Tell us a bit about yourself.
Hi. I’m Amanda, owner and designer of Dawn Correspondence. I’m a graduate of James Madison University where I earned my degree in graphic design with a minor in interior design. My college career consisted of lots of quarters for the printer and lots of chipboard models.
I love experimenting with color, the first cut of paper with a brand new x-acto blade, counting even numbers, and a freshly vacuumed floor. My husband and I just moved into a lovely 1951 Cape Cod just outside Richmond, Virginia in a quiet little neighborhood. We live here with our three dogs, Kip, Bella, and Phoebe, who enjoy exploring their new yard.
Apart from creating things, what do you do?
If I’m not creating, you can most often find me cooking up something new in the kitchen. I’m lucky to have a husband who is willing to test my recipes for me, even if they don’t always turn out so great. I also enjoy playing outside with our dogs and decorating our new home. This year, I’ll also try my hand at gardening and hope to turn that into a new favorite pastime as well.
What’s the most important question a couple should ask their wedding vendor?
“What process do you follow once we purchase your services?” It is so important for every couple to know what the vendor’s process is from the time you purchase until the day you will receive their services. If the vendor doesn’t have a process they follow (how you’ll be informed of progress, what deposit is needed, what information they need from you, etc.), it’s likely they may forget something along the way. On the other hand, if their process is too involved and needs too much hand-holding from the customer, they may be too difficult to deal with.
What’s the most memorable custom item you’ve created for a wedding?
Probably the first set of wedding invitations I ever made on my own, completely from scratch. That is really when I began forming very specific routines with regard to designing and assembling wedding invitations. I did quite a bit of research on suppliers and learned what materials I prefer over others and specific techniques that worked really well for me. I can tell you exactly what her final invitations looked like, down to the colors and fonts.
What would be the title of your memoir? Why?
Engaged. Each chapter would chronicle a short story of a different bride or couple I’ve worked with over the years. I’ve built some amazing relationships with my customers and have found out a little bit more about myself and my craft with each and every wedding I’ve designed for.
Where does your inspiration come from?
The beauty in every day life. Inspiration often strikes me at the most inconvenient times, though – driving, sitting in a restaurant, or when I’m about to fall asleep. If I can remember the idea by the time I am able to write it down, I know it’s a keeper. I also get inspired when my husband and I start throwing ideas back and forth. Many times, those ideas are the result of us just joking around, but turn out to be the best sellers!
What does handmade mean to you?
Each and every handmade item has a story behind it, a history of why the artist created it, and a liveliness not found in mass produced items. I love filling my home with the personality and uniqueness found in handmade items.
Who has been most influential in your craft?
I’ve been lucky to be surrounded by influential people my entire life. My husband has motivated me to push the envelope ever since the day we met. He encourages me when I’m in a creative rut and understands my outbursts of ideas when we’re mid-discussion. My parents have also been very supportive and always encouraged me to nurture my creativity. My grandfather has been one of my biggest fans, too. Whenever we talk about what is going on with my work, he’s full of encouraging words and makes me want to continue going that extra mile.
When did you know you were an artist/maker?
I’ve always known! Ever since I can remember, I’ve had some sort of drawing utensil in my hand and a surface to draw on. My parents saved some drawings I did with scented markers as a little girl and now have them framed in their home. It used to embarrass me, but now it’s a fun reminder of how I got where I am today.
How would you describe your creative process?
I dwell on ideas for quite a long time before it finally develops into anything. Some ideas take months or even a year to hash out. I start by jotting down the idea, and when I have some free time, I’ll begin sketching out and developing it. I play around with color schemes and fonts as the idea progresses. When I think it’s just about done, I’ll leave it alone for a day or two and come back to see if I want to change or enhance anything.
If you could peek inside the studio of any artist, designer or craftsman (dead or alive), who would it be?
Definitely Salvador Dali. He’s an all-time favorite of mine and was such an interestingly quirky man. I think he would have some fantastic things to see in his studio.
What handmade possession do you most cherish?
A cuff my husband made in high school, long before we knew each other. His mom kept the cuff through the years and passed it down to me right before we got married last year. It’s fun to have a little piece of my husband’s childhood that I can wear!
How do you get out of your creative ruts?
I spend some time doing something creative with a different part of my brain, like cooking or writing. That usually gives me a fresh perspective and invokes new ideas.
Where would you like to be in ten years?
I’m perfectly happy where I am right now, so whatever I’m doing, it must be right!