In this series on The Southern C, I am thrilled to introduce our readers to some of the great Southern creative minds we run across on our social network and at The Southern C Summits. These individuals are the artists, designers, makers and doers that are shaping our landscape with their vision and ingenuity. Go behind the scenes to get a glimpse into their studio, read what they are working on, discover the path that led them to this moment and find out what motivates and inspires their work and lives.
The subjects and their niche may vary but many share the paradoxical traits of creative individuals – they daydream, observe, ask big questions, people watch, seek new experiences, view life as an opportunity for self-expression, take risks and bounce back all while following their true passions. We hope you will be inspired as we spotlight the creativity that abounds in our region. According to Einstein, “Creativity is contagious” and this is one thing we are happy to spread.
This week we meet artist Jordan Jarvis Hughes, owner and creator of Stately Made, a stationery and design studio in Birmingham, AL. One look at her work and you will immediately see her love for folk arts, hand lettering, local fare, and delightful paper goods. This Alabama natives draws from her background and her beloved South for inspiration.
From greeting cards, prints, wall hangings, ornaments and wedding favors, and many more creative endeavors on the drawing table, Jordan aims to bring appreciation to the culture that makes up each state and region of this great nation. Sounds like a Southern creative to me!
Jordan Jarvis Hughes
Describe your brand and how it got started
Stately Made was born out of a love of history and culture, pretty paper, and my home, the good ole South. When I was in college, I took several folklore and Southern history classes and noticed that something inside me came alive as I learned about traditional arts, music, foodways, and folktales that were unique to each region and state. It gave me a sense of state pride and an appreciation for my own family history, the roots I had come from in Alabama.
After I took a formal calligraphy class, my two passions began to intersect in the form of hand lettering phrases and bits of state and regional culture. I took a particular interest in state foodways, because no matter where you call home, food is a sweet (and savory) reminder of the kinship and traditions you share with others, as well as the history of a place.
Describe a typical day in your studio or office
I actually work full-time in a university library here in Alabama, so my days start pretty early, surrounded by books, students, faculty, and the hustle and bustle of a university (which is always very interesting and inspiring, in and of itself!). When I get home each afternoon, I package orders and spend the rest of the evening hanging out with my husband Gabriel as he reads and I create.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
I always wanted to be a writer. I was an avid reader and lover of American history as a child, and I was always coming up with historical fiction stories. I had no idea I would become another kind of writer, a calligrapher, inspired by Southern history and culture!
How has your background influenced your work?
I come from a family of musicians, painters, drawers, potters, sewers, woodworkers, and singers. My parents always encouraged my brothers and me to pursue our interests and explore various creative outlets.
In college, I majored in print journalism and history, where I was able to spend my days writing, photographing, and designing layouts, all the while studying American and Southern history and culture. Those days were definitely influential for me, and I fell in love with my state. Hand lettering and calligraphy was a hobby that I always pursuing, and eventually, all those passions resulted in Stately Made.
Favorite biz tool, app or resource?
I love to read, so I’ve really enjoyed reading business books, as well as business autobiographies of other creatives and makers.
Where do you find inspiration?
I’m inspired by the Southern culture I grew up in, by family members that exclaimed, “Oh my stars!” and family friends who quilted and made jam every summer. I am very inspired by my state, Alabama, and Southern folklife and history, as well as my own family history. I also love working in a university setting, especially a library, where information literally passes through my hands every day, and I tend to meet the most interesting people.
The rare day off – what do you do to unwind?
On an off day, I love to sleep in a bit and then drink my coffee as slow as possible. My husband and I enjoy reading together, as well as watching nature in our back yard.
Best business advice you ever received?
Don’t compare yourself and your work to others. Stay thankful and continue to find joy in your work.
For more of Whitney’s Southern Creatives Q&A’s click the names below:
Whitney Wise Long, co-founder of The Southern C and The Southern C Summit, loves to connect with Southern entrepreneurs and learn more about their creative endeavors. This series – “In the Studio With” – offers her the perfect opportunity to do so!