Monday, December 10, 2018

Forty Years #23: Calligraphy for Hire

When I started doing calligraphy as a business, there was so much to think about beyond letters and spacing. It was not easy. I wrote this in 1980:

As if worrying about the craft of my work is not enough, there is that wonderful business end of the whole matter. I’ve had a couple of discouraging encounters -I just plain old don’t charge enough.- I don’t have the right business spirit- part of the problem I think is that I am basically a cheap person who doesn’t spend large amounts of money for anything and I can’t get it through my head that other people do. But I don’t want to be an asshole so I want to I guess strike a balance and get what I should be paid but not change myself. I’ve been wondering if I should take an assertiveness training or something like that. 

I never took assertiveness training and I never charged enough. I always underestimated the time it would take, a characteristic I have carried forward to this day. I used to say that I either needed a personality transplant or another line of work which is what I chose. I eventually replaced the calligraphy income with teaching bookmaking workshops in schools. One of the advantages of the teaching was that I charged by the day. Everybody paid the same rate and the money part was simple.

A certificate for myself!
a commission from the Lowell Sun
Brunch Menu for a hotel restaurant
Patient Handbook for Lowell General Hospital. Designer: Catherine M. Bucciarelli
 Lettering for a small company that made silk-screened stationery
 In the days before desktop publishing really took off, there was a lot of work doing certificates 
One of a series of signs for the British shop in Newburyport.
Name that was silk-screened onto a hand crafted bicycle

Promotional Sign 
Lettering for Book Cover 

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