meet the stationeria: oh so beautiful paper

i read a lot of blogs. one of my very favorite paper blogs -- and one of the inspirations behind the stationery place -- is oh so beautiful paper.

nole, the brains behind this operation, is my hero. she not only shares the most amazing stationery samples and designs on a multiple-times-a-day basis, but she makes her own stationery and sells it in her
etsy shop. i knew i was reaching for the stars when i asked her to be my next interview subject -- so i was beyond delighted when she said YES!

nole from oh so beautiful paper

nole studied international affairs in college and now works for the federal government in washington dc, but makes time for oh so beautiful paper AND a weekly stationery column on
elizabeth anne designs. she started blogging after getting married in may 2008, after discovering a need for an online destination where brides could research stationery vendors -- she regularly posts round-ups of independent design studios to aid in this very task.

i asked her a few questions about how her blogging career, why she loves stationery and what inspires her.

Paper Girl: Why did you decide to start your blog?

In addition to providing a resource for other brides, blogging has also been a great way for me, personally, to re-connect with my creative side in a way that I haven’t really done in many years. I grew up in a family of artists; my mom is a talented painter and interior designer, my dad is a photographer and writer, and both my brother and sister are pursuing artistic careers as well. I started off as a fine arts major in college for photography, but ended up switched majors after my freshman year to pursue my current career path. I tend to put a lot of energy into everything I do, so after college, I sort of stopped being creative – stopped taking pictures, painting, drawing, everything – to focus on beginning my career. I didn’t really realize how much I missed it until I got back into a creative mode with our wedding preparations during our planning process.

Paper Girl: Tell us about your love affair with paper.

I’ve always loved paper and stationery, even if I didn’t exactly realize it. Since I started drawing when I was really young, it sort of started when I would spend hours browsing the selections of watercolor and charcoal papers during regular trips to the art supply store with my parents. When I was a teenager, my sister gave me a set of hand-made stationery as a birthday gift, which I thought too beautiful to actually use. I took a printmaking class that was my first exposure to screen printing, etching, and letterpress – each of which I absolutely loved.

After moving to DC for grad school, I discovered Paper-Source and would drag my now-husband there with me to browse through all the letterpress cards and paper selections. But it wasn’t really until I started planning my wedding that I started to notice a pattern – particularly my absolute love for the tactile feel of letterpress. During the wedding research and planning process I think I fell in love with a new invitation suite about once or twice a week, and I quickly started accumulating a collection of letterpress cards from Etsy and other independent designers. Once the wedding was over, I continued to follow the work of my favorite stationers and designers, which you now see regularly on my blog.

My husband doesn’t dislike paper, but he doesn’t really understand my fascination either – he just sort of smiles and indulges me, which is one of the reasons I love him. He’s been incredibly supportive as I purchased an old, hundred-pound, cast-iron tabletop letterpress near his parents’ home in upstate New York, lugged it all the way back to DC, then started ordering inks and other supplies, even though we barely have enough room for ourselves in our small one-bedroom apartment.

Paper Girl: How do you learn about so many different stationery suppliers and vendors?

Nole: I don't really have a specific method. I initally learned about many stationers and invitation studios through other wedding blogs, and just spent some time on their websites becoming familiar with their work. Lots of designers now run their own blogs, which is a great way to learn about their work and design style.

Since starting my blog, I've had the pleasure of corresponding with many of my favorite stationers and getting to know them a bit better, which has been a wonderful experience. But there are many, many talented designers out there, and I'm definitely still learning.

Paper Girl: What is your favorite part of blogging?

Nole: Without a doubt, the sense of community – being able to connect with readers, stationers, and other bloggers. I love that our little corner of the blogosphere (which, for me, includes everything from design to wedding blogs) is, for the most part, a positive and reinforcing community – nearly the exact opposite of the political community that I experience on a daily basis here in DC. Reader comments and e-mails are easily one of my favorite parts of my day, and I love knowing that my blog is helping my readers in one way or another – either by helping to point someone in the direction of a vendor that they’d never previously heard of or by providing a bit of design inspiration.

Paper Girl: What’s next for the Oh So Beautiful Paper blog? Is this a project you envision continuing into the future?

Nole: I'll keep Oh So Beautiful Paper going as long as I possibly can -- I don't have a specific timeline or plan, but right now I still feel like I'm just getting started! I'm sure that the blog will change and evolve over time, but right now I'm not sure what form those changes might take. The next big step for me personally is setting up my own letterpress studio so that I can provide custom letterpress invitations and stationery via my Etsy shop, Gold Star Press.

Paper Girl: What inspires you?

Nole: Gosh, I’m inspired by just about everything! Blogs are a huge source of inspiration for me – particularly those found in the sidebar on my blog – and many of them have become an indispensable resource in making it through the week. I’m a visual person, so images inspire me the most, but I’m also very much inspired by music and have to listen to music while I’m writing or designing.

As for visual inspiration, the source can be anything and everything. I’m inspired by interior design, patterns, textiles, music, flowers and trees, photography, fashion, weddings, work by other artists and designers – everything! I think the best representation of what inspires me can be found on my tumblr page.

Lately I’ve been really into light-filled neutral interiors, particularly kitchens with farmhouse sinks, organic ceramics, and floral prints. For design inspiration, I’d say my current favorites are silhouettes, letterpress handwriting, and fabric wedding invitations and Save the Dates. But mostly I’m inspired by fabulous design, and by the amazing and unique wedding invitations that I’ve had the pleasure of featuring on my blog over the past few months. Each time I think I’ve found my absolute favorite, a new one pops up that just blows me away!

Thanks Nole! It was so great getting to know you a little better.

[all images taken from oh so beautiful paper & gold star press]

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