In a day when taking the pen in hand has become metaphorical, itâ€™s precisely what a certain Louisville woman does for a living.
A lifelong artist, Heather Brock operates a professional lettering service called Marcardin Calligraphy.
The Marcardin name comes from an estate in Shelbyville, Ky., built in the 1850s by one of Brockâ€™s ancestors, Mark Hardin. In the attic, Brock found Hardinâ€™s handwritten journals and drew inspiration from his penmanship.
Additionally, Brock does calligraphy for other events, like cocktail parties, Bat Mitzvahs and anniversary parties.
â€œIt gives more personalization to an invite, and it looks like youâ€™re really welcome to their event,â€ Brock says.
For her, the best part of it is when she finds out just how much her clients have loved her work, and that she has left an impact on their event. â€œMonths after their event, they send me an email with pictures from their wedding photographer,â€ she says.
â€œThey say that their wedding guests talk about it still. Months or a year after their wedding, they talk about the calligraphy.â€
Brock also works three days a week as a nail technician at Josephâ€™s Salon & Spa in Louisville. On every day she isnâ€™t at Josephâ€™s, the calligraphy business keeps her busy. â€œI write through the night,â€ she says. â€œIâ€™m a night owl.â€
About half of Brockâ€™s wedding envelopes are for local weddings, and half for weddings in places like New York and Los Angeles â€“ even in Canada. Sheâ€™s cultivated a broad customer base by diligently promoting her work on Facebook, Instagram and Etsy.
Brock also collaborates with Louisville wedding planner Lauren Chitwood and Kristen Becker of Baubles & Bowties. â€œIf I just get in with a good few people, the word spreads like wildfire,â€ Brock says.
Brock learned calligraphy by teaching herself with the help of books and online resources. â€œI picked up a pen and started,â€ she says. â€œ(I) indulged in a lot of books in the middle of the night and just practiced, with every second I had.â€
â€œWhen I learned that people actually pay to have this done, I thought â€“ I can do this.â€
In 2012, Marcardin Calligraphy was born. â€œIt was challenging coming up with what to do first,â€ she says. â€œAnd really, thereâ€™s no one thing you should do first. You just dive in and do it.â€
â€œI was terrified to complete my first order. But it actually was much easier than I expected,â€ she says.
â€œIt just got easier and easier as time went on.â€
â€œSometimes Iâ€™ll have blowouts with my pen, and ink goes flying everywhere, and I mess up a couple of things,â€ she says. â€œSo, then I have to gather myself, and regroup, and start over.â€
Brock canâ€™t remember not loving art. At the age of 8, she started taking classes at Preston Arts Center. As a teenager, she worked for the airbrushing shops at Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom.
â€œIt was fun,â€ Brock says of her airbrushing days. â€œI ended up using it as an art medium in high school. It was my medium of choice then.â€
Airbrushing led to calligraphy, and Brock hopes Marcardin will eventually become her full-time occupation. â€œI do feel like I work, but I enjoy doing it,â€ she says.
â€œItâ€™s very therapeutic to me. When all goes well, itâ€™s calming, and I feel balanced.â€ VT
For more information, or to request Brockâ€™s calligraphy for your wedding or other event, call 502.240.8331, visit www.marcardin.com or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.