There’s something about the art of calligraphy that is so beautiful, elegant, and timeless. If you’ve ever tried your hand at calligraphy by putting a nib (dipped with just the right amount of ink) to paper, you’ll know how much skill it takes to perfect this art form!
Back in 2016, I attended a calligraphy workshop hosted by Lauren Hung, the founder of The Blackline Bottega. She opened my eyes to the world of modern calligraphy and made me realise it’s okay to break traditional rules and experiment with your lettering.
It’s no wonder that her unique signature style of calligraphy has got couples around the world swooning over her custom wedding suites!
I’m very excited to announce that we’ve been working together to bridge the gap between the physical stationery and digital worlds by introducing a seamless wedding website experience for our calligraphy-loving couples!
It’s with great pleasure that we get to introduce you to Lauren, The Blackline Bottega journey, and the advice she has for newly engaged couples planning their big day!
Who is The Blackline Bottega? Tell us a little about you and your background!
The Blackline Bottega is a Sydney based creative studio specialising in calligraphy! I founded the studio in 2004 as ‘the blackline by lauren’ with the idea of it being a side hustle to keep me creative. And it just grew. My studies in fashion design and journalism somehow found their perfect home in The Blackline Bottega (as it grew to become) and we’ve been servicing luxury brands, bridal clients and commercial businesses ever since.
What inspired you to start your business?
I’d been dabbling in calligraphy on instagram for 9 months before I quit my full time job fashion buying so it felt like a natural progression. For full disclosure, I thought I’d do it for a couple of months before I got myself a “real job”. But 6 years later, I’m still loving it and still here. I’d previously started a small business when I was 18, so it was probably less of an inspired start than an inevitable one.
What are three words or phrases to describe The Blackline Bottega couple?
Modern romantics. Clean. Simple.
Where do you go/what do you do to find inspiration?
I’m inspired by so many things outside of my direct field. I love to spend weekends in suburbs or on streets I’ve never been before – as a day of exploring can fuel a plethora of work. I’m drawn to colours, textures, sign lettering, typography, materiality. It changes depending on my mood or what I’m trying to do at the time – but find myself continuously drawn back to architecture, interiors, ceramics and nature.
What is your favourite part of your job?
There are so many things I love about my job! I’ve been reflecting lately on the fact that I’ve been allowed to be an ongoing part of my clients lives – I’ve met couples’ shortly after they’ve become engaged and seen them through their weddings, their first anniversary, the birth of their first child and family events & funerals. It makes me feel incredibly honoured.
I also love the opportunities it’s brought – from photoshoots, to meeting incredible like-minded women making their creative dreams work and getting to work with brands and teams I’ve admired for years.
What does your typical day look like?
I don’t think there is any such thing as a typical day in my studio! I have a weekly agenda that I set out each Sunday night / Monday morning with all the work confirmed to be done that week – but by Tuesday, I generally find the last minute jobs have thrown that into a little chaos.
My one commitment each week is to get everything done by its deadline and if I have to work organically around my schedule to make that happen, I do. It’s actually my preferred way of working – in general, I’m not a stickler for rules and strict schedules and work much better when things overlap and bleed into one another.
What are your go-to tools of the trade?
When I was teaching workshops, I always introduced the Nikko G nib to guests. It’s a really great beginner’s nib – but also one of my favourites. I’d consider that my daily choice. I also love Sumi Ink. But it’s nice on occasion to work with gouache and metallics. I don’t really have a favourite paper stock – there are so many beautiful papers in my tool kit. It depends on what the finish quality I’m going for or the end use of the product!
What are the most important things a bride should consider when choosing a calligrapher?
Style. As calligraphers are still a rare breed despite the art forms’ resurgence in popularity, I think there is a misconception that we all do the same thing. I generally steer clear of traditional or modern calligraphy work because I think there are a plethora of calligraphers who have nailed one or two styles and do it with excellence – and you can get a fairly good idea of what that style might be by scanning down their instagram page or website.
If you see something you love – jump on it with that calligrapher because having someone do a looks-like feels-like version doesn’t necessarily translate well. I love calligraphy that is unrestrained by conventional rules and expresses a couple uniquely – which is why I’m always trying to create new styles or manipulate old ones I’ve created.
What advice can you give future brides who are planning their weddings?
Don’t fall into the trap of reading a wedding planner or comparing your plans to others’ and thinking you have to do everything. The best weddings are those that feel like an organic extension of you as a couple. And that also applies to stationery. Question what you actually need and what could be beautiful but unnecessary!
Work with suppliers you can imagine having a drink with and can trust – because it makes the process so much easier when you have an insider in your corner, who has done it all before, who can help you navigate the ‘planning overwhelm’.
What’s next for The Blackline Bottega? Anything you’d like to share?
I’d normally be a lot more future focussed with my business but with COVID-19, I’m enjoying working on the short term. I’ve been busy upskilling in the background to diversify the studio and will have graphic design options for clients in the next year. And I’ve just released an online workshop on Skillshare.
If you’re looking to create a bespoke wedding stationery suite or have custom calligraphy created for your wedding website, I couldn’t give more praise to Lauren and what she has created at The Blackline Bottega.
You can see more of Lauren’s work and get in touch with her here!