1. Meet the Maker: Lauren Camara

    This March, meet our maker of the month, Lauren Camara. Lauren is a self taught artist and full time graphic designer with a primary focus on print and paper. Celebrate National Craft Month & Women’s History Month by learning more about this month’s maker, the passion behind her projects and her unique style here.

     

     

    Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? Where are you from? Where do you live?
    How did you get started in graphic design and your role as a creative director? What
    are your hobbies? What makes your life feel special every day?

    I’m a self-taught artist, graphic designer, and creative director originally from NY, currently
    living in the Bronx. I have always created art and have experimented with different mediums
    over the years. At 19, I interned at a small Manhattan design agency, and quickly discovered
    my interest in graphic design. The precision of graphic design – the clean lines, bold colors,
    and fascinating simplicity – captivated me like no other medium.

    I was determined to learn graphic design, so I purchased my first Mac computer, and delved
    into design programs, teaching myself through books in the pre-internet era. As I learned the
    programs, I began creating my graphic design portfolio and my career as a designer began.
    I’ve been fortunate to contribute to exciting creative departments including Major League
    Baseball, Sony Music, World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), and now Columbia University
    Irving Medical Center. Each experience and position has fueled my evolution as a graphic
    designer and as an artist.

    Beyond my current full-time position and working on my art, I find joy in jogging in Van
    Cortlandt Park and spending time with my family – my incredible husband and two awesome
    teenage boys. My life revolves around the simplicity of family, friends, art, music, and dance.
    When did you begin work with paper art and how did you get involved?
    Immersed in the world of graphic design, my primary focus for many years was creating
    designs for print pieces. I was surrounded by paper swatch books, each containing a
    treasure trove of textures, colors, and patterns that captivated me. The allure of different
    types of paper was instantaneous and I found myself intrigued by the possibility of using
    them for something beyond traditional graphic design.

    Driven by an obsession with these unique papers, I transformed some paper swatches into
    my first paper collage, a portrait of my husband. This passion has continued to grow over
    decades along with my overwhelming paper collection. The discovery of Paper Source, with
    its incredible array of handmade papers, has opened a world of new possibilities for my art
    beyond the solid colors I was typically using.

     

    Tell us about your style and the process.

    I define my art style as graphic, bold, and clean. It’s a structured approach, though the final
    result may not immediately convey that. The first step in my creative journey involves
    selecting a subject that resonates with me on a personal level. Daily encounters, family
    moments, political reflections, music, and people in my community serve as profound
    sources of inspiration. Whether it’s someone’s unique style, a conversation’s nuances, or the
    movement in a gesture, these elements shape my artistic vision.

    From the ordinary, I extract graphic elements, discerning shapes and forms. Once my
    subject is chosen, I embark on the meticulous process of selecting my paper palette.
    Scanning the papers hanging on the walls in my makeshift studio, I carefully pick the
    foundational pieces, considering symbolism, contrasting colors, patterns, and textures. The
    building phase then begins, similar to constructing a spider web. Starting with the focal point
    or what I consider the most captivating section, often the face, I build out each section.
    Clarity and distinction between each area is crucial, guided by my paper choices. No
    repeated patterns, just the right mix of color and tone. It is a slow process and it is very
    difficult to go backwards. I work in sections, taking a step back regularly to see the whole
    picture and make adjustments.

     

    Tell us about the exhibitions that you have participated in.

    Even though I have been working in this medium for decades, it’s only recently that I started
    sharing my pieces. Over the past few years, I’ve been fortunate to showcase my work in
    various locations and exhibitions, including:
    ● Warburton Galerie, Yonkers, NY
    ● Art on the Avenue Exhibitions, NYC
    ● The Fine Art Program and Collection at Montefiore Einstein, Bronx, NY
    ● BX200, a Bronx Visual Artist Directory, bx200.com
    ● Gallery 505, Bronx, NY
    ● Riverfront Art Gallery, Yonkers, NY

    What inspires you as a maker?

    I find inspiration in the ordinary moments of daily life, my family, politics, music, and my
    community. Sometimes I am touched by someone’s unique style, a conversation, or the
    nuances of an expression. My pieces share personal messages or convey the simple beauty
    found in unexpected places—like a spontaneous moment or a surprise connection. These
    unexpected inspirations may be as ordinary as meeting a soon-to-be-mother setting up her
    baby shower in the park, a young man practicing skateboarding skills, a chat with a local
    photographer, passing by women waiting for the local bus, a song that resonates with me,
    sitting on the couch with my husband, or my children drawing with chalk on the sidewalk.
    What are the essentials in your maker toolkit? What is your favorite medium?
    Paper, an X-Acto knife, a cutting board, tape, and glue are the essentials in my maker toolkit.
    It took me a long time to find my primary medium, which is paper. Currently, it’s the only
    medium I work with (aside from graphic design).

     

    What advice would you give other makers, designers, and creators given your
    experience?
    With time and practice, growth is inevitable. Reflecting on how much my technique has
    evolved in a short span, I realize that diving deeper into my work and embracing the natural
    exploration of new ideas played a crucial role. Sharing my work publicly was something I
    never imagined doing. I’ll admit, self-criticism was and still is a constant companion, but I
    create anyway. My advice to other makers, designers, and creators is simply to create. You
    do not know where it will lead and what joy it might bring you. Allow yourself to create
    without judgment, make art for yourself and without a strict plan.

     

    Do you have any specific goals for the future or dream projects?
    I don’t have specific goals for the future beyond continuing to create and share. However, I
    do hope to explore significant larger sized pieces someday. The only challenge is that studio
    space will be needed for that—storing work under a bed is not ideal!

    What is Your Favorite Colorscope Color at PS?
    I love every single Colorscope Color! It’s truly impossible for me to pick one but if I have to,
    today I will pick persimmon. Tomorrow I think I’ll pick fushia!

    Do you have any favorite PS items that you are loving right now?
    Every single piece of paper that Paper Source has in stock. I am obsessed! Handmade
    Lokta paper from Nepal is probably my favorite at the moment because it is so strong, has
    an elegant feel and the colors are stunning.

  2. Card Designer Spotlight x Shorthand Press

    The Card Designer Spotlight is a series featuring independent makers whose greeting cards you can find in Paper Source stores. Meet and be inspired by a new designer every month on our blog!

    This month, meet our Card Designer Rosanna of Shorthand Press. Celebrate International Women’s Month and find out how this woman owned business started 16 years ago and where a steady pace, original greetings and the magic of letterpress has lead to today in our blog post here.

     

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  3. Meet the Maker: Niky Foster

    This February, Meet Niky Foster, our maker of the month. Niky specializes in DIY and Crafting for Home & Lifestyle, where she creates beautiful projects as well as beautiful moments. Learn about how stepping outside of your comfort zone and a reminder to ‘keep going’ will lead you to special places.

    Can you please tell us a little bit about yourself and your life? Where are you from? Where do you live? How did you get started in DIY and your creative role? What are your hobbies? 

    My name is Nicole Foster, but I go by Niky Foster online. A few years ago, I decided to step out of my comfort zone and create a YouTube channel under the channel name DIY By Niky Foster, a place where I was able to document and share my home diys and crafting diys. Unbeknownst to me, my channel would grow quickly to over 100,000 subscribers and I would be able to share my love of diy, crafting as well as sharing tips and tricks as a full time creator. Although I love doing home diy projects, crafting with my cricut, making envelope art and putting together puzzles are some of my favorite hobbies.

    What does it mean to you to be a creator and maker?

    To me, being a creator and maker means being creative, trying different projects and not being afraid  of stepping outside of my comfort zone. Even though I have my favorite type of projects to make, I still love challenging myself to try new things all the time. 

     

    When did you begin work with DIY craft projects and how did you get involved? 

    In college, I used to work for a party planning business (it was actually my best friend’s small business) and we used to make DIY projects all the time. We’d do prom set ups, bat mitzvahs, baby showers and more! I lovveeddd seeing an idea sketched out and come to life. This was the very beginning and from there it spiraled! Lol.

    Tell us about your style and the process. Do you have an all-time favorite project or creation?

    I would describe my craft style or design style along the lines of a clean aesthetic. Sometimes, I do like to play around with bold colors, but I love a clean look that outlives trends. Part of my process is also trying different things that look interesting or fun to make or recreate from inspiration. I don’t have an all-time favorite project yet, but I’m working on it.

    What inspires you?

    I love trying new craft projects and inspiration always hits when I least expect it! Sometimes I’ll be scrolling through Pinterest and a new project will catch my eye. I love trying new things that I have not tried before or challenging myself to try projects that seem hard at first, but once I’m into it, I can figure it out.  The crafting community inspires me all the time and I love that everyone shares their makes and encourages others to do the same.

    What are the essentials in your ‘maker toolkit’? What is your favorite medium?

     Essentials include quality paper, a ruthless amount of scissors, clear glue, double stick tape, some regular pens and acrylograph paint markers. My favorite medium is probably acrylograph markers because there’s less mess to them than with other paints.  

    What advice would you give other makers, designers, and creators given your experience? 

    Keep going. Sometimes we have projects that we’re working on and can lose steam. The words from one of my closest friends – she always tells me to ‘keep going’ and honestly, just hearing that is supportive and inspires me to do just that! So I’d share that same advice with others because usually we have something that we really want to share and in order to do that, we have to keep going. 🙂

    Do you have any specific goals for the future or dream projects? 

    One of my goals is to keep growing my YouTube channel and to keep inspiring my community. One of my dream projects is to have a branded collaboration. I have really good ideas and a background in product development and would love to put that to use again. 

    What is Your Favorite Colorscope Color at PS? 

    Hydrangea! I love the color itself as well as the meaning! It resonates with me.

    Do you have any favorite PS items that you are loving right now? 

    I love everything at Paper Source, so it’s hard to choose just 1 thing, but I have to say, the custom address stamp and my stabilo pens! 

    How do you celebrate the ‘every day’? Just by adding a creative element, even if it’s small, for instance, just coloring a page or discovering a colorful way to write notes helps me to celebrate the everyday. 

  4. 2024 ‘Stuck on You’ Card Making Contest by Paper Source

    Hello to our favorite sticker stashers & sweethearts,

    We have an opportunity for you to show off your stickers and creative card-making skills during the 2024 season of love.

    Create a handmade Valentine for a chance to win up to $300  We are crushing hard on all our new Valentine stickers (dropping soon!) and want to see what you create with them!

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  5. Meet the Maker: Farren Celeste

    Each month, we love to feature an independent maker that you can find on the shelves in-store or online at papersource.com. This November, Meet Farren Celeste, our maker of the month. Farren specializes in Paper Floristry where she makes stunning and elegant floral arrangements that can last a lifetime. Explore special techniques to create these beautiful bouquets, and how to get started in this creative escape with more from our maker here.

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  6. Host a Holiday Craft Party with Paper Source

    Crafting is a great way to bring home the holidays this year. Create a memorable and worthwhile tradition with us. What we recommended is hosting an easy-to-put-together Craft Party for the Holidays. Invite your friends and family for a snowy night-in to make the merriest memories and share in the festive fun for everyone. 

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  7. Card Designer Spotlight: E. Frances

    The Card Designer Spotlight is a series featuring independent makers whose greeting cards you can find in Paper Source stores.  Meet and be inspired by a new designer every month on our blog!

     

    E. Frances is a family business, made up of three cousins- Ali, Pippi & Jenni. Their designs & card collection are inspired out of their East Coast studio in Rhode Island. Whether sending their cute greeting cards or little notes, their stationery is motivated to delight anyone of any age and support their continued goal of creating meaningful personal connections.

     

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  8. Card Designer Spotlight: Slightly Stationery

    The Card Designer Spotlight is a series featuring independent makers whose greeting cards you can find in Paper Source stores.  Meet and be inspired by a new designer every month on our blog!

     

    Alicia Heater is the proud owner and designer of Slightly Stationery. Her natural skills and illustrations bring us a sassy collection of cards and designs inspired by special, meaningful moments as well as her busy schedule. Founded out of Portland Oregon by husband & wife in 2014, they are now celebrating a growing business and team in sunny Oceanside, California. 

     

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  9. Card Designer Spotlight: Smitten Kitten

    The Card Designer Spotlight is a series featuring independent makers whose greeting cards you can find in Paper Source stores.  Meet and be inspired by a new designer every month on our blog!

     

    Amy Kwong of Smitten Kitten is a creative entrepreneur and an absolute vibe. From her storytelling to card designing, everything she does, she does with fun, flair, and a love for Fridays. Amy’s continued hard work, well-rounded skills & personality founded her thriving business while the universal language of humor connects her with her quirky audience.

     

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  10. Meet the Maker: Ellen Surrey – USPS ‘Thinking of You Week’ Postage Stamp

    In celebration of ‘Thinking of You Week’ we are featuring Ellen Surrey. Her fun, colorful style and creativity brought us this year’s USPS ‘Thinking Of You Week’ stamps. We were incredibly excited to be introduced to her story and postage stamps, a perfect match for our maker feature and Paper Bar envelopes. Read more about her work with USPS and thoughts behind ‘TOY’ week on the blog. 

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