Bride & Groom Article

by Laura Melcher — Staff Writer
February 2000

Woman of Letters

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Rowley resident creates invitations and more at home based calligraphy business

Even in this age of computerization, local brides are finding a bit of personal style through hand-lettered invitations by Lisa Kennedy of Rowley.  Kennedy, a part-time Red Cross water safety instructor in Gloucester, started taking calligraphy courses about 14 years ago and went into business herself a few years later.

Always an artist, Kennedy soon developed her own style and began to build a modest client base for LJK Calligraphy and Fine Handlettering around the North Shore. She says wedding invitations make up the bulk of her business, while seating scrolls, place cards and framed and matted photos or poems are also popular. Invitations are available in seven styles, from the Classic Italic to Kennedy’s own Humanistic, which she describes as a combination of other styles with a flourish all her own.

Kennedy says the first thing she does upon meeting with clients is to get a feeling for the style of the wedding, which she hopes to convey through the invitations. “I really do try to work with people to get what they want… I ask, ‘Did you pick your stationery?’ ‘What kind of printing did you get?’” she says.

For an upcoming Wedding Day, she says, she proposed that the invitations be done in Unical, which is a traditional, Celtic style font. The mailing may be either simple or decorative, depending on the taste of the bride and groom. Kennedy says she has produced as many as 250 invitations for one client, although some jobs are much smaller.

The amount of time Kennedy spends on each job varies with the size of the request, type of font and level of detail involved.

She works on her lettering whenever she is not at the Red Cross in Gloucester, where she now spends 24 hours a week. There is not much competition in the area, she says, except for a few other small businesses. “There aren’t a whole lot of us out there,” she says, adding that calligraphers are quickly being replaced by computers.

“I think people look at their budget and start cutting where they have to,” she says. “It's a beautiful luxury.” “When people receive it, they do realize that a little something extra went into it,” she says. “My hope is that, maybe by seeing my work, they’ll realize that it is a special way to send their thoughts.”

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