In Conversation With Chiara Perano
Earlier this month we ventured up to
North London where we had the
pleasure of meeting none other than
Chiara Perano, master of modern
calligraphy and founder of
Lamplighter London. Chiara spends
her days creating beautiful, elegant
lettering and loose scripts –
reminding us all of just how beautiful
the art of calligraphy can be. We
caught up with Chiara to hear all
about her book, Nib + Ink, how it all
started and what she requires from
her daily wardrobe. Here's what she
had to say…
Can you tell us a bit about your story? How did Lamplighter London come about?
I'm an artist with an entrepreneurial mind set; I've barely ever worked for anyone else and always knew I'd end up with my own business. The Lamplighter studio was founded 5 years ago, I wanted to create beautiful artwork for events and festivities and I've been lucky enough to work with some amazing brands on incredible events so far.
Where does your passion for illustration and calligraphy come from?
I have been drawing and making things as long as I can remember. I illustrated my way through school lessons, and spent summer holidays as a child making cards and mini magazines. I studied graphic design and illustration at university in London, and I've always had a strong lettering presence in my work. Calligraphy was a natural progression to learn as I was working in the events industry, and it's crazy for me that now it's such a huge part of my business.
Tell us a little about your book, Nib + Ink. Why did you decide to share your love of handwriting with the world?
I've been teaching calligraphy workshops in London for just over two years now, it's been an amazing way to meet people and spread the love of handwriting. I was very fortunate that my editors at Penguin Random House actually approached me, asking me to write and illustrate a modern calligraphy book which they felt was missing from the shelves (and I tended to agree!). Nib + Ink is different from other books in the sense that you write directly into it, it's a journal, sketchbook and informative guidebook in one. It's a way to bring handwriting back into your life, and pick up a therapeutic hobby.
Why do you think calligraphy has had such a renaissance lately?
I think people are appreciating craftsmanship more than ever, and the art of handwriting was at risk of becoming extinct in the face of emails and texting. I think people are remembering how lovely it is to receive a hand written letter. Which makes me very happy.
What are you currently fascinated by and how is it feeding into your work?
I'm obsessed with astrology and the night sky. It's not a current thing mind you, it's a life long love affair! I find it a forever inspiring subject, and I'm currently designing some dark prints on the theme.
How do you make your clothes work for you and your busy lifestyle?
I have my wardrobe and drawers organised into tops and bottoms, and almost colour blocked too - I find it makes life so much easier. I've got my artist wears for when I'm in the studio being creative, and smarter things for meetings with clients. It can get messy with paints and inks so I have to dress accordingly!
What are your go-to wardrobe staples?
My staple is denim - I've got lots of jeans! I'm pretty monochrome and grey apart from the odd item and I love black and white pattern and leather jackets. For me they are winning combos, and can mix and match easily and suit most work situations.
My favourite font is... I'm really into elegant serif and gothic fonts at the moment. Old London, Bella, Modern 20.
If I wasn't running Lamplighter London, I would be...running an Italian restaurant or bar.
The best thing about my job is... creative freedom.
A day isn't complete until I... talk to my mum!
My daily theme song is... anything by The Smiths.
Word to live by... gratitude.
My guilty pleasure is... pizza.
Instagram feeds I double-tap daily... Petitesluxures / Gucci.
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Photography by Sandra Seaton @sandraseatonphoto_
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