Vendor Spotlight: Kimberly Shrack of Manayunk Calligraphy talks Philly, Second Loves, and Original Art

by BUST Magazine


The BUST Craftacular @ World Maker Faire is fast approaching (Sat & Sun, Sept 20 & 21!) and since we have loads of pent up excitement about it we’ve been chatting with some of our wonderful vendors to bide our time until then. We recently sat down with Kimberly Shrack of Manayunk Calligraphy to find out her secrets to staying crafty. 

BUST: Tell us a little about yourself and your wares. What’s your main goal for your business, why did you start, how would you describe your brand’s personality? How did you get your name? You get the gist. 

KS: I got involved with calligraphy when I was prepping for my own wedding. When the wedding was over, I was pretty bummed I had nothing left to calligraphy. It just didn’t have the same impact on my grocery list as it did on my invitations. I continued to practice and eventually worked up the nerve to offer to help other couples with their big day.

Shortly thereafter, a shop owner in my Philly neighborhood of Manayunk encouraged me to apply for the local arts festival. I was accepted, but needed some way to share my work with people who weren’t prepping for a special event. Our little neighborhood is famous for a bridge that arches over Main Street. I built that bridge using words describing our piece of the city, done in a modern calligraphy style. The illustration just flew. So I began making more and more, offering custom shapes and words, and here we are today.

I named my little business Manayunk Calligraphy because my little Philly neighborhood is the reason I am able to do what I do. It’s such an entrepreneurial, intrepid, creative place. It’s just buzzing with inspiration. No matter where I end up, I can’t imagine calling my business anything else.

My main goal of the business is to be able to offer people personal, original affordable artwork. And to be able to pay my rent doodling and drawing all day. That’s pretty boss.

B: What’s your current inspiration? Are you loving any particular thing or influence that’s showing through in what you’re making right now?

KS: I have always got a lot of inspiration from typography and graphic design. I think there is something interesting about translating something that is traditionally thought of as strictly digital into old school pencil and ink. I also love fabric. OH how I love fabric. Especially vintage fabric. So often, the patterns are delicate and detailed and wonderful. That’s what I try to do with my work. 

B:What would be your one bit of key advice to anyone starting out as a maker?

KS: Just do it. Don’t wait. Try something. Totally bomb at it. I’m talking Pintastophies. You don’t need to be perfect the first time, or the second, or even ever. You’ll find your outlet. Don’t give up if your first love doesn’t work out. You know how I love fabric? Well, turns out I can’t sew for shit. So I found another way. You will, too.

B: What are you most looking forward to about BUST Craftacular @Maker Faire?

KS: I am beyond thrilled to be included in the same venue with so many unbelievably talented artists. I think it’s going to be inspiration overload. Makers work best when they work in a community. To be a part of the BUST community, even if only for a couple days, is worth so much.

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Founded in 1993, BUST is the inclusive feminist lifestyle trailblazer offering a unique mix of humor, female-focused entertainment, uncensored personal stories, and candid reporting that tells the truth about women’s lives.

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