My first foray into card making was 8 years ago. A friend’s partner was having his 50th birthday; he had stipulated no gifts and I didn’t know him well but I wanted to do something special. My friend Steph had been making cards for many years and I asked her if I could come to her place and make something. This was the card that I made. It seems simple but there were hours of agonizing that went into it! After that I decided that I quite liked making cards and I liked the effect of gold embossing. Steph showed great restraint, I now realize, to not comment when I announced naively that I would just get some gold ink, embossing powder, a few stamps and some card – that was going to be all I needed for card making! Fast forward a few years and I have half my study dedicated to card making things.
I have now made literally thousands of cards and take great delight in being able to spend a few hours in my study trying out new ideas and putting things together in new ways. Steph and I have regular ‘play dates’ and try out new techniques and products. We will often make a whole heap of samples and then challenge each other to make them into finished cards. It is fascinating to see how different the final cards are when we have started from the same thing. Steph is a painter and has great knowledge of paints and inks as well as a great interest in searching out new techniques for us to try. I seem to have an instinctive knack for colour and be able to visualize how things will go together. We always go away with lots of inspiration from each other.
With other crafts I have tried there are fairly limited applications for the finished products – really, how many macramé pot plant hangers can you have?! Even useful things like knitted jerseys can reach the point of too many. If I was doing full-sized paintings, I would be far too critical with myself and agonize far too much over getting everything just perfect. With card-making I have the freedom to try a whole range of different techniques, colour combinations, and themes without constraint – even if I don’t like something myself, it will be perfect for someone else. Some of my best cards have come from starting with colours I would never usually choose or from finding something to do with a difficult background.
As well as giving individual cards to people for various occasions, I also give boxes of cards to friends and family as gifts. This seems to go down particularly well. My sister-in-law Olivia has said that she wants to get cards for birthdays and Christmas for ever – one time I thought that she must be sick of that and gave her a necklace instead and she was most concerned that I had stopped making cards! Sometimes I theme the boxes of cards but mostly I include a selection of different types to give maximum flexibility for a wide range of recipients. I get such pleasure from the reactions to my cards – some people tell me that they have kept all the cards I’ve given them; others have them decorating their offices and homes long after the event has gone. I especially love it when I hear feedback via people who have given my cards to others. A very lovely story via my friend Vicky who is a postie: she had given one of my cards to an elderly lady she sees regularly on her route for her birthday and a couple of days later the lady rushed out to greet her and took her inside to show her that she had framed it for her wall!