The Making Of: Little Women Big Women
Because letterpress is such a labor intensive process it can feel like everything we make is a “labor of love”, but this project is truly that. Each year we try to collaborate with a business that we admire and look to for inspiration. We think of these collaborations as an invitation to play, experiment, or try something a little outside of our comfort zone, and for that reason we almost always try to partner with a business that creates something outside of the world of paper. In past years we’ve collaborated with florists (Saipua and 3 Porch Farm), food bloggers (Molly Yeh), clothing designers (Ace & Jig), and quilters (Sugarhouse Workshop).
For this year’s collaboration we are partnering with State the Label, a clothing company that produces small batch clothing, all made in the US, that strikes a magical balance of being both creative, beautiful, and functional. Aside from State making the best pair of pants in my closet, State’s founder, Adrienne, is one of those human beings that I knew, within moments of meeting, she was unlike anyone I’d ever met before. Adrienne has an innate ability to be wildly creative at the same time that she’s getting things (a whole lot of things) done. She’s the kind of person that gets an idea at 10AM that involves power tools, a cement maker, some MacGuyver know-how and by 1PM she’s manifested her idea into reality often while juggling other responsibilities (employees, her brick & mortar store, or taking care of her 2 small children). Amidst it all she stays playful, upbeat, and willing to go with the flow. Adrienne doesn’t downplay the effort that it takes to do all of that— she just doesn’t let it slow her down because she has built a life based on creating and loving, and the hard work that comes with pursuing her best life is what fills her up. Basically she’s someone that I’ve dreamt of making something with for several years, but I never had an idea I loved for a collaboration until…
FLASH FORWARD: BRAINSTORMING
When Adrienne and I put our heads together to figure out what our companies might create we decided to draw from something that both of our companies had in common. We are both small business owners that feel extremely supported and inspired by the women around us. Adrienne is very close with her mom, Kelly, and her daughter, Edla, just like I am with my mom, Gaëlle (who prints for BPP) and my daughter Emolyn (who likes to think she prints for BPP). The idea we landed on for the collaboration was this:
Since our lives are heavily shaped and influenced by our mothers and daughters why not celebrate them and the other women in our lives who lift us up?! In each phase of life there are women to look up to— women who are already setting an example of what it is to be in the world and what it looks like to lead with strength and humanity in a way that deeply impacts those around them. It is out of this spirit of celebrating other women that Little Women, Big Women was born.
We set out to create a card set created by women of all ages for women of all ages.
We asked our moms and daughters to select a woman that inspired them. From there, they created an illustration of their person and wrote a few words about why they chose them. We turned each of the illustrations into a letterpress plate that was then printed in our studio one color at a time (18 colors in all). After that, the statements were digitally printed on vellum paper and packaged inside of each card so that when someone opens their card they’ll immediately be connected to the humanity of not just the woman on the front of the card but the impact this person has had on someone else’s lives that can in turn impact their own. So cool, right?!?!
SO WHICH WOMEN ARE FEATURED IN THE PROJECT?
The selections that everyone made, along with their reasons why, varied greatly. There are activists, writers, comic book characters, neighbors, family members, and women we’ve only seen but never spoken to. This project is about women lifting up other women, and the women represented in this project (both the subjects and the artists) remind me that there are always women to inspire us— women who live their lives with compassion, courage, and kindness. If there’s a woman that is making a difference in you life— share that with them and do it thoughtfully— take the time to lift someone else up!