The National Stationery Show is a little less than a month away and I have been in a sea of paper. And I love every second of it. Creating. Sewing. Designing. Thinking and then rethinking.
Lately, my creative process takes place on my kitchen table more than in my studio. I need to scan, print and play in photoshop and my cozy little studio has no technology except a coffee maker and a sewing machine. But it is stocked with every kind of paste, gel, stamp and paint you can think of. So I have been making a big beautiful mess at home. Close to my Mac.
This is my kitchen table on most days these past few weeks.
At dinner time, I put it all in neat little piles and move it to the left side of our vintage formica table (a $30 find!). And then the next morning I make another mess. There is paper on the floor, stuck to my socks, and on the counters. I love it. I get to the magic through a mess. I move quickly and intuitively. I sew randomly and wildly. But most of all I do it happily.
As quickly as I move (wearing my pajamas all day, music playing, candles burning, trying to remember to drink more water than coffee) these are ideas that have been simmering for a long time.
They just stay in me, around me, and with me until they are ready to come out. Sometimes an idea for a card just comes to me. But more often, I have been thinking about it for months. Sometimes a year. So as quickly as my hands move, as quick as the process looks, it builds slowly.
Every card in my line has a story. Either the picture or the words. And sometimes both.
I want to tell you about this card. Have truer words ever been spoken?
I would love to tell you that these words came out of my mouth. But they are words of a dedicated New York City bus driver. Who went out of his way to make sure I got to the Stationery Show at the Javitz Center on day three in a somewhat timely fashion last May. Even though it meant he made someone get off the bus a bit earlier. And that it was just me in this huge bus; he didn't pick anyone else up. He just got me to the show.
But here is what is important about these words and the person that said them. For about 25 minutes, our paths crossed. We sat and talked about what it was like to be an artist and what it was like to be a NYC bus driver. We talked about our families. The hours we worked. What it took to do what we do.
I called a Facebook friend who I had met once before to open my booth (hugs to you Kim!). He told me bus drivers are like artists in that way. They stick together. They help each other. He said sometimes he sees a sleepy bus driver and he tells them to pull over and take a nap. Then he looked at me and said "Naps save lives." And we laughed. Because they do. And they save friendships and marriages too.
The most beautiful thing about being a card designer is you are in the studio every second. Because life is constantly throwing beauty and profound ideas at you. Always. So you have to be ready to catch them. Recognize them. And remember them.
That bus driver and I did not exchange names. But we had a moment of totally understanding each other. Of seeing how alike we were.
On the back of this card I wrote, ”Inspired by a prolific and dedicated NYC bus driver.” He may never know it but that bus ride, his kindness and wisdom live on.
Maybe someday he will see this card in a bookstore and turn it around and read the back.
He will know it was me. And that I am grateful for him. And that 25 minute bus ride mattered.
***I had the words for this card for a year. But the visual was a challenge. Then I realized I had the image all along. Who better to use than the best napper I know, my daughter's beloved chihuahua Willy. And the blanket in the bottom of the card was a gift that my husband brought me from Scotland years ago. It is worth repeating here: We have what we need. We always do. xo.