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Sarah Hanna Travels – Adventures in France, Part III

We’re back with more of Sarah Hanna’s travel adventures today! Sarah is an incredibly talented calligrapher who is currently splitting her time between California and the beautiful village of Cassis, France. This week we’re taking a look at French cuisine as part of Sarah’s day-to-day in Cassis.

Bella Figura calligrapher Sarah Hanna in Cassis, France

The weekly market Every Wednesday and Friday is a farmer’s market in the center of town. You can buy everything from produce to flowers to bikinis….life’s essentials.

Sarah Hanna travels: fresh produce is available every week at the Cassis, France farmer's market
Sarah Hanna travels: Market day in Cassis France

Left: the window of a local patisserie. Right: market day in the center of Cassis, France.
Bella Figura designer travels with Sarah Hanna - at Absinthe Restaurant in Paris

Absinthe Restaurant in Paris There is another form of art in France – food. I was a very happy girl at Absinthe Restaurant in central Paris. Petits raviolis in a langoustine cream sauce? Oui, s’il vous plait!

Bella Figura designer travels with Sarah Hanna - at Absinthe Restaurant in Paris

A message to the chef It was all so delicious, I had to write a message to the chef in what was left of the langoustine sauce!

Bella Figura designer travels with Sarah Hanna - eating at home, French style

Eating at home – French style But you don’t have to eat out to dine elegantly. It’s true – the French are worshipful about their plates. Here are two examples of what ‘eating at home’ looks like in France. Food is art in France.

Bella Figura designer travels with Sarah Hanna - eating at home, French style

Sarah Hanna at the children's cooking school in 'La tête à toto' boutique in Cassis, France

The children’s cooking school at La Tête à Toto boutique The owner Marie said that if I was going to take photos, I had to be a student the class. Twist my arm! We are making potato croquettes and home-made nutella….which was so delicious that I can never buy nutella again.

The children's cooking school at la tete at toto boutique in Cassis, France

The children's cooking school at La tête à toto' boutique in Cassis, France

Many thanks to Sarah for sharing another glimpse of her life in France! Next week we’ll share Sarah’s travels to Morocco!

Sarah Hanna Travels – Adventures in France, Part II

Bella Figura calligrapher Sarah Hanna has been sharing photos and stories from her adventures in France, where she’s currently spending time in the gorgeous village of Cassis. Today we’re sharing a few of the projects that Sarah has been working on in France – starting with La Tête à Toto boutique in Cassis, where Sarah calligraphed all over the walls!

La Tête à Toto boutique in Cassis, France

La Tête à Toto boutique in Cassis A children’s shop owner in France (who happens to also be a chef featured in Vogue Europe) asked me to help with décor for her new venture. She was transforming the back space into a children’s cooking and art school, and she wanted me to letter on the walls. Cooking? Art? French? Where do I sign??? 

 
La Tête à Toto boutique in Cassis, France
Children’s cooking school (before)
Sarah Hanna calligraphs the walls of La tête à toto' boutique in Cassis, France

Hand-lettering at Tête à Toto It was great fun and a solid French lesson (thanks to Google translate). Up until now, I do most of my French vocabulary training at the grocery store….or when I get home from the grocery store and say, “Oh. I thought that was chicken.”  

La Tête à Toto boutique in Cassis, France 

The finished product

Sarah Hanna hand calligraphed the walls of Tete a Toto, a children's boutique + cooking school in Cassis, France

Fashion meets function under the sink 

La Tête à Toto boutique in Cassis, France

The cooking school (after) 

 
Sarah Hanna recently began offering hand-painted social notes

Hand-illustrated correspondence cards In keeping with the ‘fait à la main’ style, this year, I am launching boxed sets of hand-painted correspondence cards. The paper I am using is Fabriano. It is the oldest paper mill in Europe and a favorite of Michaelangelo. Ooh la la! 

Custom lullaby with hand calligraphy and artwork by Sarah Hanna

Customized children’s lullaby I have a sweet spot for all things classic and creative for bébé. I have started to take lullabies and customize the words to fit the new family (for example: ‘If that Crimson Tide won’t roll, Mama’s gonna buy you a fishing pole’ for an Alabama grad mom and a dad who loves to fish). I ask a few questions about the couple and word-smith the poem myself. Then I hand-calligraph and illustrate the piece for the nursery. It’s a perfect gift.

Baby shower + lullaby photographs courtesy of Lauren Louise Photography.

Sarah Hanna Travels – Adventures in France, Part I

Bella Figura calligrapher Sarah Hanna is always on the move doing the most amazing things. Lately, she’s been splitting her time between Sonoma, California and the beautiful village of Cassis, France. Sarah was kind enough to take us on a virtual tour of her day-to-day in France – take a look!

Bella Figura designer travels: calligrapher Sarah Hanna is currently splitting her time between California and the beautiful village of Cassis, France

Port of Cassis When I am in France, I live in the ancient fishing village of Cassis. It is a gorgeous town that sits on the French Riviera. This is the port of Cassis. My art studio is on the other side of these buildings.

 Bella Figura designer travels with Sarah Hanna. A view of Cap Canaille, the highest sea cliff in France
Cap Canaille, the highest sea cliff in France The ocean is just 100 yards from my studio. Every day, I stop working in the afternoon to walk out on the rocks and watch the sunset. Then I pick up a baguette from the local boulangerie and head back to the studio. It is surprisingly easier to work 6 hours ahead of New York than 3 hours behind (in California). I’m not going to lie…both locations are fantastique! In Cassis, my favorite restaurant is La Villa Madie – spectacular food and pinch-me views of the Côte d’Azur. Just a quick 20 minute drive (or motorcycle ride if you are feeling Euro), and you can be at the Relais Magdeleine – which is possibly the most charming hotel and restaurant on the planet.
Sarah Hanna Travels - morning boat rides on the French Riviera
Morning boat rides on the Riviera
Bella Figura calligrapher Sarah Hanna in Les Calanques
Daily walks to Les Calanques On morning walks, I head to Les Calanques, the stunning rock formations in Cassis. Fun fact: the stone base of the Statue of Liberty comes from Cassis. Merci beaucoup, France!
Bella Figura designer travels with Sarah Hanna. Fisherman's statue next to the lighthouse in Cassis
Fisherman’s statue next to the lighthouse in Cassis
Bella Figura designer travels with Sarah Hanna. A classic, old world street in the village of Cassis, France.
A classic, old world street in the village.
Bella Figura designer travels with Sarah Hanna. A gorgeous hand-lettered sign outside of a restaurant in France.
Hand-lettered sign outside of a restaurant ‘Fait à la main’ (English translation: ‘made by hand’) is an integral part of European craftsmanship. Whether it is perfectly-balanced sauce or a gorgeous pair of shoes, things that are made by hand hold value. Many of the menus and store signs are hand-painted or hand-lettered.
Bella Figura designer travels with Sarah Hanna - at the Guerlain flagship boutique in Paris.
The Guerlain flagship boutique in Paris The world is can be a very small place. From California, I work with the amazingly talented Lucas Somoza. He is an elegant-in-every-way American stylist and event designer who splits his time between Paris and New York. Lucas had a Bella Figura client getting married at the Four Seasons George V in Paris. We met at the newly-renovated flagship Guerlain boutique on the Champs Élysées to exchange Bella Figura menu wraps. It was haute couture week in Paris, and Lucas was able to meet between attending the Elie Saab show and a style shoot at Guerlain. I am STILL giddy with excitement over it all! Look at the Guerlain sign. NOT a font. Don’t you just love France?
A calligraphed note from Sarah Hanna
 Lucas Somoza is just. so. delightful. 
Bella Figura designer travels with Sarah Hanna - at Sennelier Atelier

Sennelier atelier in Paris Just across from the Louvre is the Sennelier atelier. This fine art supply store is a Paris staple and an artist’s dream. Sennelier has created custom pigments for the likes of Picasso and Cezanne (unknown artists at the time)…so I feel as though my new museum-quality watercolor pencils must have a little magic in them.

Bella Figura designer travels with Sarah Hanna - at Sennelier Atelier in Paris
Bella Figura designer travels with Sarah Hanna - at Sennelier Atelier in Paris

Bella Figura designer travels with Sarah Hanna - at Sennelier Atelier in Paris

Many thanks to Sarah for giving us a peek inside her life in France! We’ll be back next week with more photos from Sarah’s travels!

Sarah Hanna Travels – Adventures in Morocco

We’re back with another round of our designer travels series. This week Bella Figura calligrapher Sarah Hanna is sharing her photos and stories from a recent, impromptu trip to Marrakech, Morocco. We’ll let Sarah take it from here!

Moroccan lanters seen during Bella Figura calligrapher Sarah Hanna's travels to Marrakech

Hand-made lanterns in Morocco One of the great things about Europe is how easy it is to country-hop. In the US, you might treat yourself to a weekend trip to New York, or tailgate two states over. Similarly, if you are in France, you could hop over to Marrakech, Morocco for the weekend. A carry-on and an hour and a half later, you could be strolling through a spice market…. Artisans and patterns abound in Marrakech, Morocco | Bella Figura designer travels with Sarah Hanna

….or watching artisans make leather bags, or carve stone in the traditional way that has been passed down for generations. Patterns abound. And the calligraphic influence in the stonework is something to behold.

On the streets of Marrakech, Morocco | Bella Figura designer travels with Sarah Hanna

Scenes from the streets of Marrakech. 

Cafe inside the gardens of Yves Saint Laurent

Coffee break at the YSL gardens in Morocco The gardens of Yves Saint Laurent are in Marrakech. A perfect rest from the bustle of the city and place to be inspired by nature and YSL’s own artwork.  At the Gardens of Yves Saint Laurent | Bella Figura designer travels with Sarah Hanna In the Gardens of Yves Saint Laurent | Bella Figura designer travels with Sarah Hanna

Henna artist in Marrakech | Bella Figura designer travels with Sarah Hanna
Henna artist in Marrakech I definitely did not ask this henna tattoo artist in the square to paint a bracelet on my wrist. But she worked so quickly, she was done before I could say ‘no thank you.’ Instead, I thought, “Wow. I wish I could work that quickly to fill my Bella orders. Then it wouldn’t matter from WHICH time zone I was working.” 
 
Little sorority girl tip: Nail polish remover can take anything off. 
Bella Figura calligrapher Sarah Hanna hiking in Marrakech, Morocco
 
Climbing a waterfall…in flip flops. The trip was a surprise. I did not know where we were going until we arrived at the airport. I packed for Italy. Oops. C’est la vie!
Waterfall in Marrakech, Morocco | Bella Figura designer travels with Sarah Hanna
Natural fridge in Marrakech, Morocco - the waterfall pours cold water over the bottles to keep everything cool
A brilliant natural fridge The waterfall pours cold water over the bottles and keeps everything cool. This is at one of the many cafes built into the mountain on the climb up the waterfall.
A restaurant built into a mountain in Marrakech | Bella Figura designer travels with Sarah Hanna
A restaurant built into a mountain in Marrakech grilled meats and vegetables at a rooftop lunch in Marrakech + Coke bottles with Arabic calligraphy
Rooftop lunch in Marrakech – grilled meats and vegetables. Tap water is not a great idea, but a coke with beautiful Arabic calligraphy is!

Hand Calligraphy Trends with Sarah Hanna

Asking “What styles can you calligraph?” is like asking a chef, “How many ways can you cook chicken?” If you understand your craft, you know that there are endless variations. And the more you learn, the more there is to learn. Understanding letter forms is the start to taking any font and adapting it for hand-lettered script. Today, Bella Figura calligrapher Sarah Hanna is sharing her favorite calligraphy trends — from the most popular styles and ink colors to the different ways people are using calligraphy to add an extra special touch to life’s most important events.

Trending now: without question, Victoria. I think that is because it is traditional with a personality. Generally, I match the script from the invitation – if that is my calligraphy, excellent. I can match almost any script, though. Black ink is and always will be the most classic, formal ink for addressing wedding invitations. I do, however, custom-mix a lot of gold, amethyst, and pewter.

Calligraphed envelopes from Bella Figura calligrapher Sarah Hanna, featuring Victoria, her most popular style

Classic Victoria hand calligraphed envelope

Calligraphed envelopes from Bella Figura calligrapher Sarah Hanna, featuring Victoria, her most popular style

Classic Victoria hand calligraphed envelope

Calligraphed envelopes from Bella Figura calligrapher Sarah Hanna, featuring her Embellished Victoria hand

Embellished Victoria hand calligraphed envelope – Sarah Hanna’s most lively style 

Callaway styled hand calligraphed envelopes by Bella Figura calligrapher Sarah Hanna

Classic Callaway – the up-and-comer (Callaway is the new kid, but she is bound to be the next homecoming queen!)

Callaway styled hand calligraphed envelopes by Bella Figura calligrapher Sarah Hanna

Classic Callaway hand calligraphed envelope 

A client recently commissioned Sarah Hanna to create hand calligraphed promise cards for an elaborate proposal
The hand-written note is making a come-back! Just ask the New York Times. Emotion comes alive in a way that electronic communication simply cannot. I am often commissioned to calligraph a toast or a quote or something special to be framed. It doesn’t have to be long or fancy (or written by you)…just intentional. In the words of that brilliant booze-hound Don Draper, “Make it simple, but significant.”

Unique uses for hand calligraphy: I get a lot of interesting requests. I was recently asked to be part of a truly elaborate beach engagement! My client commissioned me to hand-paint their song on 4 canvas banners. She also had me calligraph promises on 30 different cards to be tied with ribbon to a tree over the candlelight picnic. Her girlfriend is a wedding photographer, and my client made up an alias email and hired her to photograph this special engagement…..but when she arrived to photograph the engagement, she realized it was for her! She said, yes, yes, yes!!

A client recently commissioned Sarah Hanna to create hand calligraphed promise cards for an elaborate proposal

The promise cards for the engagement was a really meaningful one. Wedding toasts and vows mixed with custom painting is a favorite. Right now, I love doing the custom nursery rhymes. And of course, every Christmas, the Santa letters are fabulous! And I am REALLY excited about my new line of Artful Correspondence – hand-illustrated correspondence card sets.

Favorite calligraphy trends: Art that has staying power always gets my vote. A symbol or monogram that can be used after your wedding (which look fantastic on dance floors!), the bride’s married name custom-designed so she can put it on letterpressed stationery and more is an excellent gift. I love these trends, especially the ‘avere’ ‘tenere’ chairs….mais bien sur!

A custom dance floor monogram penned by Bella Figura calligrapher Sarah Hanna

How did you get your start as a calligrapher? My mother Kaye Hanna is an incredible artist, master calligrapher, and my instructor. So, I am turning into my mother! Truthfully, if I end up with a fraction of her talent, I will be a lucky girl.

Blue Danube style hand calligraphed envelopes by Bella Figura calligrapher Sarah Hanna

Blue Danube hand calligraphed envelope 

London Script hand calligraphed envelopes by Bella Figura calligrapher Sarah Hanna

London script – perfect for your thank you note to Her Majesty. Or your wedding at Ascot.

Honoured Guest hand calligraphed envelopes by Sarah Hanna

Honoured Guest hand calligraphed envelope

Embellished Honoured Guest hand calligraphed envelopes by Sarah Hanna

Embellished Honoured Guest – a fuller version of Honoured Guest

Introducing our first Pinterest-inspired designs: A Bientot and Gilded Romance

Remember the Pinterest contest we held back in February? Well today, we’re excited to share the designs that the contest inspired! The first, A Bientot, is a romantic design with Parisian flair and was design by Jessica Tierney.  A Bientot was inspired by the carefully curated images of our Pinterest contest winner’s Dream Wedding board. Lovely photos of delicate vintage china, french macaroons, elegant lace and sophisticated florals all tied together with soft shades of pink, peach, cream and lavish metallic accents of copper and gold. It wasn’t hard to start designing a suite based on these awe-inspiring images! Tierney instantly pictured an elegant Parisian inspired soirée complete with vintage plates stacked high with Ladurée macaroons, lush florals in feminine shades, and soft candlelight illuminating golden accents. The A Bientot suite is perfect for the couple looking to evoke a feeling of chic sophistication and classic charm on their special day!

A Bientot is a romantic invitation with Parisian flair, designed by Jessica Tierney for Bella FIgura

Photo credits, from left to right: Row 1: Bella FiguraJose Villa via The Wedding Chicks | Row 2: Martha Stewart Weddings, Vintage Plate Rental, Musee Des Spontan | Row 3: Eric Kelley Photography, Martha Stewart Weddings | Row 4: Rensche Mari via Southern Weddings | Row 5: Bella FiguraJessica Janae Photography via Bridal Musings

Gilded Romance — our second Pinterest inspired design — was designed by Sarah Walroth and is simply overflowing with shimmering foil goodness! The design features silver shine and purple shine foil stamping, and the fuchsia shine foil edging brings in a third color. Debi Zeinert’s Revolution hand calligraphy accents brought an elegant, flourished look to the invitation, which is filled with vibrant, confetti-styled bursts of foil shine. Sarah loved the celebratory twist to an otherwise reserved and elegant Pinterest board — the colors, sparkle, and textures carried throughout the board gave it a very cohesive, directed look. And everything on the board — from the makeup to the shoes to the cake — made it easy to create an invitation inspired by the gorgeous event! In particular, Sarah was inspired by the calligraphy, the sparkle and light throughout, and of course the gorgeous, deep plum dress. The Gilded Romance suite is perfect for the couple looking for a rich, glamorous design overflowing with romance and just a hint of formality.

Sparkling shoes, a rich plum dress and glittering fireworks inspired Bella Figura's Gilded Romance design

Photo credits, from left to right: Row 1: Plum dress, 100 Layer Cake | Row 2: Southern Weddings | Row 3: Bella Figura, Style Me Pretty | Row 4: Martha Stewart Weddings | Row 5: Elizabeth Anne Designs, Bella Figura 

 

Stay tuned — we’ll be announcing a brand new Pinterest contest on Monday and you’ll have the chance to inspire a design for our 2013 collection – plus you could win an amazing prize!!

Keswick Letterpress Wedding Invitations with Pocketfold

We printed these letterpress wedding invitations, a customization of our Keswick design, for an upcoming wedding in France. They are printed in espresso and cloud 9 inks and feature a vertical orientation and a pretty espresso pocketfold, making this invitation suite a unique interpretation of one of our most popular designs. We love the pretty letterpress inserts and the letterpress thank you notes we also had the distinct pleasure of printing for this couple, all perfectly coordinated to their event in matching espresso and cloud 9 inks.