Lauren Iida, wedding and event coordinator at The Chateau at Incline Village, Nev., never thought of herself as a creative person. Yet in her dealings with brides and wedding parties that booked events at the facility, she began to think about what she could do to add a sophisticated touch to a special event. She decided on the craft of calligraphy.
“Who doesn’t want to go to a wedding after receiving a handwritten invitation? It’s the last piece of mail you receive before seeing the bride on her big day. When guests receive a handwritten note, then it makes them want to go.”
Iida grew up working for the Incline Village General Improvement District, first as a ski instructor at Diamond Peak and then as a full-time event coordinator for The Chateau in 2014. Couples planning their weddings would bring in their own signs; she felt like the signs The Chateau could provide should be elegant. She got some chalkboards and started doodling.
She started watching online videos about calligraphy and using social media to get tips on inscription. That led to her taking a calligraphy class in Reno, Nev., where she learned advanced brushstrokes and styles.
“In this particular class, we learned more italic calligraphy, like what you see on diplomas, but I found that I liked brush calligraphy the best because it complements what people want at their weddings,” she said. “There are so many types of calligraphy, like copperplate that is formal and has a lot of rules around it, dip and nib calligraphy. I was already learning brush calligraphy from the classes I was taking online, so I knew when I took the in-person class in Reno that I wanted to go that route. With brush you can put your own style on it and it’s a little more forgiving.”
After taking that class, Iida took another year and practiced before she felt comfortable enough establishing Thick and Thin Lines of Calligraphy as a business and selling her lettered goods — invitations, place markers and signs. She researched videos and practiced doodling and handwriting and picked up all the ins and outs of how to run a creative business.
Eventually, she started posting some examples of her work on her Instagram account. A bride, who was set to get married at The Chateau, saw her pictures and asked if Iida could do her wedding invitations.
“I don’t consider myself artistic, but I do think calligraphy is creative and I like to think of myself as a creative person,” she says.
However, since modern calligraphy is defined as an expressive, skillful, visual artform, Iida is an artist, subtly adding an elegant touch to someone’s special day. It’s likely why Iida enjoys being invited to participate in a styled photo shoot, an event that allows the couple to imagine what the occasion will look like with all the elements of an event in place. In a styled shoot, the event organizer will hire a baker, a calligraphy artist, choose the venue — all the entities involved get together and unleash their talents.
“I get to work with likeminded people and share in the excitement of their event,” Iida says.
Iida considers Thick and Thin Lines of Calligraphy a fun, side job that perfectly complements her main role as a wedding and event coordinator, where you could create a full package of calligraphy for an event from the invitations to the table numbers, place cards and signage.
“I like that it enhances an event; who doesn’t want to go to a wedding after receiving a handwritten invitation? It’s the last piece of mail you receive before seeing the bride on her big day. When guests receive a handwritten note, then it makes them want to go,” she says. | (775) 771-1586, thickandthinlines.com