Friday, April 24, 2009

Feature Friday: Barbara Kua Calligraphy

Barbara Kua left a comment on my blog a couple of months ago, and boy am I glad she did! Otherwise, I would not have discovered her beautiful calligraphy. As you may have noticed, calligraphy has made a comeback in recent years, having been on the back burner due to modern technology and affordable home printers. I've always wanted to learn calligraphy, but due to my poor handwriting skills and lack of patience, this goal has never materialized. Lucky for me (and you too!), talented calligraphers like Barbara are here to save the day. Below is my 'interview' with Barbara.

How did you get into calligraphy?

My mother is an art teacher so I grew up drawing and painting in her studio. So I guess you can say I've always had an interest in art and all things creative. I was ten when I received my first calligraphy set, which was a beginner set with a fountain pen. I used this set to address my own wedding invitations. I had such a fun time doing so that I decided to pursue calligraphy as a potential business. I started off with referrals and began experimenting with improved calligraphy pens and inks to develop my own script styles. I used the business and technology knowledge gained from my university days to develop my website and here I am today.

Many couples are opting to use computer-generated calligraphy to save money. How do you compete with that?

I understand calligraphy is not for everyone. Weddings can be quite expensive and calligraphy may just be one of the first things cut from most budgets. I try not to compete since I think handwritten calligraphy is something totally different. Calligraphy adds a personal touch and a warmth that a computer just can't provide. Your wedding invitations set the tone for your wedding and are your guests' first glimpse into your event style. I truly believe that when you invite your guests to the grandest party you may ever throw, it is nice to have a personal touch, especially with today's wide use of emails and evites.

How can a couple incorporate calligraphy into their wedding?

There are many ways to incorporate calligraphy into a wedding. Most couples start off by having their invitations addressed. From there, calligraphy can be incorporated into the reception with seating cards or seating charts, cake signs, favour tags and table numbers. You can also have a calligrapher pen your menu or program and have them offset printed to reduce costs. And don't forget about having your thank you notes addressed by a calligrapher after your wedding.

I love your style "Ashley." How do you come up with new styles? Which one is your favourite?


I start off by playing around with letters. Some styles are spawns of other styles and some are hybrids. Once I'm happy with a style, I then write out the entire alphabet so I have it as a reference for when I am performing the lettering for my clients. I've tried to develop various styles, from contemporary to whimsical and elegant so there is a script for all types of weddings. My favourite style is Emily. It's feminine, and I'm a total girly-girl.


Will you work with a couple to customize an original style?

Definitely. I'm constantly trying to develop new font styles so I'm up for any challenge!

On average, how long does it take you to address wedding invitations?

Some of my styles are more time consuming than others, but on average 100 addresses can take a full day to complete. For this reason, I'd recommend that couples interested in hiring a calligrapher reserve a spot on their calendar early on. They may be disappointed if their favourite calligrapher is not available when they’re ready for their stationery to be penned.

What's the most unusual request you've received?

Since I'm relatively new in the wedding industry I haven't had any unusual requests just yet. I'm looking forward to such requests though as they'll probably involve much more creativity!

Thank you Barbara! For more information on Barbara Kua's services, please visit her website and/or blog. You can also follow Barbara Kua Calligraphy on Twitter. (Note: Don't fret if don't live in the Toronto area, Barbara works with couples from all locales. Email her for more details,

Where are Barbara's wedding photos that I promised, you ask? Check back this weekend to see them!! (I know, I'm such a tease). Enjoy your Friday.

All images via Barbara Kua Calligraphy

1 comment:

A Hot Pink Petticoat said...

I wish I could even print nicely. I had my mother pen my wedding invitations (addresses) as she has beautiful writing.

Thanks for introducing me to a fellow newbie in the field!

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