May Fortune Follow You

Today I continued working on new cards for my 2010-2011 wholesale catalog (they'll also be on website for retail customers in June). Many, many iterations come and go until I finally get to what feels right. I use very similar instincts whether I'm designing and styling real flowers, or designing a flower illustration. This week I'm making final decisions for what goes in the catalog.

Because all my illustrations begin with real flowers that grow outside, visited by butterflys, quenched by water, and fed by nutrients in the soil, I want the memory of their sun-kissed origins to come through, somehow. I want the illustrations to suggest the radiance and sparkle a real flower carries.

Sometimes I start with the art and sometimes with the words. Joining the flowers with the right sentiments requires careful listening. What flower would best illustrate certain words, wishes or intentions? Or what does this flower want to say? I ask politely and then listen. You'd be surprised how chatty flowers can be... and opinionated. They love the chance to offer guidance, encouragement, inspiration.

Here is a card I worked on earlier today. I played with 3 different versions but, finally, I think I've settled on this one - with still some minor adjustments to be made. An earlier version of this verse appeared in my line 4-5 years ago.

This flower collage features details from an original live Zinnia that was partially dried when I styled it for the photo. It was still holding these gorgeous colors of fushia and orchid. It feels so vibrant and sensuous and strong. I thought it had the voice and presence to bring wishes of good fortune, protection, and joy all at once. Not many flowers could pull this off. The green leaf accents came from the calyx of a sunflower. I have a series of cards I've designed that all came from this original flower. I will share the entire series later this week when it's complete.

Here is the reason I'm reintroducing this card:
About 3 years ago a woman called from Washington state. She had purchased this card from my original hand-made series and wanted to get one for a friend who was experiencing some kind of serious challenge... or crisis... or transition, I don't remember what it was. I no longer made this card and the woman ended up ordering something else from my website. She couldn't give her own card to the friend because she'd cut it to fit a frame and written something on the back. I remember the emotion in her voice when she described how this card, 'May fortune follow you', expressed exactly what she wanted to say. She spoke with concern about her friend.

Phone calls and emails and messages like this always touch me deeply and remind me why I do this. So, as I worked on this card today, I thought of that phone call and wondered if the woman would like the new version. I thought of how lucky any of us would be to have a friend like this woman. Someone who wants to warm us and protect us with their love and concern. Then I started thinking of friends I have who are like this - who have sent me sweet tokens of affection when I needed them most. I'll share another card on Friday, dedicated to the friends who love us and enrich our lives.

May joy fill your week.