New Website

new website design for magpie paper works with calligraphy and watercolors and fontsSpring is almost here and in honor of beginnings, Magpie Paper Works has a brand new look. Everybody loves a makeover so please come tour my new and improved website – it’s chock full of fresh lettering, gorgeous photography, new fonts, previously unpublished projects and best of all, a rejuvenated blog!

ROOM TO GROW – WE BOUGHT A FARM!

After two long years of searching for the perfect little homestead, our farm journey is finally beginning. Earlier this week my husband and I closed on a 30 acre parcel complete with a beautiful home, a barn, an established fruit and nut orchard, two large ponds, and a little tribe of chickens. We’re very excited to get our hands into the dirt! First we have to wait for the snow to melt. :)

Please bear with me over the next few weeks as we settle in & unpack – I will be sharing more about our adventures and inspiration after the flurry of boxes ends. One of the first such challenges will be setting up reliable internet access! We’re now miles away from even the slowest DSL, so our options are very limited – I’ve been spoiled with reliability and fast speeds (and unlimited data!) after living in the city for a decade… It’s a bit of a shock to calculate exactly how quickly I’ll reach a satellite data cap with all of those tempting Youtube cats just a click away!

For everyone who has been following along, thank you so very much for your support & warm wishes. I could not have survived this crazy chapter without you!

FONT AID VII – HELPING THE PHILIPPINES

Have you heard about the FontAid VII project? It’s a collaborative typeface that the Society of Typographic Aficionados is creating to benefit the victims of Typhoon Haiyan. Designers & lettering artists from around the world are submitting glyphs based on the Philippine flag’s sun. These characters will be compiled into a font and the proceeds will be donated to the Philippine Red Cross.

I submitted the glyph above. There are 8 ‘rays’ bursting out from the sun, one for each of the country’s first provinces, and a heart in the middle that represents the strength & tenacity of the Filipino people. With the rising of the sun, so rises hope for the future.

If you want to submit a glyph of your own, head on over to the SOTA Font Aid site where you’ll find instructions and an Illustrator template. The deadline for file submission is December 1st.

ONDISE FEATURED IN RISING STARS

Magpie Paper Works calligraphy font Ondise is featured in MyFonts November 2013 issue of Rising Stars

MyFonts just mailed out their November Rising Stars newsletter and it featured a familiar ‘face’ that you might recognize: Ondise! To say I’m excited & honored is an understatement; the fonts and designers included in this edition are just incredible. I mean, Charles Borges de Oliveira? Jeremy Dooley?? I’m pinching myself! As many of you know, I fell into font design almost by accident so to have one of my fonts mentioned alongside heavyweights like Le Havre, is pretty incredible.

It seems pretty crazy how far I’ve come since creating my first font, Vermandois. My background is in hand-lettering and graphic design; in early 2011 I was designing a project with a large amount of text that needed to be written in calligraphy. Lettering the piece by hand would have taken eons, so I figured I should try to turn my writing into a font. Easy, right? Well, no. (Stop laughing, typeface designers.)

Teaching myself the nuts & bolts of font design turned out to be a whole lot like teaching myself Japanese – exponentially complex and totally confusing – but it was also rewarding and addictive! (Ganbarimasu.) People, making a functional end product is hard. Every single letter of the alphabet (and then some) must be designed and harmonized with every other letter in the same alphabet. Unlike calligraphy, however, the characters can exist only in a straight line & must appear balanced no matter how they’re arranged. (No hand-lettering tricks allowed!) There’s spacing and kerning to contend with, connections must be designed to blend seamlessly and of course Opentype coding. All of these aspects make it sound like the medium is very limiting but honestly, once you really start mucking around you see that the real challenge is actually infinite possibilities. The most difficult part of transitioning from calligrapher to font designer has been developing the logical side of my brain so that I can recognize them. Folks, there is as much strategy in a font as there is design.

And Ondise is really the culmination of all of this self-teaching. She’s a much more robust font than my earlier releases, and I guess that shows – Ondise was released in late September and in that short time she’s rocketed to the top of MyFonts’ Hot New Fonts list. Right now, she’s the 15th best seller on the site. (Say what?!) I feel like I’ve hit my stride with this one, and am really, really proud of how much I’ve grown. There is so much more to come from my burgeoning solo foundry, Lovelies! Stay tuned…

SNEAKING A PEEK AT THE LETTER DESK

Just a little sneak peek into my newest font project, currently under development. The inspiration for this one was scribble-chic! She’ll have dancing baselines and a realistic hand-lettered feel, just like Saissant and Vermandois, but looks a little more uptown. Scribble chic!

Stay tuned for more updates by following me on Twitter — I will be putting her in the shop sometime in the next two weeks, and fellow birdies will get a special Twitter-only discount code on release day!

HERE, THERE, EVERYWHERE

Lovelies! It has been ages since I’ve last updated this blog, and so much has been going on behind the scenes.

As some of you knew, we set out to rehab our bungalow & studio late last year – while construction is almost complete, it’s looking like we’ll actually be moving in the next couple of months… I know! Mr. Magpie and I have been dreaming of buying a farmette forever, and after two long years of searching (and a little bit of heartbreak over a few that got away) we may have finally found “the” place. I don’t want to jinx anything because it’s not set in stone just yet, but hopefully in the coming weeks I will have happy news to share. (Happy backyard-chicken & amazing-about-time-dedicated-studio-space news!)

In the meantime,there have been so many crazy-huge-fun projects we’ve been working on behind the scenes, and I can’t wait to share them with you. *Lots* of calligraphy, custom branding and of course, studio renovations. ($100 ebony plank countertops, y’all! Cork floors!) The fun begins tomorrow.

Also, we’re opening up our printed production schedule again. Previously, we had been only taking on calligraphy/digital orders while the studio was under plastic. If you have a wedding taking place this winter, drop us a note & we’d love to chat with you about your plans.

AN UPDATE ON MR. WINSTON

Winston says hello.  :)

I know a lot of you are animal lovers, so I’m super excited to share good news! Our newest project studio assistant Winston went back to the vet yesterday for his first post-heartworm treatment of Interceptor, and all went well. Winnie’s completely recovered from last month’s icky arsenic shots and is now only coughing once in a blue moon. Our best guess is that the treatment was successful, though of course we won’t get confirmation of that for a few months. Apparently it takes that long for the last traces of the heartworms to leave his system. (Boo-hiss heartworms!) Winston’s ready and raring to get back in action, though — only two more weeks until ball-chasing and woodland-romping can resume! (I will try to take some videos so you guys can see how redonkulously adorable this little fella is. When he gets excited, his ears flop around like Dumbo, lol.)

Thank you all so very much for your prayers, love, encouragement and patience. I can’t tell you how touched we felt knowing y’all were in Winston’s corner and I am 100% positive that your loving energy made all the difference in his recovery. Truly, he is a dog transformed.

And because everything has gone so well, I have more happy news to share: our studio hours are back to normal!!! Double yay!!!

I’ll have lots more posts very soon – there’s so much new work to share with you, I can hardly stand it!

IMPORTANT STUDIO UPDATE

As some of you know, in late January we rescued a very sweet & very ill senior dog who had been abandoned in a farm field. We christened him Winston, and he’s living up to his namesake. This dog has pluck.

In addition to dealing with near blindness, deafness, arthritis, hypothyroidism, severe anemia and a hemolytic crisis, Winnie is also fighting a nasty case of heart worms. Despite all of this, he remains an incredibly loving and wonderful companion so he’s been helping out sleeping at the studio with us each day. We love looking after him.

After two months of awesome veterinarian care (shout out to Dr. Mike!) Winston is finally ready to fight his biggest battle yet. Monday morning, he’ll receive the first of two heart-worm-destroying Immiticide injections. Assuming all goes well, he will be confined & monitored for around two months, so that we can prevent and/or quickly treat any embolisms that result from the worms’ deaths. This means that Winnie is essentially under house arrest for the foreseeable future. Because yours truly will be his nurse, I want to let y’all know about a few changes in our schedule for the next few weeks.

Current Clients: Design & production of your order will continue on schedule, from my home office. C’est si bon.

Communication: Barring any emergencies, I will be available via email and Google chat, Monday thru Friday, from noon – 5pm, CST. Status updates will be shared via Twitter, so if you’d like to stay in the know, please follow @MagpiePaper here. Plus, we’d love to say hello.

Samples & Product Orders: Any samples or products ordered from our shop will ship on Mondays only. If you need your items for an upcoming event, please plan accordingly. If you have any questions about scheduling, I would be glad to help you determine whether we’ll be able to ship your items in time before you place your order.You can email me here.

Font Orders: We’ve got you covered. Your download link(s) will be provided immediately after your font purchase, just like normal.

With lots of love & prayers, Winston should be up and at ’em soon and it’ll be back to business as usual. Many thanks, Lovelies, for your understanding. Winnie sends puppy kisses!

OUR DEBUT FONT COLLECTION IS HERE!

Root-tooty-toot (that is my terrible trumpet impression) our brand-spankin’ new, debut font collection is live!!!  Let me introduce you to a few of my lovely friends:

There’s more where these came from in our shop and over at MyFonts too. Go check ’em out – we promise they’ll knock your socks off!

Each font is the result of months and months of calligraphy, digitization, Opentype feature-building and coding. For somebody who started with lots of calligraphy experience but only the faintest idea of Opentype code, creating these lovelies was quite a learning experience. While it was a little crazy at times (one teeny-tiny typo breaking 4 days of coding!) Opentype was the only way to go. It really frees up the truly “hand-made” qualities of inked lettering. With a little ingenuity and a bit of time, you can build random letter substitutions, connecting characters, and contextual alternates just to name a few. This means that when you’re using the font, the software can automatically “draw”. It can connect two t’s, for example, or add a swirl to a capital letter but not a lowercase letter. It can turn prepositions into pretty word art, or join two cursive letters in just the right place. I tried to incorporate as many of these features as I could into each font – particularly Saissant, Vermandois and Cerise. Because extras are fun!

Later this week I will be sharing a fun, font-inspired freebie + great wedding tutorial that you’re going to want to see. So. Much. Pretty.

Hope you enjoy!

SOUTHERN WEDDINGS V4

I was so honored to collaborate with the amazing team of gals behind Southern Weddings on an absolutely dreamy editorial shoot in one of my favorite places… Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia!

I designed a custom wine label and coaster for the story’s dream couple based on their quintessentially Virginian romance. Susannah and Gardner fell head-over-heels for each other while attending the College of William and Mary so I just know that they would have crossed (and kissed!) atop the historic Crim Dell Bridge! Legend has it that when two lovers kiss at the tippy-top of the bridge’s arch, they are destined to be together forever. Naturally, I had to incorporate the bridge into their design.

I was also inspired by the beautiful monogram that calligrapher Moya Minns designed for our couple.

Champagne mint juleps – yes, please! The perfect refreshing sip for a Virginia wedding.

Such a treat & an honor to work with all of the talented, creative folks involved! This issue of Southern Weddings is so. jam. packed. with gorgeousness and ideas and amazing things… Seriously, y’all, I don’t say this much but from cover to cover this is definitely one magazine you must pick up. You will be inspired!

Love for the talented folks who made this beautiful shoot possible: Photography by Katie Stoops / Styling & Floral Design by Courtney Spencer of Merriment, assisted by Danielle Hines / Hair & Makeup by Avenue 42 Designs / Flowers provided by Fifty Flowers / Bridal Gown “Arabella” by Christos / Bride’s shoes (“Forbes” by Nina) from Bella Bridesmaid / Location & chairs by Colonial Williamsburg / Coaster and wine label – Magpie Paper Works / Invitation & Program designed by The Lettered Olive with calligraphy by Elizabeth Porcher Jones / Linens – La Tavola Linen / Monograms, menus, place cards, popper wraps, drink sign – Moya Minns of MMInk