more accessible to potential clients who can find me and my work.

As of today, I specialize in pointed pen calligraphy projects and seating chart projects. My absolute favourite projects are custom wedding invitations. I absolutely enjoy being part of the whole process of completing the entire wedding suite – from painting pieces, digitalizing my artwork and finally assembling the pieces for the suite.

Watercolor flowers painted by Magnolia Calligraphy.

For those that are just starting in lettering or just completed a workshop, here's my advice: keep practicing! After my class, I practiced almost every day, every hour and on every surface! I remember getting home and I would just write on everything, even on our refrigerator! If there is anyone who wants to pick up calligraphy just for their next big event or have the desire to pick it up as a side hustle, just go for it! Saying yes and actually doing it is probably the hardest part, but once you dive right into it, I promise it is definitely rewarding.

For anyone that wants to pick up calligraphy as a side hustle, surround yourself with supportive people. If it wasn’t for my good friends and families, I wouldn’t be here today. As of this year, it will be my third year creating art for friends, families and perfect strangers.

A pretty pink wedding stationary set by Magnolia Calligraphy.

There is a big calligraphy community in Toronto. My second piece of advice is to dedicate some time to meet new friends at these gatherings and learn from each other. Here are some community gatherings I usually attend:

  • Toronto Lettering Crew by Erica
  • Grace and Carmen – they host calligraphy gatherings in the downtown core.
  • Toronto Calligraphy Club by Salman Khattak.
  • Salman hosts meetups every 3rd week of the month at Paper Plus Cloth in the evenings.

 

Jennifer Lu of Magnolia Calligraphy.

 


 

You can find Jennifer on Instagram @magnoliacalligraphy and on her website at magnoliacalligraphy.com. Make sure to check out Via Calligraphy's upcoming workshops to pick up a new set of skills and start your own business.