Planning & Inspiration
Interview with Laura Hooper of Laura Hooper Calligraphy
In the age of social media and digital everything, more and more couples want something beautiful, handmade and unique to commemorate their special day. There has been a renaissance of the art of handwriting in recent years thanks to master calligrapher Laura Hooper. We sat down to discuss her beautiful art and business!
Calligraphy literally means “beautiful handwriting” in Greek. First appearing around 600 BC in Rome, calligraphy was a highly regarded form of artistic expression, later used to adorn the pages of sacred religious texts. In China, calligraphy was the most revered visual art form, valued above painting and sculpture. With its focus on speed, streamlined methods, and sleek minimalist design, the modern age sought a new way communicate words on the page. Print and typefaces were introduced and soon handwritten letters were replaced with ones generated on a typewriter. Today, notes, no matter how important, are often reduced to a quick text or email. Despite this digital age, we’ve definitely noticed this trend in the wedding industry and were actually introduced to Laura’s stunning hand calligraphy work through a Real BB Wedding.
As big fans of Laura, we were thrilled when she agreed to take part in the Bride & Blossom’s Women Paving the Aisle interview series. Her successful business, Laura Hooper Calligraphy, offers custom handwritten calligraphy and lettering services and stationery ranging in style, color, and design. Here, Laura talks with us about her first calligraphy “job,” calligraphy’s capacity to evoke emotion, her deep love for flowers, and commitment to keeping the centuries old art alive.
Were you artistic growing up? How did you become interested in the art of calligraphy?
I have always been artistic, yes. My grandmother on my dad’s side was an artist for Hanna Barbera, and I used to paint a lot as a teenager. My mom taught me broad edge calligraphy when I was 11, and then when my friend got married in our early 20’s, I offered to address her envelopes in pointed-pen, which I had never done. So my first “job” and experience with pointed-pen all around, was over 200 envelopes! That was over 15 years ago now.
We absolutely love how easy it is for customers to buy wedding stationery from your shop. What can couples expect when they come to Laura Hooper Calligraphy for their wedding invitations? Can you tell us a bit about how you created your shop and what design options are offered to make their wedding invitations personal and unique?
Everything we do is custom, so when someone places an order in our shop, they are really booking our service overall and then we work together to create the suite. We focus on minimalist designs with the handwritten script being the focus. One thing we always hear from our clients is how fast our response times are – we know when you’re planning a wedding it can be frustrating to wait days or even weeks to hear from your vendors, so we do our best to respond to our clients and inquiries within minutes during business hours, and definitely within one business day.
It seems like our only form of communication is done by email and text. There’s something so intimate and special about receiving a handwritten note nowadays. Do you see this as a reason why couples are drawn to calligraphy inspired stationery to honor their big day?
Paper is so much more meaningful than emails & texts, for sure, and hand-addressed envelopes are the first impression that your guests will receive for your wedding day. There is something special about seeing your own name in a beautiful hand script, and I think that really gets your guests excited about what’s to come.
Besides invitations, how can couples incorporate the art of calligraphy into their wedding décor?
Oh my goodness, the possibilities are endless! Welcome signage, directional signage, programs, escort displays, place cards, menus, tray passed food signs, dessert displays, thank you cards. There are so many ways to incorporate calligraphy and lettering, and wedding designers today come up with the most unique ideas!
What advice would you give to a couple that is in the midst of choosing their wedding invitations? What should they consider regarding font/handwritten scripts, style aesthetic, and overall design?
You want to think about your overall look and feel for the wedding itself and then work backwards from there. Consider the formality of your wedding – if you are having a casual beach wedding, you wouldn’t want to do an extremely flourished, formal script. The script, colors, paper weight and design elements will all set the tone for your celebration.
Speaking of advice, there are so many resources on your website dedicated to helping other calligraphers start their business, from time management to legal templates to creating attractive marketing campaigns. Is there advice that you give to “entreprenartists” just starting out? Things you wish you knew at the start of your career?
My top piece of advice is not to compare your beginning to someone else’s middle. Everyone started out somewhere. My calligraphy today looks nothing like my calligraphy 15 years ago – it takes time and dedication to improve in this skill. And aside from calligraphy, for small business ownership in general, just remember that no one has everything figured out. We all have failures, we all have craziness going on behind the scenes, we all have to learn from our missteps. You aren’t alone, and it’s definitely worth it.
Do you have a favorite script?
I’ve been working on more traditional styles this year, so I’d say my favorite currently is my Spencerian style. It’s important to me to always continue to learn and grow and expand my skill set.
Your Instagram bio says you have two must-haves – your two cavaliers and your garden blooms. We did some digging and garden blooms are an understatement. Tell us about @foxhillgarden and all the gorgeous flowers you are growing!
I adore my garden! I needed an alternate creative hobby that wasn’t “work” and I used to garden with my mom growing up. So when my husband and I found our home with the large backyard, I had big visions of my future gardening adventures. There are a few fox families that live in our neighborhood and my yard is on a hill, hence the Foxhill Garden moniker. It has definitely taken a bit of trial and error to see what works and four seasons to get the garden to where it is today, which is still far from perfect, but I love checking on my blooms, foraging, etc. and being able to incorporate them into our photos is icing on the cake.
You also offer calligraphy workshops. In fact, members of the Bride & Blossom team have taken your workshops and loved them! What made you want to share your calligraphy expertise with others in this way?
We had inquiries through our Etsy shop from people asking how they could learn the art, and I actually hadn’t ever thought of teaching it. But in November 2013 we finally decided to create a starter kit with tools curated for beginners and, equally as important, instructions on how to use them, and offer it in time for Christmas gifting. Once I had that “curriculum” in place, and my sister Alyssa came on to work for me full time right around then as well, we decided to take the plunge and offer workshops. That was four years ago and we’ve now taught over 4,200 students in person with classes around the US and a few in Canada and Europe, and have shipped over 6,000 kits around the world. Calligraphy was considered a dying art form when I first started out (and really up until the past few years when social media helped with the boom), so being able to play a small role in keeping the art alive and thriving means so much to me.
How do you stay creatively inspired?
To be honest, pointed-pen calligraphy is so heavily associated with “work” for me, so I try to seek my creative fill through other outlets, such as the gardening and arranging florals. I also try to do some art just for me, and this past year really enjoyed doing some sketching in my spare time along with watercolor painting, which I only very rarely use in my designs. In terms of weddings, we work with so many wonderful planners and designers who continue to come up with the most creative ideas and elements for me to add my calligraphy & lettering to, so they really keep things fresh for us!
Tell us about some of your favorite calligraphy projects from your blog!
I really enjoy writing on marble – marble tiles, marble plates, anything marble, so we’ve shared a lot about that on the blog. Also lettering on macarons. I love macs, so combining that with lettering? Dreamy!
Thank you, Laura! To see more of Laura’s stunning calligraphy work and learn more about her range of goods, services, and workshops, visit lhcalligraphy.com. And be sure to catch up with Laura on Instagram at @lhcalligraphy and @foxhillgarden.