By Lucy M. Pritchett

She works at one of the most peaceful spots in Louisville. Her desk overlooks the lake where generations of families have come to relax and feed the ducks. A place where one can have a moment of quiet reflection in the midst of a bustling urban environment.

Cave Hill Cemetery may not be one’s first choice as a workplace, but for Kayla Wessling, who just turned 27, it almost seems a logical one. Kayla is originally from Batesville, Indiana, a town known for its manufacturing of caskets and cremation urns. Both her mother and father work for Batesville Casket Company, as well as a sprinkling of other relatives.

“When I was little, while other girls were looking at Barbie catalogs, I was looking at cremation urn catalogs and pointing out the ones that appealed to me. Of course, I wasn’t seeing the pieces for what they were intended. I just saw something shiny and pretty.”

Kayla has parlayed her degree in design and visual communications from Bellarmine University into a job in typographic and graphic design. She creates in-house materials, invitations to special events, and posters for the historic cemetery.

The National Cemetery section of Cave Hill. 

“Cave Hill is the most beautiful and amazing place. It is so quiet and serene. People make pilgrimages to the graves of Muhammad Ali and Colonel Sanders and also the National Cemetery dedicated to those who have served in the military. It’s interesting to see how many people from Louisville haven’t been here. I couldn’t believe I was in school two miles away and the first time I was here was for my job interview.”

Now, she is only a few steps away from any number of spots to get what she calls “an infusion of nature.”

Kayla can enjoy this beautiful view of the lake from her office window. Photos by Patti Hartog 

What Works for Kayla includes her creative tools, her satchel, and the way she stays hydrated.

Her creative tools

Kayla says she uses her sketchbook to capture work and personal ideas. She created this calligraphy artwork
for her sister’s wedding.  

I carry my Moleskine Sketchbook with me everywhere. It is always in my satchel. I use it to capture both work and personal ideas. The Moleskine has dotted pages, which helps me keep the spacing and balance within the letter forms.

I have five writing implements that I prefer: the Sakura Pigma Graphic pen, which I use to fill in letter forms; a Prismacolor .005 in black for adding details; a Sakura 127 mechanical pencil for sketching out a design; and the Pilot Parallel pen, which I use as a calligraphy pen. My favorite one — it is the workhorse — is the Pentel Touch Brush pen. It comes in various ink colors. I love this pen. I also use the Wacom pen tablet, which lets me digitize a hand-drawn image and make adjustments and tweaks. It allows me to create digital art. I would be lost without it.

Her satchel — Olivia & Joy

I carry a big purse — I call it my satchel — because I tote so much stuff around with me: my water bottle, my sketchbook, a variety of pens and pencils, and wallet. I always have a book with me — usually a memoir or something humorous. I like David Sedaris, Dave Eggers, Caitlin Moran, and Jenny Lawson. Right now I am reading Your Favorite Band is Killing Me by Steven Hyden. And there are some weird things, too. For some reason I am carrying around a red clown nose.

Her Nalgene water bottle

This 32-ounce bottle is fantastic. I love to travel and I took it with me when a friend and I backpacked through Japan last year. Before that my family visited Austria, Germany, and Italy, and I carried one with me there as well. It travels with me no matter where I go. I drink four or five bottles of water a day. My public service announcement: Drink water. It’s good for you!