Allow me to introduce to you Melissa Baker, of @melissabakercalligraphy. Melissa lives in Clanton, Alabama, and we first met at the Birmingham Calligraphy Guild several years ago. She has been a sweet friend and big time supporter ever since. I can always count on Melissa to cheer me on when I have a big exam coming up. She is one of the most endearing friends a person could have.
Melissa is married to Mr. Wonderful and has identical twin sons who are now grown and married to her beautiful “daughters-in-love”. I know she pours her heart and soul into her family, and you’re going to love hearing from her in this interview.
What types of calligraphy/lettering do you do?
Copperplate and Chalkboard Art
I always love your chalk art posts! How long have you been doing calligraphy?
How did you get started? What brought you to calligraphy?
I started my calligraphy journey taking an on-line class taught by Melissa Esplin. I would do my homework and send a copy of it to her. She would teach me where and how to improve my lettering.
Oh, her work is beautiful! No wonder you’re such a good calligrapher! How else did you learn?
I have taken online classes and attended workshops taught by some of the following calligraphers: Melissa Esplin, Kathy Milici, Anne Elser, Bailey Rivera, Suzanne Cunningham, Bill Kemp, Phyllis Macaluso, Younghae Chung, Laura Hooper, Heather Held, David Grimes, Holly Hollon, Jim Davis, Angela Welch, and Jody Meese
Oh my word, Melissa!! You have truly studied with the best!! And the question everyone always wants to know: have you always had beautiful handwriting?
Yes, all of my life, I have tried to focus on having beautiful penmanship.
Impressive. I wish I could say that. How would you classify your calligraphy (Hobby, Obsession, Side job, Full-time business)?
What is your favorite type of calligraphy work to do?
My favorite type of calligraphy projects to do are envelopes and framed gifts that include a name with artwork.
What calligraphy or lettering organizations are you a member of?
I am a member of three calligraphy guilds including: Birmingham, Atlanta and Nashville.
I am also a member of IAMPETH.
So tell me, besides the basics, what is one supply/tool you can’t live without?
I can not live without my white felt. I use it as a blotter on my light box. Guidelines can be seen through it.
Does calligraphy have any special meaning or purpose to you? Describe this.
Calligraphy is special to me because it makes products, especially paper, classy and elegant.
I do love the elegance calligraphy adds! With so many scripts out there, what is your favorite script/style to write?
Copperplate with flourishing
Vermillion Sumi, because it is sooo smooth!
Favorite Practice Paper
HP Premium 32
What are you learning now?
What is your favorite quote or scripture?
Philippians 1:3…..”I thank my God upon every remembrance of you.” Because of those in my life I hold dear to me.
That is such a perfect description of you, Melissa. You are one of the most caring people I know. So tell us about your workspace.
My desk sits in front of a large window with a beautiful view. My supplies and tools are organized.
How do you set the atmosphere for doing calligraphy?
When I letter, I like for it to be very quiet. I keep water beside my desk to drink (in a cup with a lid!)
It sounds like you have a definite reason for that lid!
What are Your Top 3 Favorite Tools?
- The flexible curved ruler used for making curved lines.
- The Black Warrior pencils because they are round and smooth, rather than shaped like a hexagon, which feel better in my hand.
- And finally, the German-made brass bullet pencil sharpener. It gives the sharpest point on a pencil!
What are your other hobbies?
Cooking, baking, chalkboard art and spending time with my family.
What are some random facts you think we would like to know?
I have three college degrees in education. I taught school up until my husband and I decided to have a baby. Halfway through the pregnancy, we found out I was carrying two babies! We had identical twin boys. So I stopped teaching and stayed home with my twins. I enjoy teaching and have taught one class in the Birmingham Calligraphy Guild. Hopefully there will be more opportunities for teaching in the future.
And last but not least, do you have a personal story or advice you would like to share?
My advice for beginners: Join a guild to experience the many different avenues that calligraphy has (which can include, but not all: pointed pen, broad edge pen, watercolors, Zentangle, modern lettering, pictorial and flourishing).
Participating in classes where each of these are taught can help narrow and direct your love of lettering.
I wholeheartedly agree, Melissa. The guild has been a crucial part of my growth as a calligrapher. I always look forward to seeing you there with your perfect desk of supplies set up! Thank you again for participating in the interview! I know our calligrafriends will enjoy reading all about you. 🙂
You will love seeing the unique artwork Melissa does with her calligraphy in her instagram feed, so be sure to follow her @melissabakercalligraphy, and also be sure and comment on her feed to let her know you read her article!