Friday, February 13, 2009

It takes a lot of Valen-time . . .

...but it's worth it all. For nearly twenty years I have been making valentines for my dear friends and family. This year marks the 19th in the series. In the beginning, I made them primarily from handmade paper and bits of ribbon, flowers and art or photos. As my style and technology progressed the cards became more detailed and complex.

Each year I look forward to the challenge of designing the next valentine and trying new processes that can make each one unique. I thought it would be fun to share the creative and production process that I work through each time Valentine's Day rolls around.

I have chosen the Valentine from 2004 as it is one of my favorite themes. I usually begin the concept stage anywhere from a year ahead to as close as one or two months before Valentine's Day. This begins with very basic and crude sketches that I then scan in and redraw in the Adobe Illustrator program. I also determine the card size, shape and format at this time. I make sure that the card will fit into an envelope properly and be able to mail without complications. It is at this time I figure out what all the little details and attached pieces will be. Of course that requires running all about to different stores, searching for just the right parts, and finding enough of each for the project.

After I get the whole card designed, I print out samples, cut and fold the card, attach the pieces and confirm that the valentine with work as an aesthetic and functional design. Once I get all the little details tweaked I start the assembly line process; printing, cutting, folding and attaching each little piece to the card. I also design the envelope at this stage.

I started nineteen years ago making about twenty-five cards and now send out about one hundred. Each card takes at least an hour to make, which does not include the conceptual and design stages. Obviously this is a labor of love and a love of labor. Love for the creative process, love for the freedom of making art without specifications and most of all, love for the recipient.

Here is the finished valentine showing the card from the front, back and inside. I also designed a little candy heart box to go with this card. Many times I will design additional pieces or be inspired to create a complete collection based on the valentine.


Poppy said...

I am so lucky to be on your list! I can not wait until it arrives. I am always excited to see what this year will bring in the post.

Jill in Florida

BuggletQuilts said...

Oh my gosh! These are fabulous! I love the Eiffel in the distance through the door.