Hayley + Allen

What a lovely couple of days enjoyed with a lovely couple of humans.

Hayley Barry is an extraordinary hand lettering artist from Provo, Utah whom I happened upon on Instagram about two years ago. I was immediately in awe of and inspired by her intricate and pristine works of word art.

A year ago, when it came time to revamp our Panic-Free Pricing book into an e-course, I suggested to my co-author, Becca, that we include Hayley as a guest contributor, sharing her wealth of knowledge on the subject of pricing for mural projects. She was a complete delight to work with, writing an entire chapter and providing amazing video to support her material.

This past August on Instagram, Hayley asked her audience where she should host her next Hand Lettering workshop. I (not so) jokingly sent her a message reply, “How about Ottawa, Canada!?”

You can imagine my squeals of delight when she replied, “I’d love to! If you can secure a minimum of 12 participants, I’ll come!”

After working out the details, and selling not only the minimum of 12 spots, but selling out all 25, Hayley booked flights for her and her husband Allan to spend the weekend in Ottawa, starting with our workshop Friday night. Not only was this to be Hayley + Allan’s first trip to Ottawa, but their first trip to Canada!

The anticipation of this weekend has been not unlike that leading up to Christmas morning. Waiting for them to arrive at the airport yesterday morning was like waiting for Santa! My heart was racing and my palms were sweaty! We all did a little happy dance upon first recognizing each other—them at the top of the escalator, me at the bottom. People must have thought we were long lost cousins, or completely bonkers!

After their overnight flights, Hayley + Allan were just about ready to ground themselves in their AirBnB, so we headed that way taking the scenic route, stopping along the way for quick hellos with a mutual friend, and a bite to eat in trendy Hintonburg. While they rested, I headed to ALE—Amberwood Lounge + Eatery—to set up. (Handy that I work there part-time as the Event Administrator!)

Hayley + Allan arrived with Becca at 4:30pm, followed by 16 of the 25 workshop participants for an early dinner. The workshop began at 6:30pm, and was jam-packed with hand lettering knowledge, tips, tricks, and techniques—sprinkled with Hayley’s charm and humour to keep everyone giggling.

By 9:30pm we were all exhausted and ready for bed. Becca drove Hayley + Allan home, and we confirmed plans to meet up this morning for a full day of Ottawa sights.

We started this morning at the National Art Gallery, followed by a stroll through the Byward Market, landing at The Aulde Dubliner for Hayley + Allan’s first taste of Poutine! We then visited The Original Giant Tiger, as a bit of a gag—before taking her calligraphy business full-time, Becca worked in the Interior Design department of GT, and had requested Hayley take a selfie, should one cross her path.

To rest our legs a bit, and take full advantage of the season, I drove my guests to Gatineau Park. We made it to Huron and Champlain Lookouts, where Fall Rhapsody did not disappoint!

Farewells were bid at about 5pm, as I left them at their AirBnB with suggestions for places to explore during the rest of their time here before heading home Monday morning.

Our bittersweet hugs goodbye felt so much more connected than our excited hugs hello. Time and memories shared brought the three of us closer together as friends, and Utah has officially been added to my wish list of travel destinations!

I have been reminding myself constantly of the magic in this entire experience—from admiring a young artist’s work, to saying hello, to collaborating on a project, to inviting her to travel to lead a workshop, to touring them around my beautiful city, to becoming friends.

Some people frown upon social media for the lack of connection and withdrawal it seemingly causes in real life relationships. And while I don’t necessarily disagree, I also see and embrace the opportunities it offers for connections I wouldn’t have imagined without it—real, intimate, authentic connections.

What a lovely couple of days enjoyed with a lovely couple of humans.

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