Today’s wedding calligrapher interview is with Starla Snead of Designs by Starla based in Bolingbrook, IL! Enjoy:
Tell us about your company and how you got started.
My journey into calligraphy began 14 years ago as a way for me to transition into my role as a stay-at-home mother. In my ‘previous life,’ I was an Environmental Trainer who regularly traveled the state of West Virginia. I was not used to staying at home, much less caring for children. This was as good a time as any for a new beginning!
Although I had always enjoyed painting and doodling, I didn’t consider myself creative. Then I saw an ad in the local paper for a watercolor flower class that was sponsored by the West Virginia Calligraphers Guild. It was extremely inspiring! I joined the Guild in 2002 and became a class junky – my creativity was finally being unleashed in a constructive manner! Through the Guild, I was able to study with some of the best calligraphers and artists in the world.
Read the full interview after the cut!
Around that time I began designing the bulletin covers for my church, which was very gracious in allowing me to foster my creativity. I designed each Sunday bulletin cover by hand for the next three years. At the request of a close friend, I turned those bulletin covers into notecards, which began my initial business of notecards and commissioned work.
In 2009, my husband’s job brought us to Bolingbrook, IL. Over the last six years I have been blessed to further my calligraphic studies with renowned calligraphers, Timothy Botts and Reggie Ezelle.
I started the engraving portion of my business with a battery-operated hand-held engraver that I bought at a yard sale for fifty cents. After it sat in a craft drawer for a year, my mom called and asked if I could put my ‘fancy writing’ in glass. I had no clue, but gave it a try. It was not only successful, but beautiful! This began Designs by Starla, Calligraphy and Engraving. Engraving has become a huge part of my business, including wine bottles, glass and wood, plus so much more!
Other than invitations, envelopes and place cards, what else have you hand lettered?
I have hand-lettered on glass and wood. I love making handmade books. I engraved a couple’s name and wedding date on a brick and a family’s name on a rotor for a motorcycle for Father’s Day. With engraving, my motto is ‘you name it, I engrave it.’
What is your favorite paper color and ink combination?
I love working with white on black.
What makes you different from other calligraphers?
I believe my extensive training, art skills and engraving give my calligraphy a unique flavor. I also love to experiment. I love thinking ‘what if.’
How much time should a couple reserve for calligraphy?
6 – 8 weeks out is always the best. I will work with couples up to 2 weeks at a higher cost.
What tips or advice can you give to couples who are considering hiring a calligrapher?
Talk about your desires and budget ahead of time. If you are looking for ‘cookie cutter’ then maybe hand-lettered calligraphy is not the right fit.
What styles of calligraphy do you offer?
I have extensively studied: Italic, Foundational, Uncial, Copperplate, and Blackletter (Gothic)
What is your favorite font?
Blackletter. I love its combination of angularity and curves.
Tell us about your favorite job so far.
My favorite jobs are the most creative ones. I recently did a job for a customer who wanted me to write out the words to “You Can Count on Me” by Bruno Mars. I really enjoy the handmade books where the customers are writing out their entire ceremony.
Do you have any questions or comments for Starla? Add them to the comments below!