maybelle workshop kit

This week just keeps getting better doesn’t it? Maybelle may be across the globe right now teaching at Fog Linen in Japan, did you read that? FOG LINEN!  It is only one of my all time favorite companies, but no matter where in the world Miss Maybelle is we can still have Maybelle come to our homes and teach us via her Workshop in a box!  Maybelle has kindly agreed to give away one of her kits to you (well, one of you lucky individuals!).  When we were discussing this Maybelle said, “Let’s make this a LUXE version!.”  Who am I to say no to that offer?  The Luxe kit will include an assortment of Maybelle’s favorite nibs, both black and white ink, letterpress alphabet how-to (this is something that would be beautiful to have on your inspiration wall or to frame) the wood nib and ink holder (with nameplate) and the workbook.

To enter to win this generous kit, please answer the following question and because you want to make sure Maybelle knows you left an answer I suggest you follow her on Pinterest or Instagram (or both). We will announce the winner Thursday, March 6, 2014:

What question do you most want answered by Maybelle?

If you have the opportunity to go to a live class with Maybelle, do take it! It will inspire you endlessly, you’ll meet some wonderful creative and like-minded individuals and of course you will get to meet the amazing Maybelle in person!  This is a link to her workshops.

Author / Miss Tristan B

Miss Tristan B. is the proprietress of Besotted Brand and the writer of this delightful blog. She recently re-located to sunny Seattle with her handsome husband and two pups, they just welcomed to the world a baby girl. Her lofty goal here is to make this a creative resource repository and to inspire you to fall truly, madly, deeply in love with your life.


  1. Maybelle,

    Where are some of your favorite places to travel? Do you gain a lot of your creative inspiration from traveling?

  2. What do you use/how do you space your letters? Do you write it out with graph paper and then do it again? Did you just practice so much that it then became natural? Do you use pencil and then erase?

  3. oo, i so wish i could participate in this giveaway, but i already own one and can’t deprive someone else from winning it! i LOVE her kit!!! i went to one of her workshops and use that wooden ink holder every time i’m doing calligraphy – it is THE BEST! it’s so convenient to have the little bottle to dip your nib into, plus there’s that little dip where your nib holder can sit! not to mention the perfect detail of the personalized nameplate, written by maybelle herself!! i think i do want to own another one! ;)

  4. Oooh this giveaway is lovely! I’m fairly new to calligraphy, so perhaps this isn’t an issue experienced calligraphers have, but I always have such trouble keeping even ink flow. I would love to hear about how she regulates the flow or how to overcome.

  5. I love Maybelle! …I have the kit and did have the opportunity to take her workshop! Love that she called it “LUXE” because it truly is! She is amazing and so is this workshop in a box! I’m excited for the lucky winner! :))
    I do have a question: What keeps you inspired, Maybelle?

  6. I have been dreaming to have one her Etsy kits! Thank you for the opportunity to be able to win one! My question:
    As a calligrapher, what would the process look like from taking this craft as a hobby to making a living out of it?
    Thanks Maybelle for sharing your passion with all of us. Would love to one day take one of her workshops.

  7. This is awesome! I think my main question would be if there is hope for someone like me who just cannot grip a pen the correct way? I keep trying and I just can’t make my mind do it!

  8. I love seeing maybelle’s work show up in my instagram feed!
    How much do you practice/work each day? Also, how did you generate clients when you first started out?

  9. Maybelle’s style and attention to detail is so inspiring! I’d love to know how she stays creative in other ways and if she has any advice on digging yourself out of a creative rut?

  10. Maybelle,

    Thanks for taking the time to answer any of our questions! You make beautiful work.
    How do you take care of your nibs? (Your do’s and dont’s, etc.)
    And how do you recover from poor ink flow?


  11. Maybelle, where do you mostly find inspiration for your work? I am trying to expand my inspiration past Pinterest, hehe! Thank you for always sharing your beautiful work.



  13. What an amazing giveaway, and a wonderful opportunity to see behind the scenes of an artist whose work I so admire. I’m afraid my question may seem a bit silly, but I’ve never gotten comfortable with more than one style of calligraphy; how would you suggest refining the basics to move into new styles, be they more angular, elaborate or decorative?

  14. How did you develop your unique style? It is SO lovely! Did it come naturally? Or did you set about trying to write in a specific way?

  15. What a great giveaway. I’m new to calligraphy and have so many questions! I guess my main one is how do you stay inspired without getting stuck or imitating. As a hand letterer, I am constantly seeing things on Pinterest that I love and want to try myself, but I also want to create my own work. How do you draw inspiration without copying, I guess I am trying to ask.

  16. That set is beautiful. Exciting that this is my first visit to you page and first introductions to the artist Maybelle. I’m just starting out in calligraphy and am spending most my “practice” time getting inspired and intimidated with the talent out there. I suppose I would I ask if it’s better to start out with a beautiful penmanship of your own or is better to have a, let’s call it “clean slate” so that you can learn like a child would?

  17. This is my first visit also and love this site. I love paper and writing. I would love to be entered into the giveaway. My question is: where do you start? What is easiest to do first? Thank you so much.

  18. what a generous giveaway! I have adored maybelle’s work since stumbling on her lovely lettering in an issue of martha stewart weddings magazine. I have always wanted to know if she thinks Pinterest & other avenues in social media sparked a new interest in calligraphy? she is amazingly talented & I wish her nothing but continued success. . and oh how I love your calligraphy posts- they ALWAYS inspire me. xoxo

  19. Thank you for sharing this interview Miss Tristan! I have always dreamed of attending Maybelle’s class and I hope she visits Vancouver for that! Thank you for the inspiration, may you continue to bless more people all around the world with your creativity! My question is : How do you balance being a calligrapher and a mother?

  20. I am fairly new to calligraphy. I found Maybelle on Instagram and have enjoyed following her and being inspired by her work. I have been trying to practice every day. I was excited to see this interview on the blog to learn more about her. My question is: How do you learn spacing? Do always use graph paper or did you use it and then you learned to do it without?

  21. This is awesome – I love interviews of calligraphers, they seem to be so rare. I have a couple questions:

    1. How do you deal with/prevent hand cramps?? After a couple hours of addressing envelopes my hand starts to cramp up. I know I have a heavier hand and grip the pen harder than is necessary, it should be a loose grip like a paintbrush, but I still end up sore afterwards!

    2. What’s your favorite nib/ink/nib holder/paper combination??

  22. Hi Maybelle,
    Your calligraphy inspires me to keep practicing. After ten years of experience you have honed your craft and traveled the world to inspire other newbies like me. I would like to know how did you first stumble upon calligraphy? Did someone inspire you?

  23. Well, I already asked a few nitty gritty questions in my last post, so I’ll ask something totally different: When you look at someone’s calligraphy style, have you found it to reflect their personality? If so, what do you think your own style says about you?

    The real gift will be if she answers all these zillion questions!


  24. Hope it’s not too personal but my question is:
    If you were to write a letter to your younger self about where you are today, what would it say?
    {Thank you so much for hosting this wonderful contest and for hosting the lovely Maybelle! xo}

  25. Maybelle, how can I do really big letters? I know it seems a silly question but I would love to write some really large letters.

  26. Really so inspiring. On a less technical side, I would love to know if she has ever had to overcome the negative aspects of comparison and how she did that? Does she have any tips on how to grow one’s creative self? Thank you both for sharing this lovely interview.

  27. With so many beautiful things you create, do you ever get creative ‘block’ the way a writer gets writers’ block? If so, do you go to other’s classes or workshops to re-engage?

  28. I’d like to know if she washes her hands right away after writing for hours. I’m just curious, because they say this causes hand spasms. I know having steady hands is very important to a calligrapher. Thank you for this giveaway! :-)

  29. I would love to take the vintage flower and calligraphy workshop and am wondering if you will have another in San Fransisco?

  30. Could we see examples of your calligraphy throughout your career, from when you first started to where you are now? I find it fascinating to see how artists evolve their style over the years.

  31. Well, I have thoroughly enjoyed reading these interviews. Thank you for all your resource links, they have been amazing. Maybelle, you are a true talent and inspiration to myself! My question would be:
    Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
    P.s. Would love to attend a class, do you fancy a trip to Scotland, UK?

  32. Hi Maybell,
    great page and great works of yours.
    I have some lovely papers I’d love to write on, but they are very absorbent.
    My question to you: Any idea how to treat such papers with e.g. Hair Spray (or other liquids) to get a nice writable surface? I wonder if there are some tipps from the middle Ages… like “white of egg plus fairy dust…”

  33. Hi there,
    What a lovely giveaway x
    I would like to know about the ‘aha’ when you knew that this was ‘it’ for you, career wise. Was there a defining moment that made you dream about taking the jump from hobbyist to professional?
    Thank you for the opportunity xx

  34. Hi Maybelle,
    Thanks for the lovely giveaway and all the inspiration and advice for us newbies – it is really priceless!

    I am curious about why you discourage tracing for beginners. I have found sometimes that tracing has helped me to learn how to write a difficult letter, at least at first. But I would love to hear your advice about that.
    Anything else us beginners should not be doing?

    Thanks so much for all your generosity and sharing your knowledge!

  35. Maybelle, what a lovely talent you have. My question for you is: How do you use technology with your calligraphy, and where do you find it is both helpful and hurtful? Thank you for all of your inspiration!

  36. I’m interested in various inks and how to mix them…do you use gouche or colored inks? If you use gouche, how do you mix it for good writing consistency?

  37. This is a wonderful series on Maybelle – thanks for the extra long feature Tristan!
    My question is on developing your own style – how do you know when you’ve found it? Or is it like riding a bike… it seems so challenging along the way and then when you get it you get and it feels so good and you’ll never forget? Or do you see your style like a design – it can be ever changing and always tweaked?
    Thanks for sharing your knowledge! It’s very inspiring for me as an amateur.

  38. Maybelle’s work is beautiful! I loved reading these posts. A number of my questions were answered in the interview but I’d love to know if you have any more recommendations on where to see more ephemera samples? I would love to look at more for inspiration. I think checking out older designs could really help my creative process and find what I could do for an updated style of my own.

  39. How many times do you suggest practicing each letter? What is your best tip for writing a new way? I seem to do okay for a few sentences and then revert to my regular handwriting! Thank you!!

  40. What suggestions can you provide on creating letter embellishments and going from making letters to making artful letters?

  41. Maybelle, What’s the difference between old and modern calligraphy? Is is taught differently? I would love to start someday (hopefully sooner than later), but don’t know how to start.
    I just checked out your website and I’m in LOVE with your style!

  42. Besides sharing my love of lettering with them Maybelle, how would you suggest introducing the art to my daughters? They’ve already learned through their Waldorf School to use a fountain pen but calligraphy that’s another scribble entirely.

  43. Thanks so much for this. Do you think someone with about one year of calligraphy experience would benefit from IAMPETH or is more needed?

  44. Dream job! If you could calligraphy/create any lettering item, what would it be? The White House Christmas Card? A decree by the Queen of England? Maps or historical documents for a Hollywood movie (ala “Lord of the Rings” or “National Treasure”)? what would it be… ? :)

  45. What a fabulous give away! I have been so inspired by these posts and Maybelle’s website and pinterest boards. I am like Tammra and would love to start teaching hand lettering to my daughter. She received aquill pen and nib for Christmas and is inspired by beautiful handwriting. What advice to you have to inspire our children?

  46. Thank you Miss Tristan B for featuring this glimpse into the lovely life of Maybelle!
    I’ve been a fan of Maybelle’s for many years, since I first saw her work in around 2003 or so in Martha Stewart. I’ve got the sheets torn out and saved in my inspiration book – this was in the prehistoric “pre-Pinterest” days!
    Loved being able to identify her work on the McMaster & Storm site – such a fun, distinctive style.
    My question for Maybelle – do you ever have days where your handwriting just doesn’t flow? As hard as you try it just isn’t working…at that particular time? Is it best to fight through it and keep writing? Or walk away and address it again with fresh eyes and hands? Any tips for getting beyond a time like this?
    Many thanks!

  47. Oh, I have soooo many questions for Maybelle, but here are just a few: do you practice everyday? for how long? do you see yourself adding another style to your portfolio? I see that many calligraphers have different styles that they offer & then some that are known for just their one, unique style. This idea of being known for just your style actually appeals to me the most, but was wondering what Maybelle’s thoughts on this are. Thank you so very much for sharing this inspiring artist with us.

  48. Dear Maybelle, you are living my dream :) I just discovered this blog and I’ve immediately fallen in love with both your work and Tristan’s. Thank you for inspiring us~

    My question is: Do you have any advice for someone who only has time to practice during off-work hours and weekends? I know practice makes perfect, but it can be hard to balance work and art :)

  49. I can fill page after page with the single word/name Maribel. It’s my sister’s name. It sounds and looks so beautiful to me. Maybelle, do you have a word that you can’t get enough of?

  50. What a treat to gain insights into the inspiring works and creative life of Maybelle!
    I am curious to know if she has a favourite project she has worked on, whether it be personal or a commissioned piece.
    Thank you!

  51. what a beautiful and inspiring interview! as someone who actually did quite a lot of calligraphy as a girl and now is slowly trying to pick it up again, i just wonder if she’s ever hesitated? has she ever thrown papers full of letters away because she thought they just weren’t right (or good)? not been sure about her own style? i guess i’m just wondering if she found her way immediately and just perfected it or if the road was more winding ?

  52. I’ve been following your work on Instagram and your work is stunning!

    What is the best way to learn flourishes? Is there something that brings you inspiration for them?

  53. Calligraphers always talk about their favorite nib or ink, but they rarely mention paper. What is your favorite paper/cardstock brand and why?

  54. what a beautiful and generous giveaway!

    i have always admired calligraphy but feel so scared to try it! what is the best way to get over this fear? sounds silly i know, but the thought of wasting ink and paper terrifies me!

  55. Maybelle–how can we keep the passion for script and calligraphy alive in the minds of our children, in schools?

  56. Maybelle, you had a unique career path, one which wouldn’t have pointed you directly at where you have ended up. Do you credit hard work with your success, or natural talent? And what kept you in pursuit of a career in lettering, despite any challenges you may have had?

  57. What a wonderful, generous, beautiful giveaway! Thanks to both of you! As for my question: You’ve given some wonderful advice to new(er) calligraphers on what to do and how to do it—but do you have any big “don’ts” to warn us about? You mentioned not tracing, and I’d love to know if you have other wise words of experience regarding pitfalls to avoid. (PS – I’m following on Pinterest now!)

  58. Maybelle, thank you so much for this lovely and generous giveaway! I’ve probably read every interview you’ve ever done and every post featuring your work, so thank you for always sharing your insights and advice for eager calligraphy students! I’d like to ask you if you have any tips or know of any resources that teach or demonstrate Spanish accent marks (such as the “ñ” or “á, é, í, ó, ú”). I live in Miami, so many of my friends have accents in their names. Despite following well-known calligraphers and calligraphy/lettering blogs, I haven’t found any information on this! Do the accents change according to the lettering style? Should the accent vary in thickness? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

  59. Maybelle, thank you so much for this giveaway. What a treat! What do you recommend for beginning calligraphers who would like to write at more of an angle, to make letters appear more formal, but who do not have a natural tendency to do so? Angling the paper differently, using a special kind of angled-line paper? I’ve tried on my own but each letter in a word ends up following a slightly different angle, making the words look quirky and less uniform.

  60. Maybelle, what immediately stood out to me about your calligraphy is how distinct your style is compared to other modern calligraphers out there. Your lettering is unmistakably yours. Is this something that was apparent in your work from early on, or did it develop with time? In other words, did it come naturally, or are there things that new calligraphy enthusiasts can do to begin the process of developing a unique lettering style?

  61. Susana
    Thank you Tristan and Maybelle for coming together to offer this beautiful calligraphy set to one lucky reader. I’ve only been doing calligraphy for a few months, but I am absolutely obsessed. I spend most of my free time practicing letters and often look to the Besotted Blog and Maybelle’s work for inspiration. Maybelle, when you first set out to learn calligraphy, how did you order your practice sessions? What was the one thing you did in your mind that stood out as leading to the most improvement in your work?

  62. My question for Maybelle is: Do you have any tips for even spacing between letters and/or uniform techniques for connecting letters? Whenever I practice individual letters I am quite pleased with the uniformity in style and angle, but I find it difficult to find letter spacing and letter angles consistent within words and in sentences. THANK YOU for this awesome giveaway! Hopefully I can take a workshop with you one day.

  63. How do you suggest a beginner go about developing a personal, modern style? I feel like I’m getting a grasp on the technical, traditional Copperplate style, but am just wondering how to branch out and develop a more modern, personal style. Thanks!

  64. Loved these entries! Maybelle is such a huge inspiration!
    Since you get to travel often, you must get to see a lot of different styles of calligraphy (or even just design) in general from different cultures, is there one in particular that you adore? And how does it impact your own personal work?

  65. This is the most gorgeous calligraphy set I’ve ever seen! Thank you Maybelle and Besotted Blog for this wonderful giveaway. My question to Maybelle, as a working mother who is still trying to master calligraphy, is whether she has any advice on how to get the most out of short practice sessions. I usually don’t get to practice until the end of the day. How would you suggest I approach practice sessions? Going through entire alphabets, just a few letters each night? Any tips at all are very much appreciated!

  66. What a beautiful give away! Thank you for being a source of inspiration for all. My question for Maybelle is how did you brand yourself ? What sets you apart from other designers? Thanks for taking the time to read this and enjoy the day!

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