Slinging Ink® Calligraphy & Engraving

Bella Grafia, LLC: Calligrapher for Team USA - 2016 Rio Olympics

Houston calligrapher and wine bottle engraver

White Marble Tile with Calligraphy in Black Ink

These were for an event here in Houston.  We used black ink on white marble.  ADORE!

Esos estaban para un evento aquí en Houston.  Usábamos tinta negra en mármol blanco.  Me encanta!

Favor de aceptar mis sinceras disculpas para errores.  Estoy aprendiendo español.  Lo siento :)

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Earthtone Shadow Tile Signs with "Modern Calligraphy" - Houston Calligrapher

Yes, yes I do have an affinity for placing calligraphy on unorthodox items.  I had a client here in Houston request something in beige for an event last week.  This one was my favorite out of the group.  I used a white ink on these in "modern calligraphy" as they wanted something that was non-traditional.  I can do that.  Voila!  Cheers!

Sí, yo tengo una afinidad para escribiendo caligrafía en cosas diferentes.  Yo tenía un cliente aquí en Houston preguntar para algo en café para un evento semana pasada.  Este estaba mi favorito en el grupo.  Usé una tinta blanca en "caligrafía moderna" porque ellos querían algo que estaba no tradicional.  Puedo hacer eso!  Adios!

Favor de aceptar mis sinceras disculpas para mis errores como estoy aun aprendiendo español.  Muchísimas gracias!

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Wine Bottle Engraving - Randall's Event

 'Tis the season for engraving events!  These were a pair of bottles that I engraved for a charming lady at a wine bottle engraving event at a Randall's a few weeks back.  (Yes, I am slow to post...it's been a little chaotic over here.)  She wanted to take care of her Kosher gifts for the month. In between engraving bottles, I learned how to identify Kosher wines.  Thanks!  It was a win-win!  Cheers!

Randall's 

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Shadow Tile Event Calligraphy - Houston Calligrapher

I am in love with these shadow tiles with hand lettering.  These are available in grey & white in the Etsy shop.  Cheers!

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Grey Shadow Tile Calligraphy - Houston Calligrapher

As you know, I get bored with placing calligraphy on the "garden variety" materials.  So I took a half day a few weeks ago with the specific purpose of finding something new to write on.  So of course, I found about 6 new things.  One thing was a shadow tile in one of my favorite colors.  Yes, my favorite colors are black and grey....  Some people would call that morbid, but it's what I like.  Don't judge me.  I had the bright idea of offering these shadow tiles - called shadow tiles because when you write on them, the writing creates a shadow on the grey...cool, right?  I placed 4 different writing styles on these as samples.  Hope that you like them!  These are now available in the Etsy shop.  Just click on the picture.  Have a groovy day!

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Interview with LaBride Australia - Houston Calligraphy

Late last year, I was contacted by La Bride Magazine in Australia for my calligraphy insight to be included in their "Wedding-O-Pedia".   They wanted my take on why brides should hire a professional calligrapher for their weddings.  Although the content was wedding specific, I believe that the core can be applied to any professional and why you would hire a professional vs someone else to create work that you desire.  Take a peek!  Click on the picture to see the full write-up! Cheers!

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In love with love - Coppola Wines Houston Engraving Event

While engraving at an event late last week, there was a couple that sampled Coppola wine and decided to have it engraved by me.  This couple literally exuded the beauty of young love and it was honestly a gorgeous thing to see.  They were in love and anyone in the vicinity could see it in the way that they looked at each other and spoke to each other.  It was a beautiful thing.  When deciding on the message to be engraved, they went with something that they say to each other everyday.  ADORE!  Here it is!

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Lasercut Calligraphy Featured in Artfully Wed

It's always a nice treat to see how my work has been used after it leaves my studio...especially when it is featured in a publication.  Love it!  Take a peek!  Pieces that I calligraphed for lasercut names were featured alongside the beautifully skilled calligraphy of Bien Fait Calligraphy. Click the pictures to see the full feature.  Cheers! 

This was a gorgeous shot by Lisa Kathan Photography

This was a gorgeous shot by Lisa Kathan Photography

Artist Love: 

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Arabesque Antiqued Mirror Calligraphy - Houston Calligrapher

I just adore these "antiqued" arabesque mirrors.  They are roughly 4 inches and yield a beautiful vintage feel in person.  These are now available in the shop!  Just click the picture for the link.  Cheers!

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Creating my Certificate for the Michael Sull Spencerian Masterclass - Houston Calligrapher

Yes, most of the time when you take a masterclass from a Master Penman the expectation is that you create your own certificate entirely by hand at the completion of the course.  No Photoshop, Illustrator etc allowed.  It's all old school, vintage.  Which is great because it plays right into how I work.   I'm a vintage soul......end of story.

Don't tell anyone, but I did't realize that I would have to create my certificate by hand when I originally signed up for the year-long course :).  However, I am so glad that I am doing this for multiple reasons.  1) I would not have undertaken something of this nature on my own.  2) The experience gained for each portion of creating this certificate is invaluable. 3) I am now no longer intimidated by the prospect of creating a certificate entirely by hand.  4) Quite a few techniques that are used for engrossing are no longer taught except by literally a handful of people in the United States these days.  It's a lost art that cannot be replicated on the computer.  With that said, don't expect to see everything that I learned in the course on my certificate.  There is this minor, mundane detail called time that must be factored in.. For instance, my original plan was to include masterpiece flourishing for the entire border.  Again, that minor, mundane detail better known as time...

Since upon beginning this blog post, I have roughly 1 week to complete this certificate from start to finish along with my projects that clients are paying me to do :), it will be "basic" to say the least, but here are a few pictures from the process.  Cheers!

The end result...  Yes, I went with a shaded Spencerian for the entire certificate......Blasphemy, you say :)

The end result...  Yes, I went with a shaded Spencerian for the entire certificate......Blasphemy, you say :)

Some of the script portions that will create the final certificate...mistakes and all.  I'm an artist & I'm sensitive, so don't judge me!  Poco a poco (little by little)....  

Some of the script portions that will create the final certificate...mistakes and all.  I'm an artist & I'm sensitive, so don't judge me!  Poco a poco (little by little)....  

A little Sickels alphabet action for my name.  Yes, I can do something that is not a cursive script, too.  However, this version didn't make the final cut...

A little Sickels alphabet action for my name.  Yes, I can do something that is not a cursive script, too.  However, this version didn't make the final cut...

Rough draft layout.... I see slight changes in your future.... Pay no attention that that scribble in the border better known as my paper test

Rough draft layout.... I see slight changes in your future....

Pay no attention that that scribble in the border better known as my paper test

Canson deckled edge paper - This was my paper test...  Works will with Sumi ink even with an old semi-flex nib.

Canson deckled edge paper - This was my paper test...  Works will with Sumi ink even with an old semi-flex nib.

So I calligraphed it and placed the Sickles lettering on there for my name.  Then of course I called an "audible" & completely started from scratch on the certificate for the 2nd time to change my name to script.  This was the result:

The final certificate.  Approved and signed by Michael Sull, Master Penman

The final certificate.  Approved and signed by Michael Sull, Master Penman

It was an amazing year!  I learned quite a bit to say the least.  And I still have so much to learn and obviously the need to refine my work with a stronger sense of balance with my shading.  However, i must say that it was an invaluable experience & opportunity to learn from Michael Sull for an entire year.  Cheers!

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Oops! Need to Make a Calligraphy Correction? Let's Do This! - Houston Calligraphy

Who says you can't erase a mistake written with sumi or acrylic ink?  Mentiras (lies), I tell you!  So as I was working on my certificate for the Spencerian Masterclass taught by Michael Sull, I made a mistake.  Yes, I am a mere mortal.  If you go to your art supply store, they may tell you that it's not possible to erase sumi ink.  It is possible...with caveats.  

Caveats

1. The nicer the paper, the better the result.  Cotton papers from Canson, Fabriano, Crane, Arches....names like this are no problem.  Metallic papers, thin papers...forget it.  They are not up to the task.   

2. Once you have made the mistake, skip the rest of that line and continue.  You shouldn't do anything to it until it dries.

Yeah so, "Penman" is not spelled "Pemman"....  Mi culpa!

Yeah so, "Penman" is not spelled "Pemman"....  Mi culpa!

The curved Exacto blade is your friend.  Just scrape it up.

The curved Exacto blade is your friend.  Just scrape it up.

Did you know that they have automatic erasers now?    That would have been really helpful in the 5th grade.  Use that on the spot. 

Did you know that they have automatic erasers now?    That would have been really helpful in the 5th grade.  Use that on the spot. 

Yes, your bone folder is great for something other than folding.

Yes, your bone folder is great for something other than folding.

Now rewrite it!  That's it!  Bwa ha ha ha!  They'll never know!!!  We'll just keep this between us girls :).

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Super Bowl LI & Vogue Magazine - Houston Calligraphy

During the Super Bowl festivities last week, I had the joy of being commissioned to work on site for Vogue Magazine during a dinner that they hosted in a joint project with LifeWtr.  This dinner honored artists here in Houston.  Some of these artist had work featured on the LifeWtr bottles.  Cheers to those hard-working artists.  My role was to calligraph place cards for the guests. Any calligrapher that has been fortunate to have calligraphed for businesses at events know that it can be high stress as the only thing that is constant is change and anxiety in the "back of the house".  But as always it is my pleasure and honor to have even been included at all.  Here are a few pictures of my area backstage and pictures of some of the work that I completed for them prior to going on-site.  Cheers!

 

Durante el Super Bowl fiestas semana pasada, yo tenía el placer de trabajando por Vogue Magazine durante una cena por un proyecto con LifeWtr.  Esta cena estaba por artistas aquí en Houston.  Algunas artistas tenían trabajo en las botellas.  Mi trabajo estaba para calígrama cartas para invitados.  Estaba un placer trabajar con ellos, como siempre.  Adios!

Favor de aceptar mis sinceras disculpas para errores mientras estoy aún aprendiendo español.  Muchísimas gracias!

Meet the newest member of the Calligraphy Studio, Charlie Brown.  He is the Yorkie that literally lives in my Lap.  Cheers!

Meet the newest member of the Calligraphy Studio, Charlie Brown.  He is the Yorkie that literally lives in my Lap.  Cheers!

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WaxSeals.com Self-Adhesive Seal Review - Calligraphy

If you have received correspondence from me, you have received it with a wax seal executed by my hand.  Period...end of story.  For me, a letter that leaves my desk without a wax seal is incomplete.  I'm vintage when it comes to correspondence.  There is something about melting the wax and using my custom made seal with my initials or business information that just puts correspondence over the top.  

With that said, I understand that many people want a similar look without the added steps of melting wax and having decent aim to ensure that your seal is in the right position.  Then, of course, there is the likelihood of a few drops of wax falling in unintended places on the envelope or letter.  For me, that (mistakes & all) is part of the charm and shows the recipient that you took the time to do this specifically for them by hand.  However, not everyone shares that view.  

Enter stage left: custom self-adhesive wax seals from WaxSeals.com

On my first observation, I see that they have SO MANY BEAUTIFUL COLORS.  My favorites were the champagne, pearl chocolate (Seriously? YES), pearl burgundy, pearl blush, dark red, burgundy, and mauve.  Yes, I love earth tones in case you did't know.

So the first seals that I used were the custom copper 3/4" and the custom metallic gold 1" (seen above).  They looked perfect, as expected.  The color was beautiful and they adhered very well.  

picture of what happens when you try to pull it back up.  So yes, it is ON THERE!  

picture of what happens when you try to pull it back up.  So yes, it is ON THERE!  

There were 2 samples of the metallic gold 1".  One that had adhesive and one that did not.  This allows for the option to place your own adhesive if you desire.  

Without adhesive

Without adhesive

Then of course they have seals that "restick".  These are perfect for those that would like to have the option of taking a mulligan.  So of course the 10 year old in me thought "but does it really lift well and allow to you restick?"  Why yes. Yes, it does!  That was pretty cool, I thought.

So all in all, I think that if you are the person that wants to increase your chances of getting the right position with a wax seal the first time and you want for each one to look exactly the same, then the self-adhesive wax seals from WaxSeals.com are a great option.  

For me, however, my vintage soul demands creating wax seals in the vintage way.  Cheers!

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Marc Jacobs Fragrance Engraving Event - Houston Engraver

In the spirit of immersing myself into Spanish, this will be the first of many blog posts where I write in both English & Spanish.  Wish me luck!

As always, it is a pleasure working with the Marc Jacobs fragrance team.  Often times, my events with them are quite busy which is wonderful!  Unfortunately, that often means that I forget to take pictures.  However, here is a picture of the very last bottle of the very last event that I did with them :).  Cheers!

Estoy aún aprendiendo español.  Favor de aceptar mis sinceras disculpas por errores.

Como siempre, es un placer trabajar con el equipo de Marc Jacobs para perfume.  A veces, mis eventos con ellos son ocupados.  Desafortunadamente, olvido sacar fotos.  Sin embargo, aquí es una foto desde el día último del evento último.  Estoy agradecida por su paciencia.  Muchísimas gracias!

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Engraving Events - Houston Engraver

December was amazing!  Estaba muy ocupada!  I was insanely busy!  As of the last few years, I have made it a habit to close my Etsy shop from late November through December due to the busy engraving/calligraphy calendar outside of the Etsy shop.  It is truly an honor and a pleasure to engrave at events all around the city for fragrance companies and wine & spirit companies.  The last wine event that I worked for Kenwood wines at Spec's Midtown had an unexpected request.  There was a client that purchased bottles for her loved one, but also purchased a corkscrew to include as a gift.  Makes sense...  While I was engraving her bottles, she asked if I could engrave the corkscrew as well.  When it comes to these requests, I ALWAYS direct them to the company representative that is paying for me to be there.  At the end of the day, I want for all parties involved to be pleased...especially the party that is paying me :).  The representative said, "sure, why not?"  So to make a short story shorter, I engraved her metal corkscrew with the gentleman's last name as she watched.  Voila!  Cheers!

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White Marble Tile Calligraphy - Houston Calligrapher

I had a client request these marble tiles with black ink which honestly surprised me as I ADORE working with colored inks like gold, champagne and rose gold.  But for this event, they were going for the monochromatic look.  I must say that black calligraphy ink on a white or creme background truly does evoke a classic feel.  Cheers!

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Green Agate Stone Calligraphy - Houston Hand Lettering

Modern calligraphy isn't exactly where my heart lies but from time to time I am asked to execute a project using it.  No big deal, as it's IMMENSELY easier than traditional calligraphy which is why I suspect that it has become so popular in the last few years.  These were used in a photo shoot a few months ago.  I like the way that they turned out as the gold ink created a nice juxtaposition against the dark green stones.  Cheers!

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Wood Reception Sign - Houston Calligraphy

This custom wood calligraphy sign was created for an event where my client wanted to honor a loved one that is no longer here for an upcoming event.  I thought that this was a beautiful sentiment.  This wood plank was roughly 11" x 14".    I had it stained and then I calligraphed it.  Staining and such isn't really my department.  Trust me, you want it that way :).  

Ever feel like "this is missing something".  That's how I felt after I finished with the calligraphy.  I walked away from it to work on another job.  Then I came back and decided to add a little illustration for a little "something more".  My client loved it as she was only expecting calligraphy, but she was quite pleased with result which in turn made me pleased as well.  Cheers!

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New Years Eve Feature in IBB at Home

It's always so great when you see work that you executed months prior used in a feature with a publication.  Here, a drink menu that I calligraphed on marble tile was featured in IBB at Home and The Everyday Hostess.  Check out the links: Everyday Hostess & page 52 of IBB at Home  Cheers!

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Wedding Calligraphy - Houston Calligrapher

So in a matter of weeks, I have had a number of clients send photography of my work from the last few wedding suites that I calligraphed.  These came out beautifully on this gorgeous handmade paper.  Enjoy!

Vendor Love: 

Cotton Paperie: Letterpress

Sean Money & Elizabeth Fay Photography

 

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Slinging Ink® of Bella Grafia Calligraphy is a Houston Based calligraphy firm that was established on the idea that sometimes the vintage way of creating art is the best. Hand written calligraphy is the most elegant form of communication and an event focused on the art of others deserves nothing less.  As a Houston calligrapher & engraver, I believe in doing it beautifully or not at all.

 

Slinging Ink®  Calligraphy & Engraving of Bella Grafia, LLC retains all rights to the content of this web site, as well as all calligraphy and engraving artwork we produce on behalf of our clients. Our artwork and designs may only be used for each specific job we created them for. The client, stationer, graphic designer photographer and printer agree that our artwork will not be copied, re-engineered, re-purposed, edited to create derivative works, resold, reprinted, given away or re-used in any way that would violate our copyright.  Photographs of our artwork are to include artwork credit to Slinging Ink® - Bella Grafia, LLC.

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