What inspires you when making cards?
Let's just say the money. No, that's not true. I think it's being party of something like Etsy, which is the most amazingly supportive and happy community of millions of people. The idea that people are out there making things every day -- some things they sell and some things they give to their loved ones, but they are making them with their own hands. That sounds sort of unsanitary now that I say it, but it's still really sweet.
And for the cards themselves, how do you get your ideas?
I love mid-century illustrations. There is a lot of awesomeness in all those ugly colors. They really knew how to mix and match. I'm really into vintage medical stuff. A lot of my cards are old images of teeth and organs and stuff like that. But others are kind of saccharine '50s images, especially my valentines -- the clean lines, the bright colors, but also some with embroidery. I love embroidered paper.
Do you have a certain philosophy behind a great card?
I hate everything, so I work really hard to find things that don't come naturally to a card's personality, and it works. I like the slightly skewed, offbeat beauty. The medical cards are my favorite, but some people just don't find the romance, or the alternative romance, in a twisted spine. But love is different for everyone -- the things people give should be unique to the person receiving, not always candy and hearts. So if a spine works then it works, ya know? And, not ripping people off. That makes a great card.
What's your process for creating cards?
Oh, well... coffee. Then, I put on my pants -- sometimes. All the drapes are open. I'm listening to music or This American Life (if it's Monday) is on. I designed everything on templates, so I print it off, cut everything, fold it, score it, glue it, stick it, stack it, tic-tac-toe. It's all by hand so no printers, no pre-cut, pre-made B.S. Each envelope and card I've printed onto card stock and hand cut with a knife, exacto, not butcher. Then I wrap it in something sassy and it's off to Ms. Montalvo at the post office! We're BFFs.
What's the best card you've ever gotten?
From my friend, Liz. She made me a really great birthday card that had robots on it. I love robots. Also, I got a great one from my friend Ryan. It was a 6 foot by 4 foot print out of Katie Holmes' with an open mouth smile and on her tongue he wrote "Happy birthday, Jess!" about 40 times.
And the worst?
The Katie Holmes card, which I loved for the same reasons I hated it.
Any plans for mylar balloons and stuffed animals to expand your salutations empire?
Funny you should ask! I make banners out of paper which I sew onto ribbon. It looks similar to bunting. I have one for sale in my Etsy shop that says "Happy birthday," but it could just as easily say "It's over" or "Please die." I'm a giver, so I give the people what they want.
Jessica King was born, lives and "will die in New York" with her husband, Jamie. Her cards are available on on her Etsy website, lope town
and she also maintains a sardonically entertaining blog, Blerg.
-- SETH PLATTNER