Why is calligraphy so expensive?
Every now and then I have someone say,"A friend of a friend of a friend can do my envelopes for $.50 a piece. Why should I pay you $3.00 for the same thing?" Because it's really true; you get what you pay for. I have been doing calligraphy professionally for the past 30 years. I have done literally thousands of envelopes and over 600 wedding certificates. I know what I am doing. I also know my limits. If you decide to go with someone who is a lot cheaper than most other calligraphers, be sure to get samples and /or references.
How do you actually do a Quaker wedding certificate?
I start with a blank piece of paper. The first thing I do is to letter all of the wording on a scrap piece of paper. See photo #1.
Photo #1 Part of a practice paper
After that, I pencil in borders on the paper I will use for your certificate. I also draw the center line. This helps to get everything centered. Once that is done, I cut up the paper I did the practice lettering on and lay the strips onto the paper in approximately the same places that the lettering will go. I add a sketch of your decoration on another scrap paper to help place the decoration. At this stage I send a photo like the one below for your approval. See #2.
Once everything is laid out, and you approve the design, I do the actual measurements on the paper and draw the lines. I also mark the center of each line of lettering and line that up with the center line on the paper. Then I put the strips of words onto my light table, line up everything and trace (in pencil) where the words will go. See #3.
The next step is to do the actual lettering.
Once that is done, I can start on the decoration. Actually my husband Steve does a lot of that for me. Most of the decoration is done after the lettering is on the page. Steve draws and paints the decoration and then we pencil in the grid. We pack it up and take it to FedEx and they see that you get it. The total time for an average certificate is about 20 hours. That is spread over about a week.
Of course, this is only the production time. It doesn't include time spent making layouts and searching on the internet for plants, landscapes, animals, etc. that are requested.
If it only takes 20 hours to complete a certificate, why do I have to wait for several months to get mine?
When I put you on my schedule I do it according to when you want to have your certificate delivered. I try to get the certificates to the couples about 1 week before their wedding. Sometime the couple needs the certificate sooner than that. Let me know when you need it and where it should be sent. By the beginning of March I am usually booked up until June and by the middle - end of April, I am scheduling into September. Therefore, depending on your wedding date and when you place your order, it could well take 2+ months to actually get your certificate because there may be 10 or 12 couples ahead of you.
Where Are You Located?
I am located in Covington, Ohio. Not Covington, Kentucky. It's a small town approximately 20 miles north of Dayton, Ohio.