Inspiration usually arrives unexpectedly, but follow-through takes time, experimentation and dedication. As a long-time painter with a resume of gallery shows and a former patchwork/applique/wearable art/fiber artist, I was invited in 2006 to come up with a simple project for a scrap art booth at a local Peace Fair in just two weeks' time. Growing up, I remembered the fun of making handmade cards for family and friends, so I settled upon that. Too, I'd taught arts and crafts part-time here and there, so there were plenty of materials around in addition to fabrics. An ESL (English as a Second Language) tutor, I had a nice assortment of origami papers from my Japanese students. As I pondered a simple theme with variations for this project, my love of music and gardening also came into play: each card would have a flower and vase. As I began cutting out fabric flowers and designing all shapes of vases, embellishing the images with interesting shapes, patterns, backgrounds and borders, playing with and arranging my materials seemed like musical improvisation. It appeared that many of my interests in the arts were coming together.
Having designed over 1100 cards since 2006, I realize how flowers express various moods and can commemorate almost any occasion--plus not everyone can send real flowers. At that first Peace Fair, people liked and bought my floral blank note cards, friends started buying them, and soon I was selling in shops, galleries, and getting reorders in Lexington (Good Foods Market & Cafe and Third Street Stuff), in Berea (The Kentucky Artisan Center), and in Louisville (The Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft). And people told me they found added value in framing originals singly or in series, hanging onto them or sending them to friends abroad.
Finally, I thank my ESL students over the years for sparking my interest in Japanese art and aesthetics, and supplying me with more origami paper, so I've given each card a Japanese name. "Arigato gozaimasu" (Thank you very much!) I am also indebted to Gustav Klimt, Pierre Bonnard, Edouard Vuillard, and other artists inspired by Japanese art and aesthetics and their love of pattern, fabric, color, and intriguing design.
p.s. In the interest of keeping cursive handwriting and snail mail alive, all my cards are blank inside and ready for your own creative message of good will. We're in this together. Thank you for your interest.