Hello & Happy Monday! I am so giddy about what's in store. I couldn't have asked for a better way to bring back Meet the Maker Mondays...
Today's interview/giveaway comes from two of my all-time favorite bloggers, Marta of m.writes and Summer Harms. These ladies have definitely got a good thing going on. What began as a budding friendship out in the blogosphere has blossomed into a beautiful collaborative business venture called the Penpal Project, which combines Marta's graphic design sense + stationery shop with Summer's dreamy photography. Together they've created several batches of postcards, perfect for sharing a few sweet long-distance words with a long lost friend. These girls are all about reviving snail mail + celebrating simple living...What could be more admirable?
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The winner will be announced first thing Friday October 1! <--Can you believe October is right around the corner!?
Q & A with Marta & Summer:
Tell us a bit about how the Penpal Project was born:
Summer | marta and i have been blog friends and penpals for quite some time now, so i think that paved the way for this awesome collaboration, but the project itself was all marta's brilliant concept. she had been wanting to stock her shop with postcards for awhile, and thought it would be fun to do a line of cards that featured my photography. (isn't she the thoughtful one?) when she invited me on board, i was so super excited and flattered. and i still am!
Marta | i love creating and selling pretty paper goods. i'd always thought postcards would be a fun item to put my heart into. since i have recently fallen in love with the art of taking snapshots on the road and last spring decided i'd infuse them into this postcard project. i then decided it would be awesome to have two varied perspectives in the collection of postcards; and so i asked my friend, summer if she'd like to join me in making a few collections of postcards. she takes beautiful pictures! i am a big fan of hers and knew it would be a delight to work with her. it has been a wonderful collaboration thus far; especially since we both love photography and sending mail to and fro. in the midst of working on our debut collection, we titled it the penpal project. being penpals ourselves, it seemed to suit us and our project perfectly!
Summer | oh my. what an honor to even be asked this question. a few years ago i would have told you that i don't have a creative bone in my body. i am convinced that having a blog and connecting with other blogs has enormously changed my "creativity." i am inspired everyday by the talent and beauty that is generated in the world of blogs. it is a creative port like none other. i especially love any blogs that feature home life. they make me want to learn new skills and try new things, and i think that is how i ended up picking up a camera, switching it to manual, and learning how to do (hopefully) pretty things with it. speaking of creative, i consider marta one of the most creative people i know. i have learned so much from her. her writing has changed how i think about writing. oh, and very importantly, i must give credit to grant, who bought me my first canon, gives me an amazing home to work and play in, and encourages me everyday.
Marta | inspiration comes to me from even the smallest seeds of an idea. i love gaining inspiration from fellow artists, crafters and bloggers, however i find myself overwhelmed after spending time researching online. so i must admit sometimes the best inspiration comes from a quiet drive, a jog in the park, a long hot shower, or when i'm writing at my desk with the morning sunshine pouring in. i think if you listen to what your heart is saying, your inspiration instinct can kick in. i jot notes on scraps of paper whenever an idea hits me. (i sketch out drawings too.) the trouble is finding the courage to believe in your ideas and run with them.
Summer | natural light!! from my experience, this is probably the biggest and best thing you can do for your photos. i would recommend not depending on photoshop to make your photos presentable. try very hard to make them as lovely as possible straight through your lens, with the best light you can find. i love using window light for my food photos. in fact, it is pretty much all i use. if you can find a good window or two in your house (mine are south-facing), that is a perfect place to set up shop for a good photo shoot. also, a whole new world opens up when you make the switch from auto to manual. i don't have a super professional camera, but i've learned how to make it work for me by using the manual setting, learning good times of day to shoot, and playing around with different angles and props. over time, you'll find your comfort zone and find yourself coming back to the same photo characteristics. then, hooray! you've found your own style.
Marta | i would advise anyone to disengage the flash, use excellent lighting and snapshot whatever surrounds you. i love going on a sudden road trip when the clouds look incredible and snapping shots when the clouds are grey and gloomy or when they are fluffy and whipped creamy white. with farm animals, i like to take plenty of shots of the same subject with different perspectives. move the subject left, right, center and then try to stand up on something tall to get a different view of your subject. i am always surprised to find that i usually like the image that i hadn't posed perfectly; the one that just happened to be perfect in the moment. farm animals have their own agenda, so visiting them a few times has been the best way for me to get a good shot.
Summer | actually, the whole process was very smooth and awesome. marta is an absolute dream to work with, and we've become quite proficient in email-communication over the years. it's kind of our bag.
Marta | i've been amazed to learn that collaborating with someone i've never met before has been an incredibly lovely experience. i'd wondered if the lines of communication would be a hurdle or perhaps our styles of working might clash, but instead it has been a very smooth process. i've found that if we are both well aware of what tasks we are each responsible for, both our efforts really go hand in hand! it also helps that summer is someone i can 'think out loud to' over late night emails. she is a wonderful sounding board for new ideas! when working in a collaboration, i think it's so important to choose a person you respect, admire and have similarities with. summer was the one who came up with the idea that the postcards would have a clean blank backside (rather than the typical lines of a postcard) and i am so happy with her suggestion! the postcards look so much prettier that way. i have used them in many more uses than just postcards.
Summer | i loved learning a little bit about the world of marketing. thanks for teaching me, mart. also, i learned how diligent online shopkeepers are! bravo to anyone who owns an online shop. i have so much respect for you. it takes a lot of guts and elbow grease to put your product out in the world.
Marta |i've been amazed to learn that collaborating with someone i've never met before has been an incredibly lovely experience. i'd wondered if the lines of communication would be a hurdle or perhaps our styles of working might clash, but instead it has been a very smooth process. i've found that if we are both well aware of what tasks we are each responsible for, both our efforts really go hand in hand! it also helps that summer is someone i can 'think out loud to' over late night emails. she is a wonderful sounding board for new ideas! when working in a collaboration, i think it's so important to choose a person you respect, admire and have similarities with. summer was the one who came up with the idea that the postcards would have a clean blank backside (rather than the typical lines of a postcard) and i am so happy with her suggestion! the postcards look so much prettier that way. i have used them in many more uses than just postcards.
Are there any more collaborative projects in the pipes?
Marta | yes, in fact, there are! we have a beautiful Harvest collection coming up that feature some of summer's seasonal images. i think i will be using them to write i'm thankful notes to loved ones this november. they will debut in the mini mart in a few weeks! (sign up for my newsletter to receive shop updates.)
Find even more loveliness at:
marta's shop | the mini mart
marta's blog | martawrites.com