I'm so excited to share this second installment of Community and Coffee! In case you missed the first post, here it is again! :)
I was scrolling through Instagram one day, getting my daily fix of pretty weddings and photography, when something made me stop and say “who did that?!”. It was a post from The Stockroom at 230 (a great venue in downtown Raleigh) and it was a picture of their huge chalkboard wall all done up for a wedding that past weekend. The lettering and design were perfect and I knew I had to follow whoever was responsible for the beautiful chalk art! AB Chalk + Designs was tagged so I went to their page and was instantly in love with everything I saw. From the intricate details, to the crazy lettering and designs, it was all so beautiful and different from the other chalk designs I had seen. Flash forward to a couple months ago when I decided to start a vendor series. While we had never actually met, I knew that AB Chalk + Designs was someone I wanted to share with you all, so here you go!
AB stands for Austin Bagwell and he is the mastermind behind all the designs you see! He is a North Carolina native which is rare to find in this area. We met on a gorgeous morning for some coffee and chatted. Austin is seriously a great guy! Not only is he an amazing artist who is passionate about what he does, but he is personable and so easy to talk to. While we were there to talk about him and his business, our conversations ranged from the wedding industry to our love of the Raleigh area and of course our shared love of craft beer!
Austin has aways been into art and design, and even though college took him down a different path (as you’ll find is the same for most of us in the creative industry), he always kept up with the hobby. When he got married himself in 2013, he decided to create his own chalkboard art for the big day. Everyone saw it, loved it, and after that he started getting requests. About a year ago he had done a design for a free event Sally Oakley was putting on at The Stockroom, and that was the point that things really picked up! Now, business is booming and he couldn’t be more thankful for the opportunities they are getting.
So, what's it like getting a piece of chalk art for your wedding? First off, pricing will vary depending on size and how much detail is involved. You can check out the website for more information on that. When it comes to the design process, it starts with any special requests you might have. From there, Austin will look for inspiration, specifically when it comes to the types of letters and fonts used. He doesn’t generally do mock ups as he tries to be very organic with his work, and might not know exactly what it will look like until he gets going. Getting started is the hardest part, but once he’s ready, he’ll set up in his home studio space, puts on some good music, and get to work! Once he starts working on a design, he won’t stop until it’s done. He generally uses all chalk, but will work with the chalk markers if a client wants something permanent. Austin calls himself somewhat of a perfectionist, and if something even looks slightly off he’ll erase the whole thing and start over!
Of course I had to ask him what some of his favorite pieces are. There was one he had done for a couple that was very geometric. The bride was a graphic designer so he worked hard to make it all perfect. It was very unique and he felt really great after that one. He also did one at The Stockroom for the Wed Tour in Raleigh. This design was made up of a bunch of big Hydrangeas. It was very intricate and detailed, he had a lot of fun working on it. His favorite pieces to do are always the bigger, full wall designs. The best is when a bride and groom trust his artistic eye and come to him and say, “here is our name and date, do what you want!”.
While I’m sure it’s really hard to pick just one favorite, if he had to he said it would obviously be the one he did for his own wedding! Here are some of my favorites:
I think my favorite thing about AB Chalk + Designs is how unique each piece is. There is a lot of talent out there when it comes to calligraphy and hand lettering. Austin’s biggest goal right now is creating a brand around his art. He wants people to see his chalk design and instantly know it’s an AB Chalk + Designs piece. As a fan of his work, I can honestly say that I think AB Chalk + Designs are well on their way to achieving that goal!
I had such a great time meeting with Austin! Having a gorgeous piece of chalk art at your wedding needs to become a must have for every bride and groom to be! If you’re interested in having AB Chalk + Designs create the perfect piece of art for your day, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or follow the links below to check out more of their work! Trust me, you will not regret it!