Every Yardia product starts as one of my watercolor illustrations. I paint each design by hand in my home studio in Seattle. I prefer to work by hand instead of working digitally to start. Even though digital art programs can create pretty similar results to hand-made artwork, part of the joy of painting for me is the tactile nature of it. I'm interested in how pigments react with one another based on how the watercolors are chemically produced. To learn more, read my blog about some of my favorite art materials to work with.
After I create each illustration and text by hand, I then scan and lightly edit my designs in Photoshop and/or Illustrator. (I've been asked what scanner I use, but mine is so old that I wouldn't necessarily recommend it to other artists. I just went to an electronics store--Fry's, locally--and found a flat-bed scanner that seemed like it would do the job without costing too much.)
After I've finalized the design and sizing digitally (mostly this involves removing unwanted marks, brightening up white spaces and adding in the watercolor text for size and placement), I then put everything into the correct size template for whatever product I'm designing.
This is the bulk of the work that I start with in my studio. After that, I outsource the printing processes to manufacturers that I've had good experiences with and who can supply me with the (relatively) small quantities I'm ordering.
Greeting cards are printed locally in Woodinville, Washington on recycled paper. I'm happy to partner with this printer not only because they're local, but also because they are a Forest Stewardship Council certified printer. This means they use the highest standards of sustainable printing processes and paper options, including the 100% recycled cardstock that my cards are printed on. They're certainly not for everyone starting out in the industry, but now that I consistently place orders of 5000 cards or more, the cost is effective for my needs. I'm also currently transitioning my packaging materials from traditional plastic cello sleeve to compostable ones for cards!
Wrapping paper sheets are printed in San Jose, California. The quality of this paper is strong and thick enough to hide the gifts inside. The printing quality of the illustrations and patterns has been described in reviews as "even more beautiful than expected." The colors are rich, and I hand roll each set of two wrapping paper sheets into one roll. Currently, the packaging consists of a recycled paper label that I print and cut at home, and wrap around the roll, then each roll is placed into a plastic tube bag. I haven't yet found a non-plastic protective covering yet that will meet my needs, but I'm on the hunt.
Art prints are also printed in San Jose, California. These prints are created with archival printing processes on cotton-based paper. The art prints will be a part of your home décor without fading for years to come. I also sign each print with my initials in pencil. Art prints are paired with a mat board backing (separate from the paper) to provide a bit of strength in the shipping process. Art prints are protected in a resealable cello sleeve.
I paint each ornament by hand in a multi-step process. The wood slices I order from a family company based in Missouri, who cuts each wood slice from downed branches on their 20-acre wooded property. I then ground, paint and seal the ornaments at my home studio in Seattle. The final steps are to add a hemp twine hanger along with a hand-cut and printed tag. Because of this process and the natural elements of the wood slices themselves, each ornament is a unique original artwork.
My camp mugs are printed at a manufacturer I work with based in Texas. These products are the only ones that include imported materials. While the illustration, design and printing are all completed in small-batch quantities in the United States, the blank camp mugs themselves are imported. I'm still open to learning about other options, but my deep research and Googling hasn’t yet turned up any options that can provide quite what I'm looking for. I'm pretty happy with the customer service my camp mug printer has provided to me, too!
All products that are made to order are produced and shipped from one of my printing partners based in Phoenix, Arizona. This small woman-run printing company creates all my ceramic mugs, as well as some art prints and camp mugs that I'm testing out before investing in ordering them in large quantities. It's a great way to offer my customers a wider variety of product options, and it allows me as an artist to very quickly bring new products and designs to market, particularly when my art is responding to current events such as celestial eclipses.
So, while I keep specific source names private, these are the many places that Yardia products are made! Everything starts in my home studio in Seattle, and I rely on relationships with other small businesses to help my one-woman product company to thrive.
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