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Featured Shop: Parrott Designs

Nov 1, 2013

by Sarah Parrott

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

My name is Sarah Parrott and I am the designer, letterpress printer, and owner of Parrott Design Studio. I live and work in Providence, Rhode Island.

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I have always considered myself a creative person who loves to make things. After years in marketing and event planning (which had its creative moments), I had to get back to using my hands. So, I started printing cards on my Gocco and opened a shop. Three years after that first card sold, I left my day job for the dream job I never knew existed.

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Most of my designs begin with a pencil and a notebook. I love hand-lettering, pops of neon, kraft paper, glittery gold goodness, and sketching flowers that I find in my garden. I produce nearly all of my products in-house, from design concept to letterpress printing. I start with a sketch, refine it in pencil, then use tracing paper and various pens to trace over it. From there, I scan the image, clean it up in Photoshop, and finalize the layout in Illustrator. It seems like a lot of steps to get to my final design, but there is something about the potential in my pencil and a blank page that I love.

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Once I have my final design, I send it out to the lovely folks at Boxcar Press for a photopolymer plate, which is a hard plastic plate with my original design on it. I hand-mix my inks based on the Pantone swatch book, and ink up the press. Inked rollers roll over the plate as each card is fed into the press one by one. My amazing assistant Lauren cuts, scores, folds and packages each card that goes out the studio doors.

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It was about two years ago that I decided to try my hand at lettering, and I loved the result when I pulled my first design off the press. I love typography and the choices for fonts out there, but everything can start looking the same after awhile. Now my cards are almost exclusively my own lettering, with the addition of a few quirky fonts I love that complement my own lettering. I love what I do and think that happiness shows through my cards – there is something so special about creating an item that will be given to people for their most celebrated occasions.

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Opening my Etsy shop was absolutely the best, and first big decision I made for my business, and running my own creative business has transformed me. Being self-employed, I have tapped into a creativity and drive I never really realized I had. I have never worked so hard or had so many highs and lows, but I still want to do it all over again, day after day. I wake up every day reminding myself that I make pretty things out of paper for a living. Having people who love my work is just icing on an already delicious cake!

All photographs by Li Ward of Fat Orange Cat Studio.

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