Seven Things She Can’t Live Without (for Creativity and Style)
Tracy Smith is in the business of making all things beautiful. Whether she is working on her latest calligraphy project, decorating her home, or picking out her outfit for the day, she loves simple, classic, and timeless style. As the owner of Calligraphy By Tracy, she creates beautiful lettering on envelopes, seating charts, place cards, and more. Her attention to detail and use of unique canvases such as windows and mirrors allow her to stand out in a competitive market.
Her career as a calligrapher came about by happenstance when her sister-in-law asked her to do the calligraphy on her wedding invitation envelopes.
“I didn’t really know anything about calligraphy,” Tracy says. “I just had nice handwriting, but you don’t have to have good handwriting to do calligraphy. So I got myself a calligraphy marker and it just kind of took off. I didn’t have any formal training. I’m more self-taught.”
Almost 20 years later, Calligraphy By Tracy is a Louisville staple. Tracy specializes in traditional calligraphy on envelopes but embraces the trends as they come. Recently, chalkboards, mirrors, windows, and acrylic signs have been extremely popular. She has adapted to the changing market with the philosophy that if it can be written on, she can add calligraphy to it.
“Chalkboards are really popular and I thought, ‘I can do those, there’s no reason why I can’t,’” Tracy says. “I think it’s what sets my business apart. A lot of people can do calligraphy, but not a lot of people do the signage. I just kind of watch the trends and adjust accordingly.”
She is proud to partner with various event planners and invitation companies in Louisville including Kellye Lineback of Engagements, Marcie Hancock of A Thorough Fare, Arnie Levin, and Impressions, an invitation company. Through these partnerships, Tracy is able to connect with this community of creatives and gain new clients in the process.
Before starting her own business, Tracy attended the University of Louisville where she studied interior design, igniting her love of design. She then worked for 10 years for The Cobb Group, a publishing firm in Louisville. She and her husband Bruce, her high school sweetheart, have one daughter, Paige, who is a teacher at Southside Elementary School.
While the seven things Tracy can’t live without aren’t all calligraphy related, they all allow her to express her creativity, attention to detail, and love of classic, beautiful style.
“I wear silver earrings every day,” Tracy says. “It wears well, and I just polish it up. I’m not a gold and diamonds kind of person. I like more artsy, statement pieces. It’s the icing on the cake, pulls everything together, and finishes off the outfit.”
One of the most important parts of calligraphy is lining up each element and making sure the entire piece is straight. The lightpad allows Tracy to keep her projects pristine for her clients.
“It just makes calligraphy so much easier,” Tracy says. “Most envelopes, you can put a guideline sheet behind them to keep them straight. I can put them on [the light pad] and everything is nice and straight. I can generally eyeball things pretty well, but I love using my light pad.”
Tracy loves cooking and trying new recipes, and having the best kitchenware makes this pastime even more enjoyable.
“That is my best purchase in the kitchen by far,” Tracy says. “I cook a lot and the cuts are better, prep time is quicker, they’re always sharp, and if they begin to get dull, I use the sharpening steel and they’re like new.”
“I have a tan one and a black one, and they’re my go-to purses,” Tracy says. “I don’t switch out my purses very often unless I’m really, really dressed up. For the most part I use my tan bag in the spring and summer and a bit of the fall and then black in the winter. They’re such great quality purses and a great size for me.”
Calligraphy can cause a strain on the body if practiced for too long at an improper table. Tracy’s drafting table is an adjustable, tilted table.
“When I started calligraphy that was my first purchase besides pens,” Tracy says. “I got it for $25 at the Salvation Army. I remember it well because the number 25 is still carved in the top corner of the table. I just went into the Salvation Army to drop some stuff off and there it was, and I thought it was so cool.”
Calligraphy is very much a seasonal profession. From May until October Tracy is working with clients to complete projects for their big day, whether that be a wedding, graduation, or other event. Between client meetings, work time, and personal commitments, Tracy relies heavily on her calendar to keep it all in order.
“I live by my calendar,” Tracy says. “I think my life would be all over the place if I didn’t have a calendar. It’s the first thing I look at each morning, and I usually look at it at night, too, just to make sure I know what’s going on the next day.”
Tracy has been with her hair dresser Viki Hutchason, who currently works at The Hive Salon, for over 20 years.
“She’s just awesome,” Tracy says. “She knows me, she knows my hair, and what I like. She’s moved around a bit, but I just follow her. She always hits the mark with my hairstyle. She even does my daughter Paige’s hair.”
Tracy loves having the opportunity to flex her creative muscles every day through her work.
“I love the creativity of it,” Tracy says. “I’m creative by nature and calligraphy is my outlet. I would be pretty bummed if I couldn’t do something creative. I’m not me without it.”
What are seven things you can’t live without? Tell us about them in the comments down below!