#WeddingHour is how I initially connected with Hannah. I was immediately blown away with how incredible her work was and knew that I wanted her to do a piece for me. Hannah is a chalkboard artist and designer based in Birmingham. She creates beautiful bespoke designs for businesses, weddings and other special occasions by combining traditional sign writing techniques with digital media to make lovely designs, specific to the client at reasonable prices. I asked Hannah to do a bespoke piece for me that said ‘And I think to myself, what a wonderful world’. I wanted this for when I eventually move into my flat as I think it is such a lovely quote that instantly reminds me of the song – What a wonderful world by Louis Armstrong. I am absolutely delighted with! It’s exactly what I wanted and she was so lovely and patient to work with!
I asked Hannah a few questions so my lovely readers can get to know her more!
How did your business begin?
I trained as a textile designer at Manchester School of Art. I specialised in print design for menswear at university where I took an interest in dandyism and quirky styling with an emphasis on illustration. I also appreciated the value of typography and trend awareness whilst at uni.
I worked as a freelance graphic designer and illustrator for four years, working with clients such as Murdock London and Tunecanoe amongsy others. I have more recently transferred my skills to the traditional realm of chalkboards. Particularly applying chalkboards to more unconventional uses such as weddings, engagements, christenings and baby showers where their charming appeal can really thrive.
How do you approach projects?
I like to get to the route of what each client would like. For example a couple who are getting married: I’d welcome them to send any inspirational imagery they may have for the aesthetic of their wedding and any words to describe it. From rustic to retro to roaring 20s – any style can be accommodated. Also some couples like to send images of their wedding stationery. I can match fonts as closely as possible to give a really consistent feel to their chalkboards.
Next the couple will send content for me to design with.
Once the design has been finalised, amended and the couple are pleased with the design, I apply the work in chalks and/or chalk substitutes (which are hard wearing and can be put outside). I use the approved design as a precise guide for the application process so the couple receive the design that they agreed to.
The final stage is sending or, if possible, hand delivering the work to the couple for them to enjoy on their big day! The boards make fantastic photo opportunities and wedding photographers have commented that they look great. The chalkboards also make great keepsakes after the wedding as a unique way to treasure the day itself.
What pieces of work are you most proud of?
I think my very first professional chalkboards at Lewis’s Deli and my very first wedding chalkboards for Georgie and Sean’s wedding will always hold a special place in my heart. Lewis was the first person to let me loose on his walls! He trusted my design capability and the finished result makes me proud every time I see it.
Georgina and Sean’s Cotswold wedding was what inspired me to create occasion chalkboards. This couple trusted me to transfer my skills from my “business” chalkboards, which I’d been creating for around a year, to an occasion which is so special to them, their wedding. I felt honoured to be involved and felt very proud when I hand delivered the “menu”, “welcome” and “Let Love sparkle” chalkboards to Georgie.
What other services do you provide besides chalkboard art?
As well as chalkboard art, I also provide graphic design and illustration services. As I mentioned, I was trained in design so I do love to get back to it! This includes menus, flyers, wedding invites, apparel design, branding, point of sales and more! I am lucky enough to have had work showcased nationwide as well as abroad and have sold work which is available in places like John Lewis, Liberty’s and Marks and Spencer.
Why do you love what you do?
I feel so lucky to do what I love on a daily basis. I’m my own boss. I’m the CEO, the manager, the designer and the intern all at once!! The massive plus side to this is that I get to communicate directly with my clients. I can’t hide behind anyone else and can really get to know who I am designing for and interpret their brief effectively. A client has said in the past that the outcome of the work was like I’d climbed inside his head and created exactly what he wanted, which was a huge compliment!
Can you tell me about the wedding chalkboards you do?
I create chalkboards for seating plans, welcome boards, “love stories” menus and more. Anything you feel would be the icing on the cake for your wedding I will do my best to design and keep it sympathetic to the aesthetic of your special and unique plans. Whatever you have in mind for your canvas, I can create a bespoke piece personal to you and cater to any budget. I have deluxe chalkboards coming soon which challenge the classic interpretation of a blackboard…. watch this space!
Have you had any difficult situations arise, and if so, how did you overcome them?
Unsurprisingly, I have to deal with a lot of ladders! I have teetered in the rafters of buildings before but the beauty of wedding and occasion chalkboards is that they are created with two feet firmly on the ground!
Where do you see your business going in the future?
I see my business going from strength to strength. I feel I am established with the “business” side to my chalkboards as I have worked for many pubs, cafes, restaurants etc. I love this work and feel privileged to make my mark on people’s livelihoods. I hope this continues to be a fun, fulfilling market for my work with an ever-expanding portfolio.
I think the opportunity to expand the wedding chalkboard side to my work is a very exciting prospect. I will be opening an online shop soon which will include up-cycled frames and boards ready for commissions for all occasions.
Why should brides and grooms buy your wedding chalkboards?
I feel that nobody in the UK offers a completely bespoke wedding chalkboard design service, from scratch, which caters directly to you. The quality of my work is exceptionally high and I have been commended on my great customer service by the couples I’ve worked for. I think that chalkboards put a very personal finishing touch on a wedding in a very stylish way.
To view more of Hannah’s work please visit her website on hannahexall.co.uk1