Category Archives: Art

A Touch of Whimsy & Wonder ~ Beautifully Illustrated Cards & Paper Goods by Dot & Jot

Today, I’m delighted to introduce you to lovely Marta of Dot & Jot, whose brand tagline is Whimsy on Paper, which is such a fitting description for Marta’s fun and cheery illustration style. You’re certain to love it! Without further ado –

Tell us a little about you and your business: Hi, I’m Marta, designer and owner of Dot&Jot, a handmade stationery, paper goods, and accessories brand with designs that are whimsical, quirky, and clever. I love creating designs that are pretty and are also great conversation starters.

Our paper products are printed eco-friendly on recycled paper in USA, the packaging is recycled and even the business cards are made from recycled t-shirts. Also, percentage of proceeds benefit the OneTreePlanted.org nonprofit, with $1 donation plants 1 tree in USA.

Everything is designed and packed by me in my tiny Brooklyn studio that I share with my bf and our rescue dog Koozy.

What inspires you to do what you do?: Anything and everything inspires my work, but mostly it’s clever sayings and quirky puns. I’m a total nerd for a good pun. Most of my cards feature a clever take on a saying or a double meaning. Also, my friends and family inspired some of my work; their quirks or funny pet peeves make for funny designs.

Hogs and Kisses blank greeting card by Dot & Jot

I graduated with BA in Graphic Design and spend over 10 years working in the field of publishing and Advertising agencies. But working under rigid guidelines and sometimes boring brands starved my creative spirit and I would doodle constantly and obsess over pretty prints and paper goods. I started off licensing my art and patterns to varies companies and slowly moved towards building my own brand of paper goods.

What’s Next For You?: Currently I’m building a collection of notepads and expanding my line of wrapping paper. Next up will be different format of cards, pencils and pens, and lapel pins. Also, I’m hoping to build my wholesale channel and secure some of my favorite shops by end of the year.

Thanks Marta! It’s so lovely to get you know you and I can’t wait to see what you do next, especially looking forward to seeing your lapel pins, which we’re a great fan of here at the Sparkfold!

ps. Find Dot & Jot on Etsy & also on Instagram!

how to get featured on the Sparkfold blog

 

Meet Jessie from the newly launched Root and Branch Paper Co

Root and Branch is a wonderful new stationery & paper goods shop. Owned by Jessie Tyree Jenness, who designs and illustrates all of her products, I’ve been completely drawn in by her gorgeous, dense and dreamy illustrative style, and fresh use of colour. I know you will be too!

This is the latest in our meet the maker series, I hope you enjoy getting to know Jessie and discovering the amazing world of Root and Branch Paper Co.

Greetings Cards by Root & Branch Paper Co

Sparkfold: Tell us a little about you & how you got started in this wonderful world of design

Jessie: I studied graphic design at university. I spent my entire freshman year as an undeclared major because I was so torn… should I study art or study something “practical” ?! After a year of waffling I realized that art-making is what I absolutely love to do, and to balance, majoring in graphic design felt like a strategic career move. I’ve never once regretted that decision! During school and in the years since, I’ve done quite a bit of freelance design and illustration in various forms. This past year I decided to focus my portfolio and produce some ready-made pieces. Lo and behold, Root & Branch Paper Co. was born!

What’s the background to Root & Branch, you had a business previously – what’s inspired the slight change in direction?

For the past few years I have been taking commissions and creating one-off custom projects for wonderful clients… it’s awesome when people come to me with thoughtful and meaningful ideas. I love that collaboration! The first product I sent to print without a commission was my ABC Coloring book, which was a personal piece that I made purely for fun. To my surprise, that book received an awesome response, and I sold way more copies than anticipated. That’s the project that got my wheels turning. I started dreaming up so many products, enough to fill several collections. Eventually I realized hey, I can do this!

Botanical Greetings Cards by Root & Branch

Your illustration and pattern designs are really distinct and totally beautiful – obviously nature is a huge part of your work. What else inspires your style and your work?

Thank you so much! You’re right, the natural world is absolutely where I draw my inspiration. I grew up near the mountains and much of my childhood was spent outside- climbing trees, collecting leaves, pressing flowers. And honestly I still do all these things, haha! I can’t resist a good leaf! I have a huge collection.

Jessie Tyree Jenness of Root and Branch Paper Co

I travel a lot and am lucky to have lived on three different continents. One of my greatest joys in traveling is discovering new and exotic plants and flowers. I am always inspired by what I see, even just while running errands… my phone is constantly filled with snaps of interesting flowers and leaves. Each of my illustrations is inspired by a specific plant, and they represent places all over the globe. There are water lilies from China, hibiscus from Thailand, and foxgloves from Norway. Each represents a different season of my life, where I’ve been and where I’m dreaming to go.

Friednship Greetings Card by Root & Branch Paper Co

Additionally I am very inspired by Art Nouveau, traditional woodcuts, botanical prints, and folk art from all over the world. My floral drawing style and emphasis on heavy lines evolved over the years as an homage to these styles of work.

You must have a million product ideas! How have you managed to decide on your ranges & collections for your launch?

It’s true, I have more ideas than time, haha! I tend to just create and create until I have a huge stack of illustrations. My process is very casual, I carry a notebook with me wherever I go, and if I’m sitting in a cafe or if I’m stuck in a meeting, I draw flowers. I tend to be a kinesthetic learner, so I listen better when I’m drawing. Granted, getting some professors and speakers to understand this can be a challenge! I guess it’s a right-brain thing. Quite a few of the illustrations that made it onto my products were designed while I was “taking notes” in a lecture.

Root and Branch Paper Co - A Work In Progress

Once I have an overwhelming stack of drawings, I organize them in a three-ring binder. It becomes apparent which ones are the most intriguing designs. From there, the process turns entirely digital… scanning, touch-ups, and adding text and color. This is where my graphic designer side takes over, and it is one of the most fun parts of the process.

The last step in narrowing down my collection is sending screenshots to my mom and sisters… they have good taste and aren’t afraid to give real feedback!

Fun fact – tell us something that not many people know about you!

I live in China! When I’m not running Root & Branch, I’m studying Mandarin Chinese, and my husband Ben is currently studying architecture here. This shakes things up a bit, as Root & Branch is an online business but located primarily in the US, where all our products are manufactured and stored. My mom Ellen is my inventory manager, and she fills and ships all orders that we receive. I manage our web shop and take custom projects via email, and I have a network of printers and manufacturers in the US that I work with to make things come to life.

Pretty Botanical Greetings Cards by Root & Branch Paper Co

Apart from your new website, where else do you hang out online?

Pinterest is my favorite place on the internet. I have had an account since it was in beta (find me here!) and I often search there for reference photos, color palettes, and inspiring images.

I’m also a huge Instagram fan! I love the community of creatives there. You can find my feed here.

In addition to running my own web shop, I have an Etsy shop. Etsy is an awesome platform and have been selling my illustrations here even before launching Root & Branch. It’s a great place to meet and support other creative entrepreneurs, and one of my favorite places to look for gifts.

What’s the plan for the first year of Root & Branch? Any exciting new products we can look forward to?

I hope to get notepads and desk calendars in the shop soon. I’m very inspired by tropical plants lately, so expect to see some of those popping up this summer. I’m already thinking ahead about this year’s holiday season… botanical Christmas cards! And I hope to have a yearly calendar out for 2019!

Finally,I asked Jessie to talk about her personal favourite products. Here are Jessie’s picks! :

Personally I LOVE our notebooks. I am already using two of them myself: the Monja Blanca Orchid notebook is for my business, and the Water Lily & Lotus style is for my Chinese class notes. I am a huge notebook lover, and I designed these to suit my own taste for a perfect notebook.

Root-and-Branch-Paper-notebook2

Botanical Illustrated Notebooks by Root & Branch

Another favorite is our brand-new Garden botanical coloring book. It’s my second coloring book, made with gardeners, nature lovers and flower enthusiasts in mind. I had so much fun designing it and it’s a great gift for anyone who loves to color.

Botanical Coloring Book by Root & Branch

As far as greeting cards go, I designed our line with versatility in mind. Many of our styles can be used for a variety of occasions. Some of my favorites are the Hip Hip Hooray! card, which is suitable for any celebratory moment, along with the To My Dear Friend card, a sweet and simple friendship card for any occasion.

hip hip hooray card by Root & Branch

Card for a Friend by Root & Branch Paper Co

I had a super fun time creating the It’s Time to Party! card. I feel like Dahlias are the perfect party flower so they were a natural choice for this card.

Time to Party Card by Root & Branch Paper Co

And finally, one of my favorites from our gift wrap and wallpaper collection is the Coral Charm Peony design. It’s a pretty botanical design with a dash of funky.

Peony Gift Wrap by Root & Branch Paper Co

Jessie, thank you so much for being on the blog, I really enjoyed learning more about your business and hoping Root and Branch has an amazing fledgling year!

Christmas and Holiday Cards for 2017

One of my favourite things in life is choosing greetings cards and I’m so pleased to be able to bring this lovely curated selection to you. It delights me thought of introducing someone new to a business or designer they had perhaps never come across before. Greetings cards are so personal and I know I’m not alone in putting a lot of thought to choosing just the right thing.

I’ll be bringing you more greetings cards collections over the coming months, as a regular feature. Hope that’s okay 😀 in the meantime, enjoy! xo

NOEL Christmas Holiday Card by CWC Stationery

NOEL card by CWC Stationery.

Give Education Unicef Card by Marabou Design for Minted

Unicef Personalisable Joy to the Earth Card by Marabou Designs for Minted.

Joy Holiday Card by Our Heiday

Joy painted card by Our Heiday.

Hipster Santa Christmas Holiday greetings card by Paper Pony Co

Hipster Santa card by Paper Pony Co.

 

Christmas Cottage holiday Card by Paper Raven Co

Christmas Cottage card by Paper Raven Co.

Holiday Skier Christmas Card holiday Card by Idlewild Co

Holiday Skiers card by Idlewild Co.

 

BONJOUR-PAPER-CHRISTMAS-CARDS

Christmas Card set by Bonjour Paper.

 

JOY Holiday Christmas Greetings Card BY CWC Stationery

Joy card by CWC Stationery.

Peace on Earth Holiday Christmas Greetings Card by Idlewild Co

Peace on Earth card by Idlewild Co.

Merry-Christmas-Trolley-Christmas card by Amy Heitman

Christmas Trolley card by Amy Heitman.

The Sparkfold Gift Guide 2017

I hope you love this fabulous gift buying guide, I had such fun creating for you! I mainly shopped small, with a couple of exceptions. I love discovering small businesses and I shop with small businesses wherever possible – actually mostly for me, as our family doesn’t do gifts all that much.

Enjoy this little collection of hand-curated treasures and I hope you find something perfect within! xo

Fox enamel necklace by PapioPress

Set of enamel necklaces by Papio Press.

gold point vessel by Up in the Air Somewhere

Gold Point Vessel by Up in the Air Somewhere.

Intention Cards from DecoyLab

Intentions Cards with wooden stand by DecoyLab.

Black Magnolias Thought Jotter by Our Heiday

 

Black Magnolias Thought Jotter by Our Heiday.

Marble Inlay Jewelery Box by Anthropologie

Marble Inlay Jewellery Box by Anthropologie.

Vintage_Green_Letter_Board_for_sale by Vintage Revivals

Vintage style green felt letter board by Vintage Revivals.

Personalised brass keychain by Danielle Hornyak

Personalised brass stamped keychain with tassel by Danielle Hornyak.
pink terrazzo spiral notebook by micush

 

Pink Terrazzo Spiral Notebook by Micush.

Liberty for Anthropologie Mug by Anthropologie

Liberty Print mug by Anthropologie.

Dreamcatcher by The Hippie Hut UK

Blush Pink and white feature dreamcatcher by the Hippie Hut UK.

Press For Champagne Keychain by Idlewild Co

Press for Champagne keychain by Idlewild Co.

Flowers on Pink Original Artwork by Tamar Dovrat

“Flowers of Pink” original gouache painting by Tamar Dovrat.

Copper Wire Heart from The Letter Loft

Copper Wire Heart and Arrow by The Letter Loft.

Mabel Suede Journal By Anthropologie

Mabel suede journals by Anthropologie.

Geranium Illustration on Micush

Geranium Decorative Pillow by Micush.

Geometric Brass Himmeli Wreath by Vintage Revivals

DIY Himmeli Wreath kit by Vintage Revivals.

A Moment With – Alex Foster of Alex Foster Illustration

Alex Foster of Alex Foster Illustration is well known for the beautiful maps and house portraits he creates. In addition to these, Alex has ventured into new territory with a recently expanded product range, moving into stationery, notebooks, notepads and gift wrap.

I’ve followed Alex’s work for a while now – those map prints pop up everywhere (including on my very own blog post here), and I recently had the chance to ask him a few questions about his new product lines. It was lovely to find out more about Alex and his business. I hope you enjoy meeting him too!

Hi Alex, please introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about how you got to where you are now!  I’m Alex Foster and I learnt about illustration when my art teacher at school mentioned the University for the Creative Arts – our career advisers hadn’t heard of the place despite it being only 1 of 3 universities in the area. So I’m glad he told me about that!

I went on to do the foundation year there, then moved to London to study a degree in Illustration at Middlesex University. This is where I did a little bit of commercial work and it was also my first introduction to the freelance illustration world – since then it’s been hard work, trying to always improve and market myself to continue the flow of work. I’m very lucky to now have regular commissions and sales through my shop to keep me very busy with it all.

notebooks by Alex Foster Illustration

Lucha+libre+notebooks by Alex Foster Illustration

Your new lines are stationery focussed – what made you decide to branch out now?  I’ve always liked stationery, and moving in to this is a bit of an experiment really. Since signing up to exhibit at Top Drawer I wanted to expand what I did more and this meant designing a range of gift wrap, notebooks and notepads. I’m definitely still going to be making more art prints and maps when I can though – they are still my main focus.

Gardenia+greetings card by Alex Foster Illustration

I love the illustrations and patterns on your new products, I especially like the volleyball and Lucha Libre wrestling patterns! What inspired these new designs?  Some of the patterns I had made a few years ago but never had a good use for them, so I’m glad I’ve found a good medium for them. For example the foxes pattern was when I used to make tshirts and it was a pocket tee design. Others were more recent and inspired by my trip to Mexico for a friends wedding – we went to see the Luchadores and it was such a great experience.

House+plants+print+cropped by Alex Foster Illustration

Pink Painted Flowers+notebook by Alex Foster Illustration

You’ve worked on some fantastic projects during your career – what’s been a favourite project of yours?  I’ve got to say the Roald Dahl map for obvious reasons – I’ve been a lifelong fan and it was amazing to have a job where I got to look through almost all of his books and make a map out of them. But really any project where there is good communication with the client and things go relatively smoothly – a solid brief and vision of what is needed really helps produce good results.

Volleyball+print by Alex Foster Illustration

 

woodland+notepad+by Alex Foster Illustration

What’s next for you!  Christmas is coming so I’m already getting ready for that. My House Portraits are going on some great gift guides this year so I will be very busy with those soon – this has happened a few years in a row now and it’s always a challenge doing as many as I can before the Christmas deadline, but I really enjoy trying to satisfy all these new customers, and I love hearing back about how their special someone loved their gift!

Paris+Pink+map+print by Alex Foster Illustration

Foxes Pattern Gift Wrap by Alex Foster Illustration

Christmas+snowman+card by Alex Foster Illustration

Thanks for taking the time Alex, it’s been great finding out more about you and wishing you a very busy Christmas season!

Find the Alex Foster Illustration shop here

Follow Alex on Instagram here.

A Moment With Tamar Dovrat, Illustrator & Pattern Designer

I recently discovered the work of Tamar Dovrat, an illustrator and surface pattern designer, and was immediately drawn to the bold yet highly romantic and folksy style of her work. Tamar has a wonderful online shop where you can buy her original art, prints and stationery and is also available for commissions and custom surface pattern work.

It’s been a pleasure getting to know her over the past couple of months. Also – go see her Instagram, where Tamar posts her art, works in progress, and behind the scenes stuff including some super sweet little paper animals she’s been making of late.

I hope you enjoy Tamar’s work as much as I do!

Tamar, please introduce yourself & your business! I’m an Illustrator and Pattern designer from Tel-Aviv, Israel. I love creating and selling textiles, paper goods and original paintings. I also provide surface pattern design and illustration services. My art style is decorative and naturalistic with simple shapes, gentle lines, and usually lots of details from different textures and patterns.

What inspires you and your work? Why do you do what you do? I’m inspired mostly by nature and by things that surround my daily life. These could be objects in my home, a flower or a special leaf found while strolling with the baby, or a vintage object / photographs I found at my parents house. I’ve always been very passionate about art and craft. I simply can not imagine a day going by without creating something with my hands! Its impossible!

I also love to see how it makes people feel, how they smile or shine when they see art – even more so when they own a piece of art – it’s amazing! So, it was only natural for me to choose a creative path for living, no other option seemed to keep me happy.

How did you get started in your field / business? I used to teach ancient craft for women and children, but painting has been my major since I was a child. I’ve always loved creating – for myself, for our home or family and friends. I simply started by making different kinds of art for my loved ones and it spread from there.

Pattern is something I am simply addicted to – I see patterns wherever I turn! Combining my love of pattern design and painting is what I enjoy most and this can at times be a challenge.

It’s only recently that I decided I want to get serious about my art, and I love every step of the way. Even though some days are harder than others, I see it as a big privilege to get to do what I’m most passionate about, and to see the reaction of people when they connect with my work. I took to Instagram as a stage to publish what I do, things I draw and create on a daily basis, and it took off from there – I got motivated by the many great people I met along the way and it has encouraged me greatly!

What’s Next For You?: Oh my! Everything! I’d love to see my work on high fashion or home decor! And I really wish to own my own brand someday and expand it to far away areas. Not only geographically, but also learning new fields of art as I go as it’s something I love doing!

Tamar, thank you so much! I wish you all the best and I can’t wait to see your new work and how your brand grows in the future! 

Visit’s Tamar’s Website right here.

Follow Tamar on Instagram.

You can also follow Sparkfold on Instagram here.

Bright and Whimsical Wall Art Gift Ideas

I thought I’d start to gather up a few gift ideas as we’re nearing that most festive time of year and I think wall art is a good place to start. This is a lovely little collection of fun, bright and whimsical art prints which would enhance any walls. There are  more and more shops popping up which are focussing on small artists and print on demand wall art prints. This is great for all concerned but oooh my…. seriously there are so so many things to choose from!

I hope this little curated selection helps you wade through the myraid options and also inspires you to continue to support independent designer/makers!

Hennel Paper Co Bee Hive Terrarium Wall Art Print

Jayme of Hennel Paper Co is a surface designer & illustrator and created this adorable terrarium print. Go and check out her shop – it’s full of adorable goodies.

Sloth Jungle Art Print by Amber Davenport

Who doesn’t love a lovely Sloth? This beautiful and happy handpainted artwork by Amber Davenport of Amber’s Textiles. For some reason, I can totally see this living in a bathroom!

Paris Wall Art Print by Alex Foster Illustration

For the Francophile in your life, ne c’est pas? I love this charming Paris wall art print by Alex Foster Illustration. Plus it’s pink, and my love affair with pink is not going anywhere too soon (#sorrynotsorry).

New Home Wall Art Print by Lauren Radley

This print is called “New Home”, and would make a fab housewarming gift, but I actually think it’s just a lovely print even if you’ve not recently moved house! By Lauren Radley.

Song Thrush in the Roses Whimsical Wall Art Print by Angie Spurgeon

This little charmer is called “Song Thrush in the Roses” by Angie Spurgeon. She’s a recent discovery and the queen of pretty, colourful art prints.

Wildflowers Gathered Wall Art Print by Joy Laforme

I’ve followed Joy Laforme’s career for several years now and always been an admirer of her work, so I’m thrilled to host a little bit of it here – how could I not?! This lovely wall art print is called “Wildflowers Gathered” and you can find it here.

violets-and-daisies-wall art print by Paula McGloin #wallart #floralartprint

This happy folksy art print is by Paula McGloin Studio and is called Violets & Daisies. The motifs have such a timeless feel, and the whole piece carries so much energy. I love it!

Over to you – do you know of any lovely designers producing pretty art prints? Please hit me up in the comments! xo

Lovely Inspirational Graphic Wall Art Prints by The Postman’s Press

As a huge fan of surface pattern design, I discovered the work of the Postman’s Press a couple of months ago and was bowled over by these lovely wall art quote prints from the Postman’s Press. Owned by UK-based Aussie Josh Varley, I got to find out the inside track on this recently launched venture.

The Postman’s Press art prints are available in limited runs on Etsy, and an online shop in the works. Each print comes with it’s own lovely mount to be hung straight onto your wall. I caught up with Josh to find out more about the Postman’s Press. Over to you, Josh…

wall art hanging print by the Postman's Press on Etsy

Josh – I am displaced Australian living in Heathfield, East Sussex with my beautiful wife, our 18-month-old son and soon-to-be baby daughter. We have recently relocated from London, longing for a quiet life in the country. I am primary school teacher by day, and channel my creative energy into ‘The Postman’s Press’ by night.

wall art DIY ideas by the Postman's Press on Etsy

The Postman’s Press was established in early this year after years of flickering away as slow-burning flame at the back of my mind. Still finding it’s feet, The Postman’s Press is my creative outlet/micro-business which I use primarily to create rich, colourful surface patterns for use in various lifestyle products.

I am so inspired by simplicity and restriction. Taking inspiration from art mediums that are inherently restricted in their use of material and palette (lino-printing, screen-printing, collage, calligraphy etc.) I love to create surface patterns by manipulating simple shapes and arrangements.

wall art prints by the Postman's Press on Etsy

I never start out with a plan, but rather may take a simple shape and create through play and experimentation. Working with children all day, I am so inspired by their ability to create with very little. Children are so unaffected by their inner-critic and are able to create so freely and openly. I try to replicate this openness and sense of play in my own design practice.

Visually, my work tends to take inspiration from many different sources. I am inspired by simple line art, bold typography, modern/brutalist architecture, geometry, maps and technical drawings amongst many other things.

wall art quotes by the Postman's Press on Etsy

I did a fashion design degree at university, but I fell out of love with making clothing soon after. Whilst I always enjoyed working with my hands and exploring the design process, it never really seemed like a perfectly natural fit for me. The creative compulsion has never left me though and over the last five or six years I have slowly taught myself how to use different software to create imagery that I love.

The Postman’s Press is a culmination of my attempts to kick start my creative practice by focusing my efforts on one particular pursuit. Creating surface patterns keeps my imagination buzzing and provides endless motivation. I consider The Postman’s Press to be a kind of  physical record of this journey.

wall art DIY ideas by by the Postman's Press on Etsy

My wall art prints are bold, colourful and playful and they are designed to be small, inexpensive additions to a wall/work space.

Each print is A5, printed on lovely ‘G Mund Tactile Blanc’ paper. The finished print is mounted on a piece of Baltic Birch plywood, which is held in place by a chrome clip. The prints can be hung using the chrome clip and a small nail, or leant against the wall on a table/desk.

As of right now I am focusing on creating affordable, motivational prints to adorn the walls and work spaces of dreamers and doers alike, I have a whole array of lifestyle products in mind for the future. I am a bit of closet stationary tragic and as the business and my following grows, I plan to produce a number of products in line with this. (Think notebooks, writing sets, gift wrap, greeting cards etc etc)

clipboard wall art by wall art print by the Postman's Press on Etsy

I am determined to let this little business grow in a way that is completely natural and perfectly paced; so with that in mind, these products will appear as they are imagined.


Josh, thank you so much for sharing a little about you and your business. I love what you have to say about working within design constraints and it’s certainly paying off with such wonderful pattern design. I can’t wait to see what’s next for you!

Ps. Follow Josh on Insta, his account is great!

@sparkfold

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