Happy Hands Project on Society6

Society6 Calligraphy via Happy Hands Project

I’ve had my Society6 shop for quite a while now, even before I opened my Etsy shop. However, I didn’t feel that my calligraphy at the time was good enough to share with the world, so I pulled my items out. Well, thanks to the online community, I feel more confident now and realised that perfection isn’t everything. So, I’ve had enough of the drama and finally resurrected my shop at Society6 again!

I have 2 calligraphy prints there, both applied to different material – pillow covers, laptop skins, stretched canvas – and prints in different sizes, of course. I’m planning to add more prints in the coming weeks once I get a breather from all the commission works I have right now. Can’t wait! In the meantime, here are 2 inspirational quotes from Dr Seuss and Mark Twain.

Help me spread the love!

Maybelle Imasa-Stukuls in Singapore

Maybelle in Singapore via HappyHandsProject

Just the other day I remember a discussion on the Flourish Forum about Maybelle Imasa-Stukuls’ calligraphy exemplar. Some were wondering if it would be worth attending her class or just purchasing her kit online. The kit alone is such a treat – I can stare at Maybelle’s handwriting all day! However, if you know that she’ll be in your city, I’d say go to her class instead. An in-person workshop is a much better option if you have a choice.

Let me tell you why.

Maybelle Imasa-Stukuls in Singapore via Happy Hands Project

Being in Singapore, I was so fortunate to have Bloesem Creative Space invite Maybelle for a series of classes. To say workshops by renowned calligraphers are rare here would be a total understatement. I’ve never gone to a calligraphy workshop before so this one will practically be my first ever. Being a fan of her works and style for ages, I was super excited to say the least!

It was a glorious Sunday morning. After having breakfast with my husband at the Tiong Bahru Bakery, he walked me across to Bloesem for the 3-hour class. You know what made the morning even more glorious? I had a front row seat! Exactly in front of Maybelle! It was very inspiring to hear how she started out and be able to observe how she actually writes. It’s very beneficial especially for beginners because simple things like incorrect writing angles will be easily addressed. Anyone’s free to ask questions, too. And the kit. Oh, the kit. I know I already have a lot of ink holders, pens and a million other odds and ends, but I love all the handmade tools and letterpress exemplar that Maybelle brought for the workshop.

Maybelle Imasa-Stukuls in Singapore via Happy Hands Project

Maybelle Imasa-Stukuls in Singapore via Happy Hands Project

Aditionally, I believe it’s Bloesem’s interiors that really set the mood for such an enjoyable class. Who wouldn’t love practicing calligraphy in such a lovely space with rays of sunlight peeking through? We were all pampered with refreshments as well – all cooked lovingly in Bloesem’s kitchen. After mingling with Maybelle and the ladies, champagne was served. Yes, you read that right. We were that spoilt.

Maybelle Imasa-Stukuls in Singapore via Happy Hands Project

 

Maybelle Imasa-Stukuls in Singapore via Happy Hands Project

I guess all this pretty much sums up why I think an in-person workshop would be well worth your time. Be sure to check Maybelle’s workshop page as that’s where I found out she was coming here and almost fell of my seat. Bloesem’s classes always have something interesting being offered as well. I would go to every single class if I could!

For my very own Happy Hour Workshops here in Singapore, I’ll be announcing a date (or dates!) soon. Leave your email here to be in the loop.

A Peek Into The Happy Hour Workshop

Happy Hour Workshop via Happy Hands Project

The inaugural Beginners’ Workshop by yours truly is over and I had such a great time! To all you ladies who came, thank you, thank you for learning calligraphy with me. It was a hot and humid day in Singapore (which probably explained the shortage of taxis) so we were all thankful for the refreshments prepared by our wonderful host, Eunice, of Heaven In A Wildflower. Our class took place in her lovely home studio in Joo Chiat.

Happy Hour Workshop via Happy Hands Project

What we had last Saturday was a beginners’ class – no experience necessary. This class was all about the basics. We learned about the concept of pointed pen calligraphy, how I started with this art (uh, I showed them my first attempts, which makes me wonder why I even kept it!), how to get started with your writing, practice drills and of course… the basic letter forms.

Happy Hour Workshop via Happy Hands Project

Happy Hour Workshop via Happy Hands Project

The whole afternoon turned out to be a lighthearted practice and story-telling session about all things calligraphy. Questions were thrown here and there, some were so serious with their writing and could hardly breathe, some wouldn’t even rise from their seats when cakes from Carpenter & Cook were brought in. Time just whizzed by and we had to pack up after a little chat. I thought, it’s over? So I guess I did have a lot of fun teaching, and I hope I can do it again. The afternoon ended with some vintage eye candy when we all headed downstairs. Look here if you want to see the wealth of vintage furniture and props for styling. It’s located on the studio’s ground floor. Ah-mazing.

Vintage props fromStudio @ Heaven in a Wildflower

{Photo above from www.heavenwildfleur.com}

I hope you’ll be there on my next class! The mailing list is here. And if you were there that afternoon, I’d love to hear your opinions about the class. The feedback form has been sent by email. I am so looking forward to the next one, hope you are, too!

Happy Hour Workshop via Happy Hands Project

Freebies: Calligraphy Valentine Desktops

Valentine Calligraphy Desktops via Happy Hands Project

Spreading some love this week with a couple of calligraphy desktops! I’ve been doodling last weekend and have been thinking of writing something about love and I came up with these two. Well, I do have another one on Instagram in reference to Love Actually (remember the time when Andrew Lincoln was this sweet guy and not the walker-killing Rick Grimes? I’m serious.) Anyway, have a wonderful Valentine week everyone! Spread some love to the people close to your heart!

Download the Winnie the Pooh quote here

Download Love is the Closest Thing to Magic here

Some Thoughts on Enjoying Life

Slow Down Calligraphy via Happy Hands Project

Friends and family knew that I had a rough start this year, and we were lucky to have our darling girl up and about now. She had this terrible bug and had to stay in hospital for days, so much longer than we expected. Design and calligraphy work were piling up and the backlog was heavy on my shoulders. I couldn’t sleep, either at home or in the hospital.

During down times in the hospital, I had a few minutes to contemplate.

Ever since I became a mom, life has become even more fast-paced. I count minutes, work around a schedule and beat myself to stick to it. I get miserable over a few minutes wasted. I rush and try to cram everything in a day, trying to forget that there are only 24 hours and that includes sleep. I want to spend as much time as I can with my daughter that when I go out, I try to rush everything so I can get home right away. Sitting in the hospital while my girl sleeps made me realize that yes, I was wasting so much time in there doing nothing. And it’s perfectly fine. I’ll be able to manage my work schedule when we’re home and she’s better. I’ll be able to sort things out in time anyway, why rush everything?

I’m happy to say that while my little girl is still on house arrest, and we had to trim her beautiful hair because dread locks were starting to form, she’s so much better now and busy as a bee. And I keep reminding myself to slow down and enjoy what life has to offer. I should take a little stroll and enjoy the view instead of sprinting like a madman just to get home.

Slow down and everything you are chasing will come around and catch you. Hmmm. I’d like that.

These are a Few of my Favorite Nibs

Favourite Pointed Pen Nibs via Happy Hands Project

I remember when pointed pen calligraphy was all new to me. I follow the blogs of inspiring calligraphers and usually ask them what nib they used on a certain artwork. I will order the same nibs they used and excitedly prepare them before dipping in glorious black ink. ‘Aaaah’, I thought, ‘this will make my calligraphy as lovely as {name of amazing calligrapher here}.’

Well, I was wrong. First, the nibs that worked perfectly with one person doesn’t mean it would work perfectly with me as well. The Hunt 101 for example, has been an all-time favorite of many but it always snags the paper on my upstrokes. It always makes that gritty sound no matter how light my pressure is. Second, even if the nib does work smoothly, I still won’t be able write like Laura Hooper. Uh, maybe not ever, but you get the picture. I wanted to be able to do the flourishes and swirls right away when I didn’t know the basics yet. So I learned that it takes A LOT of practice before I get a certain style going. Those brilliant calligraphers out there were all right about that.

I have been getting several queries about the nibs that I’ve been using and I feel that I need to share my favorites. The list usually changes but currently, here are a few of my favorite nibs which I hope will write smoothly with you.

Favourite Pointed Pen Nibs via Happy Hands Project

 

The Brause EF66 has long been on my favorites list. It may be tiny, but don’t judge it by its size! It makes gorgeous thicks and thins! It may scratch your paper a little bit during upstrokes, though, but this usually happens when I use a slightly coarse sheet. I usually have this problem with white ink on black paper. Because the paper is not smooth, I have to hold my pen feather-light during those tough upward strokes (that I would avoid if I could). Ink may get stuck underneath the nib, too, so make sure you give it a good soak and brush when you’re done with it. Having said all these, the EF66 gives gorgeous results. I use it everytime there’s a snail mail to write. Lately, I’ve been using it for wall art, too.

Now this is the best nib for beginners, in my humble opinion. The Nikko G is a very long-lasting Japanese nib. I use this in doing drills which have been quite often lately, and I’d say this nib can take a beating and still give good results! It is quite stiff with a medium flex and works great even for the heavy-handed. I love its size and its sharp point. I don’t lose it like I do with the EF66 (like one moment I know it was supposed to be there, and another moment passes and it was gone?) and the sharp point promises a very fine hairline. Put more pressure on the downstrokes and you’ll have lovely swells.

The Leonardt Steno (previously called Hiro 40) is a huge nib as far as nibs go. It’s easy to handle and much like the Brause Steno Blue Pumpkin when it comes to weight and size. It comes in a pretty blue color and used to be the go-to nib of stenographers, thus the name ‘Steno’. This nib’s tip is quite pointed which makes hairlines quite thin, but it writes smoothly and rarely skips. It produces defined line variations and is quite soft (be careful with the flexing!) that’s why this one right here is one of my favorites if I need to write bigger letters.

There you go! I linked all three nibs to Paper & Ink Arts because that’s where I order most of my nibs from. International shipping is quick and they have almost everything I need (and so much more). If you’re in Singapore, you can also check out the friendly people at Straits Commercial Art Co. or Overjoyed (which has Brause nibs).

Hope In A Card Christmas Postcards

Hope In A Card via Happy Hands Project

Here’s what I and eleven other talented artists in Singapore have been up to the past few weeks – ‘Hope In A Card‘, a set of 12 postcards originally designed by Filipinos here in Singapore to benefit the Typhoon Haiyan victims. I am truly amazed by how the designs all turned out. All of us tried to churn out original designs within a very tight time frame, and everyone delivered their best.

For my design, I wrote a quote in calligraphy that I found most suitable for the message we want to send out. Hope and Love for the strong survivors of the disaster. More details can be found in the Hope In A Card Facebook page, and a private message to the administrators will give you more details on how to purchase your own set. Each pack of 12 postcards is S$12.

Hope In A Card via Happy Hands Project

I have another artwork over at my Etsy shop which is an instant download wall art. 100% of all sales will also be sent to the Philippine Red Cross. Thanks to everyone who have helped so far!

Help for the Philippines: Faith. Hope. Trust.

Faith Hope Love Print via Happy Hands Project

Reading the headlines from the past few days have been very heartbreaking. Typhoon Haiyan (known as Yolanda in the Philippines), the strongest typhoon that hit the Visayas region of the Philippines, left a trail of devastation. Thousands have died and those who survived were left homeless, hungry and cold.

The Philippines has had its fair share of natural calamities, but never to this extent. With this amount of destruction, the victims need all the help we can give.

Last night my husband and I were contemplating on how much assistance we can afford as contribution to help the victims in hard-hit Tacloban and its neighboring towns. It was also last night when I came up with this brush lettering, and I’m offering this as an instant download over at my Etsy shop. 100% of the sales will be forwarded to the Philippine Red Cross. If you don’t have an account on Etsy, just send me an email at pauline (at) happyhandsproject (dot) com with your email address and I’ll send you a Paypal invoice. You will then receive the artwork through email.

Faith. Hope. Trust.

I guess during a time like this, these are the only three things that can get us going. I hope you can help me spread the word. Together, we can help the victims of Typhoon Haiyan.