In a fast-paced world, Megan Miller of Oh Honey Paper Co. is slowing back down with the art of handwritten letters
Two years ago Plano-native Megan Miller was home from college on holiday break and like many students she found herself aimlessly shuffling around the house with too much free time on her hands. In homage to her childhood, which was filled with arts and crafts of every kind, she sorted through old boxes of various art supplies her mother had laying around. That’s when she stumbled upon some old calligraphy pens, not even realizing she was about to discover a new passion.
“At first I enjoyed [calligraphy] because it’s a combination of art and writing,” Megan explains. “I enjoy words but I never felt naturally like I’m a good writer. So being able to add an artistic element to other people’s words was really appealing to me. Like writing out poetry or song lyrics…and getting to express [those words] in my own fashion, but not necessarily being my words, that really drew me to [calligraphy] initially.”
Like many people do nowadays, Megan started sharing her work on Facebook and Instagram. She was taken aback by the support of friends and family who almost immediately started offering to pay her for custom made prints and letters. Thus, her company Oh Honey Paper Co. was born.
“It’s really grown into this love of letter writing, and snail mail and all that kind of stuff that we think is a lost art but it’s so coming back. There’s this whole resurgence in people wanting paper goods…and tangible things you can give to one another. People love to receive letters in the mail, and not all electronic. Even though technology is wonderful, you see more people wanting to send mail,” Megan says.
Megan is a self-taught calligrapher learning mainly from YouTube videos, as well as lots of trial and error. She has two main techniques for creating her work. There’s the classic pen holder and nib (the metal part that holds the ink), or she uses a paint brush with ink and gouache, which is somewhere between the consistency of watercolor and acrylic paint. For items like envelopes and letters, Megan just goes for it; hoping the first one is great, but if it’s not, she chucks it and tries again. Custom ordered pieces are first sketched out and approved by the client. Then she traces the design before putting ink to paper. For bigger jobs like wedding invitations, the design is digitized and printed in-house with Megan hand-feeding special paper into the printer one by one.
As far as her style goes, Megan says it’s always changing, often depending on the piece or the client. And she’ll never stop evolving her techniques.
“Modern calligraphy is a lot about rule breaking. You can learn traditional calligraphy to get the muscle memory right, the motions and all of that. Once you know it, you have the freedom to do what you want with it; change it up and i love that concept. Similar to jazz music: you learn the basics of reading music and composing, and then you have the freedom to do what you want and improvise,” Megan says.
In addition to providing customers with beautiful, sentimental work Megan uses her talents to support families who are looking to adopt children. Once she started selling her work, she wanted her company to have a greater purpose and knew adoption was a cause she was called to support. To date, she’s help three families raise money to fund their adoption by creating and selling custom prints that are designed specifically for each family.
“That’s something I felt really humbled to be a part of; stepping in that journey with a family is very special and emotional. I’m hopeful that I can be a really small help in that…and to reach more families and help more children find their way into families who can love and care for them.”
The future for Megan and Oh Honey Paper Co. looks bright as the resurgence for personalized paper goods continues to grow.
“People more and more are realizing that handwritten, personalized stationary or artwork like that holds a lot of value. You can’t put a dollar amount on it. I’ve been fortunate to see the impact on the receiver side… [I get] thank you notes or emails from people who have been gifted a piece I made them in memory of someone they lost or to celebrate something, and it’s amazing to me how touched people are by artwork or by handwritten anything really.”
You can see more of Megan’s work and place your own custom order at her website, ohhoneypaperco.com
Megan’s Tips for Letter Writing
- Have all your supplies ready-to-go at home or work: “Stock up on envelopes, postcards, stationery, cards, and stamps! The biggest thing that’s ever deterred me from sending something is because I don’t have stamps at home.”
- Make it fun for yourself: “Get custom or personalized stationery that will make you feel special when you write it, or a set of notecards you like the look of, your favorite colored envelopes, fun stamps or nice pens that really help you enjoy the process.”
- Don’t stress if it’s late; send it anyways: “I send belated cards all the time, and there’s no shame in that. Better late than never because people will love that you send them something personalized in the mail.”