Behind the Stationery: People I’ve Loved

For our next installment of Behind the Stationery, we head to the San Francisco Bay Area to get a look behind the playful hand-drawn illustrations of Carissa from People I’ve Loved. She delves into her thought process behind designing, time management struggles, and the dynamics of her team. I love all the honesty throughout her post. Take it away, Carissa!
—Megan Soh

Behind the Stationery: People I've Loved

From Carissa: Before stationery there was nothing. Ha. I had to say that. I studied print at SFAI and was really interested in social interactions. My buddy Luca Antonucci and I started Colpa Press right after grad school where we were really interested in making prints, books, objects, and cards that were concept driven and affordable. I think I got into cards as mini performance art works. I could theoretically compose a situation for two people and have them come together to feel connected. I would imagine people’s social situations as working out better than my own —that they could say what they really felt. Do you ever have a conversation on repeat in your head? I get obsessed with things I should have said. But I am not quick witted…

I guess I could say that we are women-owned and run, and we like to deal with feelings that are not always pretty. I think now we are in the really special time where we can be more open about how we are feeling and that things don’t always have to make sense. We have a lemon tree.

Behind the Stationery: People I've Loved

We are in the Bay Area. Oakland. PIL has really always been in my house. The rent is high around these parts and we just cannot compete with tech budgets. PIL keeps taking up more and more of the house, so something might have to change sometime soon to save my marriage. But for now, we just kind of pack it in wherever we can find space.

Schedules are something that I am not super good with. Josh, my partner, said that I have a problem with authority. And I was like, “What? No, I don’t.” And he was like, “time — you have a problem with time.” These days, we try to work 9 – 5pm and then swim. I kinda think that everything is work though. Watering plants is also inspiring so I like to spend time with them. And I think about work all the time – some of my favorite ideas come while in the shower. Most days there are people around, which is great because, as it turns out, I like people. I am scared of being alone. I mean I don’t know what I would do with myself if I was alone.

Behind the Stationery: People I've Loved

Process is tricky. Everything is always different. Sometimes we have brainstorming sessions for card ideas, sometimes someone is having an event in their lives that we explore, or sometimes we might just randomly feel like making time to make something.

For budget and ethical reasons, I always try to make things here, at the house from either ethically sourced materials or recycled stock. That being said, we have to order pins overseas. Which is what it is. If anyone can actually find a pin person in the USA, let me know. I would be all about that.

Behind the Stationery: People I've Loved

As for who does what — everybody just kinda does what is needed or what comes up on the day to day. I am trying to do less production which is hard for me since I love production, but we all brainstorm ideas, and help out where we can. Loretta is a really great organizer, manager, and writer so she has taken that on. Grace helps with website, C&P printing, and being an all around joy to be around. And Emily does all or most all of our screen printing. I do the Vandercook printing (but I shouldn’t because my wrists are in bad shape these days).

Behind the Stationery: People I've Loved

Oh, oh, oh! And we also have help from our press superhero, Al. He has pretty much saved my life time and time again. He also works at Solstice Press in Oakland, and if we do outsource things, we do it with them. They are a local lady-run print shop. They help out with all of our offset printing and foil. They do a great job and I don’t think I would ever print with anyone else.

Most of all, I love to draw. I wish I had more time for just drawing. I think I would like to work on one thing at a time. These days I feel like my mind is in so many places at once that I end up feeling overwhelmed all the time.

Behind the Stationery: People I've Loved

All photos by Carissa Potter Carlson

Want to be featured on the Behind the Stationery column? Inquire with Megan at megan [at] ohsobeautifulpaper [dot] com for details.

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