This month we invite Studio MarieClaire to our Artist Takeover. Marie-Claire explains why she left her day job in PR to pursue her love of the craft of Calligraphy.
Please can you give me an introduction about who you are and what you do?
I'm Marie-Claire, the founder of Studio MarieClaire based in London, which began its journey nearly four years ago in Dublin. Studio MarieClaire specialises in providing bespoke calligraphy, lettering and design for weddings, brands, and events. I also offer calligraphy workshops and have a product range of printed paper goods.
My work aims to seamlessly blend the contemporary with the traditional to create unique and artistic expressions in my signature calligraphy styles. My clients include Prada, Miu Miu, Chanel, Jo Malone London, Rolex, Laura Mercier, Frederic Malle, Tamara Ralph, and Clé de Peau.
How and why did you start calligraphy?
I come from a creative family, and I have always loved drawing and design. My Nana and Dad were both fashion designers, and my Dad is still designing for our family luxury linen brand, Irish Linen House. I have always been surrounded by design and creativity, which has inspired me from a young age.
Initially, I wanted to attend art college, but I chose to pursue a career in marketing and public relations. After six years of working in this field, I began to explore some creative hobbies to take me away from my screens and back to pen and paper. I came across calligraphy on Instagram. I attended a workshop, ordered some books, and a kit online, and began teaching myself. I instantly fell in love with the craft. I enjoyed the simplicity of returning to pen and paper, it was mindful and therapeutic and I was fascinated by the possibilities. Calligraphy brought together everything I love - stationery, paper, design, typography, art. I was very quickly inspired to turn it into more than a hobby.
What appeals to you most about what you do?
There are so many aspects of my work that I love. I've always been passionate about the world fashion, so having the opportunity to collaborate with some of my favourite and iconic brands is a dream come true.
My workshops are very special to me too - I taught myself, and seeing the joy that calligraphy brings to others is such a lovely feeling.
As well as this, I'm privileged to work with couples on their wedding stationery, becoming a part of their special and memorable day. I love creating suites that reflect the couple, and their vision for their dream day.
The past two years in London have opened up new and exciting opportunities, from working with amazing clients to showcasing my own products at iconic London markets like Salad Days. It's been a very exciting journey. I started calligraphy because I felt there were so many possibilities, and it continues to surprise and excite me.
If you had to start again, what advice would you give yourself?
Don't wait for everything to be perfect; just begin your journey, learn, grow, and enjoy the process of evolving as an artist. Embrace the imperfection and your mistakes, this is where you really grow, find your true style, and remain authentic!
What are the best resources you’ve found online or elsewhere that helped you get started?
There are so many invaluable resources online. I think, as a calligraphy beginner, attending a workshop is a must for a strong start. I have virtual and in-person workshops for beginners, and as I taught myself, I know how overwhelming it can be in the beginning. My aim is to provide participants with the right tools and knowledge to continue learning, practicing, and improving themselves.
Of course, I find Tom’s Studio resources so helpful too, and I really recommend it for all creatives to follow. From reviews and tutorials, both from Tom and other artists, to the array of tools available, it’s truly inspiring and insightful. I’m delighted to be an ambassador and support Tom’s mission of inspiring people to be creative.
Who are the artists/individuals that inspire you most and where can we find them?
My initial source of inspiration was the calligraphy book, "Nib + Ink" by Chiara Perano, and I am a huge fan of her work and how she has evolved as an artist. I also admire Imogen Owen, and The Written Word. Today, there are incredible calligraphers from all over that I greatly admire including fellow Tom's Studio ambassadors!
Beyond calligraphy, my greatest inspirations come from the world of fashion. Alexander McQueen for his exceptional talent and fashion as art. Gabrielle Chanel's timeless elegance and simplicity principles have always resonated with me. A more contemporary designer I find inspiring is Irish designer Simone Rocha, known for her bold yet delicate feminine designs.
Seeing the use of silhouettes, textures, colours, volume, and details inspires my work from choices of lettering styles and paper to palettes and finer artistic details.
What is your favourite quote to write and why?
At the moment, I love everything minimalistic. So it has to be, "less is more." This short and sweet phrase embodies the essence of calligraphy and what I strive for with my work. It's a constant reminder that in both art and life, keeping it simple and elegant often speaks the loudest and is timeless!