Why did you decide to start Kwohtations?
The idea for Kwohtations, as with most ventures and ridiculous ideas in general, was seeded over coffee on a lazy Sunday four years ago. My friend Amy and I were reminiscing and laughing over our assorted (mis)adventures, bumbling moments, and personal triumphs, and lamenting the fact that we couldn't find cards to celebrate all of these trivial and momentous life experiences. Like when we get too drunk (it’s embarrassing) or have ambiguous feelings for someone (it's confusing) or decide to quit our jobs and pursue our passions despite a myriad of pressures to do otherwise (it’s terrifying and exhilarating). So I started making cards to celebrate those everyday occasions and life-changing milestones often underrepresented in the mainstream card industry, for all the things we really think and sometimes want to say.
What Boston area maker(s) do you admire?
I really admire Curly Girl Design. I think her hand-drawn illustrations and collages produce really unique and beautiful designs, and their positive messages always have just the right touch of humor and magic. I also really admire the community of artists and printers behind Arbalest Press, a new printing arts collaborative in Boston. I've been consistently impressed by the depth of knowledge, care, and integrity they bring to the art of letterpress printing, and am so grateful for their willingness to teach and support newly minted typeslingers like myself!
What's the best part about owning your own business?
I can decide what I put out into the world, and can choose to only make things that I think are doing good. Also, far fewer meetings and no conference calls!
What is something most people don't know about Kwohtations?
I make all the cards by hand in my bedroom, so I basically sleep in a workshop / storage room, surrounded by precariously balanced boxes and tabletops covered with unfinished cards. It's extremely convenient, since most mornings I roll out of bed and pretty much immediately start making cards. On the flip side, sometimes I feel like John Nash in A Beautiful Mind, obsessively immersed in his secret shed plastered with papers.
What inspires you when creating new designs and phrases for your cards?
I often think that I'm alone or an outlier in having a certain issues, like being irrationally afraid that I'm pregnant, or hiding in the bathroom during breaks at conferences to avoid small talk, or wondering if I could start from scratch on a completely new career path. But when finally I confess to my closest friends, they generally register empathy rather than surprise. I want my cards to be like that friend that laughs knowingly and says, "Oh yeah, I do that too. All the time." Life is sometimes really great, sometimes really hard, and sometimes just really, really confusing, so I hope my cards help people know that they're not weird or alone. Or that they're weird, but in a good way.
What's your process for making your cards?
I make each card entirely by hand, no computers involved. I print the characters using linoleum blocks that I've carved out by hand, and then paint each one in and stamp the words using individual rubber stamps. Each card takes me about 5-10 minutes to create, so they're definitely a labor of love!