From her interview with Chrystle Fiedler,
Distinction magazine, March 2007
Hampton Bays based calligrapher Linda Pasca started her company, Pen
and Paper in 2002. Her unique design style, which combines elements of
nature such as seashells, sand dollars and driftwood, simple graphics, a
rich color palette, the textures of handmade papers and of course, the
deft strokes of her pen, has helped Pasca's business to flourish.
In 2004, Bride's Magazine featured her sand dollars with table numbers
in their “new and fresh ideas” section. That same year, she was chosen to
hand paint the words to a poem by Baudelaire on the 10-foot-high walls
of the entrance hall of the House & Garden Hampton Designer Showcase
in East Hampton. Since then, projects have included everything from
lavish weddings to a dinner party for Karl Lagerfeld, a large bar mitzvah
at The Four Seasons and a private party in the Hamptons with guests of
honor Bill and Hillary Clinton.
Q: When did you first become interested in calligraphy?
A: “As a child I loved to create letterforms. In high school, I did truck
and boat lettering, murals on walls and on the backs of friends' jackets. I
was always playing around with letters. There was never a time when I look
back that I wasn’t doing it. When I went to Cooper Union School of Art in
New York City in the late '80s and took a course from a master
calligrapher. It was only natural that I'd fall in love with it. But I didn't
think I’d make a business out of calligraphy.
Q: How did you make the decision your business, Pen & Paper?
A: It's more like it evolved. I was a single mom and I wanted to do
something at home so I'd be more available for my daughter, Kayla who
was 11 then. I was managing the Mark Humphrey Gallery in Southampton,
selling art and doing custom framing when I started taking on side jobs
doing calligraphy. Before too long. I started to estahlish a clientele on the
Q: What steps did you take to build your business in the beginning?
A: I tried to set myself attainable goals. First, I promoted myself with
I gave them samples of my work. And when people had invitations printed
they'd refer them to me to address the envelopes. From that, word of
mouth started to spread.
Q: What’s the smartest thing you did?
A: Stayed within my means. I never said “I'm starting a business and I'm
going to throw all of my money into it," because I'd seen people jump in
with both feet and just crash and burn. I kept one foot in the gallery
business doing custom framing on a freelance basis. I needed to have
something steady coming in.
Q: What does a typical job consist of?
A: About 75 percent of my work is weddings. A full design job w1ll
include everything from "save the date" notices to invitations, place cards,
menus, programs and table accents. Other jobs may simply be addressing
envelopes or painting names on stones. I also design custom stationery and
Q: Do you come up with the concept or does the client come to you with
an idea in mind?
A: I come up with many of the specialty items and the design, but I am
inspired by the ideas and personality of the bride and groom with colors
and flowers they’re using. Often I’ll work with an event planner and we try
to tie in all the pieces so they fit and they’re cohesive. Everything is custom,
so no two weddings or events are alike.
Q: What inspires you?
A: I’m an avid beachcomber so l like to collect natural elements like
stones, scallops, clamshells and driftwood to do calligraphy on. I find
beautiful handmade papers and incorporate them into my design. It's a
marriage of the two.
I renovated my garage and now I can look out on my garden and watch
things grow. It's beautiful here, especially in the springtime and summer.
It's like I brought the outs1de in.
Q: Any advice to other women who want to be entrepreneurs?
A: So much of it is a leap of faith. If you really have something that
works, enjoy it, love it. Let it evolve. Let it dictate to you what to do next,
instead of thinking I have to do this or I have to do that. Also, set realistic
goals. Think about what’s within your means and work on that. We have
fantasies of what it will be like and we can’t get there because we’re moving
Chrystle Fiedler can be found at www.chrystlecontent.com.