RaeChild

Calligraphy and Design based in NYC

SSSS

I've been hibernating all winter practicing calligraphy, experimenting with mixing custom inks and finding great paper. Last week, I had the pleasure of working with the Spring Street Social Society (SSSS) on a fun idea that its founders, Patrick Janelle and Amy Buchanan, wanted to incorporate into their latest "Sweet & Savory" dinner. 

 The stunning tablescape set for seventy

The stunning tablescape set for seventy

As guests were greeted in the entry rotunda of an empty bank at 20 Exchange Place in the Financial District, they were asked to select a small black envelope and meet the calligraphy artist who would write their names out. I wrote 70 names throughout the cocktail hour and into dinner, hoping that the gold ink wouldn't blob too much and that I could do every name justice. The envelopes acted as each guest's namecard as well as an activity for later in the evening... 

It wasn't until after five savory dessert courses with drink pairings and several comedic and musical acts later that the guests were instructed that they would have 5 minutes to get up, open their envelope, perform the task on the card inside, and to sit in a different seat than where they began. Tasks included things like "Kiss the Cook" (Ben Mims), "Hug the Bartender", "Give your phone number", or my favorite "Cut a rug with Amy/Patrick" The parlour game worked wonderfully and after everyone was seated, seven fluffy Coconut Layer Cakes were placed along the table for everyone to enjoy, family style. 

I'm surely falling for this new found medium and was so happy to get to play a part in the magic of the SSSS dinners that Patrick and Amy create. Mr. RaeChild was happy to see my new found obsession have a home outside of our own. 

 At home, my office was covered in task cards...

At home, my office was covered in task cards...

 Patrick's photo of my work from his instagram account @aguynamedpatrick

Patrick's photo of my work from his instagram account @aguynamedpatrick

Modern Calligraphy

So I followed through on one of my New Year's resolutions: to try my hand at calligraphy - and I loved it!!! Jenna Rainy is a calligrapher that I found on Instagram, she's based in California and made the trek all the way to New York to teach classes at Dabney Lee stationery shop in Dumbo, Brooklyn. 

 Dabney Lee in Dumbo, Brooklyn is bright and cheery

Dabney Lee in Dumbo, Brooklyn is bright and cheery

 Office supplies and endearing notecards galore

Office supplies and endearing notecards galore

The colorful shop, the personalized place setting, a friend by my side, and Jenna's sweet instruction made the workshop into my version of a day at the spa. I was surprised that we were able to write full words by the end of the hour and a half long class. I think anyone who knows how to write in cursive could excel at calligraphy, although Jenna emphasized "practice, practice, practice" - which is exactly what this brisk fall season will be perfect for.  

Jenna's workshop details and stunning calligraphy is featured on her website: MonVoir.com

 Jenna gave us tutorials on how to form tricky letters on her blackboard

Jenna gave us tutorials on how to form tricky letters on her blackboard

 Our supplies for class packaged so nicely upon arrival

Our supplies for class packaged so nicely upon arrival

 My insta shot from class

My insta shot from class

Weekend in Providence, RI

My alma mater, Rhode Island School of Design, otherwise known as RISD (pronounced riz-dee) is a unique art school situated atop College Hill in Providence, RI along with Brown University. The quaint cobblestone streets in this part of the city are lined with historical homes that boast placards stating the name of the home and build date, many in the 1800's. I love the various muted color combinations, which reference old milk-paint colors from another era, that make each home unique.

RaeChild_Providence_1

For this weekend away Mr. RaeChild and I tried our first shared apartment experience via Airbnb and were happy we did. For one, we graduated with two of the three Airbnb founders and appreciate the business they have developed, and also the host was a fellow RISD Architecture Student whose apartment is blocks from my favorite college-years coffee shop: Coffee Exchange. This shop is a community hub for academics and locals and is always abuzz with interesting chatter. My favorite part is the extensive selection of pay-per-pound beans, roasted on site! I was thrilled when "Ben The Roaster" gave me an impromptu coffee lesson as he roasted a unique heirloom bean - I had no idea how much science is involved in my daily brew.

RaeChild_CoffeeExchange
RaeChild Coffee Exchange

If you are considering visiting Providence, RI for a weekend I would suggest stopping by the RISD Museum. I am definitely biased, but this museum has one of everything. The breadth and range of work they show surprises me every time. This visit I discovered a room of custom sized, openable drawers filled with vintage textiles, gowns, purses, shoes and tortuous corsets. The Pendleton House wing is like stepping back in time with period furnished rooms complete with historical wallpaper. There is plenty to see and appreciate throughout the museum but I can't deny how excited I get to see the impressionist wing, and in particular this classic Monet painting. No matter how overly commercialized his work has become (think fridge magnets + thank you notes) it brings me back to discovering fine art in my adolescence. 

 Claude Monet, A Walk in the Fields at Argenteuil, 1873

Claude Monet, A Walk in the Fields at Argenteuil, 1873

As I hoped this post might help generate ideas of places to visit while in Providence, I might mention to schedule your visit during a Water Fire weekend. Stationary baskets of wood are lit in the middle of the canal, appearing to float while dramatic symphonic music plays. There are many tempting food vendors. 

Speaking of food! Here's a list of some of my favorite college digs (the ones that still exist):

- Geoff's Superlative Sandwiches - Sandwiches such as the "Godzilla" can and should be ordered with extra "Dragon's Breath" Also, there are free pickles, you can go in just for pickles if you want. 

- Eastside Pockets - Best falafel. Just go and try and you'll be really happy you did.

- Cablecar Cafe - Highly caloric ham and cheese on croissants, perhaps more appreciated in my younger years. Doubles as a cinema so catch a film while you're there!