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Book Review – Hand Lettering A to Z Workbook

April, 2019

Book Review
Hand Lettering A to Z Workbook
by Abbey Sy
191 pp. Rockport

“Hand Lettering A to Z Workbook” is a very accessible workbook aimed at beginners in hand-lettering who want to start with a good foundation and traditional letter form styles. The first few pages are spent on exploring the basics of typography, hand-lettering, and layout; there is not a lot of detail on any one topic here, but there’s no fat, either. The prose is very direct and to-the-point, and Abbey Sy includes recommendations for specific tools and methods. 

Sy offers a good variety of styles for the beginner, from simple handwriting and serif letter forms to cursive scripts and bounce-lettering. She walks through the basics of layout, especially for a single quote or short phrase, as well as process — from a rough penciled template to a fully inked and colored end-product. Along the way, she includes many examples of different sketches, scripts, and fully-rendered quotes, to fuel the artist’s imagination. She also offers different character types and variants, special characters, and embellishments.

The introductory material is fairly short, and the rest of the book is made up of practice pages, first for the different letter forms and styles, and then for full quotes. It’s important to note that this book does not delve into traditional calligraphy at all, but focuses on more accessible brush scripts and drawn letter forms. The book is also peppered with handy tips to help you avoid rookie mistakes — always check your spelling before you ink, for example! — and to help you accomplish a finished product. 

While this book may not be of much interest to an experienced hand-lettering artist, it’s a great place to start, especially for anyone who may want to hand-letter their own cards and gifts, or add a bit of pizzazz to their journaling and scrap-booking. Accessible and thorough, “Hand Lettering A to Z Workbook” is a great place to start your hand-lettering journey and build a solid foundation for an ongoing practice. By the time you’ve worked your way through, you should have a thorough understanding of the hand-lettering process, and the ability to create polished, professional-looking typography art and gifts.

Hand Lettering A to Z: A World of Creative Ideas for Drawing and Designing Alphabets on Amazon

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About the Author:

Sarah McMenomy is an artist and witch. Her craft incorporates herbalism, spellwork, trance, divination, auras, and more. Her work can be found at https://sarahmcmenomy.tumblr.com

Cloth Crystal Grid Review & Interview with Nicole Kirchner from Invocations to Gaia

October, 2018

Cloth Crystal Grid Review & Interview with Nicole Kirchner from Invocations to Gaia

Nicole Kirchner from Invocations to Gaia was so kind as to send me one of her handmade cloth grids to try out. I was sent one with the Vegvisir – the Viking Runic Compass which I just adore. (I love all things Viking.) It’s on cotton with black ink and the edges are burnt which gives it an old world aged look which I personally love. Its a nice size, 10 in. X 10 in., perfect for putting on my altar or on a side table.

If you check out the Invocations to Gaia’s etsy shop there is a huge selection of grid patterns you can choose from and Nicole will also take custom orders if u don’t find what you’re looking for. Cloth grids are very low cost, so if you are on a budget this is the way to go. The prices for these cloth grids are between $7 and $9! Its also easy to travel with as you can place it in a book to keep flat until you reach your destination. And It’s very lightweight. I have really been enjoying my cloth grid and I recommend these grids highly! It’s simply beautiful and great quality.

I was lucky enough to have the chance to interview Nicole Kirchner from Invocations to Gaia. Besides Nicole’s etsy shop, she is a Sociology Graduate Student who’s primary research focuses on marginalization and stigmatization of the Pagan Community. Both her work with her etsy shop and her graduate research allow her to support the Pagan Community in many ways.  

Here is what Nicole had to say about all things grid related.

Q: How did you get started making and using grids?

Nicole: I have been placing crystals in gridding patterns for a few decades and was gifted my first cloth for gridding about 5 yrs ago. This was in a triple moon pattern. I began making my own cloth grids about 2 yrs ago, when I wanted to use patterns for my gridding and needed an affordable option. A few of my fellow sisters asked for me to make them gridding cloths and thus my gridding cloths were born.

Q: What are the different styles and materials you make your grids?

Nicole: I currently carry the following designs, but I can do other designs as a custom request:

-Celtic Tree of Life

-Moon phases

-Zodiac grid

-Vegvisir-Viking Runic Compass

-Pagan Wheel of the Year

-Pagan Triple Moon

-Reiki Crystal Healing

-Native American Medicine Wheel

-7 Chakras with Lotus Flower

-Celtic Knot

-Sacred Geometry Germ of Life

-Sacred Geometry Seed of Life

-Sacred Geometry Flower of Life

-Kabbalistic-Hebrew Tree of Life

They are all made with 100% cotton fabric for the earth element, usually white, although I can do special orders for different fabric colors. Before I do anything with the cloth, they are misted with a saging spray that I hand make to cleanse the energy of the cloth and add the water element. I create the designs digitally and they are placed on the cloth with fabric transfers. Some of them have hand added color that i do with fabric markers. Once the design is in place I burn the edges of the cloth by hand to add an aged look. This also adds the fire element as the cloth is burned and I blow out the fire. Finally, I charge the piece with Reiki energy as I am a Okuden Level 2 healer, and the whole piece is sealed.

Q: What is your personal favorite grid you offer and why?

Nicole: I actually have 3 favorites. They are the flower of life, the moon phases and the medicine wheel. The sacred healing energies in the flower of life and medicine wheel are very powerful tools to add to a personal crystal grid and can greatly intensify the intentions. The moon phase grid can enable you to specifically tap into the energy of the various phases of the moon to further focus the intention of your grid.

Q: What do you use gridding for?

Nicole: Practically everything…LOL! But seriously, practically everything. If there is any intention, concern, sabbats or whatever that I want to focus more intensely on or bring more energy to, then I set a grid. There are certain grids that are always set up around my house and altar, such as, a healing grid on a chakra cloth in my manifestation room where i do Reiki sessions or a prosperity grid on a flower of life cloth in my home office.  

Q: What are some of your favorite crystals to grid with?

Nicole: I always have clear quartz points in my grids. But besides quartz there aren’t any favorites because they ALL are my favorites. Each stone can serve a high purpose and bring the energy you need, it just depends on the intention or purpose of that specific grid. Although, I have to say that labradorite, citrine and smoky quartz make their way into many of my grids. 

Q: Why is gridding an effective tool to add to one’s daily practice?

Nicole: First, the process of gridding can be very meditative and cathartic. It is a beautiful way to calm your mind and truly focus your intentions. Second, the added energy of the crystals and the geometric patterns of the grid layout naturally increase the focus of your intentions. If you add a gridding cloth, then you can further intensify this energy.

Q: How long have you worked with grids?

Nicole: As I said earlier, I have been placing crystals in gridding patterns for a few decades, but did not use cloths to guide my gridding or to increase the energy at all. It wasn’t till about 5 yrs ago that I was gifted my first cloth for gridding. The first cloth of purple cotton with a triple moon design, showed me the beauty and energy that a patterned cloth could add.

Q:For my readers to follow/contact you, what are your social media links?

Nicole:

Etsy:   www.etsy.com/shop/InvocationstoGaia

Instagram:  www.Instagram.com/invocations_to_Gaia

FB: www.facebook.com/invocationstogaia

Thank you to Nicole for sending me one of her beautiful gridding cloths as well as for taking the time to answer all my questions! 

Love and crystal blessings,  Xoxo Retha

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About the Author:

Retha N. Lent has been married for 17 years to her husband Mark & they have four cats that are their life. She lives in Norristown, Pa. Retha has her Bachelor’s of Science degree in Behavioral Counseling Sciences from Drexel University. She is the owner of “Retha’s Crystals” & sells sterling silver unique crystal jewelry & specimens on her FB business page. She has a FB group for her customers and those interested in learning more about crystals & all things magical called “Retha’s Crystal Circle“. She is also an advisor in the Sage Goddess Affiliate Program. She has her Holistic Healing Certificate and Pillars of Priestessing certificates from Sage Goddess. She is also an Ordained Pagan Minister from the Universal Life Church. Retha has a passion for crystals, nature, astrology, working with moon cycles, ritual practices, tarot and oracle cards, runes, essential oils, herbs, manifestation work, ancient cultures, magic & music. Her favorite place is New Orleans, La. Retha has an extensive personal crystal collection and loves sharing her love of crystals with the world. She has been a practicing pagan since she was 16 years old. 

You can reach her at rethalent@hotmail.com or on her business page on FB: https://www.facebook.com/Rethas-Crystals-197411227666484/

Or in her FB group:

https://m.facebook.com/groups/1960619300929876

Her Sage Goddess affiliate link is:

www.sagegoddess.com/ref/84/

Or follow her on Instagram at @spookygirl16