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Mitchell Tenpenny

Sylacauga native voted as a top calligrapher in nation


BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Five years ago, Sylacauga native Grace Davis Hall began taking calligraphy classes as a hobby.

She explained that she wanted something to do with her time that would perpetuate the term “life-long learner.”  She reflected on all the wonderful weddings, parties, showers, and teas that she enjoyed attending with her mother as a youth in Sylacauga – loving the elegance and heritage of living in the south.  That’s when she found an announcement offering calligraphy classes, so she signed up to take her first class with Deb Warnat in Birmingham.  Hall said she fell in love with the art of calligraphy and practiced hour upon hour to master the strokes.

PHOTO COURTESY Alisha Crossley Photography

Since 2012, Hall has taken calligraphy classes from four of the nine “Master Penmen” of the world.  She pens every stroke of her work by hand using a traditional wooden oblique calligraphy pen, metal nib, and inkwell.  She is formally trained in copperplate and Spencerian pointed pen calligraphy and uses that foundation to form her own calligraphy scripts.  Hall stated, “Calligraphy as an art form that comprises a series of strokes.  It is very time consuming –  just the word “the” takes six strokes to pen.  Calligraphy is more than just pretty handwriting, and it takes many, many hours of lessons and practice to develop the muscle memory needed to create the lovely announcements, invitations, and cards that you see.”

“Grace Calligraphy” first debuted on Etsy – many of her initial clients were located in New England and on the west coast.  Hall said she was shipping her cards and invitations from Boston to Los Angeles before word spread of her work locally.   Then in 2016, Southern Weddings Magazine announced a contest for “Best of the South Wedding Awards.”  Grace Calligraphy was nominated by several previous brides as top calligraphy.   The contest began with more than 25  nominees and was narrowed down by voters.  Grace Calligraphy was voted top three calligraphy in the south.  The tenth-anniversary issue of Southern Weddings Magazine will be published in November to include Grace Calligraphy.

Hall currently works with three or four wedding planners where she provides elegant, traditional pointed pen calligraphy for weddings and other special events.  She addresses over 1,000 envelopes per month, averaging 15-20 envelopes per hour.  This month she is working on 800 gold embossed wedding invitations for a bride in Mountain Brook.

Hall has also licensed her calligraphy with Sugar B Designs to be used on baby announcements, birthday invitations, and Christmas cards.   She will be at Magnolias in Sylacauga for Holiday Open House on Nov. 5, 2017 where she will be penning complimentary gift tags for customers who buy presents during the Open House.


Hall is a member of the International Association of Master Penmen Engrossers and Teachers of Handwriting (IAMPETH).  Her work has been featured in print and digital media.  To book Grace Calligraphy for a wedding, reservations should be made five-six months in advance. Grace Calligraphy can be located on the web (, Facebook, or Instagram.

Grace Calligraphy is based in Birmingham where Hall operates out of her home studio and works with many clients across the south and some nationwide.  She shares her home with her husband, OZ, and their dog, Sugar.  She is the daughter of Chuck and Lydia Davis of Sylacauga.

Kim Ellison for | © 2017, City Media LLC. All Rights Reserved.



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