30 Silent Mockingbirds background roulette

Is there anything about this job I hate? Yes, cleaning up is one. Taking photographs for listings is another. Its not that I don’t like photography.. I love it! I just really really do not like taking the still shots. Its just so much pressure! There are a couple other factors that play into this… I take my photos with a cracked iPhone.  I don’t actually own a computer that works, so I am about town on a daily basis being a computer nomad, and I haven’t figured out the right place to take the pics. Block prints I have found are difficult to photograph. I am picky about the light and the color being correct. The studio is a no go so far. An iPhone taking photos requires light, so off to the outdoors I go! The weather has to be perfect… no wind, the perfect shade from the sun, the perfect amount of sun being around, and a clean dry place to hang or lay the print. 
However, there is a little happiness in this sad sob story of mine. Texture. To make up for my not-so-perfect photographing conditions I have had to get creative in my choice of spots, which has (in my mind) turned out to be an interesting collage of textures. 
Part of me wants these perfect photographs I see out there on Etsy and ScoutMob and I start to get down on myself. Then, today when I was walking random streets of downtown Nashville (and people are staring at the crazy girl taking photographs on the sidewalk) I remember I’m not perfect myself. I have a lot of textures, layers, and change within myself and do what I have to do to get things done. Maybe all of that is supposed to just show through my work.. even in my still shots. If was waiting for my perfection to show up…. I would never let myself step out and show my work. 



Artist interview with Melissa of PAGEFIFTYFIVE

This week we sit down with Melissa owner of a small paper and creative goods company called PAGEFIFTYFIVE in beautiful Fort Collins, Colorado. She designs and creates greeting cards, notecards, stationery, gift tags, paper goods and embroidery hoops! Melissa is such a fun and laid back gal (yet a super savvy creative business woman) I couldn’t wait to hear what she had to say! 

Hi Melissa! Explain to us your current line of creations and what was it that inspired you to start?

PAGEFIFTYFIVE is a small greeting card, stationery, papergoods and creative company. We revel in the simple, delight the quirky, and combine these two ideas to produce products that everyone will love! Our wish is that our products will make you smile, make your heart happy, and motivates you to pass that good feeling along! Recently, I have been focusing not only on my paper goods designs but also on my embroidery hoops. I love, love, love embroidery and am usually inspired to create a hoop from a card idea, or vice-versa. It’s another artistic outlet for me and I just absolutely love getting away from the computer and the hands-on process of taking floss, fabric and a wooden hoop and making a piece of wall art that someone will love. I am also working on a custom order for a floral design studio that consists of their marketing materials, gift tags, business cards, thank you cards, etc. I love it all!
Tell us what makes your process unique?
I’m not sure exactly makes my process unique because graphic design and embroidery has been around for a long time. But what I bring to the table…my ideas, my creations and my designs are what brings it a personality and makes me stand out from the rest. I have also self-taught myself all of what is now PAGEFIFTYFIVE. From actually learning to design and draw graphics on the computer, to learning about paper weights and textures and becoming business savvy. I come to this career with a BA in English and a Masters in Education…and here I sit loving my life and living the creative dream! 
 colored pencils..the first step in designing a card
Were you always creative as kid, or did you find it later in life?  
As a child, I was ALWAYS creative. Both of my grandparents were extremely talented and taught me so much that I use today. I can remember sitting on the kitchen floor at around 3 years old, making Christmas cards for my family (and a mess I’m sure). As a teenager, my grandpa showed me all there was to know about painting, woodworking, and card making. In the meantime, my grandma was teaching me how to sew, quilt and embroider. I was a very creative child and it really created who I am today!
What is your favorite style of art and why?
I love simple lines and am definitely a lover of minimalist, simple, quirky ideas.

Custom order for a family that moved homes!
 I turned it into a card and it’s now in the shop!

How do you come about your ideas? Is there anything particular that inspires you?

My inspiration seriously comes from all over the place! My friends, my beautiful surroundings in Colorado, little snippets of conversation I overhear at the park, what I see while riding my bike, things I notice while people watching…I draw inspiration from all over the place (and my creased, folded, drawn on, worn-in notebooks would have to agree) :) 

Beautiful Colorado!
What is your favorite piece you’ve ever made and why?
I love, love, love the new embroidery that I have been working on lately. Most of my embroidery starts out as a card design and I love it so much, I turn it into an embroidery hoop that can be hung in the house and enjoyed by all! I think my favorite is the “you make me happy when skies are grey” embroidery that is currently in my Etsy shop. It just makes me smile.

One of my favorite embroideries
What’s the best compliment you have received about your work?
My day is made and I am stunned every time I get an “out of the blue” compliment. Since opening my shop in September, I have been lucky to have a ton of support from my friends and family that purchase my art, love my art and pass it along to other people. I just recently received an email from another shop owner on Etsy who just wrote to tell me how much she loved my shop and said she was “speechless.” I feel so lucky when this sort of thing happens. 
Glimpse into my studio

Describe your work space.
I love a clean, simple, minimalist workspace. That’s how I do my best work for sure. Sometimes that’s not always the case and I find myself buried in paper scraps, fabric, glue, bits of thread and paper corners. My friend always says when her bedroom is messy, it means she needs to give herself a time out and readjust some things in her life. I think this goes for me and my studio. If it’s a mess…odds are, I’m a bit of a mess and I need to chill out and reassess.
What is a typical day in your life?
Honestly, when you’re working full time in a creative field like I am, it seems like no two days are the same. This is a constant struggle for me. Seriously, would waking up at least in the same span of two hours hurt me?! haha. Seriously though…this is a day in the life of me.
I wake up and head straight to the kitchen for coffee and breakfast. With coffee in hand, I head to the studio (aka spare bedroom in our house) and get to work. Typically, I putz around on FB, Etsy, Twitter, Pinterest, and blogs for about an hour. My day definitely varies depending on what orders I am working on, custom designs I have to complete, or designs bouncing around in my head…but my morning is usually full of work. NPR and podcasts get me through my morning. Having an iPhone is like having a little friend in the room with you :) In the afternoon, I always try to make it to the gym and post office. I think there are times that working alone in a studio all day gets lonely…it’s like a field trip when I go to the post office and gym. I can imagine that the people working at the post office may think I’m nuts for all the conversation I try to jam into the 3 minute transaction haha. Then the rest of the afternoon into evening is spent working! My goal is to try and end the day around 5:30/6. It doesn’t always happen…but it’s nice to give myself a little downtime at night.
Craft show setup
What are your interests or hobbies other than your work we have been discussing ?
When I’m not creating new ideas for the shop, I am always consumed with another creative project. I dream up new DIY projects, I research new juicing recipes, I decorate our home with repurposed finds, I embroider quirky ideas onto hoops, I take adventures through novels, I dabble in photography (okay….mostly just obsess with Instagram), and do a bit of cooking and baking.  I also love to ride my bike! I try to get most of my errands done on my bike as much as I can. It makes me feel alive!

 DIY home decor
Is this your full time job, or do you have a job out-of-studio?
This is it! It’s my full time job. Scary and exhilarating all at once! I’m truly living my dream.

That is great! I’m sure lots of creatives reading this are dreaming of going full-time. Do you have any advice to give another artist to jump in? What is the best part of working for yourself? What is the worst?
My best advice is, “fake it til you make it.” It can be really scary to own your own business and cut off the weekly paycheck, paid health insurance, paid time off things. But if you show that fear, or let it overpower you…it wins. I think just walk the walk until you own it. And one day, you look back and realize how amazing it is to truly be living your dream!

Gift Tags in the shop 
What goals are you trying to accomplish right now? Describe any future goals you have.
Oh my gosh…my goals are vast! I am a huge goal setter, have them posted on my idea board and constantly hold myself accountable to these goals. And I also love lists…so it’s a win win! Ultimately, I want to live a simple, healthy, creative life…I’d say so far, so good.

So there is PAGEFIFTYFIVE and a little about its creator Melissa! If you love her work and would like to purchase or want to find our a little more about her click on the following links!