reporting live, from IAMPETH 2013

sullpen Happy Friday everyone! Today I wanted to share a few of the highlights from the 2013 IAMPETH convention in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I cannot begin to tell you how fantastic it is! I’m learning lots of new things, meeting so many legendary calligraphers, talented artists and having the time of my life. If you are thinking attending, and have any questions, please send me a message.

I have been a professional calligrapher now for ten years, and in a way, I am glad that I waited a little bit before attending this convention. First of all, it really is a test of your love and dedication to this art form. You are in class all day long from 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. sitting at a desk and writing. There are events happening at night too. Because there are at least a hundred people in each class, you watch what the instructor is doing from an overhead projector, while taking notes, and following along with your own pen and ink. While IAMPETH is open to calligraphers of all skill levels I think one would benefit the most with some previous experience.

The first day I took a Beginning Spencerian class with the legendary Michael Sull and he is a treasure. If  you google the word Spencerian his name appears. I showed up to the class with a plastic oblique pen in my tool box. During class he talked about having the proper tools which is applicable to any art form. The “plastic holders should be used to stir your coffee.”, he lectured (gulp). That day, I made an upgrade and purchased a wooden oblique pen holder handmade and adjusted by Mr. Sull himself.

I am so glad that I had the proper tools because I noticed that it really did make a huge difference in my work, especially the next day when I attended Pat Blair’s Flourished Copperplate Capitals class. Pat Blair is the Chief Calligrapher at the White House. Her work is exquisite and perfect. It has to be.

An added bonus to this experience was meeting Anne Keenan Higgins who is also attending for the first time. She has been my IAMPETH buddy and my saving grace. You have no idea how excited I was to find out that Anne was attending this convention and has made this first time experience here even more memorable. I have been a fan of her work for so many years. If you don’t know her illustration work, you have probably given or received a card, perhaps may have read a book with her beautiful artwork on the cover.

When I asked Anne how she found out about IAMPETH, she said that it was from reading Tristan’s Besotted blog. Coincidentally, my calligraphy kit was featured on her blog post today. I am so grateful for this and for my career as a calligrapher. I hope you are having a week. I am having THE BEST WEEK. EVER. xoxo, M.






On top of all the crazy deadlines, workshops in NYC, my husband’s birthday and the twins’ 4th birthday, I am attending two conferences this month. What was I thinking? The first one is the International Association of Master Penman, Engrossers, and Teachers of Handwriting. This is a glimpse of what I am packing for my trip to the IAMPETH conference in Albuquerque next week. I am so excited, and I don’t want to forget anything. I will be micro blogging from the conference all week and I will post it on my instagram feed. If you are attending the IAMPETH conference, please say hello, I would love to meet you! Lets be calligra-pals!  xoxo M




new website – behind the scenes


I feel as though have been talking about this website re-design for a few years now, it’s been on my list of things to do, and  then our twins were born,  so it prolonged the process even more, about three years more to be exact. Well, it’s here and I’m so excited to share it with you, however I can’t help but feel like I have just given birth to another baby! While I did enjoy the time with my kids during the early years, now it’s time for me to hit the ground, running.

When I ran the idea of my website re-design by Tristan I knew that she understood my concept, but how embarassing is this very rough sketch that I showed her? I’ve had this botanical poster idea (an obsession, actually) for my splash page, and I wanted to showcase some of my illustrations as well as my hand lettering. Thankfully, she really “gets” me and knew exactly who to put me in touch with, in case you don’t know, Tristan has THE best taste in the whole wide world, so her opinion really mattered. I am so glad because Sarah and Lindsay at Hello-Monday are AMAZING! If anyone is looking for someone for their site, I highly recommend them!

If any of you remember, my old site had a very hand-done feel and I didn’t want to lose much of that, as much as possible on screen. I wanted to be able to update the site from time to time and I wanted a blog built in to the site, etc. I don’t have a budget to hire a designer to update my site each time there was a minor change. I am so pleased with my decision to go with a custom WordPress site.

I submitted a tighter sketch shown here for my website. I have completely outgrown ‘may+_____ drawing of a bell’ so, I used my long hyphenated name which I hand lettered in my version of an imperfect Bodoni, I wanted the same treatment as you would see on a botanical poster. Sarah and I had a meeting and then she got to work. She is so gifted because to take what I provided and add her design sensibility to what we ended up with is magic! She came back with too many great designs to choose from but once the final design was approved, Lindsay got to work and custom coded the site, she is another gifted one because coding is a foreign language, and viola my website!


I want to send a very special THANK YOU to all my friends and family who viewed my site in all the different stages. To all my followers on instagram, tumblr, facebook, pinterest and twitter, and my blog!  To my husband Greg for his fantastic ideas, expert woodworking skills and for making what I love to do possible by being such a wonderful dad and putting the kids to bed every night in order for me to work late. To Sarah and Lindsay of Hello-Monday for agreeing to take on my project, for your patience with my late night website help. To Tristan, for all your branding expertise, non-stop ideas, and for believing in me. Traci Williams for lending her photography skills for my portfolio, Laura Monfredini of Elle Photographs for waking up early one Sunday morning to take photos of me in Golden Gate park, (blog section) Victoria Stanell for her gift of editing which put the finishing touches to my site, to my friend Vic at MilkfedPress for being one of the best printers around  and making my work come alive! And last but not least to the talented and inspiring Elizabeth Messina for teaching me how to see the world in a completely new and exciting way! Many, many thanks! xoxo