Please indulge me and allow me to start this beautiful week off with an amazing lettering artist-Heather Burns a.k.a. Perch Paper Co. I am a little upside down from last week, we moved into one apartment and moved out of it the very next morning and back to our former apartment. Did you catch that? What you’ve never done anything as fantastically stressful as that in your life? I also missed my flight to California last week because of said apartment, in which a 100 year old lock decided to have its innards freeze thus locking me into my own apartment as a cab waited (not so patiently) for me to free myself (I didn’t in time for the flight). So, today I am moved back into our old apartment and off to California for work. I am starting this week off with a lettering artist interview because I think this week needs to start off infinitely better than last week, no? Without further ado I give you the incredibly inspirational (and witty, see her random fact) Heather Burns of Perch Paper Co.
//PERCH PAPER CO. INTERVIEW//
Where are you located?
Since opening my business almost five years ago, I’ve lived/worked from Seattle, WA, Billings, MT, Tanzania, Africa (while I volunteered for three months at a baby orphanage this spring), and for the past two months… Helena, Montana.
How did you get started in lettering?
I started drawing at about the time I started walking. I loved writing my name (the only thing I knew how to spell!) over and over and over in different sizes, upper and lowercase, on everything I owned (aka: everything my parents owned! two year old’s don’t really own anything;) All through school I doodled on everything, backs of tests, newspaper headlines, fake sharpie tattoos on my feet. The love of doodling got me into The Art Institute of Seattle where I studied type and graphic design. I worked as a graphic designer at FLANNEL DESIGN doing logo and print work for outdoor companies before starting my own business.
What are some of your favorite supplies?
I’m currently having a love affair with white ink! Can’t get enough white ink on kraft envelopes. I have also started using water colors in my calligraphy pens so the writing feels like it flows, both in style and color.
Can you name some of your inspirations?
I get really inspired at Goodwill and rummage sales. I imagine turning all that ‘stuff’ into wonderful creations. reupholstering a couch with fabric I’ve written all over. Finding old stationery with beautiful type and unique colors. I hate to admit this, but I love listening to romantic movies (chic flicks) while I’m working on anything ‘wedding’ related. Helps me feel all lovey dovey ;) – I love listening to mumford and sons while designing tattoos.
Can you go a little into your process of how you work on a project?
I try to approach every project individually with new ideas and new styles. If the client already has stationery in place, I like to incorporate the font they’ve used into the envelope addressing and create a calligraphy style that fits the ‘feel’ of their wedding day. If I’m designing the wedding stationery, I like to know what cereal they eat for breakfast, how they decorate their home, how they envision the day of their wedding.
Any tips for newbies on how to develop their own style?
Look at type EVERYWHERE. Garage sale signs, font books, backs of antique post cards, other calligraphers sites, calligraphy books, etc. Then just write.. on anything and everything. See what you naturally lean towards.. uppercase vs. lowercase. flowing writing, or block letters. Build your strengths from there.
Any recommendations of books or classes for lettering enthusiasts to further their studies?
I think a good understanding of basic type is a must. I took several typography classes in Art School and this has helped immensely. I also follow about ten blogs that focus on type and read those every week to keep up to date on what’s new in the lettering world.
Do you have some favorite projects?
Any advice on what ‘not’ to do?
Don’t spread yourself too thin and try to come up with a million different styles. If you trust your gut and your eye and really work on just a few styles you will be known for those. You can’t please everyone and your style will not be a fit for everyone, but for those people who adore your work, they will absolutely LOVE it and know how unique it is which will have them coming back to you time and time again.
Name one random talent you have that people may not know?
I can leap like a real leprechaun. And since I’ve never met one, I’m assuming Probably even better.
I wear grey and white everyday – I love hot yoga – Since I was a child I knew in my heart I would someday adopt a child (I don’t know where this idea came from, I’m assuming Mr. Rogers) (I thought it would be in Africa while I was there) but I met an amazing man (whose wife passed away from leukemia when his twin girls were just one). They are now 3.5 and I’ll be adopting them when we get married this winter! – I prefer to drink coffee and hike all day and work at night – I dream about secret passages in old apartments weekly. – cinnamon gummy bears are my weakness. – I prefer all my beverages without lids. – I paint all my furniture white.
Thank you kindly Heather! If you have questions for Heather or would like to thank her for the interview, please do so in the comments, I know the artists love getting your feedback!
P.S. Emily is the winner of last weeks bestowal, (I loved all your answers of course) and I have a new found appreciation for all the days of the week (thank you). This was Emily’s sweet answer…”I’ve taken Tuesdays off to be with my toddler and we don’t always have big plans but I try to follow him and not rush either of us, which makes Tuesdays some of my best days.”
Miss Tristan B. is the proprietress of Besotted Brand and the writer of this delightful blog. She recently re-located to sunny Seattle with her handsome husband and two pups, they are expecting a baby girl in December. Her lofty goal here is to make this a creative resource repository and to inspire you to fall truly, madly, deeply in love with your life.