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This is a snapshot from Maybelle’s workshop at Fog Linen in Japan last week, I thought you might want to take a peek at a workshop set-up.  Tell me this doesn’t look like good times!  I am super excited to announce  the winner of Maybelle’s Workshop in A Box, it is…(insert drumroll): Kathleen!  Her winning question was-What would you write in a letter to your younger self?   I loved this question too, there were SO many good ones, this one really needed a pause to think about the answer.  I have enclosed Maybelle’s answer below which I thought was so eloquent. It makes me all weepy, it’s very special and great for anyone questioning their own path and how one career can lead into another and just trusting your instincts.  Follow your heart my dear friends, you never know what magical place it will lead you to…

Dear Younger self,

Right now you are just finishing up your last year in school and your internship at the packaging design firm.  You have just received a letter for an job offer as a flight attendant.  You are questioning this career path as it is not what everyone else with a degree in design takes, but trust me, it is a good decision and one that will allow you to have lots of spare time to explore your life as an artist and designer.

Through your travels not only will you have access to all the best cities around the world on a regular basis, but you will gain crucial life and business skills while meeting so many interesting people. You will make friends in many cities around the world. You will meet your husband, who is amazingly supportive of all the things that you do, he will give you a very special gift, calligraphy lessons which will change your life. You will become an expert at time management and  learn how to function with very little sleep this will come in handy later for your life with your twins.

 You have no idea at the time, but you decide to send samples of your work to Martha Stewart Weddings, and the thank you note that you wrote to the editor will lead to your career as a calligrapher. You will work on very special projects on a regular basis with this magazine which will lead to other projects with brides and commercial clients. You will take some time off (three years  to be exact) once the twins arrive and when you return back to work you discover that you enjoy sharing your love of calligraphy by teaching workshops and inspiring others.

 You will find a nice working mom/ family life balance by teaching small workshops first in San Francisco and then Los Angeles, Portland, New York City, and then Sydney, Melbourne, Tokyo and now Singapore. All the things that you love to do Travel, Design and Calligraphy all go hand in hand now.  Just remember to always be yourself, trust your instincts and have no regrets.

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.


Elizabeth Messina_MAYBELLE Heath Besotted Blog

I wanted to thank a few people that made this week possible. Of course there is the wonderful Maybelle, without her this week wouldn’t be a possible.  I think we can all agree that without Elizabeth Messina’s always beautiful photographs this week would not have been the same.  I do believe a week of Elizabeth Messina should be in order in the near future!  I also have to make a mention the new Hearth magazine which the photos of Elizabeth Messina’s Lovely Workshop is featured in further detail (a must have).  The magazine was created by two talented sisters and it looks absolutely beautiful!

Thank you to all that stopped by this week and paid a visit, it’s been a tough road back to blogging for me and I am still trying to figure out the balance with the new baby, so happy you stopped by and have stuck around!


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.


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I am thrilled by the feedback of Maybelle’s interview!  I won’t keep you waiting, because I know you are anxious to read more, so without further ado…

Any tips for newbies on how to develop their own style?

Look at lots of examples, Seek out teachers who offer a style that you really admire, and approach them.  Keep an eye out for special collections at libraries, and exhibits at art museums. The work that you do should feel like it’s coming from you.

Any recommendations of books or classes for lettering enthusiasts to further their studies?

I would recommend IAMPETH, aka the calligraphy convention, I didn’t attend until after ten years of doing this professionally. There are certainly rules to follow, and be prepared to be writing in calligraphy for 8 hours a day with master calligraphers, some of them are in their 80s and 90s, National treasures! One of  the things I love is that you have access to their archives, I wished I discovered it early on last year. If you attend the next one in Indianapolis, be sure to visit the archive room sooner rather than later.

As for books, I love this book Mira Calligraphae Monumenta, but there is a pinterest board. Scripts by Louise Fili, Missing Ink: The lost art of handwriting, (required reading for anyone who loves lettering) 
and this book of ephemera, (you can find it at Kinokinuya). [Read more...]


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I feel so very lucky always that calligraphers and lettering artists that I admire have been generous enough with their time and knowledge to do these interviews for us. I am especially grateful for Maybelle’s interview as I feel (and I think most will agree) that she is the grand dame of modern calligraphy, she has been a favorite of Martha Stewart, art directors, brides, the blogosphere, etc. Maybelle was a pioneer in sharing her creative genius with the world and bringing in the modern calligraphy workshops which has spawned a whole industry making calligraphy/lettering accessible to us mere mortals.  I love her dedication and passion for her craft and her endless creativity to whatever project she is working on. If you are interested in this medium then you must try to take one of her classes, I think you will be blown away by her talent, her enthusiasm and her sunny disposition. I have never met anyone this talented and successful and so humble (except for maybe Elizabeth Messina). I hope you enjoy the first part of her interview and stay with us this week for the second part, more photos and a giveaway!

Where are you located?

Oakland, California

How did you get started in lettering?

My background is in Graphic Design and Ceramics. In school we learned create entire alphabets by hand. I have always enjoyed this much attention to detail.  After college, I didn’t take the usual path that a graphic designer would, instead I was hired as a flight attendant for a major US airline. I lived abroad and would send letters to my family and friends back in Hawaii. Like most designers I collect anything and everything with type, in particular anything written in script. I love it all.  I fell in love with a hand written menu at Chez Panisse in Berkeley. It was unlike anything I had seen before. It wasn’t classic, or perfect copperplate calligraphy that I was used to seeing. It was expressive and it had a lot of soul. You could tell immediately, it was written by hand. I found out that it was done by Lauren McIntosh, an artist and painter, who is self taught. I learned that she co-owns a beautiful shop called “Tail of the Yak” and that she offered classes in her studio.  My husband purchased a series of classes with Lauren as a Christmas gift one year. Soon after, I sent samples of my invitation designs to Martha Stewart Weddings, the designs did not include any work in calligraphy but I did follow up a week later and sent them a letter, one of the editors noticed my lettering and asked me if I was a calligrapher, and that’s when I became a professional calligrapher. Her wedding was featured as an 8 page story in their beautiful magazine. The rest as they say is history.

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What are some of your favorite supplies?

I love Onion skin paper you can find them at antiques markets, or on ebay, but I just found some here.  I love Clairfontaine or Rhodia paper. They are basically the same paper, except the Clairfontaine paper has gold foiled cover (swoon!) This pen was the one Lauren gave me in her class. I used it for many years until  I started offering workshops and realized that its not ideal for beginners.  For my workshops, I use Nikko G and a straight pen holder. I love Dr. Ph. Martins Matte Star black and Sumi ink,  Moon Palace No. 170 to be exact. My new favorite pen and nib.

Can you name some of your inspirations?

I love to travel. I ditch guidebooks and spend lots of time in stationery stores, drug and grocery stores. Artists that inspire me: Calligrapher Bernard Maisner, Sabine Pick, Stephanie Fishwick, Magpie Paperworks. Also: Edward Gorey, Sara Midda, Maira Kalman, Cy Twombly, Eliott Puckette, Elvis Swift, Isamu Noguchi, Louise Bourgeois.

To be continued….

I know there’s many links that you will want to be exploring so I will conclude the interview tomorrow, remember if you have questions for Maybelle please leave them in the comments!

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.

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