I'm Christina, and The Cardinal Collective is my watercolor art/calligraphy/graphic design business based in Huntsville, Alabama. Born and raised in the South, I'm married to a very patient and handy guy named Stephen who never complains about my cooking. We have a slightly feral 6-year-old boy named Bennett, and a sweet little toddler, Jack. Our 2 pups Radley and Chase rule our house.
I'm a history nerd with a passion for rescue animals, and get weird adrenaline rushes shopping at TJMaxx. I'm half-Greek, half-Heard County, Georgia. And I absolutely love turning a blank piece of paper into a piece of art.
I have a bachelor's degree in history with a minor in English from Birmingham-Southern College; a master's in Reformation history from the University of St. Andrews (Scotland, UK); and a master's in early childhood education from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
About The Cardinal Collective
The Cardinal Collective began when my now 6-year-old was 2 and and we had just moved to a new city. We didn't know many people, and my husband was tiring of the antiques I was bringing home daily from estate sales... so I thought I'd find another hobby (truly).
I took Melissa Esplin's fantastic Modern Calligraphy online class at night once the rest of my house was asleep, made my mom (a professional artist) give me some of her leftover brushes and watercolors, and started making pieces for friends as baby and birthday gifts. The last art class I took was in 1991, so most of my training is via observation, research, and YouTube. I bought art books at secondhand bookstores and spilled a lot of ink onto our household upholstery. I joined some Facebook groups for creatives and calligraphers and spent hours watching YouTube tutorials on graphic design programs. One night on a whim I opened an Etsy shop, named it after my favorite color and Grandpa's favorite bird, and listed a print. That’s how The Cardinal Collective— originally “The Turquoise Cardinal”— was born.
About the Studio
Here's a view of my happy place: my studio space in the heart of historic downtown Huntsville, Alabama. This is where I can put on some Ella Fitzgerald (or Vivaldi... or Pitbull... depending on my mood) and get to creating. My tools are mostly old-fashioned: pointed pens, vials of ink, paint brushes, and lots and lots of watercolor; but they may include the iPad Pro or Photoshop too.
I share a third floor space with Olivia Reed of Olivia Reed Photography, so a perk is getting to see sweet newborns and families have their photos taken in the gorgeous natural light that floods into the studio.