Geek Calligraphy at Capricon

by Ariela

Flyer for Capricon 39: Strange Beasts Arise

I’m off to Capricon this weekend (Terri won’t be at this convention).

Art will be in the Art Show, both in the Gallery (which is auction sales) and Print Shop (buy it and walk out). Look for the green and purple signs and binders.

Ariela’s Capricon Program Schedule

Thursday, 6:30 PM: Beastly Beauty
Room: Ravinia A
Panel #: 199
Not all dangerous beasts fit the ugly monster stereotype. Sirens use beauty to capture their prey, as do many plants, bugs, and birds in the natural world. Serial killers are often physically attractive. Are humans hard-wired to trust beauty? And does that make the beautiful monster the most dangerous of them all?
(Ariela will moderate this panel)

Saturday, 11:30 AM: Art Show Docent Tour
Room: Ravinia C (Art Show)
Panel #: 280
Join artist Ariela Housman for a wander through the art show.

Saturday, 2:30 PM: Future Faiths
Room: Ravinia A
Panel #: 65
Is it possible that human beings riding in tiny, fragile little tin cans will face the vast reaches of space, with all its unpredictable dangers, without taking the religions of the world with them? If there will be Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Jews, Pagans, and others out there on the Final Frontier, how will their faiths adapt? Can a person still be a faithful Wiccan if s/he lives on a non-terrestrial planet? In what direction should the faithful Muslim pray? Will Christians believe that Jesus can save non-human sentient beings too? Why do so many writers resort to made-up religions, rather than extrapolating the evolution of real ones?

Sunday, 10:00 AM: Random Panel Topic
Room: Botanic B
Panel #: 164
What happens to the panel ideas that get rejected? They are reborn here as random panel topics! Our panelists will choose topics (at random, of course) and speak expertly on them for 5 minutes each. You'll be rolling on the floor with laughter!

Hope to see you there!

Where to find Terri, Ariela, and Geek Calligraphy Art at Arisia 2019

Arisia Logo

by Terri and Ariela

As we explained, we have decided to attend Arisia this year. We will be keeping our ears and eyes open, but we are cautiously hopeful that we, and everyone else, will be able to have a safe and enjoyable con.

If you aren’t there this weekend because of a principled boycott of the convention, we hope that you will support the artists and vendors who depend on Arisia sales for their livelihoods.

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). Protip: our art is cheaper at conventions than it is online!

You can also see us on these panels:

Terri’s Schedule:

Saturday, 11:30 AM: Neurodivergent Protagonists
Room: Franklin
Panel #: 301
So many mental health issues can make us feel disproportionately terrible for minor, everyday mishaps, and the culture of "neurodivergent character = villain" doesn't help. Instead, let's talk about neurodivergent protagonists and stories about people working around or even using their Quirky Brain Stuff to save the world and live happily ever after.

Sunday, 2:30 PM: Jewish SFF
Room: Tremont
Panel #: 201
It can be hard to find Jewish stories that don't focus on the Holocaust. Luckily, there are many works relating to Judaism in science fiction and fantasy. Naomi Novik and NS Dolkart are two Jewish authors who include Jewish characters and themes in their works. Marie Brennan based the world religion of her Natural History of Dragons series on Judaism. Let's celebrate Jewish authors, worlds, and characters!

Monday, 10:00 AM: Fluff and You: The Worth of Fun Reads
Room: Tremont
Panel #: 294
"Beach reads," "candy," "fluff," "guilty pleasures," -- so many words to downplay the fact that we may be reading something "less than literary"! But fun reads have worth of their own, and lightness and artistic merit are not mutually exclusive. Join the panelists as they discuss the delights of fluff, their favorite works, and moving away from a culture of shame.

Ariela’s Schedule:

Saturday, 1:00 PM: Girl Power in Anime
Room: St James
Panel #: 156
In anime, many female characters tend to fall into one of two stereotypical groups: weak and meek or angry warrior women. There are characters who go deeper, who might even make good role models. From the girls in Studio Ghibli to Junko Kaname in Puella Magi Madoka Magica to Mikasa Ackerman in Attack on Titan and beyond, who are these strong, nuanced female characters? What about them screams "GIRL POWER!" Which characters or tropes are doing a disservice to women today?

Saturday, 4:00 PM: Female Relationships in Fiction
Room: Beacon Hill
Panel #: 196
Though great strides have been made in recent years, we still hunger for depictions of complex relationships between women, whether familial, platonic, or romantic. What are we still lacking? What stories about female love would make the panelists' hearts sing?

Saturday, 5:30 PM: Clothing Modifcation
Room: Winthrop
Panel #: 361
Whether you're making a cosplay or something for everyday wear, learn to extend the life and utility of off the rack or second hand garments. Take a thrift store find and turn it into something amazing or save a favored piece from the trash pile with creative solutions for poor fit and minor stains and tears.
(Ariela will moderate this panel.)

Sunday, 1:00 PM: First Steps for New Costumers
Room: Cambridge
Panel #: 378
So you want to be a costumer, but don't know where to begin? Then this panel is for you. Our group of veteran costumers tell you how to get started in the hobby with everything from tips and tricks to demystifying the terms and expectations that are out there. We all had to start somewhere, so let us help you do the same.
(Ariela will moderate this panel.)

Sunday, 5:30 PM: Treatsments of Abuse in SFF
Room: Beacon Hill
Panel #: 429
While discussing Lethal Weapon, Junot Diaz, and toxic masculinity in a Fireside Fiction essay last year, author Brandon O'Brien reminded us that "We need to teach and remind men as often as possible that recovery means responsibility." How has SFF treated cycles of abuse and recovery, and how can it do better? Which books/shows/movies get it right?

We're Off to WisCon 42!

by Terri and Ariela

It's Memorial Day this weekend, which means that we're off to WisCon!

WisCon 42 Logo

WisCon 42 Logo

Per usual, art will be in the art show. It will be a small subset of what we have on the website, but there will be lots of everything we bring, including an early opportunity to buy the June product release (it's a new sticker with completely new art).

The art show will open on Friday evening with a reception from 6:00 to 7:30 PM and we will both be there. Look for the ladies wearing green and purple and chances are you've found us!

Also, for the first time ever, we'll be on a panel together! Two, in fact!

Ariela's Panel Schedule

Friday, 1:00 PM:  The Care And Feeding Of Artists
Room: Conference 5
Follow on Social Media: #CareFeedingArtists
Are you a creative? Are you partnered to an artist? Do you manage an artist professionally? Come and talk about management strategies, how to keep yourself and/or your artist from burning out, and learning how to Outsource Things You Are Bad At.
(Ariela will moderate this panel.)

Saturday, 9:00 PM:  The Best Laid Plans Of Mice: Immigration, Persecution, The 1%, And Found Family As Told By The Mousekewitzes
Room: University B
Follow on Social Media: #Mousekewitzes
Most of us remember Feivel Mousekewitz, a Russian Jewish mouse who emigrated to the United States in 1885 with his family, all fleeing religious & political persecution, They heard wondrous stories of life here, only to find America has its own problems. In our current political climate, many issues are relevant again: immigration, treatment of workers, distribution of wealth, police brutality, xenophobia. These films do a great job of tackling tough but important issues for a young audience, a task that children's films in the last decade have ignored. At the same time, Yasha's relief that "In America, you can say anything" sails over the heads of young viewers. These films also portray Judaism as a religion and a culture, without tokenization.

Sunday, 1:00 PM:  Uncommodifying Culture
Room: Conference 5
Follow on Social Media: #Uncommodify
So much culture is owned by corporations that it's difficult/impossible to imagine successful authors, filmmakers, musicians, animators, or others who aren't paid via a contract with a major publisher, studio, or production company. Is there an alternative to that? Do cultural "properties" (lol) have to be old in order to truly be shared? If I spend the afternoon thinking about Mickey Mouse, does Disney own the inside of my head?

Monday, 8:30 AM:  You Are (Probably) Not As Progressive As You Think You Are
Room: Assembly
Follow on Social Media: #NotProgressive
Socially progressive movements are increasing in popularity. So much so that it's become harder to discern who is in the fight for real, and who is just going through the motions, checking off more and more proverbial boxes in order to appear to be a good person. During this panel, we will talk about how to spot and address those people who fall into the latter category, as well as our own respective socio/political/economic stances and how they've evolved. Because no one is perfect.

Terri's Panel Schedule

Friday, 1:00 PM:  The Care And Feeding Of Artists
Room: Conference 5
Follow on Social Media: #CareFeedingArtists
Are you a creative? Are you partnered to an artist? Do you manage an artist professionally? Come and talk about management strategies, how to keep yourself and/or your artist from burning out, and learning how to Outsource Things You Are Bad At.
(Terri suggested this panel.)

Saturday, 9:00 PM:  The Best Laid Plans Of Mice: Immigration, Persecution, The 1%, And Found Family As Told By The Mousekewitzes
Room: University B
Follow on Social Media: #Mousekewitzes
Most of us remember Feivel Mousekewitz, a Russian Jewish mouse who emigrated to the United States in 1885 with his family, all fleeing religious & political persecution, They heard wondrous stories of life here, only to find America has its own problems. In our current political climate, many issues are relevant again: immigration, treatment of workers, distribution of wealth, police brutality, xenophobia. These films do a great job of tackling tough but important issues for a young audience, a task that children's films in the last decade have ignored. At the same time, Yasha's relief that "In America, you can say anything" sails over the heads of young viewers. These films also portray Judaism as a religion and a culture, without tokenization.

Sunday, 2:30 PM: SyFy's Leading Women - An Exploration Of Women Protagonists In SyFy's Current Lineup
Room: Conference 5
Follow on Social Media: #SyFyLeadingWomen
The programming on the SyFy Channel has had its ups and downs, but today it is giving us something missing from the offerings of many other channels: a diverse array of women as protagonists. From Killjoy's Dutch to the title characters in Wynonna Earp and Van Helsing, SyFy programs let us see these women as fully-realized characters, and not just the secondary story to the leading man. This is a panel to discuss what SyFy is doing right with its leading women, as well as where it still has room for improvement.

Monday, 8:30 AM: Comic Books On Screen
Room: Conference 4
Follow on Social Media: #ComicsOnScreen
Marvel and DC are currently battling it out on both the big and small screens for dominance with multiple movies coming out yearly, as well as new shows on various networks and streaming sites. There are also multiple shows on SyFy based on comics, as well as The Walking Dead and Comic Book Men series on AMC; Riverdale, which is based loosely on the Archie comics characters; and Amazon Prime has picked up a revival of The Tick. Let's dig in and discuss these tv and movie adaptations. Are we getting enough representation? Which shows and films are doing better, and which worse?

We will also be attending the Dessert Salon and the GOH speeches.

We hope to see you there!

Business Growing Pains

by Ariela

Geek Calligraphy has been around for a little over two years now. We've been putting out a blog post every week for most of that time, spent the first six months putting out a product every other week, and the remaining 19 months putting out one product per month.

Put simply, this schedule is kinda burning us out.

When we were just starting up this was a good schedule for us - we had a backlog of ideas as well as new inspirations, and we had a serious drive to put ourselves out there as much as we can. But it was a startup model, not a sustainable one. We're firmly against the whole Overwork-As-Corporate-Culture model, so we are trying to figure out a new schedule that will work for us. (Terri has Spoken Firmly with me about not rushing this next product release, which, you guys, I am just so excited about, but it's worth taking the time to get right and I am going to stop babbling now. Ahem.)

This has been complicated by Terri's schedule being eaten by snow days keeping Monster out of school, the rest of her time being taken up dealing with IRS *ahem* tomfoolery with our new EIN since we incorporated, and Ariela's day job suddenly requiring a bunch of unanticipated overtime. Life happens. We had hoped to come out with a "Here's our new schedule!" announcement, but for now, we'll be blogging as time allows and re-running some of our past favorites other weeks. The next product release will come when it comes.

Thanks for bearing with us while we get this figured out.

Test pattern with "Please Stand By" written over it.

Test pattern with "Please Stand By" written over it.

Capricon Schedule

by Ariela

I'm off to Capricon 38 in Wheeling, IL this weekend!

Art will be in the art show, both hanging and in the Print Shop. 
(Capricon's Print Shop is the place to go for things you can buy and walk out with immediately. Anything hanging in the show proper is up for auction; even if you are the only bidder, it cannot go home with you until Saturday night.)

I will also be doing artist demo from 11:30 to 5 on Friday, so if you want to see me at work, or just come by and chat, come to the art show!

Ariela's Panel Schedule

Friday, 10:00 AM: The Messiah/Hero Complex
Room: Botanic Garden Ballroom B
Panel #: 221
Many stories, video games, and legends revolve around the idea of a young "chosen one" who is going to progress through the hero's journey regardless of what they do to get there. How much of that story comes from the Christian dogma embedded in Western storytelling? What storytelling goes beyond this timeless trope?

Saturday, 11:30 AM: Buffy at 20
Room: Botanic Garden Ballroom A
Panel #: 183
Last year (2017) marked the 20th anniversary of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. How has the show held up, and why do we still care?
(I'll be moderating this panel)

Sunday, 10:00 AM: Random Panel Topic
Room: Ravinia Ballroom A
Panel #: 168
What happens to the panel ideas that get rejected? They are reborn here as random panel topics! Our panelists will choose topics (at random, of course) and speak expertly on them for 5 minutes each. You'll be rolling on the floor with laughter!

Hope to see you there!

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!

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!

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.

Signing Off For Tishrei

by Terri

Image shows chibi Ariela with swirly eyes under a large weight with 'Jewish Holiday Calendar' written on the side together with a calendar showing many days blocked off.

Image shows chibi Ariela with swirly eyes under a large weight with 'Jewish Holiday Calendar' written on the side together with a calendar showing many days blocked off.

Wednesday night begins the cycle of fall Jewish Holidays that we blogged about in our post "Tishrei Is Coming." Both Ariela and I are observant of the restrictions imposed by these holidays, which means that regular blogging and frankly much work becomes difficult over the next four weeks.

So while you may see Tweets and the occasional Facebook post when we feel something needs to be shared, this blog is going to be quiet. While we will be taking orders for prints and greeting cards, they may be slower to ship than usual. We probably* will not be taking ketubah orders for the next few weeks. 

If you are observant of these holidays, we hope that you have a joyous and meaningful holiday season and a good & sweet new year.

.תחיו ותזכו ותעריכו ימים. חג שמח, ושנה טובה ומטוקה

 

 

 

 

*Obviously emergency ketubah situations do happen and we will make our best effort (with applicable rush charges) to meet your needs in that case.