The MNY Spotlight

Ciarra Rouwhorst, Calligrapher, Artist and Painter

Meet Ciara! A Northern-Michigan based Calligrapher, Artist and Printer. Her Wedding invitations are elegant and we had so much fun learning more about her. Read the full interview below! 
Ciarra Rouwhorst, Calligrapher, Artist and Painter
photo credit: K.R Moreno Photo 
Tell us a little bit about yourself:
I’m a calligrapher, artist and printer based in Northern Michigan. I run a small boutique stationery studio where we create luxury wedding stationery. We also have an online shop for art prints and greetings cards that are all printed by hand on antique letterpresses.
How did you get into designing wedding invitations? 
I've always loved stationery and design. When we relocated back to Northern Michigan, I decided to start my own business with calligraphy and hand lettering. That naturally led me to the wedding world and I’ve never looked back! 
photo credit: K.R Moreno Photo 
What are some sources of inspiration for you when designing an invitation?
When creating custom stationery I am most inspired by my clients. I love to hear their story and family history. That way I can bring in details that are personal to them and tell their story. I also love taking inspiration from the venue so that stationery has a sense of place and sets an inviting tone.
How would you describe your style/aesthetic?
I think my work is a balance between contemporary design and timeless elegance. I’m not overly trend driven. I try to bring a modern and artistic approach to more traditional design concepts and typography. This way, my stationery feel relevant but also timeless and sophisticated.
photo credit: K.R Moreno Photo 
Do you have any advice for other business owners or vendors in the industry on how to cope with canceled/postponed weddings during this time?
Use this time to create for yourself. We often get caught int he constant bustle of wedding seasons. But if you find you have more time, use it to explore new concepts and inspiration. Build a portfolio that is stronger and more intentional. Do all the administrative things you never have time for. And take one week at a time. I get overwhelmed when I start thinking about my 2021 season haha so try to find a way to enjoy the work you are doing each day. 
What is unique about your Ciarra Claire brand?  
I work mostly with Desitnation Weddings. I live in and work in Northern Michgan which is just a gem! And I have the privilege to work on many destination weddings here and around the world. I am also a calligraphy, illustrator and letterpress printer. So everything is hand drawn as well as printed here in my studio. We have three letterpresses which are about 100-years-old and each piece is printed by hand. 
photo credit: K.R Moreno Photo 
What is your favorite invitation that you have created? What do you love about it? 
One of my favorite invitations was for a couple getting married in Bay Harbor, Michigan. We used a die-cut shape of the state of Michigan and I painted a custom watercolor map. It was whimsical while still feeling elevated. The invitations were letterpress and had painted edges for an unexpected design touch! I’m just still very much in love with it. It even inspired a new semi-custom suite design.
Do you have any design tips/tricks you can share with us? 
Try to focus on one main focal point or special detail. I find that when you try to include calligraphy and illustrations on every piece, you overall designs can feel busy. Instead add interest with colors and textures so that specific custom touches really draw the eye and steal the show.
photo credit: K.R Moreno Photo 
What draws you to the Mestiza brand?
I think you may have a similar design approach. For example, I really love some of the silhouettes you use in your dress design. So chic! But then pair it with beautiful fabrics like your pretty blue floral print! So the pieces are so modern and striking, but are also statement pieces you could love for years.  
What are some of your favorite Mestiza NY pieces for brides and wedding guests?
I'm obsessed with the Pericon Midi, the Stephanie Bow Dress and the Puff Puff Gown!
Ciarra Rouwhorst, Calligrapher, Artist and Painter
photo credit: K.R Moreno Photo 
What’s next for you?! What are you working on? 
I am working on creating invitation embellishments for the DYI bride or couple. So we are releasing vellum overlays, wax seals and silk ribbons. This way you have add in fine art stationery touches even if your budget is more limited. 

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