A few months ago I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Sarah for the very dark and delicious layered, storied, rock n'roll, eclectic, inspirational, and glamorous Vintage Industries & Co blog. It was the perfect chance for me to look in the mirror and explore the reasons why I am so passionate about The Curious Card Company.
I just love your artwork. It's macabre, dark and rich. But also full of life. But how would you describe your style?
Thank you! The Macabre is definitely a big influence on my designs, and I describe my cards as being for the darkly curious. Featuring such delights as the Gothic Wiccan Macabre, Classic Natural History, the Magical Botanical, the Darkly Anatomical, and also the Vintage Sideshow of Yesteryear.
Could you talk us through the inspirational process for your designs?
I have carried the inspiration for these designs, for many years,within the heavy piles of vintage books I have treasured, and carried around with me from country to country. Vintage anatomy tomes, Natural History colour plates, Sideshow history books, and the bizarre little collections of crystals, and butterflies and animal skulls.
Just a few days ago, I came across my photography from my London, (and even earlier) University days, and it was all there! The same themes, props and interests. Even the same design layering process, the only difference being that back then everything was executed 'in camera', whereas now I use digital applications to reach the same ends. It really made me smile to realise that I've always been, well... me!
We'd love to know how you got started and why Curious Card Company?
It was over twenty years ago, when I first moved to London, that I visited the 'Paperchase' flagship store on Tottenham Court. Rd. It was, and still is, a huge, 4 storey building full of Greeting Cards and Stationery and Art Supplies. I remember 'knowing' that was what I wanted to do, to design greeting cards, and have them for sale one day in this magnificent shop.
And then, life got in the way and I got sidetracked and I actually forgot about this experience. Can you believe it? I was a photographers assistant for many years and then lost touch with the whole artistic side of me, until six years ago when I decided to start my own cameo costume jewellery business, where I also dabbled in designing some cameo greeting cards on the side.
Then, about two years ago, I actually remembered that moment from twenty years ago, and decided to completely focus just on the cards. No more distractions! I chose the 'Curious Card Company' because I wanted something interesting enough to peak peoples curiosity, but also broad enough not to pigeon hole my designs, whilst giving me the space to expand my visions for the future.
Do you have a favourite design? If so, can you tell us a little bit about why?
I keep drifting back to the Anatomical Heart. At the moment, I have two cards featuring this design, and I can tell you, there will be more on the horizon! I wear my heart on my sleeve, and accept the good and not so good that comes with that.
What do you love about your business?
I love that I am doing something that truly makes me happy, and satiating that little voice inside me that always wants to be creating something.
What's not so great?
I am an introvert by nature, and although I LOVE working from home, I understand the need to get out and mingle with the world. Also, I tend to get distracted easily (as i've already mentioned)...
Where can readers buy your gorgeous cards?
You can buy them from my on line shop at www.thecuriouscardcompany and also from various shops in the Northern Rivers and beyond! I am always looking to expand my wholesale contacts, so would love to hear from shops interested in stocking the Curious!
Rapid Fire Questions (for these you can just give one word/short sentence answers)?
o Favourite Movie? Spirited Away by Hayao Miyazaki (studio Ghibli)
o Life Motto? Be Kind to Yourself.
o If your house was on fire and everyone was safe, what vintage piece would you save?
I think, my vintage books, and if only one, then, my little red book of Aristotle's Works, which contains 'An Essay on Marriage', 'The Famous Master-Piece' and wait for it... 'Curious Problems', because, that is where it all started for me.
o Favourite vintage shopping haunts?
I wish I had been more aware of just how much treasure I took for granted when I used to live in England now that I have moved back to Australia. Moving on from that, Mullumbimby is a pretty good hive of vintage shopping activity, with my favourites being 'The Silver Lining', 'Hills and Mojo' and 'Urban Archeology', all on Burringbar St. And my favourite shop in the shire is 'ReSould' in Brunswick Heads, in all it's mid-century modern glory.
o The vintage purchase that set your soul on fire?
A small, dark timber framed picture of the Holy Mary from Limoges in France, that was purchased at an Antique Fair in Norwich, UK. The piece is actually a dark blue tile, with the raised silhouette of Mary set in a translucent white glaze. It's mesmerising. (so maybe I'd save that too).
o Your top 5 tracks of all time?
Unfortunately, music wasn't a big part of my life growing up, but Manic Street Preachers and Suede were a huge part of my early adult life, and I love Ludovico Einaudi now.
o Favourite artist?
Perhaps not my favourite, but on reflection, the most influential is Hieronymus Bosch. My Dad had the macabre triptych, "The Garden of Earthly Delights" hanging in our lounge when I lived overseas as a little girl. Oh, and Goya. You know the one, "Saturn Devouring His Son". Thanks Dad! haha.
Thanks again Vanessa!