I’m swimming in young love. Granted, I’m the furthest thing from “young” but was thrilled to have been commissioned to create custom designed wedding invitation suites for two wonderful young couples. Amazed by the detail and thoughtfulness required these days (my age is showing), I was eager to capture their every wish so that my illustrations atop their printed paper goods, be they mailed, set up at a table or inserted in hotel greeting goodie bags reflected who they are.
Every client arrives with their story: past present and future. Color palette. Whimsical anecdotes. Sticky family drama. Cherished dogs. Favorite fonts. Romantic proposals. Honeymoon plans. Guest lists, venues and menus.
My education was a mixed bag of leaping from whim to whim between English Literature, History, and Art. When that combo failed to land me a career after college graduation, I ran an ancient printing press for beer money, and then went to graduate school to study Architecture, Art History and Interior Design.
Young love and chasing my own creative dreams back then found me improvising between the mixed bag of talent that I had scooped up, landing me in an architecture firm across the river from the Merchandise Mart, swimming in the massive design beauty of the city of big shoulders. Interiors, exteriors, color, textiles, space planning, site visits, punch lists: all of the structure that came with those years in that industry formed the framework of how to adapt any vision to every project. Designing a room or a wedding invitation is the same thing: get to know your client, and give them something better than they ever expected.
When life took me on a hairpin turn, I applied this structure with my funny retail past and letterpress machine experience into creating a notecard company. Survival mode for an at-home income became a wildly successful vocation which lead me further and farther into a life of drawing.
Was any of this planned? Were these steps of gaining knowledge and building skills at all intentional?
But where it all lead has been a delight of creative endeavors spanning decades and filling dozens of sturdy file boxes with original art, illustrating books, visiting my framed art at Crate&Barrel, flipping through magazines to see bit about my products, sending greeting cards with my art featured on the front and name on the back, and each winter cozying up beneath the crisp flannel of sublime Garnet Hill holiday bedding printed in sleds, skis and the North Pole.
So, this spring and summer found me back to getting to know these four fine people, eager to stamp their love for one another for eternity. And as earnestly and attentively as possible, I took the whispers of their dreams and set them to pen and paper, envelope and place card, postcard and menu.
Next up? My daughter and her fiancée. The task is mighty, the map unknown, but the love is true.