I began making greeting cards for Amma’s Circle of Love Letters in 2003 after my husband died. I had been receiving a few cards through this program when my husband was ill. This brought me comfort, knowing someone out there was praying for us, and cared. This was a wonderful support. We could read and re-read these cards when we had the time and need. Shortly after my husband died, someone asked if I would consider writing letters/cards for this program. At first I hesitated, because I had never been good at writing. I gave it a try, though, since I wanted to give back in return for what we had received. At first, I either bought, or made cards to send. The process of making a unique card could take me a whole day. This was very time-consuming even though I enjoyed it. At first I used word-processing software to help me share my card with more people. However, I found that the software had limitations in placement of images and orientation of text. I did use this software for a few years, though, in making cards.
In 2008, I was attracted to go to a Book Arts fair at the local community college, Foothill College, in Los Altos Hills, California. I felt like a child in a candy store. It was thrilling and amazing to see those handmade books and visit a printing studio. I asked a professor there how I could learn to do all these wonderful things. He suggested some courses to take, but I was very hesitant as I had no background in art. My previous training was in electrical engineering. I shared my worry with him about my lack of artistic training and ability, but he said that all I needed was enthusiasm. So I began taking a few classes, which gave me a beginning understanding of digital graphics, digital photography, printmaking, book arts, and web design. About that time, I bought a small digital camera, and that became my constant companion. I learned about Flickr, a photo-sharing website through my friend Christine. At first I thought it would mainly be a way that I could see her photos and share mine, but it became more than that. Soon, people were discovering my photographs through tags, and my community began to enlarge. My vision widened in looking through the lens of others. I could see all the way across to the other side of the world without leaving my home. When I was feeling low, I could look at other people’s images and words. I have found that sharing on Flickr became a practice of photo-journaling. This became food for my cards.
Using the skills I learned in these community college classes I began to use Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator to process my images and lay out my cards and booklets. After I learned how to use these, it became much easier to lay out designs. Later when I took a beginning web design class, I made a little website to make a site featuring my cards. That homework assignment began my business.
In 2014, I decided to update my website using WordPress, and include a blog. My online shop is still with Etsy.
My cards usually come out of the journey of daily living. I am attracted to, and supported by the beauty in Nature. My camera is my note-taking tool for later reflection and enjoyment. I have found that nature has hidden teachings. They remind me of the wisdom of the scriptures and insights shared by others.
I am grateful to all for the wonderful inspiration I find here and other places online, my family, friends, communities, my spiritual teachers, the people I meet, Mother Nature. It is an endless chain. All of this influences how I move in the world.
I print most of my cards myself on my Epson 3880 printer which uses archival pigment inks. A few of my cards are printed by on online printer, www.printingforless.com. They are located in Montana, are completely wind-powered, have responsible paper sourcing practices, use vegetable-based inks and try to be gentle to the earth.
It was a series of events that propelled me into making comfort cards.