I love 16 Sparrows for their snarky greetings and the The Letters Writers Alliance. I interviewed both Kathy Zadrozny & Donovan Beeson, the co-founders of 16 Sparrows, a month or so ago and it’s nice to finally share that interview with you today for Wednesday Indie Artist Fixx
1. What’s the name of your business, what do create and sell and how did you get your start?
D: We are Kathy and Donovan of 16 Sparrows and also the co-founders of The Letter Writers Alliance. In 2003, Kathy began 16 Sparrows as a way to escape the doldrums of her advertising job and to supply herself with cards and stationery that really expressed how she felt i.e. sarcastic and snarky, but with a flair for the elegant and refined. I joined on in 2006 to run the day-to-day operations and we both collaborate on designs and ideas. We started up The Letter Writers Alliance in 2007 to help promote and preserve the art and cultural treasure of letter writing.
2. What’s better…all the money you could want or all the free time you need?
K: Free time. The projects, books and general lolling about that I would like to do keep piling up. There is nothing like a day spent sewing, baking or reading a book out in the park.
D: Definitely free time, hands down. But better would be the ability to always use all of my time wisely. I can still be sucked in for an hour or two by cooking shows on PBS when I should be working on my projects.
3. What are your inspirations?
D: Vintage office supplies, antique papers, the forgotten flotsam of peoples’ desks, postage stamps, botanical illustrations, medieval portraiture, and many many other things.
K: Everything Donovan said above mixed in with moments picked out from drinking and talking with friends.
4. What three things can’t you live without?
K: Xacto blades, lip gloss, and my vintage magazine collection.
D: Chapstick, reading material and comfy shoes.
5. What blogs and mags do you read and what shops do you shop at?
D: I read National Geographic from cover-to-cover every month. I also pick up ReadyMade on a regular basis. I get a little overwhelmed by the bloggy world, but I read Kathy’s blog [funny, I know, but she’s very informative] Behind the Curtain and I also read Wil Wheaton’s blog and Neil Gaiman’s blog. I shop at Challengers Comics, Paper Doll, and Ebay.
K: I don’t read too many current magazines, and when I do it is whatever looks interesting. I read a lot of blogs, but the ones I frequent are Casey’s Musings, Design is Mine, Bread & Honey, Soule Mama and The Small Object Steno Pad. You can’t beat Etsy and Ebay for shopping.
D: Regarding Kathy and magazines, she did just show me a 1940s Lady’s Home Journal collection from the University of Chicago library which was pretty badass.
6. What’s new? Any products or projects you’d like to share?
D: We’ve just opened up the LWA shop to sell vintage postal goodies like stamps and air mail envelopes. We’ve also got some lovely embossed stationery and a crest embosser that are brand new. For this year, I think some rubber stamps are in the pipeline.
7. What are you reading, watching and listening to?
D: I’m reading Quicksilver by Neal Stephenson and Kathy and I just finished watching 1940s House, a PBS reality show about life in Britain during World War 2. I listen to the Moth podcast, Comic Geeks Speak and NPR.
K: I listen to old radio shows, normally detectives like Sam Spade and Casey Crime Photographer, on the online radio station Antioch. I am currently reading Gilded Lili, a biography on the burlesque dancer Lili St. Cyr, and watch old movies from the 30s and 40s.