Hello and welcome to my website! I am so glad you’re here and excited for what’s to come.
I am Maria Bernard a calligrapher in sunny Chandler, Arizona. Since I came across calligraphy it has changed my life and with that same joy, I hope it can change yours too!
I started calligraphy in 2015, shortly after the welcoming of my second child. I had graduated Arizona State University with a Secondary Education degree in 2013 and taught junior high math from 2014-2015. I then decided to take a year off of teaching to stay home with my two little ones; Roman who was 2 and Mila my newborn!
Being a stay at home mom came with many challenges! During the eight months in which I stayed home calligraphy was introduced into my life through the wonderful platform of Instagram!!!! I started following a group of calligraphers under the name @handletteredabcs. They were such a great trio of women who helped the calligraphy community on Instagram grow exponentially. They were also mothers trying to balance life!
I quickly fell in love with calligraphy and practiced every night for 3-5 hours! As soon as my husband would arrive from work, I would hand him the kids and get straight to practicing my ABC’s! Occasionally my 3-5 hour practice session was interrupted by my newborn who needed to nurse after chugging all the milk I had previously pumped. Oh babies!
The rest of the 8 months as a stay at home mom flew by! My mornings were full of prayer, nursing, pumping, cooking, feeding, changing diapers, laundry, cleaning and teaching Roman his colors and ABC’s! They were busy mornings. On the contrary my afternoons were spent dipping my nib into the ink and breathing fully one pen stroke at a time. Reminding myself to slow down! In fact, calligraphy is an art that requires precision so I was constantly reminded to breathe and slow down. It was the perfect therapy to my postpartum depression.
I eventually went back to work but that didn’t stop me! I was still practicing my calligraphy and had created an Instagram account specifically for my passion! As people followed along, opportunities started flowing in! I had inquiries to create invitations and signage for events! It was all so exciting! I learned a lot about what I love to do and what jobs were not my favorite. Through this I was able to learn about a special place called the ASU Chandler Innovation Center formerly known as the TechShop in the summer of 2016.
It was there that my true passion came to life. This arena filled with artists, welders, craftsman, software designers, ambitious "hipsters" and everyone in between was where I had the opportunity to take my calligraphy one notch above my current creations! The TechShop housed 3 laser cutters that served as catalysts to my inspiration as well as the evolution of Deco Ink Designs. With the new tools available, I began to gain more notoriety amongst calligraphers as well as within the wedding and decor industry. This also emboldened the creativity and aspiration to understand more technology and develop more connections with others to help Deco Ink Designs create products to suit the want or need of any business, party or individual.
I started a collection of products like baby’s names for nurseries and cake-toppers for weddings! I had opened at Etsy account that sold it’s first product on October 23rd 2016 and ended up selling 8 more items by the end of that year! The following year, in 2017, things were busy! My marriage was on the brink of divorce, I was a full time mom, working a full time job and fulfilling my Etsy orders every chance I had!
In April, we received devastating news that my father in law, Gill Bernard, had passed away from heart failure. Not only had I lost a father figure but also one of my biggest supporters! He had gifted me a lettering pad before he passed in order for my calligraphy to transition into a vector file that would layer allow me to laser cut it into an actual object!!!
With his passing I was inspired to push forward and make him proud especially when I came across tech issues! He was a nurse and a technology wizard! He was a jack of all trades. Truly a life saver! We miss him but thankfully, with the Techshop, his energy never left me! I kept creating and fulfilling Etsy laser cut orders at the Techshop where I learned so much more about technology. I was getting so many orders that it eventually inspired me to became an established LLC in the summer of 2017!!!!
I later experienced a significant hurdle when the TechShop was un-expectantly closed down and many of its resources lost in November of 2017. However, Gilly came to the rescue! Although in heaven he had left all his children an inheritance that later inspired his son, my husband, to invest his inheritance into my business! I’m forever thankful and blessed to have been able to continue to build on to his legacy! The life changing investment to purchase a laser cutter enabled me to continue to grow Deco Ink Designs into a business that Gilly will be proud of and a business that will make the world a better place! At least I pray. Since October of 2016 Deco Ink has sold a total of 700 items and I’ve taught 14 calligraphy workshops in Gilbert, Arizona. Some of the funds have been donated to cancer organizations and I hope to one day donate to a heart preventative care organization! Meanwhile, the heart in my logo and my logo font “GILL Sans” will continue to remind me of “why”! Here’s to you Gilly! We love and miss you! Especially your laugh and smile!