This month, guest contributor Juliet Cornick talks to calligrapher and owner of Embellishing the Ordinary, Laura Gillingham, about handwriting, weddings, and how to artistically thrive in the world of calligraphy and beyond.
Laura’s getting married this month
She draws inspiration from postcards and hotel guestbooks
Embellishing the Ordinary has now comfortably earned its place in the luxury stationery and handwriting sector
Wedding stationery has always been her bread and butter, but she does poetry and lyric scribing, maps, menus, large scale installations with illustrations, as well as cards. Her bestselling card shows an intricately painted image of a bee.
“Bees have been a part of my life forever. One of my first memories is my mum in a beekeeping outfit. She kept hives at the bottom of the garden”
“They’re such friendly creatures; but what they do for the environment is amazing, and essential. It makes for a rich creative territory” That’s why ten percent of all of her sales from the bee cards go to the British Beekeeper’s Association. “And how do you continue to expand on such a rich creative territory without the work becoming repetitive?”
The answer: collaboration. After meeting poet and actor Lizzie Bourne, the two decided to work together on a full bee artistic series. “She came up with the idea that I should draw three bee-inspired illustrations and give them to her, about which she would write three poems. And vice versa. She wrote three poems and I drew illustrations to match”
The beautiful, though provoking pieces reflect Laura’s movement towards illustration and watercolours; plentiful in her maps, menus and placecards. “As I’ve gone on, people see me more as an artist than a calligrapher” she says.
“It can be mundane. Writing out seventy note cards which all say the same thing is repetitive, so you need stamina. But the best part is watching it all come together.”
She’s deeply proud of the business’s organic growth. So when she was faced with the pandemic last year, and a loss of her wedding commissions, she quickly adapted. “I jumped onto Mother’s Day, upped the ante on social media and positioned myself as a hand-written moonpig. It was a good year in the end”
She’s welcoming the wedding industry getting back up and running again though. “If anything just for my own! We’re hoping to have a party this summer”
As she well deserves. Laura has built a business completely authentic to herself and her style; never-compromising and ever-adapting. In a world that continues to throw curveballs, it’s an attitude like this that will surely set up Embellishing the Ordinary to endure.
Find out more about Laura and her creations here. You can also follow her on Instagram.
Written by Guest Contributor Juliet Cornick