talking with Sharilyn Wright, creator of lovelydesign, July 2002
How did you start collecting all the papers?
I've always had a love for "making" supplies in all forms and I developed an eye for finding bargains (and for finding anything, really) from my mom. But I really started accumulating all these papers several years ago, when I was in school at Emily Carr in Vancouver, Canada. The teachers at the school really encourage you to get out there and "take in" your surroundings... dumpster diving was big. Then when I moved to Los Angeles to work, my habit started getting a bit out of hand. Los Angeles is a fantastic city for finding "treasures". The city is really a massive urban sprawl, full of people who are in a constant state of re-inventing themselves and just trying to keep up with the advertising and media and all of the glorious images that are everywhere in that city. This makes for an awful lot of garage sales and thrift shops and discounters and liquidation houses and such. I was in heaven. Now wherever I go, I always keep an eye out for places that might have some paper-type treasures... it may be an old print shop, or perhaps an office that is closing down.
What inspired you to start making books out of them?
When I moved out of Los Angeles, I sold pretty much everything except my computer, my cat... and my papers. By time I arrived home back in Vancouver, this collection was getting a little bit out of hand, I had to figure something out to do with all of it. I remembered that when I was at Emily Carr, I once photocopied all of these interesting logos (a lot of designers republic stuff) and bound them up in these little make-shift notepads for friends. These went off very well, so I decided to Do something similar with my paper collection, and send them as gifts to my creative-type friends.
What are the uses of the books? If you were to inspire people to use them in really creative ways, what would I tell them?
My hope with the books was always that people would find the books charming and inspiring. They shouldn't be considered as ordinary note-books which are blank and therefore completely rely on you bringing it life. These note-books already have so much life—each page has its own character which can influence what you bring to the book. Because of this, people should consider these books a little different than usual... not as an object that has no history but as an object that has a personality and a past... which needs to be continued.
Any perception of them as objects?
Actually, I kind of wish that these books were a little less of objects! When I talk to people who have bought the books, a lot of them have never actually used them because they feel that they are too "nice" or "precious"... which both flatters and bothers me at the same time. Its nice to know that these books are something that people just won't waste. But then I feel that in some ways I have not done a good job as a designer, because when people don't use the books, they aren't totally functional in a day-to-day ordinary kind of way.
What else would you do with this?
I have so many ideas for more lovelydesign objects! For example, another edition of note-books will be released soon: Journey Books. Journey books are more compact and a bit fatter in size... each is 65 pages rather than 50. They have many pockets and envelopes bound in between the pages (to encourage collecting), and they will be bound in a pleather kind of vinyl and have a elastic closure-strap (to keep contents safe). i have so many ideas.. I am only limited by time and production constraints.
Process: list 10 or so papers and where they came from.