About me

I celebrate your fire through art

“You must do something to make the world more beautiful.”

–  Barbara Cooney, Miss Rumphius

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@paperphoenix

Why, what, how

Creating Joy with ART that CElebrates what’s most importanT. 

Mission

Bring joy to clients. Celebrate what is most important to them. Capture them through artistic reinvention – personal, occasion and brand identity focused design. Deliver with delight.

Design Values

Leverage traditional fine-art, calligraphy and typography techniques while embracing modern stylizing and graphic art technology. Bring each piece freshly to life. 

FAQs

Click to expand answers!

Where are you based?

I live in Atlanta. While I love serving clients in the metro area, since it is such a pleasure to meet you in person, I also often work remotely! My goal is to make it a seamless process, regardless of your location. It’s really important that I create a rich enough connection with my clients to be able to extract and understanding the special something that will bring the personalized wow to their content. If you are ITP Atlanta (you know what that means if you are of Atlanta) we do hand delivery. I otherwise happily ship content to or even mail invitations on behalf of my clients.

I just got engaged?! Can you design my wedding invitations?

Congrats on your engagement! As long as your wedding successfully kicks off your marriage, that’s all that matters! But if you think my work would bring a special pizzazz factor, I’d love to create deeply custom invitations for you. We’d create content that speaks to you as a couple and your wedding day vision. For a completely custom full wedding suite with all-the-things, aim to book in with me about a year out so we can make sure everything you want is included. Within that time frame, please do still reach out and we can make some magic happen. From Save-the-Dates, to tablescape Menus I’m here to help.

Do you support couples? Hint: Of course!

Absolutely! Love is love is love. Whatever your concern is, you are welcomed here.

How must does it cost, and how do I pay?

All bespoke projects are….bespoke! If you would like a proposed estimate, send me an inquiry! We’ll chat details and then I’ll shoot a proposal through your very own portal with my secure client management and payment system. Check out the weddings page for a look at simple exemplary packages for design, as well as print/production.

I love your work! Do you have anything available to buy right this minute?

Thank you! I specialize in custom pieces, but around the holidays I create a shared design for holiday cards. If you have a particular need, or see something I’ve made before that you love, please feel free to reach out!

What if I'm eco-concious?

We can go a fully digital route with custom design you can insert into paperless post. Or, we can leverage 100% recycled paper and vintage postage across your invitation and day-of paper suite! For painted or framed items, inquire for vintage / found wood / barn wood frames. We also donate to trees, botanical, and wildlife organizations on an ongoing basis as those causes are near and deer to Paper Phoenix.

How do you do it?

I hand letter with ink but also think modern technology is great. So, I strike a happy medium. For raw projects or calligraphy addressing, I create everything by hand and you get that perfectly imperfect feel. For other pieces, I design by hand, digitize, combine that ink-based art with digital creative graphic art and typography, then collage it all together for printing. To learn how bespoke commissions work, check out the custom process.

Will you paint my bouquet, please?

Oh man, absolutely. I adore create semi abstract floral paintings of botanicals. I embrace the concept of chiaroscuro and love creating them with acrylic paints on cold pressed archival quality black paper. Then we get them custom framed to match your decor. Sometimes I also digitize these into card fronts or liners!

The Story

Art, architecture, and gardens

I went to my first art camp at 11 at the colonial revival Hill-Stead Museum mansion in Connecticut. Thanks Mom! We painted their sunken gardens, historical building, and learned about their French impressionist masterpieces. I will forever love painting botanicals and grand venues, respecting strong women leaders, and being apart of an artistic community. Shout out to Theodate Pope Riddle.

A guide to the mets colored buttons
A guide to the Met's colored buttons.Credit...Karsten Moran for The New York Times.
Gotta catch them all

I was lucky enough to have a family that encouraged a love of art and design. My mom majored in Art and Art History at Amherst, and later graduated from UVA’s architecture school. She gave me watercolors when I was little, enrolled me in the Hill-Stead camp, and brought us to museums and historic venues.

The aunts would bring our collective cousins to the Met. As a crew we often played kings, queens, knights and peasants…. with massive forts and rules to achieve greater hierarchy. So, we enjoyed seeing the knights and pharaohs. Note; we’ve since agreed we are more of a socialist republic and all cousins and future generations are equal.

Beyond enjoying the mummies, swords, and art we played games to see who could find enough of those now-iconic and retired metal tags with its “da Vinci M” logo. I loved that one little letter plus some artwork was attached to so many feels.

Does it hurt? asked the boy

My maternal grandmother had the most wonderful collection of old children’s books shelved in the rooms reserved for our vacation visits. From Tennis Shoes and Dancing Shoes (the ones Meg Ryan talks about in You’ve Got Mail) to the full Wizard of Oz series. I was obsessed with the illustrations, from book cover to chapter starters.

My favorite was the Marvelous Land of OZ #sawhorse pictured here. Bizarre, a little dark, incredibly fantastical, and beautiful black ink designs – sometimes colorized.

By Michael Sloan, to Lydia
By Michael Sloan, to Lydia
painting her toes

My uncle, Michael Sloan, is also a talented cartoonist – he gifted me this painting as a kid in ’94. It now hangs in my art studio above my desk.

Since then, he made a cartoon series on an immigrant family which won a Pulitzer. But that’s another story and you can read about it here.

All Stars

My dad is a scientist and engineer (though, we have paintings of his around the house too!). I was lucky enough to grow up with a computer, and a Dad who taught me first MS paint and then gave me exploratory access to Photoshop.

I designed my first floral shirt for my elementary school’s spring fair for my sister’s year. My mom said they needed a design so I whipped one up in Paint. Thanks Dad for finding the shirt… I had laughed when I looked at my current pieces and saw a still similar albeit grown up style. Lol to the Times New Roman- but you have to appreciate the playing with fonts, semi-symmetrical feel, and botanical line drawing cartoon. I still put little stars on lots of my whimsical pieces.

Tsunami fundraiser

In high school a crew of us held an art gala with our pieces to raise money for the Tsunami disaster in ’04. I sold a couple pieces, including this saxophone one, inspired by Miles Davis – Kind of Blue. The album cover is also above my art studio desk.

For calligraphy, I love to listen to Jazz, the Bach Cello Suites played by Yo Yo Ma, or the PBS Pride and Prejudice soundtrack. We used to watch the series as a family, semi-obsessively. I was floored when my first calligraphy teacher put the P&P soundtrack on in our classes, and felt right at home.

For art, I love an eclectic mix of Sylvan Esso, Pinback, Wilco, The Who, Apocalyptica, Chance the Rapper, Shovels and Rope… My brother got so sick of me playing the Apocalyptica title album on repeat in my art room in high school, but my go to is to keep the same vibe going while finishing a piece or series. 

ITALian, Roman, and Grecian – Oh My

For college, I picked Wililam and Mary. Yep, that’s in colonial Williamsburg – going back to Hill-Stead roots. Freshman year I started a side job called Lydia-Tate Designs, creating and managing websites, including for the schools Art and Art history department.

The summer after Junior year, my future business partner and I studied Art and Art History in Sicily. My highlight of our studies there was going to a dig run by a family friend at UVA in Morgantina. And, getting exposed to all things heraldry through the ages.

Arms of the Two Sicilies
Arms of the Two Sicilies, from the French Encyclopédie ca. 1760. The Constantinian Order of St. George surrounds the shield.
Lake Matoaka Art Studio, William & Mary
take me to the woods

I essentially minored in art, but have always loved data and business (including running that website freelancing company). So, I majored in Process Management and Consulting from the William and Mary Mason School of Business. The program includes lots of liberal arts courses up front, and finishes with a two year intensive program. 

By senior year I enjoyed escaping to the land of 2-D art with late evenings in the Matoaka Art Studio situated in the woods overlooking Matoaka Lake. Working on designs there was a nice break from our business team intensives.

Calligraphy zen

Flash forward to my first calligraphy class in ’16. I took a six week copperplate calligraphy intensive at a local art studio, Binders in Ponce City Market, with my incredible talented teacher Anne Elsner. She taught me “Calligraphy is less about pretty handwriting and more about DRAWING each and every letter. It’s about establishing a pacing and rhythmic motion as you write – giving you a consistency of shapes and letters, and spaces in between words and lines. It is highly relaxing and meditative. Like yoga for the hands, it centers, calms, and enchants the person making as well as and the person admiring it.” In the midst of a busy consulting word, I loved going back to the zen of art classes, removed from reality of emails, pings, and calls for a brief respite.

I inevitably started adding illustrations to my calligraphy, creating stationery, and curating postage for my addressing projects. In sharing my new love of designing all things stationery, I found out that my paternal grandfather was a vintage postage stamp collector (and he gifted me tons of goodies). I love vintage postage so much -they bring a tiny piece of art and art history to a normal day. And I realized my cousin in law is a master calligrapher and stationer. I’m incredibly lucky to have such a creative and inspirational family.

what now

I absolutely love my job in the business world as a customer experience consultant. But, I yearned for a way to connect my two worlds. And I wanted to make creative things again beyond (very pretty) PPTs and customer journeys. So, I started taking on custom commissions for creative work in my free time. Eventually, formalizing it into a business. Bespoke artwork includes a similar requirements gathering skill set to business consulting. My common thread was, solving problems unique to each person. And, I had all my past art life to lean on.

In 2016, Alison Hight – my roommate and study abroad pal from Sicily – joined me in a general partnership. We ramped up our strategic vision and re-branded from my name to Paper Phoenix Designs (I need to do a post on our name!). Alison brought a unique set of experiences, expertise in art history and archaeology, an eye for design, organization, and talented web dev skills. Since then, Alison has moved to Austin, joining WP Engine where she put her customer focus meets web dev skills to great use.

In early 2018, I re-organized Paper Phoenix as an LLC. Today the biz fondly goes by Paper Phoenix Co, or Paper Phoenix for short.

Let's do this

 

 

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