Customer Showcase:Phyllis Macaluso
Phyllis Macaluso is one of our customers who possesses exceptional talent. Her envelopes are exquisite, and her lettering possesses an inspiring elegance. Add to that her artistic abilities when it comes to watercolor and illustration, and you will certainly find a customer with showcasing! We’re happy to present some of Phyllis’s work along with her insights.
What Paper and Ink product(s) can you not live without? Dr. Martin’s Bleedproof White, Schminke Calligraphy Gouache, Winsor Newton Series 7 brushes, T-square ruler, green bottle sumi ink, magnetic stirrer, and Finetec gold
What makes these products great? Writing fluids are smooth, reliable, flow evenly and give me the hairlines and swells that I am looking for. The magnetic stirrer keeps all my writing fluids dip ready, the T-square keeps me straight, and the series 7 brushes and papers are heavenly.
Why do you choose to shop at Paper and Ink Arts? The website is easy to navigate. The service is always friendly. PIA is always ready to accommodate. Overall, they are dependable, professional, prompt, efficient, courteous, and items are well stocked. Delivery is always quick.
How did you get started in calligraphy? Tell us a little about your story! The beautifully scripted and flourished diplomas hanging in school hallways and professional buildings instantly captured my attention as a young student and left an impression I could not forget. From the very beginning my parents were also one of my first influences with lettering and drawing. I remember their writing box kept on the highest shelf in the closet, and how meticulously they would dip the pen in ink to beautifully write letters for family and friends. I also remember the ornately embellished pages of the Bible, how the painted, vibrant gold, reds and blues would jump off the pages. Later while working on my teaching degree, I took my first workshop in calligraphy, and have been studying lettering and growing in skill and knowledge ever since.
I have had the awesome privilege of learning and continuing to learn with some of the very best instructors and mentors over the years. I am indebted to each one of them for the knowledge, guidance, inspiration, and great influence they have had on me. I have been inspired and greatly influenced by some of the very best who have taught me the same beauty, grace, elegance, delicate refinement, and inspiring flowing flourishes that I first witnessed on those diplomas and certificates when I was younger. I have also had the privilege of studying the simplicity and beauty of Chinese Brush painting, and the wonder and magic of watercolour with two outstanding instructors here in Ontario. I am indebted to my first instructors who first started this journey with me and who taught me the basic principles and discipline of beautiful lettering through the detailed study of the works of Alf Ebsen, Edward Johnston, & Sheila Waters. I am deeply indebted to each of these extraordinary teachers, and to so many others for the special gifts of lettering, flourishing and painting they have shared with me.
When I am not lettering, I am sharing my love of cursive writing with students in the classroom. I am a Certified Cursive Teacher, and I am an active member of The Handwriting Council of Canada. I can also be found participating in a variety of envelope exchanges, live demo’s, or at the easel with watercolour or Chinese brush painting. I also love creating with stained glass while listening to the beautiful sounds of Baroque classical music.
What is the primary type(ex-wedding work, commissioned pieces, etc.) of calligraphy that you do? I do freelance work in my studio in the Hamilton Ontario area, primarily working with wedding and special occasion lettering ( quills.ca). This work involves everything from embellished envelopes, to cards, invitation suites, oaths and documents. I have a particular passion for the embellished envelope, and I often use my Chinese brush painting and watercolour skills to bring colour and life to envelopes or invitation suites. I also enjoy sharing these skills with others in small local workshops.
What recommendations would you make to someone just starting out with calligraphy? I would recommend practice from excellent models, and finding excellent instructors who can teach you the correct basic principles of good lettering and give you excellent feedback. Learn the discipline of the correct letterforms first. Pablo Picasso says “learn the rules like a pro so you can break them like an artist.” Always believe in yourself and persevere; never give up. Spend quality time every day at your desk. Nothing works better than focused daily practice
How can our customers see more of your work? Samples of my work can be found on Instagram @fpmmac, www.quills.ca, or publications such as Bound & Lettered, The Penman’s Journal, The Spencerian Review, and most currently in 2014 and 2015 annual calendars published by the Copperplate Interest Group of England. My creative lettering and pointed pen flourishing has also been highlighted in Erica McPhee’s modern and classic calligraphy magazine, Dasherie.