When It's Right, It's Right: The Not-So-Short Story of How I Got Started

There has been a theme of my last couple days. A common mantra that has been reoccurring… I’ve found myself saying this to clients, fellow creatives, and friends…

“You know it’s right when the pieces just seem to fall together.”

I realize now this has been the underlying theme for the last year of my life.

I want to share with you guys a more personal tidbit about how I made the decision to pursue this passion of mine. When anyone asks, I shorten the story to, “I started calligraphy when planning my own wedding.” While this is true, I never planned on making calligraphy my life. I certainly didn’t start learning with the intention of being a professional calligrapher. I loved doing the signs and calligraphy for our wedding, but at that point and even after, it was nothing more than a meditative hobby for me.

Yet somehow, the prospect of making my own business just kept falling into place- until there really wasn’t even a decision to make.

One year ago today, I lost my grandfather. A mechanic, a carpenter, an artist, and a joker, with an immaculate shed that is heaven for any builder. And also, as we liked to joke, a leprechaun (small, Irish, mischief-maker). This loss rocked my family, hard. As anyone who has lost someone dear knows, it comes in waves. Waves of deep sadness, waves of laughter-filled memories, and waves of disbelief. For me, I also kept getting hit with waves of inspiration and clarity.

Photo by Victoria Selman Photography

Photo by Victoria Selman Photography

We started to go through (some of) Pop’s things and laughed and cried together. We came to find endless art supplies- tons of sketches, pens, markers, ink, nibs, watercolors, paper- you name it. I always knew that he sketched, as he was a builder and carpenter. When I was young, his “little plum,” I would sit at his drafting table and doodle on his floor plans for whichever project he was working on. I only realized as we went through his piles how much of an artist he was. There were so many items that I use on a daily basis in calligraphy.

Soon after, my mom and my grandmother approached me and asked if I wanted his drafting table and his art supplies. With a heavy, happy heart I accepted this piece of furniture that he had spent endless hours working on. I began working more and more on it, practicing calligraphy and doing small jobs on the side.

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The more I used his things, the paper and ink, brushes and watercolors, the closer I felt to him and the more I fell in love with the art. Not only did I have this immense support from my friends and family, even my previous employers, to start building my business, but I also had this feeling deep in my heart that Pop was pushing me toward this.

I am under no illusion that my business will fall together on its own. I know that it will take endless hustle, and that I must work harder than I ever have for anything. But something I did not begin this journey with is doubt. Of course I am nervous and scared of failing, because I like to think I have common sense. But although I have those nerves and some fear, I know, without the slightest hint of doubt, that this is the path that I was meant to take.

I also can’t ignore the fact that his shed is filled with loads (and I mean loads) of scrap wood that is PERFECT for signage. Many conveniently cut to the perfect sizes, like the one pictured above that I used for my brother’s wedding. And I’ve called dibs on all of it, naturally.