My name is Helen Boggess, and I am a creator of handlettered goods currently based in Chicago. I have always loved words, and have countless journals and scraps of paper and Word Documents and notes on my phone full of words that are especially meaningful to me.
After graduating from college with elementary education, I was really looking forward to teaching, but due to circumstances out of my control, my teaching license was delayed and I was unable to apply for teaching jobs. I felt so frustrated having something completely out of my control that I wanted so much, and after a few other setbacks, I felt really lost in what I wanted to be doing. I love sending and receiving mail, and had been making cards to send to friends with words that had meant a lot to me in this season of all the ups and downs. In looking for quotes, I encountered the world of typography and found a few artists who had done a year of handlettering. It sounded scary and exciting and overwhelming and really cool and maybe the worst and yet exactly the kind of project I needed to bring some consistency into my life, with a beautifully creative twist, so I decided to try it out!
While in my year of handlettering – which I had started with absolutely NO expectations, aside from hopefully finishing and not hating the whole lettering process at the end – friends and family started asking if I could make them custom pieces. I was quite honestly shocked, and started toying with the idea of making an Etsy shop eventually, just in case people aside from friends and family might ever be interested in anything I was doing. To keep myself accountable, I had been putting my daily handletterings on my Instagram and a Tumblr, for my family members who kept asking, “So what’s Instagram?”, and suddenly, I had people I didn’t even know who were following me. This made me feel all the things, and made me really think more seriously about making an Etsy and really making a go at this thing.
Although I haven’t studied art and don’t have a lot of technical knowledge of the art world, it’s been hard to call myself an artist, but I am working on embracing the artist-maker-creator title. In order to really try and embrace that title, I tried some new things – I had an initial round of prints and cards of work from my year of lettering made towards the end of 2014, participated in a few local holiday craft fairs, and officially launched my Etsy shop in January 2015. It has been the most wonderful and nerve-wracking and incredible and awful and beautiful experience, figuring all of this out, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
I feel so lucky to be able to create for people I know and people I don’t, to make custom pieces for people in all kinds of seasons, and to be able to share my love of words. I’m constantly on the hunt for inspiration – from reading words in all places to nature to music to cuddly animals to TED talks to the people who surround me. I would love nothing more than to chat with you over coffee or pizza or beer or tamales or donuts (clearly I’m not a picky eater), and would be so honored to get to create something for you. If you’re interested, let’s chat!
About Light & Pine
Starting this endeavor came out of the unbelievable outpouring of support and encouragement and love from my year of lettering, and I’m so excited to see where this thing goes! The name came out of two of my favorite things, and what I hope is a good representation of my work: bringing light with a touch of nature. Light has been a big part of my past few years – the seeking out of and searching for and living into it amidst some craziness of the large and small and everyday varieties – and doing a large portion of my growing up in Minnesota, Pine reminds me of my family and just feels like home and comfort. I have cards and prints available in my Etsy shop, and love doing custom pieces. If you have any words you would like memorialized – anything from favorite quotes to invitations to inside jokes to rap lyrics to wedding vows to a commemoration of your love of breakfast foods - I would love to talk details with you!