Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Her Own Words - Handcraft Feature

Today is the very first installment of something I am really excited about. I have featured a lot of artists and makers and crafters on the blog before, but it was always me talking about them, or generalized questions. I recently felt inspired to bring back the features, but with a little more of a personal touch. So, of course, Yas from Quill and Fox was my first choice and here she is today, in her own words.

Dear Yas, thank you so much for being part of this new blog feature. I am really excited to have you on the blog and share your beautiful work! Tell us a little about yourself and how you started making cards and stationery.
I came from a graphic design and advertising background. I've always enjoyed hand-rendered designs, and always tried to 'weasel' it in a lot of the projects I do. Eventually I've decided to have a complete go at doing what I love doing, and started my own design shop.
A pretty standard question to break the ice! You have such an incredible design style, where do you get your inspiration from? 
I've been bitten for awhile now by the nostalgic bug! I like referencing a lot of things from my childhood like The Little Golden Books and the Little Prince. I'm always inspired by various textiles and mid-century details!
How has your style changed through out the years?
I've always done design work that were very saturated in colors. I go in seasons of very muted colors to more vibrant ones, and back and forth. I've transitioned from doing a lot of loose line art illustrations, to doing away with it completely and utilizing filled in shapes. I'm now at the place where I'd like to do a bit of both!
I know you recently filled a very big order with Anthropologie, congratulations! Do you have any advice for other artists with a quickly growing business? How do you stay organized {and sane} during such a busy time for you business? 
Why thank you! An advice I'd like to give is something I'm still trying to learn myself---don't let it overwhelm you. :) I was quite surprised with the response I got from my shop that I felt like I needed to jump at every opportunity that came. It's a good strategy, but it can also easily overwhelm you.  It's important to take your time, and really plan out what your next steps should be--even if your plan is to not have a plan. What matters is that you decided on it yourself. Don't let the situation take control of your own shop.

I'm not at all organized, but I'm married to an organizational freak (I say that with love!). My husband helps me a lot with admin work and has been amazing. I schedule out my tasks and production throughout the week so I'm not always constantly worrying about them everyday. I know that's basic project management but I'm terrible at scheduling. I always strive to have them all done in a day! It's possible--but you're for sure to go crazy!
You are constantly putting out new designs and new products, how do you stay motivated and inspired?
I'm always motivated by the opportunity to share, and I find inspirations in a lot of places. I've recently had one of my easter cards inspired off of a hideous tie I saw. I'm constantly drawn to patterns and shapes. When an idea pops up, I'm always so excited to execute it and have it out!

What has been one of your most loved projects? What has been the hardest project and how were you able to overcome the challenges and create something to be proud of? 
I really enjoyed my Easter Cards this year, but a huge favorite of mine is my Pencils of Promise project. It was also one of the hardest ones because I had to work with certain parameters and construct a cool idea off of it. I think with any project, your biggest challenge is that blank paper. There's so many ideas you can think of, and also so very little. Something I learned is to sketch things out in small thumbnails, just  toget that idea out of your brain. That way, you're well off to your next idea. It's a quick process of just hashing things out, so you're not stuck.

Tell us a little about Pencils of Promise and how you became involved with them! 
I was able to work with them through a collaboration with TanQ . It's a studio based here in Portland, Oregn that's dedicated on designing one tee per month for a good cause. They work with a ton of non-profit organizations, and different artists per month. It was a really fun project!

Tell us a little about your work space!
I share my work space with my husband who works at the opposite side of the room. I occupy most of it because of the work that I do. I absolutely love working in my table. 
I try my best to populate my space with things that inspire and motivate me. I'm  also very happy that it has room enough for a lot of the things I need, like my shelves, supplies, and printer. My work space has been ever changing and always a work in progress (I'm itching for a new paint job!).

Can you talk a little about your experience selling on Etsy and being part of the Etsy community? Any tips for new  or aspiring etsy sellers?

I've had a great experience with Etsy ever since I opened shop. I initially thought (from the things I've read online) that it was a very exclusive community, where the only way to get noticed off of a sea of products and shops is to be in some kind of 'circle'. Like an online highschool! (Haha. But it really wasn't at all. It all comes down to the product and hard work. And maybe a little bit of a waiting game. Don't let the pages and pages of products in your category intimidate you or influence how you set your prices. It's definitely a community that appreciates the craft that you do, and is very supportive at that! 

Where do you see yourself in the years to come? Any big plans, dreams or goals you want to share with the world?
 I decided to work for myself because I love the idea of being able to work from home. It's quite a priority. I like to maintain this lifestyle, and I plan to map out the way I grow my business according to that. I was thinking of eventually setting up my own brick and mortar shop as a vague 5 year plan, but I'm slowly seeing the decreasing need for it. Especially when social media has always just been increasing in coverage and reach. 
Some big dreams or goals that are a bit 'ambitious' would be to have the chance to work with Wes Anderson on a really awesome stop-motion, consisting of paper dolls! And maybe ship that reel to Cannes! Yep.

Thanks so much for sharing Yas, and please be sure to visit the Quill and Fox shop, there are some pretty incredible mother;s day cards available right now, I just bought some!!



  1. Wow seriously gorgeous designs!


  2. oh i love her work! i hadn't seen it before!

  3. I just recently saw something of hers pop up on a friends pinterest board, and thought it was adorable! Her & her work are both amazingly adorable! Such an inspiration :) Thanks so much for sharing this interview!!
    xo Heather

  4. She has so many awesome designs in her shop! & that's awesome that she is doing work for Anthropologie!

    What an inspiring workspace, too!

    I'm off to add some more of her items to my wishlist, ha! Great feature!