Thursday, January 7, 2010


Sycamore 1

Sycamore 2

Sycamore 3

Happy new year to everyone! Wow it has been a crazy couple of weeks, just catching up on life, getting my bearings again with work. Hope all of your holiday season was fantastic! The month of january for me will be super busy, filled with getting all of my stationery together, and making it look pretty in front of the camera to be put up on my etsy shop! One of my inspirations that I always go to is Sycamore Street Press. After my friend Amanda {a designer's blog} blogged about them, I was totally hooked and wanted more! Their cards and other paper things are bright and cheery and just make you feel good. I wanted to share this fun inspiration with you! So I decided to do a little Q&A with the Sycamore Street team.

1. How many people are on your team, and what are your background, designers, illustrators, etc, and how did you get started?

I (Eva) got my MFA in printmaking, and was planning on becoming an art professor. When a teaching job didn't land in my lap, I decided to create my own opportunity, and started Sycamore Street Press out of our little dining room. A few friends of mine got word that I was starting a letterpress business, and they asked if they could contribute some designs. Luckily for me, these friends happen to be fabulously talented and have really helped shape what Sycamore Street Press has become. Stephanie Ford has worked for years as a graphic designer in both Ohio and Utah. She designs our minimal but playful {Pop} line. Kristin Mills and Amy Shaffer have both worked for prestigious ad firms in New York and Utah: Kristin as a graphic designer, and Amy as a writer. Together, they write and design our pretty + funny {Lark} line. I use my background in fine art and printmaking to hand draw our {Folk} line. We also ask a different artist each month to create the artwork for our monthly Sycamore Club limited edition prints. Kirk helped out how he could while he was in school, but after he graduated this past May, we decided that he would join SSP full time. He has taken over most of the letterpress printing, and he does all of the shipping, sales, etc...It's been awesoem having his help, and needless to say, SSP has become so much more efficient and productive now that he's with me full time.

2. Where do you get most of your inspiration for the designs?

I can't speak for the other designers, but I am constantly looking around me for inspiration. I may find it in the colors on a box of candy, the shape of the mountains outside our windows, or the wallpaper pattern in an old movie. I also love design blogs, magazines, and books I find at the thrift store. One constant and yet diverse source of inspiration is folk art, whether it be Maori ta moko, Persian miniature painting, or New England scrimshaw. My most direct sources of inspiration for my Sycamore Street Press drawings and lettering are my great grandmother's Scandinavian rosemaling and the old Slavic engravings that I discovered while Kirk was studying Russian and Polish.

3. I enjoy how you keep everything handmade and eco-friendly. I come into contact with so many people daily that just love the look and feel of a handwritten card or note. Do you think, even though the internet is becoming so popular with e-cards and online blogs, that there is still a definite need and love for things handmade?

Definitely! In some ways, I think that with the increasing encroachment of technology in our lives, people are beginning to become more appreciative of the simple beauty of quality handmade objects. These days, if someone is going to take the trouble to send a handwritten note, they would like it to be on a beautiful little card -- whether it be letterpress, screenprinted, hand embellished, etc... That way, the card is a gift in itself. I love email, but I will never use it to the exclusion of a handwritten note.

4. What design of yours is your favourite and why?

From the {Pop} line: The Alphabet poster. It's like a well written, catchy pop song that won't get out of your head...ina good way.
From the {Lark} line: "I would trade two of my other friends for you" card. Amy's copy speaks for itself. And Kristin's design with the two silhouettes compliments the words perfectly.
From the {Folk} line: "Je T'Aime" (French Bulldog) card. My friend Zu's dog Felix is the muse and model for all my Frenchie drawings. It was Zu's idea that I use him and her idea that he say things in French. I just had to draw it out. Which is always fun.

5. Any tips for a designers itching to get into the stationery side of things?

Just start designing. Start an Etsy shop, and once it's looking full and you have good product photos, write around to some blogs you like and nicely introduce yourself and your work. Apply for a bunch of craft shows. Be prepared to work 10 times as hard as you would at a normal job for 1/10th of the least for the first few years.
Unless you don't want to have your own business and would prefer to work for someone else. Then I would have no idea how to break into that side of the business except to have a really fantastic portfolio.

Thanks Eva for all your fantastic advice and encouragement!
Now for the fun part! We're doing a GIVEAWAY!!! Here's how it works. Head on over to Sycamore Street Press and pick your favourite card, come back and comment on which one it is and why. If you're the winner, you will be getting your favourite card design in the mail! I will be drawing a winner on Monday, January 25th at 5pm. Good luck to all!


Amanda said...

Great interview! I just swoon over sycamore! It's hard to choose a favourite, but if I had to choose, I'd probably say that the G'Day Mate card, with the ship is really cool! I love them all though!

alexandrea said...

Letterpress Love and Affection Card. Love, we're so in it.
That is just awesome. Romantic. Sweet.

goagainstthegrain said...

the high five card is my favorite for sure!

Lor said...

i love love love the high five card... just awesome. good luck with the blog this year, i'll look forward to keeping up with it :)

Sandi said...

Thanks Lor!

Anonymous said...

I really like the "Great job on that thing you did" card. I love sarcastic humor!

sundaygirl at gmail dot com

Colleen said...

Hello, hello. Your blog is great! Frankly, nothing says "thank you" like a letter-pressed card (Large Botanic). (But the 'trade two friends'? Also fantastic. mean, but fantastic.) oo

Daniella said...

Fun fun! I've always loved that Happy Easter card, the design is too cute, but the Friendship card is also hilarious, lol...

Belinda Madsen said...

I live right by these people and I'm dying to do a letterpress class.

short and sweet paperie {sandi} said...

Belinda, that's amazing! You totally should. I took one last summer with some friends at a studio here in Toronto and it was so good, it changed my life! I love the hand made aspect to it..let me know how it goes if you do take it!