If you’re local to Norfolk, then you’ve probably made the pilgrimage to Handsome Biscuit to enjoy their delicious sweet potato biscuits piled high with southern goodness. For those who don’t know, they call adding an egg to your biscuit, “adding some sunshine.” Thus, “We got your sunshine, even on a rainy day.” They are a small place, but the side of their building that faces the parking lot is prime real estate for chalk murals. This past Sunday, I joined the small list of local artists who have done a chalk mural on this wall. Although it meant a day in the sun, in August, in Virginia—–I was still incredibly excited about the challenge that lay ahead. The side of the building is rugged and not ideal for straight lines but I made it work. After 7 hours of sweat, balancing on ladders and lots of chalk dust—–I had a piece I was proud of. Here are a few shots from throughout the day. More than anything, what I love about chalk is that it isn’t permanent. Once this gets hit by rain, it will fade and disappear. Then another mural will take it’s place. Just the way it should.
I’ve been obsessed with the moon lately. For some reason I’ve taken notice of it more this year. I even took the evening to watch the blue moon rise last Friday. So I feel like this was the perfect time to release our newest print, La Luna! I had been wanting to do this print for a while and after several concepts, I went with a strange size (6″x18″) to house an illustration of the phases of the moon. The lettering is all hand-illustrated as well. I pulled inspiration from vintage space illustrations and old astronomy charts. As for the colors, I was drawn to using a bright orange over white ink on dark gray stock. However I realize that most folks associate the moon with cooler tones. So I printed a blue version as well. I’m tickled with how color blocking the phases of the moon turned out and I hope to do more cosmic inspired pieces. You can find both versions in our shop.
Last Thursday, the West Elm in Virginia Beach hosted our Hand Lettering class. This was definitely the swankiest place we’ve held a class. It was a small group which allows for a lot more one-on-one time with each student. Take a look after the jump for more photos from the class. If you’re interested in this class, keep an eye on us here, on Facebook or on Instagram for announcements. It will probably be closer to the end of the Summer when we do another. Also, since we’ve done a bunch of these intro to lettering courses, we’re working on a level 2 course for folks who want to continue their love of letterforms. If you have any suggestions or ideas that you would like us to pursue, send them our way at hello(at)mapleandbelmont.com.
Next time you see us in person, be sure to grab one of our new business cards. I was definitely ambitious with the two color design/screen print on both sides but they turned out pretty rad. Even the imperfections add character to each card. I’m trying to get better about documenting my process, so there are a few photos from the studio when I printed them. It was crazy hot that day and I was ready to be done with printing. The studio is coming along nicely and I hope to share a few shots of it soon.
Last Thursday I had a blast doing our Hand-Lettering workshop at Within Interior Design in downtown Norfolk. Below are a few photos from that event. You can’t go wrong with an awesome location and fun people!
This year we started getting requests for several private lettering workshops. From companies looking to do a fun event with their employees or even a group of friends that want to spend some time together learning a new skill. These workshops are different from our others because everyone knows each other, so the atmosphere is super casual. If this is something you’re interested in booking with us, shoot us an email at hello(at)mapleandbelmont.com.
It’s been a while since our last post because for most of June I was eyeball deep in code to redesign our website. “What?! You’re website is great.” This was something I kept hearing from everyone I mentioned it to. Truth be told, it just wasn’t the website we needed anymore. Our old website wasn’t bad but it only catered to a shop and we’ve become so much more than that over the past 3 years. We’ve been accumulating a great deal of custom projects that we had a hand in designing or lettering. Those pieces needed a place on the website to be properly displayed. So I’m happy to announce that you can now find a portfolio of our custom work on our website. Whoot! If you follow us on instagram or Facebook, you’ve only seen bits and pieces but never the entire story. We’ve also included a press page and we’re hoping to redesign the blog to fit in with the rest. Originally, I planned to do this big unveiling of everything but that was unrealistic because of well, you know, life. So I’ve been finding peace with taking small steps rather than doing it all at once.
We’re gearing back up to teach more hand-lettering workshops this year. The next one is just a couple weeks away on May 31st at Kitsch. It’s a morning workshop, so we thought it might be a good idea to provide doughnuts and coffee to get the day started right. Also, I kind of have a doughnut obsession. You can find more information about the class here.
I can’t begin to tell you how much we enjoy teaching these workshops. We get to meet a vast variety of folks from the area and it’s fascinating that an interest in lettering is what brings us together. If you can’t make it to our next class, we’re going to have a few more throughout the year. Keep an eye out for those.
Sweet Tea Towels are back in the shop! Before screen printing this new batch, I took a moment to revamp the design to reflect the growth in my lettering skills. I also freshened up the illustration with a bit more detail. Just take a look for yourself below. It feels so incredibly good to see the evolution of my abilities.
Next month we’re teaching our classic hand-lettering workshop at the Virginia MOCA in Virginia Beach on the 14th! We’re holding it on a Saturday morning to make it more accessible to anyone who would like to attend. Per usual, bring your sketch book, a ruler, pencils and pens. It’s open to everyone but you get a discount if you’re a member of the museum. We don’t plan on doing many workshops this year, so now is the time to join us. Plus the MOCA is a pretty lovely place to be and you’re right next to the oceanfront. Register online here.
There we were in Phoebus on a rainy Saturday morning, sitting in our car and staring at the Prince Ink storefront for any signs of life. What a wonderfully awful morning for our first workshop of the year. The kind of day you don’t mind wasting indoors. We waited till a member of AIGA approached the door and also checked for life. Then finally Matt of Prince Ink, walks up and unlocks the door to their store/studio.
While we setup for the workshop, eight other AIGA members slowly trickled in. They were here to take our workshop, Designing Drop Caps and Other Junk and Stuff for Screen Printing. Long-ass title, I know. Once everyone was settled with their sketch books open and pencils in hand, we were off and running. We started with a short lecture about screen printing and what to consider when designing for this method of printing. Matt sat in his office that jutted off the long hallway we were using for the workshop. He was taking notes, but also served as confirmation for whatever we would discuss. Whether is was the specifics of overlaying versus trapping, or some technical aspect of printing that he could give more professional insight about. I like to remind folks that we screen print in our closet of our apartment. Hey, it works. Don’t judge.
We then dove into a quick discussion about drop caps. But despite the workshop name, they became just decorative letters since they had no text to drop into. I directed everyone’s attention to a example of a letterform exploration on the letter “M” that I composed to demonstrate various type treatments. Then we randomly assigned two letters to each person and let them get to work.
Drawing two letters in a hour might sound like an easy task but it’s not. I felt for our students because I know that struggle to be inspired when being forced to do so. While they sketched out various concepts, Derek and I made our rounds and would guide or encourage certain directions. When all was said and done, I was incredibly excited about the results! Luckily these letterforms will be put to use in the following AIGA workshop where Prince Ink is teaching screen printing. Before this can take place, I will need to piece all of these hand-drawn letters into a single graphic that will be screen printed on t-shirts in that workshop.
If you didn’t get the chance to take our workshop, you still have time to sign up for the Screen Printing Workshop on February 7th where you’ll learn the basics of screen printing and even get to screen print your own t-shirt. You need to be an AIGA member to sign up, but being a member is a good opportunity to meet other creatives in this area. Do it.