As a bona-fide theatre person, I fell in love with the world’s greatest dramatist, William Shakespeare, from the moment I discovered his magical pen. I have studied, enjoyed and loved his plays and poetry for decades. His words have transported and transformed me in such a way so that I consider him my lifelong friend and companion. Given this, it seemed natural when I turned to photography earnestly in the creative pursuit of beauty, that I could marry his words with my images.
Shakespeare uses metaphor from the natural world to illuminate our humanity in its many facets. He has something to say about every single moment, and season, of our lives. Years ago, I started to photograph flowers (and nature) close up and in clusters, shoving my camera right in, also shooting in every season. And, I noticed as I worked, there was always a Shakespeare quote in the forefront of my mind that matched the energy the photo of nature. This process continued as I returned home and put everything up on the computer. A flood of language from a specific play, or a phrase from a sonnet hanging about in my memory, seemed ever present, just waiting to become an illuminating partner with a photograph.
I started out making calendars as gifts for Christmas and eventually found my way to making hand-made BardLover Cards. The other brand of photo insert cards that I initially bought were all white, and worked okay, but I hit the jackpot when I found Plymouth Cards, because the wonderful array and huge selection of available colors has brought my photos to vibrant life. The price is fair and right and the ease, and pleasure, of doing business with Lisa and her staff is a godsend. I have the best time when I get a batch of photos back from the lab and I set about mixing and matching the color frames, and preparing the colored labels for the back of the card with the “just-right” quote. Sometimes I can spend several days making cards from dawn to dusk; it’s actually energizing. Now framed in the perfect color, the photos bring the viewer deeply, closely in, face to face with the glorious cast of characters in Nature’s compelling play. Inevitably, my customers generously tell me the work is beautiful and compliment me on the unique idea. How inspiring! As an artist, that is so meaningful.
This year for Valentine’s Day, at the suggestion of a florist client, I branched out from just flowers and nature and went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in search of Cupid. He’s everywhere, by the way, and the cards were successful and really fun to put together.
Another plus for me is that my prints and Plymouth Cards are both made in America. I really love that my little business supports jobs in the USA, and my customers appreciate that too.
Both my confidence and my hand-made BardLover Cards business are growing as I continue to place in florists, and sell at Farmers’ markets and other quality venues. This coming autumn, I will be donating cards for the SWAG (“Stuff We All Get”) Bag for a non-profit fundraising gala here in New York City. It’s good PR and I am so happy to be able to donate them. It feels great!
Thank you, Lisa, and Plymouth Cards, for supplying what I need to make my line of cards hand-made, very special…and yes, saleable!
All images by Dianne Sposito
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