Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Eat, Drink & Be Creative : A Laura Hooper Calligraphy Workshop in NYC

I’m about 10 months into my calligraphy journey, and while I am not always as diligent as I should be about practicing every single day, and I tend to be more critical of my work than I should be (my husband says), I have completely fallen in love with the craft.

Thus far, I've learned the art of modern calligraphy by watching Skillshare classes, reading books/magazines/blogs on the subject, following other calligraphers on Instagram, and by practicing on my own, trying out different pens, nibs, inks and techniques.

Finally, this past Sunday, I had the pleasure of attending my very first in-person calligraphy workshop, a Laura Hooper Calligraphy Intermediate Workshop. If you know calligraphy, you know Laura Hooper and her beautiful, flourished, fancy-but-still-approachable scripts. When I saw that she was hosting beginner and intermediate classes in NYC, I jumped at the chance to learn from one of my calligraphy idols, and my sweet hubby thoroughly supported the investment.

Sunday afternoon’s workshop was held at The Lofts at Prince, in the hip and fashionable downtown neighborhood of SoHo. Myself and 23 other ladies attended the nearly three-hour class, during which we brushed up on our flourishing skills, learned about mixing inks and asked all the technical- and business-related questions we could come up with. Since we already knew the basics of calligraphy—how the nib works, how to form letters—the intermediate session was very unstructured. Less like a class and more like a free-flowing dialogue with a seasoned pro. (Watch Laura write my name!)

Truth be told, I was incredibly nervous leading up to the workshop. I was worried about getting there (I’m still a newbie when it comes to public transportation and navigating myself around NYC, but I successfully took the bus and then the subway from Jersey to SoHo) and I was worried that, once there, I’d be the worst in the class. That whole hypercritical thing. But I told myself to just relax and enjoy the experience, that I wasn’t going there to prove anything but simply to learn. 

Perhaps it was the cocktail I had at brunch or maybe just the welcoming, informal vibes coming from Laura and her sister/director of operations Alyssa, but once I arrived to the workshop all my nerves melted away and I had a wonderful time. It was a treat to hear tips and tricks from a talented, well-respected and successful calligrapher but it was also a joy to simply spend an afternoon with other women who love calligraphy as much as I do.

As for whether I was the worst person in the class, well, I couldn’t even see most of the other students’ work, so who knows how I compare. (It really isn’t important and, as I know well, comparison is the thief of joy!) But the kind woman sitting across from me during the workshop told me, unprompted, while we said our goodbyes, that my calligraphy is beautiful and that I “should do something with that.” 

My husband tells me the same thing all the time, but for some reason—right or wrong—a compliment from a perfect stranger always hits you in the heart as more true. I’m sure Virginia has no idea how much her words meant to me, but they were a highlight of what was a perfect day of learning and creating.

P.S. Sweets by Olivia provided the delicious dessert shooters for the workshop and Trees & Petals supplied all the gorgeous blooms that decorated the room!

Friday, August 21, 2015

A New York City Summer

After an accidental sabbatical from blogging, I'm jumping back in today by sharing my NYC summer bucket list. Now, I know summer is almost over (tear!), but still want to make the most of the warm weather while we can and explore the city's "great outdoors." The hubs should be home next week and will (fingers crossed) get on a more normal, predictable schedule come October.

Without further adieu, here are ten adventures I'd like to take before the cold sets in.

(Sources: 1, 2, 3)

Hanging out in Brooklyn Bridge Park, including riding the carousel and checking out Please Touch the Art.

Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge, taking in those spectacular Manhattan views, preferably at sunset.

(Sources: 1, 2)

Chowing down on juicy burgers, salty fries and creamy frozen custard at the Shake Shack's original Madison Square Park location.

(Sources: 1, 2, 3)

Strolling along The High Line, an out-of-use 1930s freight rail line, elevated above the bustling city streets on Manhattan's West Side, that was converted into a gorgeously designed and landscaped public park.

(Sources: 1, 2)

Enjoying a summer evening of art and wine on The Met's rooftop, which overlooks Central Park and boasts panoramic views of the city.

Picnicking in Central Park. Gotta remember these tips on where to lay out our blanket in that vast expanse of greenery and what to eat if we don't pack our own basket. (Bonus points for rowing boats on the Lake afterwards!)

(Sources: 1, 2, 3)

Shopping for vintage, antique and handmade goods at the Brooklyn Flea, and taking another day to be an absolute glutton at its weekly food-focused market, Smorgasburg.

Spending a day whiling away on Governors Island, which closes soon (Sept. 27). Located in New York Harbor, it is only 800 yards away from Manhattan but it claims to feel worlds away from the big city. All I know is that Hammock Grove is calling my name.

This is somewhat of an ambitious list and we may not accomplish everything this summer, but I'm looking forward to getting adventuring soon!

(Top photo of Central Park reservoir 
taken and edited by me)
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