Meet the Maker: November ’21

 During this past *Noted, I couldn’t help falling in love with the Meet The Maker videos. These short intros were designed to circumvent the digital format of that event and allow buyers to get acquainted with brands they are considering taking on. While nothing can ever replace actually hobnobbing in person, these represent a coronavirus-friendly adaptation. Each reflects each distinctive brand, and as such, you never know quite what you will see!
   I plan to feature one every Monday in my newsletter, and then once the month ends, I’ll place all those I featured into a post so they can live on in paper nerd posterity under the Meet the Maker tag. This post then is the first in the series.

For my very first video, I bring you Rust Belt Love. Alyson and Nick O’Connor hail from Buffalo, New York, and opened their wholesale biz when COVID-19 closed their retail space. To me, this carefully rendered and letterpressed range expertly blends Old World artistry with entirely modern sentiments. Plus, I got a chance to meet them in New York City and experience their work for myself this past August, and I am here to tell you, they are Class A paper peeps in addition to being truly talented makers. 

 Next up I have Smile Songs, hailing from glorious Colorado. Maker Sharon Glassman comes to stationery from a storytelling and songwriting background. With a little help from your phone, her work literally sings! 

I love how Sharon’s approach brings new dimension to the card-sending and gift exchange process — to say nothing of her sunny, funny take on life’s celebrations and challenges. (And speaking of challenges, Sharon simplified my life exponentially by supplying The Paper Fold theme music; now she is providing my sound editing as well!)  This is a dynamic and distinctive range to check out if you haven’t already done so.

What can I say about Good Juju Ink that has not been already said? In addition to being my all-time favorite LOUIE Award presenters, husband-and-wife-dream-team Ryan and Juliana (aka Juju) Kissick put their entire hearts and souls into their fantastic & fantastical stationery offerings. I can guarantee you that each and every last piece was made with passion for the natural world and humanity, albeit sprinkled with a bit of a mischief.

Once you check it out, is hard not to fall for this range, which is by turns poignant, beautiful and funny — but always distinctive and always luxe. Populated by eloquent creatures, artful illustrations, and clever puns, it promises to take your correspondence to the next level! 

For me, there’s few pleasures to parallel discovering a new letterpress range — which was just the case with Spacepig Press last year. At any rate, this Sacramento house of stationery is the brainchild of Christine Byrne, with vital assistance from Petunia, a 1500-pound hand-fed, treadle-run Chandler & Price platen press manufactured in 1923.

“I got her in a shady Craigslist deal — dirty, dusty, full of broken parts and debris, and the most beautiful thing I’ve ever laid eyes on,” Christine described. “It took several months of cleaning, oiling, tinkering, swearing, acquiring parts, oiling more, sacrificing bourbon to the print gods, a little brute force, and oiling even more to get her in working order. She is my delicate 1500-lb flower.”

Big thanks as always to the Greeting Card Association for letting me share these — to say nothing of their efforts on behalf of our community. All its efforts, from the GCA Marketplace to *Noted, are crafted to help us all grow as we generate countless inside jokes, to say nothing of lifelong friendships.

If you want to get involved, get started here.