Calligraphy Girl

East Sac resident makes handwriting an art

By Jessica Laskey
August 2021

You may have seen an ad in a recent Inside Sacramento that features a hammer made of words. The ad is a love letter from East Sac Hardware thanking the community for its support.

That ad—a handwriting art piece—was produced by calligraphy artist and East Sac resident Lara Kiniris, who has been doodling since she can remember.

“As a kid, I would write notes in class with this perfect handwriting,” the Sacramento native recalls. “My fifth-grade teacher even told me I had beautiful handwriting, which made me so happy.”

Kiniris doodled all the way through her early 20s, when she worked as a receptionist. After receiving a cartridge calligraphy pen as a gift, she fell in love with the feeling of her new writing instrument and decided to teach herself calligraphy. Nearly two decades on, Kiniris has a booming business called The Calligraphy Girl, specializing in calligraphy for weddings and other special events, personalized gifts and more.

“I wanted to have a little something for myself when I was first home with my kids,” says Kiniris, who has two teenagers, a daughter and son. “One of my girlfriends was doing wedding invitations and she said I should do calligraphy as a job. I called a bunch of wedding planners to ask if I could be a resource for their brides and sent them samples.

“I was surprised how often people would call me and say they’d seen my work—there aren’t a lot of calligraphy artists out there. They’d often ask me if I could do something else, like place cards or menus. If I didn’t know how to do it, I’d just say yes and figure it out.”

Kiniris is always up for a new artistic challenge. One of her more recent offerings, artwork with words that form a shape (like the East Sac Hardware hammer), is immensely popular.

“These pictures are so special because they show how you feel,” Kiniris says. “I do a new picture every year for a family in Georgia for their three kids’ birthdays with the number of their ages created out of words that describe each kid. It’s like a love letter.”

Enough people started asking Kiniris if she could teach them the art of calligraphy, which dates to ancient times, that she decided to offer classes. In 2018, she started teaching workshops in the evenings at East Sac homeware boutique The Kitchen Table.

“It’s so great to be able to teach people in person because you can adjust the pen for them if their strokes aren’t turning out right,” says Kiniris, who switched to Zoom classes when the pandemic hit. “I can see the look on someone’s face when they’re getting it and I know they’re going to go home and practice.”

This summer, Kiniris plans to offer in-person, socially distanced classes for kids, who are surprisingly adept at wielding a pen. Plus, “it’s such a great way to be off screens and do something creative,” Kiniris says.
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Jessica Laskey can be reached at Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram: @insidesacramento.

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