Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Holiday Gift Boxes Workshop T H I S Weekend: Dec 3rd & 4th

This weekend's workshop has 5 seats left and we need just one more seat for the workshop to make. 

We'll be making two containers - one is a collapsable box with six sides. 
They're great for mailing as a gift and I use them all the time to hold brushes and tools. 

The other structure is a hinged lidded box. They can be dressed up or down and are tons of fun to make.

Happy Holidays!


PS: If you've gotten this e-mail more than once, sorry. I'm working on streamlining my mailing lists... time to get on the MailChimp train!

Holiday Gift Box Workshop With Anne Elser

Hallo friends,

Make a Collapsable Container and a Keepsake Box in one weekend workshop. Both are made from chipboard covered with decorative Washi Paper and can be used to hold supplies, brushes, pens, q-tips, jewelry, gifts, trinkets, ribbon and more. Handouts supplied and hands on advice ready to help you with all the loving details needed to make your structures sound and beautiful. Make them for yourself or as a gift. Supplies needed can be purchased at Binders right before the workshop. 


Suggested Supply List:
Shop with Anne the first half hour of class. E-mail her for questions:
  • Lineco® medium-duty awl
  • Lineco® bookbinding needles
  • Lineco® bone folder
  • 2-ply chipboard (30 x 40 sheet, cut into quarters)
  • Washi Paper, 2 coordinating sheets
  • This is decorative handmade paper that comes in many different patterns, textures and weights. Pick two sheets you like that are not tissue paper thin.
  • Mechanical Pencil
  • Exacto Knife & blades
  • Self-healing cutting mat (at least 12 x 18)
  • Stiff & springy glue brush
  • Non-slip metal ruler
  • Brushable Adhesive: 8oz tub of Acrylic Gel Medium or Sobo & Methyl Cellulose Mixture

Bring from Home
  • Scissors
  • Roll of Wax Paper
  • Ribbon to consider using as a closure method for your lidded box.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Holiday Cards & Envelopes Workshop

Oh, the fun we had on November 19th & 20th! My first Holiday Cards & Envelopes workshop at Binders was a success, thanks to the brave mark-makers, inkers, painters, calligraphers, typographers & printmakers. Everyone did something different and all the cards were amazing - not to mention the envelopes.

This is Noah. Hard at work and having fun. He did a lot of experimenting and mixing of styles. For his "Holidays card" he worked on flourishing and adding weight to his downstroke. 

The MEH card comes from his great sense of humor.

And he did an amazing job of scripting, inking and printing his addresses. This zip code knocks me out.

Norma created two sets of cards. Saturday she made a series of cards using Uncial both with a steel nib and a flat brush. Go Norma! On Sunday she worked on a candy cane card - white ink on red paper. She's really good with that brush!

Jeannie created a collaged, calligraphed and zentangle card series using white ink on red paper - torn out and pasted to the larger card. She finished up with a silver hairline to dangle the snowflake ornaments from. It was wonderful to watch her.

Julia got DOWN with the ruling pen and a series of beautiful ochre and umber inks. Her message was all about gratitude - very appropriate with Thanksgiving around the corner.

Mary did a lot of experimenting with colored pencil to get her swing on. Once the flow was there, she switched techniques and bought a Speedball block printing set and carved her message, inked it up and pressed hot red candy ink into thirsty white paper. LOVE that Mary. To finish up, she used red ink on a pointed pen nib. Great contrast!

And lastly, I worked on the composition of my message, yet to be finished. I should probably stop writing now and get to work on those cards!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Bill Lilly's Wooden Hand Turned Oblique Pen Holders

Want one? Bill Lilly's Oblique Olivewood Penholders are the only pens I use for pointed pen. I have two and would be lost without them. They fit so beautifully in my small hands and the brass elbow is slanted gently upwards for a more delicate upstroked hairline. I LOVE.

Here's how to order one:


Write to Bill here:

Monday, November 21, 2011

Christmas Ink

I've always wanted to get my shit together enough and post about the handmade Christmas cards I've done over the years. I should have been saving them all along, because I've wasted a good hour hunting these images down and there are a few years I can't find. I started in 1998. I think the first card I made was a slice of cake and the middle filling layer of icing said "peace." Wish I still had it. I should make another.

I now have a folder on my drive dedicated to my ever growing collection of cards. Someday when I'm long gone, someone might publish them. And then reprint. :) Wouldn't that be nice?

So here are the cards I cold find, with a little story about each one.

The 2002 card I made in response to 911. Sentimental, patriotic and full of optimism. What I love most about America. 

The 2005 card got gutsy. I really made two versions. This was the naughty one. A lino print and MAN did I love sending these out. :)

2006 must have been a really good year for me. I remember making these and feeling really peaceful. I zipped through them. I think this was the first year out on my own as a freelance designer/calligrapher. Great year!

2007 was another lino cut. I added a little red bird in the snow. I sent these to clients, too, who framed them!

I loved making these red flirty mittens. 

2009 marked the birth of My Real Self. It was the year I officially left the church, found God on my own and learned to forgive. I had been seeing my good friend Debra Armentrout, who showed me to myself as nothing but Love and Light. Since then I've been seeing it in other people. Oh, what a beautiful life this is.

So I have found God again and this time we're really singing. 2010 was a year of immense change for us and has showed no signs of stopping or slowing down. This card is my favorite yet. No longer pining for love of a kiss underneath the mistletoe, I realized I was the mistletoe itself. Fuck YES, this has been an AWESOME year. T H A N K  Y O U  G O D.

This year's card will be even more fun. I've taken two enlightening calligraphic workshops and they've put me on a clear path to an enriching calligraphic career. I am STOKED. So! This is the sketch and I've been working on the inked version for a few days now. 

Last weekend I led a "Holiday Cards and Envelopes" calligraphy workshop at Binders and sat side by side with everyone. We had a blast and everyone used a different technique. Will post pictures soon. 

I will be making the 2011 cards soon whilst baking cookies during the next month. You'll see the final version soon. Woo hoo! Christmas is almost HERE!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

My Naughty Ledger Completed!

Finally finished Maren Smith's Ledger last week. This is a secret belgian bound book that opens to a healthy 17 x 11 full spread. About an inch thick, each page is lovingly lined in delicate gray hairlines on a smooth ivory sheet.

Collaged on the front are various hand made and vintage papers in a blue/green family. Customized calligraphic title "My Naughty Ledger" is hand painted on the front using FW inks and a 00 round sable brush.

This book is housed in a snug case with a window that can reveal which ever part of the title you like. Had I more time, I would have painted on the opposite cover "My Good Girl Ledger."

Cheers! If you're interested, contact me for a quote. Christmas is just around the corner!

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Holiday Greetings in color!

First version of a Holiday greeting. Sketched in pencil, traced in Illustrator using the new Width tool. Palette chosen: warm winter hugs, soft lambswool socks and scarves, snowflakes, marshmallows, eggnog, shortcake, white chocolate, and mint. Y U M.

Second version - a warm glow from the center, more typical holiday colors, zing, cinnamon, spice, fireplace, snuggling, and a good zesty debate over where to put the Xmas tree this year.

Final chosen by client. Still a glow, but more of a snowy feel with the soft teal. Lots of crisp snowfall that blankets the letterforms.

This will be animated and is in the developer's hands right now. I'll post new pics soon!

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Primitive to Modern: Year Long Workshop Series with Reggie Ezell

Hallo fellow Inkers,

I will be taking my first Reggie Ezell Calligraphy workshop next year called Primitive to Modern, presented by The Atlanta Friends of the Alphabet (FOTA). It lasts all year long and meets every other month from February to December. It's a project-based class and MAN, I can't wait to see how much I grow after taking it.

My good friend & artist Victoria Landsford is currently finishing up another workshop by Reggie this year and I've been drooling over the works she's done, progress made and stories, techniques with new materials she's told me about... everything she's learned from the experience. I've also heard a lot of other warm stories from other FOTA members about Reggie's approach, his attention to detail in his work, how he presents information to his students, how he structures his classes. Not one moment or opportunity for the sharing of information is wasted in his classes and I understand it to be a very fulfilling and intense experience.

For me as a calligrapher, I see this first as fun and nourishing (why else would I do it, right?) and second as an investment in my personal & professional growth. Every time I take a workshop, I've added a new set of skills and tools to my studio and waste no time in applying them to my work. The benefits are immediate as new clients arrive like magic to sample and purchase new work. It really is a beautiful cycle. I do more, make more, buy more, learn more, sell more... and it's all art, all love.

I also can't say enough about the social aspects of participating in workshops. I find it fun and nourishing. I leave each class feeling very loved, whether taking a class or teaching it.

Victoria can answer your questions about the class and Mamie Valez is accepting payments/deposits.

Learn more about Reggie, his approach and to see examples of the work that comes out of his classes.

Here is more info about Primitive to Modern.

Please join us for this rare opportunity to study with Reggie Ezell in one of his year long workshop series, presented by the Friends of the Alphabet.

The techniques and topics covered include:

•Modernizing a Traditional Calligraphic Hand

•Writing Using Color and Gilding on Vellum

•Illumination on Vellum, inspired byThe Book of Kells and Codex Aureus

•Gilding on Vellum Stained with Brazilwood Dye

•Modernizing Design aka “Over the Edge: Deconstructing the Grid”

•Experiencing the Book as a New Structure

Class meets on the following dates:
from approx 8:30 am-6:30pm at The Mendez Art and Education Foundation, Atlanta, GA:

Feb 11 & 12 

Apri 14 &15

June 9 & 10 

Aug 4 & 5

Oct 27 & 28 

Dec 1 & 2

Cost: $1460. for the year based on enrollment of 15 (+approx $20/class for supplies that Reggie brings). Deposit of $100 required to hold your spot. Three and six installment payment plans will be available. The tuition is an estimate, based on airfare and venue. Any money leftover will be refunded at the end of the year.

Send deposit checks to
Mamie Valez
6135 Grand Marina Circle
Gainesville, GA 30506

About Reggie:
"Reggie Ezell is an internationally known calligrapher and lettering artist. For the last 18 years his independent courses in calligraphy, letter design, and innovative materials and techniques have been among the most highly regarded and sought after in the world. For a decade he was an instructor at Loyola University and the Newberry Library of Chicago. His works and writings appear all over the world in galleries, libraries, books, and periodicals. His most current works are three dimensional: sandblasted into redwood, 3 x 5 foot panels of figbark with gilding on impastoed acrylic, and sculptures in Utah alabaster with images and words emerging out of the undulating surfaces."

For examples (to drool over) and more info, please visit

Primitive to Modern: Year Long Workshop Series with Reggie Ezell
If you have any questions regarding the class, please email Victoria at