New Product: Zombie Coloring Pages

Celebrate undead love in whatever greusome colors strike your fancy!

Zombie Wedding Coloring Pages by Geek Calligraphy

How It Came To Be:

The next entry in our coloring page catalog comes from our greeting cards. 

We usually need a low key product release for January, because the third Wednesday of the month usually comes right on the heels of Arisia, when both of us are profoundly Ded of Con. Coloring pages definitely fit that bill. 

All of our zombie couples are available for $2 each, or you can get a bundle with everyone for $5. Have fun!

(We hope this goes without saying, but PLEASE respect our copyright and intellectual property. When you buy the download, that is for your unlimited use, but not for sharing around and not for posting elsewhere online, except as you proudly display your pretty results. If you do post said pretty results, please tag us!)

Ded of Con... Again

We are still at Arisia! Terri's in a panel right now, and Ariela's busily checking us out of the Art Show. If you wanted art that you saw in the show but couldn't snag it, you can always buy it on the website. We hope if you were here that you had a good time! We sure did.

Chibi Terri is standing next to a purple and green mug that goes up to her shoulder, dunking a teabag. She is saying "Still not enough tea to be awake. (Gonna need a bigger mug)."

Chibi Terri is standing next to a purple and green mug that goes up to her shoulder, dunking a teabag. She is saying "Still not enough tea to be awake. (Gonna need a bigger mug)."

Come See Us At Arisia

By Terri & Ariela

The Arisia Logo.

The Arisia Logo.

As is our personal and business tradition, we will both be at Arisia this weekend January 12-15 at the Westin Boston Waterfront. We've got tons of art in the Art Show, and will both be appearing on panels! This is Terri's first time on Arisia panels and she is very excited. 

If you're on staff/volunteering for the convention, you can catch us at the Art Show reception in our business colors. Otherwise, you can see our work there (and us, from time to time), and see us on these panels:

Ariela's Schedule:

Friday, 7:00 PM: Costuming on a Budget
Room: Faneuil
Panel #: 457
Costuming can be an expensive hobby as the elements of a costume and the supplies needed to create them can add up quickly. We'll discuss how to get the most out of your dollar through the use of inexpensive fabrics and notions, alternative techniques or materials, and how to plan ahead so you can find time and ways to save the most money. Many elements can be sourced through thrift stores or even your own closet, and putting individual pieces to work in multiple costumes can help, too.

Saturday, 4:00 PM: Judaism's Influence on SF/F
Room: Marina 2
Panel #: 385
Jewish theology and culture permeates SFF & fandom from popular comics to well-known science fiction stories, which filters down in unrealized ways to fandom. What effect has Judaism had on the development of SF/F and fandom in general? Join our panel of knowledgeable fen to learn about Jewish influences.

Saturday, 5:30 PM: Depicting Diversity in Visual Art
Room: Douglas
Panel #: 279
Most figure drawing techniques are based on an idealized human form. This simplifies the drawing process, but it often leaves artists ill-prepared for representing characters of diverse age, size, gender, ethnicity, ability, etc. How can artists practice representing more diverse characters, and how can art education be improved to help them learn these skills?
(Ariela will moderate this panel.)

Sunday, 10:00 AM: Out of the Shadows: Spiritual Traditions in SFF
Room: Marina 2
Panel #: 340
SFF tends to fictionalize to practitioners of real-world spiritual beliefs in fantasy, inhabiting the liminal space between "normal" society and the supernatural world. These practitioners and their beliefs are often lazily and irresponsibly portrayed, creating further misinformation and stereotype. Our panelists will look at stories about practitioners of real spiritual beliefs in fictional settings and which portrayals are respectful and responsible.
(Ariela will moderate this panel.)

Sunday, 1:00 PM: Hats & Headwear for Costumers
Room: Faneuil
Panel #: 466
Hats and headwear can add another level of style to your costume and tie the entire look together. Learn techniques on how to make them, re-purpose old hats, make foundations for headpieces, resources available, and how to keep them on your head.

Terri's Schedule:

Sunday, 1:00 PM: Parents with Infants & Toddlers Meetup
Room: Paine
Panel #: 354
We have run into each other in panels, in hallways, and in elevators with strollers, but have we really *met*? Let's let the kids run around for an hour, catch our breath, bemoan cluster feeding/colic/climbing/teething/growing pains, and celebrate the fact that we're OUT OF THE HOUSE and among our people.

Sunday, 2:30 PM: Down with Grimdark, Up with...
Room: Marina 1
Panel #: 324
Grimdark stories, ones that focus on darkness and angst, have been prevalent throughout SFF recently. However, many people are pushing for change, with suggestions such as Solarpunk, Genderpunk, and Hopepunk, ones that focus on a bright future. Solarpunk is focused on green energy and sustainability, whereas Hopepunk is about people choosing love over hate, and fighting for that possible bright future. Will these new genres will gain a foothold? What other "punks" do you see emerging in SFF?

Monday, 11:30 AM: When Your Child Discovers Fanfiction… and more
Room: Marina 2
Panel #: 301
Description Being a fannish parent can mean the joy of witnessing fannish firsts – discovering fanfiction, the first cosplay or convention. Our panelists will talk about being a fannish parent to a fannish child, and the joys that come with your child discovering new parts of fandom they want to be involved in, and the challenges of navigating parts of fandom that are not always child-appropriate.

 

There are Friday Night Services at Arisia this year that are open to anyone who wishes to attend. They will be held at 5:30pm in Paine (2W). We will both be in attendance. Terri will be leading the Kabbalat Shabbat portion of the services, with some bonus fandom tunes.

We can't wait for the convention and we hope to see you there!

New Product: Spacescape Art Prints

Looking for an artistic way to remind yourself of just how completely awe-inspiring the universe is? We've got some prints for you, featuring a spaceship exploring the stars and some very eloquent quotes.

AP-201703-spacescapeE.png
J-201703-SS-H.png

How It Came To Be:

We wanted to finish the year with a very science fiction piece of art. The space ship and background art comes courtesy of the SpaceScape Ketubah. The text on the English print is a quote from Babylon 5, courtesy of Ambassador Delenn: "We are starstuff. We are the universe made manifest, trying to figure itself out." The Hebrew quote comes from Psalms, Chapter 92, Verse 6: "מה רבו מעשיך ה' מאוד עמקו מחשבותיך - How great are your creations, oh Lord, Your thoughts are vastly deep."

Ariela took advantage of the shorter text to have some fun with the lettering in a way that isn't possible with a text the length of a ketubah and formed the letters out of stars.

The prints come matted and are available in three sizes:

Small - 8" x 10" - $30
Medium - 11" x 14" - $45
Large - 16" x 20" - $60

What A Long Strange Year It's Been

Image shows chibi Terri & Ariela sitting on the floor. Chibi Terri is holding an outsize wine bottle, and there are two champagne flutes between them. Chibi Terri asks "Champagne babe?" Chibi Ariela replies "Nah. I already have a 2017 hangover."

Image shows chibi Terri & Ariela sitting on the floor. Chibi Terri is holding an outsize wine bottle, and there are two champagne flutes between them. Chibi Terri asks "Champagne babe?" Chibi Ariela replies "Nah. I already have a 2017 hangover."

By Terri & Ariela

"OW." ~ The US healthcare system, the US tax code, the average American

What can we say about 2017? It's been a singularly awful year for many, while Geek Calligraphy has grown as a business beyond what we could have expected or hoped for.

Some of our business highlights:

  • We incorporated!
  • We launched a new line of products - our coloring pages
  • We released a new line of greeting cards - the Covertly Hostile series
  • Our art was hung in 6 art shows in 5 states
  • 13 new products this year (the last comes out on Wednesday)
  • Terri & Ariela got to go to 2 cons TOGETHER!
  • Donated $115 to charity through the sale of our prints

Once again, since Geek Calligraphy has exhibited at a number of convention art shows in 2017, Ariela is eligible to be nominated for a Fan Artist Hugo award. If you are eligible to nominate, please consider her for the ballot! Note - please nominate Ariela Housman, rather than Geek Calligraphy.

Arisia Prep is Bananapants

by Terri

Arisia is less than a month away. While we're also prepping panels, costumes and menus, the Arisia Art Show is a huge focus of our attention. Since we take so much more art there than any other show we exhibit at, Ariela and I have had to come up with a good system to ensure that she is not lugging too much matted art from Chicago. Last year Ariela brought most of the art to Boston with her along with the clear bags, hanging tabs, labels and stickers. I went out to Blick and bought ALL THE MATBOARD* (plus linen hinging tape, drafting tape and spray adhesive). We then had an epic matting party in my office.**

This year, she mailed all of the art to me ahead of time. We also ordered pre-cut backboards, more bags, & die cut stickers and had everything shipped directly to me. We still have not yet ordered ALL THE MATBOARD, but I already have just about everything else. I will be cutting the front frames once we order it, and then we will have another epic matting party when Ariela gets to Boston.

We have already had one exciting equipment failure (Ariela's printer decided that NOW was the best time to die, necessitating an express trip to Office Depot), but so far everything seems to be going OK.

So here are some picture of the already bananapants process, which is going to get Even More Bananapants as we get closer to the con.

This is sad art that the printer decided to eat. [Image shows three different art prints that have color layers in the wrong places, chewed corners and black ink on their edges]

This is sad art that the printer decided to eat.

[Image shows three different art prints that have color layers in the wrong places, chewed corners and black ink on their edges]

The new printer calmly doing its job. [Image shows a printer on top of a bookshelf with a print half completed coming out of it]

The new printer calmly doing its job.

[Image shows a printer on top of a bookshelf with a print half completed coming out of it]

A new treat for this year's art show - Stickers! [Image shows a pile of colorful die cut stickers in plastic hanging bags]

A new treat for this year's art show - Stickers!

[Image shows a pile of colorful die cut stickers in plastic hanging bags]

ALL THE ART! [Image shows a pile of unmatted prints and greeting cards on a wood floor]

ALL THE ART!

[Image shows a pile of unmatted prints and greeting cards on a wood floor]

Backboards. It turns out that it's cheaper to buy pre-cut matboard for the back of a print than it is to cut them ourselves. [Image shows stacks of 11x14 and 8x10 backboards plastic wrapped together, surrounded by brown packing paper]

Backboards. It turns out that it's cheaper to buy pre-cut matboard for the back of a print than it is to cut them ourselves.

[Image shows stacks of 11x14 and 8x10 backboards plastic wrapped together, surrounded by brown packing paper]

 

 

 

*I almost blew over waiting for my rideshare home.

**This involved discovering that one Does Not Buy inexpensive mat cutters and sending Matthew out to Blick to pick up a new shiny mat cutter at 9 pm.

Move Over Latkes

by Terri

Geek Calligraphy is a multi-culturally Jewish establishment. I am as Ashkenazi as you can get - my ancestors come from all over Eastern Europe. While Ariela is of Ashkenazi descent, she now follows the Spanish & Portuguese Sephardi traditions of her husband.* 

Crispy brown potato latkes on a plate.

Crispy brown potato latkes on a plate.

What does any of this have to do with latkes? Well, it turns out that Jews of different communities and cultures have different חנוכה (Hanukkah) traditions! I know, right? The potato latke is very much the American symbol of the holiday, but only belongs to the Ashkenazi traditionInterestingly, that tradition isn't even that old - potatoes didn't even arrive in Europe until the 16th century. What we now know as the "traditional latke" has gone through many transformations. It began as an Italian fried cheese dumpling, transformed into a buckwheat patty, and ended up as a potato pancake. Which is delicious with applesauce.

But what about Jews from other places? What do they eat on חנוכה (Chanukah)? 

Two square waffles side by side in a waffle iron.

Two square waffles side by side in a waffle iron.

Spanish and Portuguese Jews eat waffles. Why? Because on on חנוכה (Hanukah) we celebrate נס ופלא (pronounced nes vafele). Read it out loud, then groan and insert rimshot. Because just like Ashkenazi Jews don't have a monopoly on Judaism, they also aren't the only ones to make terrible, terrible puns.

Jews in Tuscany eat chicken deep fried in lots of olive oil. Many traditional חנוכה (Chanukkah) foods incorporate oil either as an ingredient or as the cooking medium.*** This is to reference the story of the miraculous oil that burned for 8 nights during the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem. There is also an Italian tradition of eating dairy during this holiday (hence the original ricotta latkes), including a sort of cheesecake called a cassola. Eating dairy, specifically cheese, comes from an apocryphal text of the story of Judith and Holofernes in which Judith served salty cheese pancakes to Holofernes before getting him drunk and decapitating him. Though it is not technically a story that actually took place during the time of the Hasmonean revolt (it takes place several hundred years beforehand), it is connected to the story of חנוכה (Ḥanukah) because the stories were conflated during the Medieval period.

Golden fried chicken pieces on a blue platter. There are cloves of garlic and rosemary sprigs scattered over the chicken, as well as a pile of lemon wedges. Yum.

Golden fried chicken pieces on a blue platter. There are cloves of garlic and rosemary sprigs scattered over the chicken, as well as a pile of lemon wedges. Yum.

A large, synagogue style Indian chanukiah. It is formed of a large six pointed star made of brass, with the 8 lights of the holiday in an arc around the bottom and the shamash (helper candle) near the center of the star. 

A large, synagogue style Indian chanukiah. It is formed of a large six pointed star made of brass, with the 8 lights of the holiday in an arc around the bottom and the shamash (helper candle) near the center of the star. 

I wanted to finish this post with some חנוכה (Janucá) traditions of the Indian Jewish community. The Indian Jewish community has a long history, with the community of Cochin, Kerala dating back to at least 562 BCE. In a time when news traveled by the speed of camel traders, communities were much more isolated. The Jews here didn't even celebrate חנוכה (Chanooka) until the immigration of other Jewish communities - they didn't know it was a holiday! Once the holiday became established, there seems to be a tradition of sweet foods and food fried in coconut oil eaten on the holiday. Among those foods are the Indian donuts gulab jamun. The Israeli sufganiyah (jelly/chocolate/dulce de leche/custard filled donut) is not the only fried sweet dessert associated with this holiday!

Another unique aspect of Indian חנוכה (Chanucah) celebrations are their traditional chanukiot. Instead of putting them in the window, Indian Jews hang them on the walls of their home.

So to conclude, there are as many traditional חנוכה (Hanucah) foods are there are Jewish communities. This year חנוכה (Hanuka) starts tomorrow night. Why not try waffles and gulab jamun along with the latkes when you celebrate!

 

 

 

 

 

*Ariela's adoption of Spanish Portuguese rite has nothing to do with heteronormative values wherein the wife must follow her husband's practice.** The number of Spanish Portuguese Jews has dwindled sharply in recent history and Ariela wanted to help prevent the custom's extinction.

**Note: some families divide adoption of customs differently. In my family, Matthew follows some of my long established customs rather than what his family does. I have also adopted some of his customs.

***Though the buckwheat version of latkes were fried in rendered poultry fat, since most oils were not to be found in abundance in 15th century Eastern Europe.

We're Incorporated!

The logo of incfile.com, the company we used to incorporate.

The logo of incfile.com, the company we used to incorporate.

By Terri

We're coming up on the second anniversary of Geek Calligraphy as a business. Anniversaries are often good times to take the next step in the life of a business. So we have an announcement to make:

Geek Calligraphy is now Geek Calligraphy LLC!

While the distinction may not mean much to you our readers, to Ariela and me it is a Big Deal. Because we are no longer a sole proprietorship, Ariela is no longer the only one of us with a legal stake in the business. If something happens, we're both protected, which is very important to us not only on a practical level but also as an expression of our ideals; in case you missed it, workers' protections are something we care about.

It also allows us to do Fun Accounting Tricks that keeps the business money separate from our personal money (which is something our accountant has wanted us to do for a while). There are other reasons to do this, most of them legal and money related. These reasons are mostly boring to the average blog reader who comes here for the art, so I will not bother you with them further. Suffice it to say that this is a milestone and we are proud of it.

In addition, we would like to remind you that shipping deadlines are approaching fast! In order to have something arrive before חנוכה, it needs to be ordered by December 6th. חנוכה being 8 days long gives you something of a grace period, but it starts on December 12th and ends December 20th. You don't want to miss it all together. As for Christmas, the USPS has a deadline of of December 19th. In order for the art to be ready to ship by then, you need to place your order by the 14th.

Hope you had a happy Thanksgiving!

Get Your Own Terri

by Ariela

Basically since day one of Geek Calligraphy, I have been telling friends how grateful I am to have Terri as my partner, because without the things she does, this would be a much more difficult undertaking. I have also been telling my professional creative friends forever that they should get a Terri of their own. Well, now you can!

Chibi Terri holds a sign saying "Will Wrangle on a Contract Basis."

Chibi Terri holds a sign saying "Will Wrangle on a Contract Basis."

Terri is now taking on wranglees on a contract basis.

What can Terri do for you?

  • Invoicing – Do you forget to invoice your clients on a timely basis because you are so caught up in the creative work of your project? Terri can send your invoices to your clients, or remind you to do it.
  • Yelling at people – Are your clients late in paying their invoices? Did someone use your art without permission but the prospect of sending a DMCA takedown notice makes you want to hide under a blanket? Has your confidence in your prices deserted you, leading you to work below market price? Terri can speak sternly to people on your behalf and enforce your professional boundaries.
  • Unsticking – Do you have a magnificent new project that you cannot wait to start but you are unsure where to begin? Does the magnitude of stuff that you need to get done paralyze you to the point you cannot do any of it? Terri can be a source of outside accountability to keep you on track. She can also help you break things into manageable bites and figure out which ones to start with.
  • Social Media - If you need social media for Professional Business-y Reasons but it is overwhelming and stealing brain from your creative work, Terri can help.
  • Work with you for short or long periods of time – If you need help with one specific thing, Terri can work with you for that long. If you need ongoing help, she can do that, too.
  • Other things - This is not an all-inclusive list. If you need help with something not on here, ask her!

What Terri will not do for you:

  • Be your business or creative partner – She’s mine, I found her first!
  • Work below market rate – Terri is providing an important service and will be compensated accordingly. It would be hypocritical for her to offer to help you get paid what you’re worth, then accept less for her.
  • Work without a contract – Contracts are there for the protection of both parties. Even a short engagement needs a contract.

While Terri's personal website is ArtistWrangling.com, and artists are her specialty, she does work with non-artist clients.

What are you waiting for? Get your own Terri!

Getting Your Art For The Holidays

Image shows a chibi Ariela under a pile of boxes and cardboard tubes saying "a little help, please..."

Image shows a chibi Ariela under a pile of boxes and cardboard tubes saying "a little help, please..."

Thanksgiving is a week away, which means that the $_WINTERHOLIDAY shopping season will soon begin in earnest.* As such, we wish to make you aware of the purchasing deadlines we will be using to make sure that you (or the recipients) receive your purchases in time to celebrate. 

As per our FAQ, we generally ship USPS First Class. That requires the item be mailed by December 19th to guarantee delivery for December 24th. In order to give Ariela adequate processing time, we will require the orders to be placed by December 14th to make sure that there is enough time to get things printed, matted and shipped to you.

If you were looking for the perfect חנוכה gift from us, that needs to be ordered by December 6th to ensure arrival by December 12th. And may we suggest the Police Box Mizrach?

No matter what holiday you celebrate, our newest greeting card makes the perfect accompaniment to any gift. Be sure to pick one (or a pack) up with any order you place in the next two months.

 

 

 

*Despite Michael's best efforts to declare otherwise, the $_WINTERHOLIDAY season does not start until the day after Thanksgiving. At least not in our establishment.