People always say your handwriting says a lot about you. If you are looking at Pinterest or Instagram these days, it’s not hard to tell that calligraphy is having a big comeback right now. Forget about Helvetica (or the font you are typing in) just for a while, go pick up your pen and start creating a personal, elegant touch on the cards you’re about to send to your friends, the gift you plan on giving to your family, your wall art pieces, and more.
The moment your pen touches the paper, you will feel the joy of art again, and fall in love with the beauty of calligraphy just like our featured host today,Sarah Ward, a Seattle calligrapher (aka one of our favorite calligraphers of all time) who teaches a variety of hand-lettering classes on Verlocal.
“I took my first calligraphy class in the sixth grade — my teacher at the time introduced the class to Old English calligraphy and I was hooked!” says Sarah. “As an avid journaler, I have always had an affinity for pen and paper, and my love of typography grew as time went on.”
Read on to learn more about Sarah’s journey (from learning calligraphy art to starting her own business based on her passion), her all time inspirations, and her beautiful artworks!
Hey Sarah, we are so excited to have you with us! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I’m Sarah, a calligrapher and stylist based in the Seattle area. I do calligraphy for weddings, small businesses, and editorials, and teach a variety of calligraphy classes, including pointed pen, brush lettering, watercolor calligraphy, and design.
Your works are amazing! When did you first become interested/passionate in calligraphy art?
I took my first calligraphy class in the sixth grade — my teacher at the time introduced the class to Old English calligraphy and I was hooked! As an avid journaler, I have always had an affinity for pen and paper, and my love of typography grew as time went on. A few years ago in the dead of winter I was feeling listless, looking for something to sink my teeth into and I rediscovered calligraphy with a modern twist! I studied with a renowned calligrapher and hand letterer, which really set me on this trajectory. Since the style of modern calligraphy I loved wasn’t available in Seattle at the time, I decided to create a calligraphy curriculum for the community here. Having taught piano for 10 years, I love teaching, so classes came together really organically. I’m pleased to report that over 150 people have come through my calligraphy classroom in the last year!
Where does your inspiration come from? What made you want to pursue your passion and become a host?
I am wildly inspired by Girl Bosses and people who seem to extract more hours of the day than most of us enjoy. That kind of focus and commitment is awe-inspiring. For visual inspiration, Pinterest and Instagram are my digital go-to’s. I had the pleasure of studying with Molly Jacques and I’m constantly amazed at her artistry. Every time I see her work I get lit up to try new ideas.
How would you describe the link between your classes and the community around you?
Having a creative community is an essential ingredient for me, so at the beginning of the year, I launched a calligraphy meetup in Seattle. We have free monthly meetings that are open to the public as a way to connect, inspire, and be inspired. It’s been such a treat to connect to bond with other inspiring people and to witness friendships bloom over calligraphy.
How long have you been living in Seattle? What would you recommend to someone who just moved to this city?
I moved to Seattle nearly five years ago and it’s become my home. There is such a hotbed of culture and creativity and plenty of opportunities to develop new skills. For people new to Seattle, tap into the community around you! Come to our calligraphy meetup! Get outside and enjoy the outdoors! And don’t forget to get out of dodge and take little day trips to the surrounding cities — Vancouver, Canada (my hometown!), Victoria, BC, and Portland, OR.
Tell us about your favorite moment/ biggest achievement since you started teaching your classes.
It’s always a treat to have students return to my class for an encore and, lately, I’ve seen some remarkable work come from my students! I’m so proud of them and their tenacity!
What is your favorite piece of work & story behind it?
Last year I got together with Seattle photographer Austin Tott and we created a series call #thewrittencollection, a collection of calligraphy and hand lettering that we co-styled together. It was a really organic collaboration where we began with the big picture in mind and then went backwards to find the quotes and lettering styles that would support the vision. Austin is one of my favorite creatives in Seattle and it was a true pleasure to co-create this imagery with him.
What does Verlocal mean to you?
Verlocal is literally the lifeblood of my teaching business. Verlocal gets me in front of my target audience every day and you make it so easy for people to make the decision to learn a new skill. I owe so much of my success to this phenomenal platform and am thrilled with the results and growing momentum! I’m always recommending Verlocal to folks who are starting businesses or looking for fun things to do around town.
What are your goals for the future?
I’m excited to take my classes online, create a font, and do more editorial lettering!
Any recommendations to someone who might want to start their own business?
Network, network, network! To succeed, you need to be seen and networking is a great way to connect with your community and be a resource for people around you. If you’re starting a business, don’t do it alone! Get together with a like-minded friend for business brainstorm sessions. It’s so helpful to get a second eye on your work or business plan and it will light a fire within you to press on and keep on. For the full-time entrepreneur, there are great workspaces around town that you can plug into so you can stay connected to your community.
Starting to get more interested in learning more about calligraphy? Or have you already saved a list of your favorite calligraphy works? If so, take this chance to take one of her calligraphy classes (pointed pen, brush lettering,watercolor calligraphy, etc.) and meet this amazing calligrapher in person! Besides offering her regular classes, Sarah also likes to collaborate with other talented individuals/businesses to set up special workshops, so don’t forget tokeep up with her latest works by following Verlocal and her website.
All photos by Sarah Ward