Friday, April 5, 2013

A Gift from Kimberly Shaw

"It's awkward talking about myself, because I know the real source of my success comes from The Lord. He created me, He gave me my gifts, He compensates for my inabilities, He created this business, and He is my marketing director.  So when I say I did this or I did that, I'm only walking in the path God created for me." -- Kimberly Shaw

A lovely friendship has developed this year with artist Kimberly Shaw. We began corresponding earlier this year after I discovered her web site -- a delightful collection of feminine stationery designs featuring a delicate assortment of teacups and teapots. Wouldn't you know that someone who produces such beautiful art would have an inner beauty that comes through in all she does? Meet the woman behind the teacup today, and keep scrolling for a special giveaway from Kimberly Shaw Graphics.

Tell us about your career path.

I have drawn ever since I was little. I remember lying on the floor coloring at my grandmother's house until the carpet made dents in my knees. In junior high, when my brother came home from school with 8-1/2 x11 sheets of drafting paper and house plans, I was hooked.

When my dad brought home large sheets of drafting paper that covered my small bedroom desk, I drew every day after school. Every evening my mom called down the hall, "Kim, come help with dinner." I kept drawing.

"Kim, come set the table.

 I kept drawing.

"Kim, time to eat."

She never scolded me for that.  In fact she encouraged me to take drafting in high school. I was the only girl in class, so I sat front and center so the boys wouldn't make me nervous. I graduated with an Architectural Achievement Award, highest in my graduating class, all because my parents encouraged me. I went to college for architecture and had a 13-year career in architecture, so my background is actually architecture.

It was in an architectural office where someone first shared Jesus with me and led me to Christ. That began a desire in me to share the real meaning of Christmas, which springboarded into making handmade cards for all my friends, family, co-workers and associates. I handmade 100 cards every year for 10 years before the idea of having a greeting card company developed.

Again my mom was the encourager. She made a basket of dishcloth doilies and asked me to sell them for her at a home boutique she was unable to attend. I had no idea what a home boutique was. She batted me with, "Why don't you make some cards to sell while you're there." While at the home boutique the woman next to me suggested I sell my cards at the L.A. Gift Trade Show. I had no idea what a gift trade show was, but she offered to take a sampling of my cards for me. At the trade show a sales rep offered to market my line in her territory. And so began Kimberly Shaw Graphics. One of my greatest joys was receiving an order from the same specialty greeting card store where I first discovered handmade cards 12 years before.

Kimberly Shaw Graphics has continued in the same miraculous way. As I trust God for all my needs, He has proven to be faithful in that and so much mere. 

What inspires your art?

My inspiration comes from nature, flowers in particular, and the way certain colors compliment each other. I especially love the colors of antique handpainted plates and vintage housewares. I love everything from my grandmother's era. I'm inspired by a story or event in my life. For example, the "For You" Quilt Teacup Card was inspired by taking an embroidery class taught at my church for moms and daughters. Women were sharing how their projects were "for" their granddaughter, friend, niece, neighbor, sister, or mom. The quilt painted in the background of the card is an actual quilt my mom made for my 40th birthday, from all the remnants of clothes she sewed for me while I was in school. The hummingbird on the Baby Shower Invitation was a visitor to my studio who was building a nest in the trumpet vine that grew outside my window. The 322 "For You" card with the basket-designed teacup came from my search of a spring cup while shopping with a friend who was looking for a teacup to give to her mother-in-law. I held my find up to my friend who proclaimed, "That cup is perfect for my mother-in-law!" The cup went to the mother-in-law,  and I borrowed it.

Through your cards, you take part in many of the most significant moments in a recipient's life. Do you have any interesting stories to share?

I love the stories people share about my cards. I've come to learn my cards are not about me, but used in building relationships. A woman from New Jersey called to say she sends my cards to her granddaughters in college. When they receive their card, they make a cup of tea and call their grandmother to say, "Nana, I have my tea. Pour a cup and we'll chat." With a hint of tears, she said, "That's what your cards do for me." I often hear from someone who received a thank you card in response to a Teacup thank you card they sent. At my yearly Open House events, women would add cards to their box and say, "This is so much fun! This card is for my sister, this one for my mom, this one for my neighbor ... ."  I didn't understand until I came to realize the fun is actually the joy God places in our hearts when we think of others. A friend estranged from some women in her family was able to rekindle their relationship after sending them a teacup card.  Cards are used as hostess gifts tied with pretty ribbon.

Are any of your stationery designs available as prints?

I produced a small run of art prints in the past. Some of my newest designs I'm working on now would work well as prints. Maybe I'll consider making more.

What role does faith play in your career?
Faith has everything to do with Kimberly Shaw Graphics. God started it, He's in it, and He'll take it where He wants it to go. I'm only along for the ride. Key verses here are, "Unless the Lord build the house, they labor in vain who build it" (Psalm 127:1) and "This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it.  For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success" (Joshua 1:8).

Success isn't money. Money doesn't make me rich. Seeing God move in the lives of people is what makes me rich. If my cards have a small part in allowing one person to encourage another, then God did that, and He saw farther than I was able to see when I first started this journey.

Kimberly has graciously offered to gift a reader of A Little Loveliness with 10 teacup cards, two sheets of stickers and an extra surprise. To enter the giveaway, leave a separate comment for each entry.

(1) Leave a comment if you follow A Little Loveliness.
(2) Visit the Kimberly Shaw Graphics web site here, and leave a comment below telling your favorite item or design.

I will announce the winner soon. Our previous giveaway for the Thirty-One URU Cosmetic Bag was not claimed, so our new winner is Nancy Carr. Nancy, please e-mail me your contact information or leave a comment below.

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