Category Archives: Stationery

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!

Valentine’s Day Cards – lovely cards for Love Day!

Confession time – me and my husband don’t exchange Valentine’s Day cards! We used to, but then several years ago there was a bit of a situation where an attempt at on-card humour was made, and it did not go so well (naming no names!), and we just kind of stopped after that. But I’ve seen such a lot of lovely Love Day cards over the past couple of weeks, I consider it my duty and honour to show them to you!

In other news – I’m trying to get a library of free printables up and running, I blog here, but I also create…. a lot! And at the moment things I design are just sat doing nothing, which is a shame, so I thought I’d just share them out. Choosing the best way to distribute freebies from a library is proving hard as I want to make it really easy for you to access, but I want to build it up to quite a lot of pieces. If you’d like to be kept in the loop about my free printables library, please sign up here, where you can download a pretty marbled paper design 2018 calendar should you wish and also get notified when I add new stuff!

Anyway, without further ado, here are the pretties!

“Be my Valentine” illustrated by Meghann Rader for Bespoke Press.

“Love” Valentine’s Day card by CWC Stationery.

“Everyone Sucks” card by Paper Pony Co.

“Heart Arms” card by Amelia Flower.

“I’ll Always Pick You” card by Copper Paper Co.

Blush Letter Press Valentine’s Day card by Bespoke Press.

“Love Citation” Valentine’s Day Card by Slightly Stationery.

Love-Valentines-Card-Natalie-Lea-Owen-1

“Love” card by Natalie Lea Owen.

original_perfect-together-lovebirds-greeting-card by Jade Fisher

‘Perfect Together’ Lovebirds Greeting Card by Jade Fisher.

Please Be Mime Valentines Day Card By Violet Press and Paper

“Please Be Mime”  Valentine’s Card by Violet Press & Paper.

“Swan Love” Valentine’s Day Card by Good Juju Ink.

You are Ace card by Oh Hello Studio

“You are Ace” card by Oh Hello Studio.

WHITE PEONY VALENTINES DAY CARD BY PAPER RAVEN CO

White Peony card by Paper Raven Co.

You Mean the World to Me Valentines Card by Pen and Paint

“You Mean the World to Me” card by Pen & Paint.

PERFECT MATCH VALENTINES DAY CARD BY BADGER AND BURKE

“Perfect Match” card by Badger & Burke.

I Love You Valentines Day Notecard by Blattpapier Studio

“I Love You” Valentine’s Day Notecard by Blattpapier Studio.

Your Love is My Drug Valentines Card by Fox and Fallow

“Your Love is My Drug” Valentine’s Card by Fox and Fallow.

I WANNA TAKE YOU OUT VALENTINES DAY CARD BY SNOW AND GRAHAM

“I Wanna Take You Out” card by Snow & Graham.

2018 Planners Round Up – My Picks

Christmas and the New Year seem like sooo long ago now and the holidays were lots of fun (hope you had a lovely seasonal break too!)… but…. planners! Who doesn’t love a lovely new planner, with its lovely crisp blank pages upon which we jot down (in our best handwriting with our favourite pen) our plans, goals, hopes & dreams… maybe do a little doodle or two…. definitely go crazy with the washi tape and I suppose we can also write groceries list (boo!). So multi functional! Have you got yours yet? Here’s a collection of gorgeous that take my fancy!

original_palma-2018-daily-planner-diary by Hello Day

“Palma” 2018 Daily Planner Diary Original by Hello Day on Not on the High Street.

Next Page Planner set by Poketo via Spring

“Next Page” collection by Poketo on Spring.

2018 Weekly Planner by Sasha Kretova

Minimalist 2018 Weekly Planner by Sasha Kretova.

Pink Paris Map Agenda by Kate Spade

Paris 17 month Large Agenda by Kate Spade.

For the planner kit by Appointed Via Spring

Planner bundle by Appointed.

Black Marble Planner by Fringe via Spring

Black Marble 17 month Planner by Fringe.

 

AGENDA07_White_swiss_dot_spiral_by Suger Paper LA

2018 Spiral Bound Agenda in Swiss Dot by Sugar Paper.

 

original_personalised-script-2018-weekly-diary by Martha Brook

Personalised Script 2018 Weekly Diary by Martha Brook.

Modern Citizen 2018 Planner (Charcoal) by Modern Citizen.

 

The Sparkfold Instagram Top 9 Images for the Year

First of all – Happy New Year and a massive thank you to everyone who has supported Sparkfold during 2017, which was the fledgling year for the blog. I’m overwhelmed with the grace, kindness and enthusiasm from the wonderful designers, makers and business owners that have been featured so far – thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart.

I really can’t wait to show you the content for 2018 – some fabulous designer interviews to bring you, as well as loads of other features on all things paper, stationery and gift inspo. We’re also launching a printables library in the first quarter of the year, and a couple of other little surprises too! Aaaanyway, I digress…..

It’s no secret that I LOVE Instagram – I have 4 different accounts! But the Sparkfold Instagram is the focus of this post…. (psst – follow us!) – I use it to help to build the profiles of those who are featured on the blog, and a few other designers whose work I love. So at the end of this, my first year in blogging, I thought it would be fun to discover what the most popular Instagram posts of the year were (I used this site to do mine) and I thought I’d publish the grid here too, because there are some wonderful pics from brilliant designers (and a couple of my own made the cut too!).

Sparkfold Instagram 2017 Best Nine GridL-R from the top

  1.  Josh from The Postman’s Press makes brilliantly bond patterns and quote wall art (read more about The Postman’s Press here)  |  Shop  |  Instagram  |
  2.  Our Heiday, run by sisters Patricia and Donna have a trove of floral and painterly gifts & stationery goodies. This pic is gift wrap of theirs.  |  Shop  |  Instagram  |
  3. Tamar Dovrat creates magical works of art in gouache. Florals and much more (read more about Tamar here)  |  Shop  |  Instagram  |
  4. That’s me 🙂 I love creating pretty images with paper!  |  Website  |  Instagram  |
  5. This is a snap I took of a wonderful Japanese stationery subscription box I’ve purchased a couple of times. It’s from The Stationery Selection. Boxes are limited and sell out fast!  |  Shop  |  Instagram  |
  6. Tamar Dovrat gets another score in the best nine of the year! This is one of a set of gorgeously sweet paper toys that she recently created.
  7. This playful pennant banner is by Gabrielle of House of Hooray – if you’re after nursery and sweet kids’ decor, go see what she’s got for you!  |  Shop  |  Instagram  |
  8. Another snap of mine. I like pink watercolour apparently!
  9. This gorgeous handmade paper is the creation of Zoë Durber. Zoë offers her paper for sale in small batches, so keep an eye on her Insta for that, and she’s also graphic designer and illustrator.  |  Website  |  Instagram |

Go and check out these guys – they all happen to also have brilliant Instagram accounts if you’re on the hunt for some new peeps to follow.

Here’s to a brilliant 2018!

Claire xo

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.

@sparkfold

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