Meet Virginia Hart

Written by: Jaimie Geier

We had a chance to chat with Virginia Lucas Hart, an artist based in Charlottesville, Virginia, specializing in pointed-pen calligraphy, watercolor and digital illustration, vintage illustration collage, and all things paper. She is a wife and mother of two little girls, aged 2 and almost 5.

Tell our readers about your studio and what inspired you to leave your 9-5 to pursue your own business full-time?

My studio has always been part of my home, including a corner of my bedroom in the West Village, a long metal chef’s table in my Chelsea kitchen, and a built-in desk that was so close to our Upper West Side front door that it hit my desk chair when it was open.

Now, my studio is a part of our living space in the main floor of our home. My desk is in front of a Palladian window, sandwiched between bookshelves and drawers where I store all of my art supplies, samples, and in-process jobs. I also have a space in the unfinished part of our basement for large-scale paintings, and a closet where I store all of my packaging supplies.

I’ve always wanted to be an artist ever since I was little. After college, I moved to Manhattan and worked as a receptionist-turned-executive assistant at an investment company for seven years while taking more art classes in everything from letterpress printing to children’s book illustration to calligraphy. I started working at night, designing things like invitations for friends and family, and eventually got more and more requests through word of mouth.

I left my assistant job in 2014 because my boss was retiring, I was getting married, and it felt like the right time to shift my career to the creative world. We were also moving into a new apartment, and the same day we moved, I interviewed for a part-time job assisting and designing for a blogger. It was a role I ended up having for a couple years which proved to be really helpful while I continued building my reputation in the wedding and event world of NYC.

Where do you find inspiration?

We have endless inspiration at our fingertips with the internet, which is truly great, but it can also feel a bit overstimulating. My favorite ways to find inspiration include flipping through my calligraphy and vintage art books, taking a few classes every year, and any sort of excursion where I can browse and people-watch.

I’m someone who will awkwardly stop in the middle of the sidewalk to snap a photo of a store's awning because I like how a letter looks in their logo, and I’ll go home and practice drawing it. Or I’ll see a vintage engraved locket and the shape of the monogram will inspire
my next wedding crest. Or I’ll see someone wearing a particular color combination and I can’t get it out of my head.

My cousin has motivated me to start scrapbooking after she made me one of her amazing journals, so I’ve been collecting a box of inspiration, including all sorts of special paper snippets and ephemera that make me happy, that I can’t wait to paste inside.

What was the most surprising thing about becoming a mother?

Everything. The earth-shattering love to the measure of time never feeling the same to just how delightful it is to experience their childhood with them, seeing the world through their eyes. The highs and joys are better than anything I had ever experienced, but the same is true for the lows — the new personal definition of exhaustion, the fears, the physical obstacle course. I rarely curse, but the first thing I said to my mother when she walked over to my hospital bed in the delivery room was, “You lied, that was hard as sh*t.”

I’ll never forget sitting in the dark in the middle of the night when my oldest was a couple weeks old. We were living in a 3rd floor walk-up in Jersey City at the time and I was staring out the window and feeling comforted by the thought of other parents around the world who were also awake and caring for their babies. And I remember feeling the need to find and hug every mother that came before me — because I just had no idea. Despite so many of my friends having kids before I did, and being the youngest by far among my siblings and watching them all go through it first, nothing could have prepared me until I
was in it.

And then when you learn firsthand just how fast each stage goes by, it’s the wildest thing watching them grow. When I was pregnant with my first, someone warned me that there would be moments throughout parenthood when I’d walk into a room and see my child at
their current stage and self — a newborn, age 1, age 2, and so on — and my heart would whisper, “I’m going to miss you.” I didn’t fully get it at the time, but good gracious, now I do.

What does a typical week day look like as you balance your family and your career?

I’ll preface this by saying that our family’s schedule varies a lot depending on the season, and our school / childcare hours will also shift a lot in a few months so I anticipate a complete upheaval of how we operate. However, here is what works for us right now: We wake up sometime around 7/7:30. Our girls go to different morning preschools with different schedules, but we’re always dropping at least one of them off at between 8:30 and 9. My husband works from home as well, so we tag team our morning shuffle and we
alternate drop-offs and pick-ups.

If I’m in work-mode, I prefer to spend the next few hours crossing off all the more nitty-gritty parts of my job — packaging and shipping jobs, local drop-offs, invoicing, bookkeeping, and most of all, emailing. If there’s time leftover, I’ll chip away at whatever project is on my desk.

If I’m in mom mode, I’ll tackle anything from housework to grocery shopping to attempting a workout with a little sidekick in tow. I’m so excited for spring’s arrival as I love pushing a stroller around the trails in our neighborhood during this window.

After picking one or both up from school, they’ll play for a bit and we’ll all have lunch. During their afternoon naps and quiet time, I prefer to spend those couple of hours working on my contracted jobs with stationers — I calligraph lines for various invitation suites and stationery elements on paper, scan everything into my computer to digitize and email out the following morning. Or I’ll focus on the graphic design work required to build my stationery designs and proofs.

Between nap time and dinner, I’m back wearing my mom hat, and we’ll either go to soccer practice, hang with our next-door neighbors, or the girls will happily just play together which I’m so thankful for — it’s a relatively recent development watching them simply adore being sisters.

I cook 4 nights during the work-week, so once my husband is done for the day, I hand over the baton and he’s with them until dinner’s ready. Afterward, we’ll sometimes squeeze in a family walk or hit up a nearby playground before cleaning up the chaos of our house. Then it’s baths, books, songs, and snuggles, with their bedtime around 8. This is when I prefer working on anything that requires a meditative state. The world feels quiet and I can wrap up any loose ends and dive

into painting or adding hand calligraphy to things like envelopes and place cards. I’m a night owl so I’ll happily “work” (this type of work doesn’t feel like it) for a few hours before calling it a night. The last thing I do is I write in my “One-Line-A-Day” Mom journal to help me remember this fleeting season of life.

Long story short, I’ve learned to approach my day in shifts. Before I had kids, I could get in the zone and work straight without any breaks all day, so it’s honestly been a healthy change despite there never being enough hours in the day to do everything I want. Kids are obviously known to throw curveballs into plans, and it can be a tricky balance trying to predict schedules and take on the right amount of work for myself, but I consider it a privilege to be the default parent for things like field trips and sick days and summer breaks. There’s a quote that strikes home that says, “If we include our children, it might
slow us down, but maybe that’s the point.”

What is one of your favorite things to do with your girls to spark their creativity?

I believe that children’s books and toys that lend themselves to pretend play are what truly lay the groundwork for building a child’s imagination, but I also of course use every opportunity to encourage a love of art. One simple thing I do to spark their creativity is I always carry a box of Crayola crayons in my purse. Boredom isn’t an option if you’re equipped to draw. 


How would you describe your girls’ style? Are they into matchy matchy, coordinating or dressing according to their own style?

My oldest, who’s almost five, gravitates toward anything featuring dinosaurs (specifically T-Rexes) or sharks, and is also very into monochromatic looks as of late, all paired with a bow in her hair. I absolutely love putting her and her sister in matching outfits and dressing them up in smocked dresses for church or special occasions, but their day-to-day wardrobe is honestly anything that can withstand the outdoor elements. She came home today with her overalls completely caked in mud.

My just-turned-two-year-old hasn’t quite figured out yet that she can have an opinion about what she wears, but I have no doubt she will. She is so full of spunk and personality that I can’t wait to see her style.

We have an art print by Ashleigh Verrier that hangs in their bathroom. It’s an illustration of 5 women, 4 of them dressed the same, and one in the middle with her own different look. There’s a caption at the bottom that reads, “Don’t be like the rest of them sweetheart.” My
wish for them is to always be proud to be themselves and let their individuality shine. 

How do you take care of yourself while raising two kids and running a business?

Good question. This has truthfully been one of the hardest things to prioritize and find consistency with during these past five years, especially after pregnancy-induced health complications, moving from NYC to VA, and raising babies during a pandemic. I wish I could say that I play tennis every morning, read or needlepoint every night in bed for 2 hours, and never feel a smidgen of stress. There is always work to be done when managing a household and working for myself, and it can feel hard to turn off the mental to-do list for others and put myself first.

A few ways I do take care of myself during this particular chapter is that I prioritize my own health check-ups, drink very little alcohol, and say “no” to work inquiries that aren’t a good fit. I also “fill my cup” every month with friendships and relationships for my heart, talk therapy for my mind, and church for my soul. Oh, and a chiropractor for my back.

Lastly, a very small thing that I do for my mood, that has an enormous impact, is I add music to the situation. If I need to quickly switch into work mode or relax, I’ll listen to piano and film scores. And the very best thing to help with stress and witching hour? A dance party!


Can you include links for up to 8 of your favorite things on Danrie: 

I have to give a shout-out to my three stationery sets that I had so much fun creating with Danrie. It’s honestly hard narrowing down other favorites as I adore everything on the website and the incredible variety Danrie carries, but here are 8 things that caught my eye:

1. Activity Kit - Wild with Washi Tape
2. Embroidered Chambray Shorts Set
3. Baseball Sidewalk Chalk
4. Suitcase Series - Fire House
5. Eloise Leather Bound Book
6. My First Bunny
7. Bow Long Sleeve Tee
8. Paper Mache T-Rex Kit



Danrie Rapid Fire Questions:

3 Accounts on Instagram that make you happy

@jennifer.garner, @goodnews_movement, and @thefrancesflair


Favorite Recipe

Currently it’s Simmered Tomatoes and Cannellini Beans by Liz Adams. She shared it on Instagram at the beginning of the year and I’ve made a version of it every ten days since!


Current Coffee Order

A Caramel Macchiato as a treat, but I really prefer our home-brewed coffee with a splash of French Vanilla creamer in the bottom of my mug.


Last show you binge-watched, last book you read, or last podcast episode you really loved

The Crown


Favorite indulgence

A “me” day where I have some alone time to recharge and Graeter’s Black Raspberry Chocolate Chip, the best ice cream in all the land.


Skin care hero product you can’t live without

Weleda Skin Food. I lather it on my face, neck, and hands before bed.


Motto you live by 

“Let the beauty of what you love be what you do.” - Rumi

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My First Bunny - Light Blue
My First Bunny - Light Blue


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