3 years ago I was sitting in a bar with my best friend when we decided to make lists of our dream jobs (because that's what everyone does in a bar, right?). At the time I was an early childhood educator with zero intentions of ever switching careers. That was as far as I had dreamed. So I start writing down this "beyond my wildest dreams" list. I'm certain the first job I wrote down was something like "get paid to watch tv and grub in my pj's" because let's be real- that IS the dream. Now, who wants to guess the second job I wrote down? Anyone?! You guessed it, a calligrapher. Back then being a full-time calligraphist was as far-fetched from my reality as being sponsored by Netflix to chill. But there I was, sitting in a bar, manifesting this dream.
Up until 1 year ago, I spent most of my life in Prescott, Arizona (it's Pres-kit like biscuit and if you pronounce it the wrong way, you're not a local). I love that town and the kind people who live there. If you've never visited Prescott, go! Go in December for the Courthouse lighting and make sure you bring hot-cocoa and a blanket. Go in the summer for the 4th of July and the World's Oldest Rodeo. Dream of eating Hugo's while you walk around the square. Have a drink on the balcony of Jersey Lilly's, then make your way to the lookout, where the high school kids makeout, to watch one hell of a sunset. The best place to stay in town is with my mom & dad, but since you can't stay there, I'd recommend the Motor Lodge.
I met my now husband, Kent, in Prescott. He was in town visiting when a mutual friend set us up. I'm 99% certain she told me I was going to marry him before she introduced us- man, oh man, was she right. It was love at first sight (a fantastic story, that one day, will get a post of its own). Last October I left the only real home I'd ever known and headed to the Montana mountains with him. We were married in the spring on a Wednesday, with 10 guests, in the Kauai sand. He made me a Bonus Mama to our sweet Olivia, and he's given me a life that I couldn't have dreamed. Kent has brought a new sense of strength and support to my life. He calms me when I'm nervous and grounds me when I'm lost. He's my behind the scenes photographer, best bud, and the first to see my creations. I would not be able to begin this journey without him. Shout out to you, Mr. Averill, for helping me live out so many dreams!
Moving to Bozeman has been difficult and rewarding. You learn to live for the summer. I couldn't stand everyone telling me that last winter, but it's true. As soon as the sun comes back, this place is pure magic! We spend our long summer days fly fishing on the Yellowstone, and camping as often as we can. As for the winter- I'm still trying to figure out how to survive. I'll get back to you on this in January/February, but until then send vino and mittens. Also, can I just say that moving as an adult and working from home is SO hard?!? Being the "new girl" is hard and it's vulnerable and it's exhausting. I'm hopeful that somewhere out there is a rad girl reading this who just wants to hang out in sweatpants, craft, watch Broad City and chow down on mass amounts of Mexican food (future bestie, where are you?). If you have any suggestions on broadening friend groups in a new town, let me know!
When I first arrived in Bozeman, my girlfriend Adie told me about this company Punk Post that was hiring. They needed people to hand-letter cards and mail them. Now up until this point, my handwriting was just a hobby that I'd been working on my entire life, and I'd never written for money. BUT I'm pretty good at "faking it until I make it", and thought eh, this could be fun. They wrote back that they were interested and I would begin working a month later. I followed up and they never followed through. It was the best blessing in disguise and here's why: I'm a perfectionist. I'm hard as hell on myself, specifically when it comes to work. Had the position gone through, I would have been writing the way other people wanted me to, and that wouldn't have satisfied my need to perfect my craft. I was frustrated with the way my words looked like everyone else's. My letter connections weren't right, I couldn't thicken my lines properly, I didn't know what tools to use, and forming my letters the same way twice was near impossible. I could not justify creating a business on mediocrity. So I reinvented myself. I set aside my brush tip markers/ paintbrushes and picked up a nib and ink.
The day I first used an oblique nib holder the heavens opened, and I swear, angels sang. I sat for weeks in my pj's. Didn't shower, hardly ate, rarely went to a store other than Michaels, and I practiced (this also describes my habits as we quickly approach the launch!). I wrote hundreds and hundreds of names. I went through every list of baby names I could find on the internet. I wrote them as many different ways as I could. I was determined to find a style that was my own. That felt free, yet controlled, organic but also very methodical. And before I knew it I found my flow and my signature calligraphy style. From there I started copperplate drills, botanical drawings, and practiced flourishings. I played with different inks and paints and papers and nibs. I taught myself to vector my handwriting and to create invitations, logos, and product suites.
Now we're here, days away from the launch of my custom calligraphy and design website. If you're following along, thank you for helping me write my story. I'll be Instagramming daily and blogging weekly. You can look forward to posts about my business and lifestyle- photos of calligraphy and probably a few of my husband and dogs. I'd love your input on things you'd like to see! Because after all, dear ones, I'm writing for you.
I'm here because I can see my mom's handwriting when I close my eyes. I'm here because I can also see my dad's. I'm here because one day I'll be a mama and my babies will know my writing. I'm here because it would be an honor for you to know my handwriting too and I hope it brings light and beauty to your world.
Special thanks to the greatest friends a girl could ask for, my family and husband for being my guiding lights, and to my mama, who has forever engrained in my heart "There are no mistakes in art".
Thank you for supporting big dreams and small business.
Here we go!