Not only do I have three younger sisters, but I have three younger sisters who are extremely creative and talented... and MUCH cooler than me. They inspire me and they bring so much beauty into my life. They always went along with my grand plans to put on a musical for our parents or transform the upstairs bathroom into a spa.
This past month, one of my sisters, Kalin, got on board another one of these grand plans. Kalin is an amazing calligrapher and we combined our skills to create a new line of wedding suites for Sugared Fig! For this collaboration, I created a whole new section on my website called "Formal Suites" as her calligraphy gravitates towards the more elegant style that is so prevalent in the wedding paper world than my typical (more whimsical) designs.
We have received many questions about our new things, so we opened it up to you guys. Our little Q&A is below!
Q & A
1. How did you get started?
Claire: Probably farther back than you wanted, but I started painting oil paintings with my grandmother when I was 8. She taught me how to create reflections in water and how to paint flower petals impressionistically. Flash forward middle school- I made a few websites for fun and played around with graphic design programs. In high school I started designing custom stationery for friends, and my junior and senior year, designed all of the school dance invitations for our high school. In college, I began to delve into the wedding world, with one of my first hand-painted suites being my own. My style has remained very hand-painted, whimsical, and a little more informal, but I decided to collaborate with my younger calligraphy-extraordinaire sister, Kalin, for my recent release so that I was able to offer two styles.
Kalin: I began practicing calligraphy when I asked for and received a beginner's calligraphy kit for Christmas in 2015. It honestly didn't help me learn- if anything, I lost hope in learning calligraphy! Later I learned that it was simply because I didn't have the right tools. Later the next year, however, I was asked by Claire to help her with a place card and envelope order. I remember loving it so much and never wanting to quit. But when looking back at the photos of them, I cringe. From that point, I made an Instagram account so I could post my creations, and now I'm here!
2. I don't get good quality out of my printer at home. What printer do you use/how do you print your stuff?
I rarely print from home. My family has owned and run a printing business for over 40 years, so it's a family affair! We print all of our digitally-printed orders on fancy printers, so I pride myself in the high quality printing we offer. So many brides are surprised when they receive samples in the mail at how crisp our printing is. My dad (the owner of our printing company) is the greatest asset to my business, and I love how we talk on the phone daily- we call each other "Barts!" (short for business partners... I know... it's weird). Sorry, went off on a tangent, but all that to say, I think what makes Sugared Fig unique is how we don't have to outsource our printing, which keeps this process much more intimate for my clients. I also don't hand-feed the printing at home, which allows me much more time to create quality designs. My dad always tells me "You never want to spend your time doing production! That's not where you time is best spent."
3. Do you use watercolor?
Not on most of my designs. On almost all of my semi-formal suites, I use a mixture of acrylic and gouache. On a few suites (those with a watercolor dip style or The Eliza) I do use watercolor for a more formal, light design. I was not trained on watercolor, so I'm a little bit more wary of using it, but I have learned that it is more forgiving when it comes to painting flowers- so it is a great method of painting for beginners!
4. Where did you get your styling board?
These boards can cost upwards of $85, so Kalin and I made them. With a little plaster, paint, and sponges, it was a trial-and-error.
5. What kind of nib do you use?
For the semi-formal suites, I use ProCreate on my iPad Pro.
For the formal suites, Kalin uses the Hiro Leonardt #41.
6. Where do you get your props?
Around the house, my mimi's house, flowers foraged or bought. Really, all dishes, are random antiques I've found. Ribbons have come from Silk & Willow, Honey Silks Co, and Frou Frou Chic.
Thanks for all of the questions we have received from you- it was a joy answering them! As always, if you have any more inquiries or ideas, simply message me on the contact page!