Thursday, November 4, 2010


Third & final
interview in a series
featuring Etsy Handmade

shopkeepers who
specialize in paper creations
by Marian Cates

Introduction: An architect in Seattle, WA, Caitlin Struble is one-half of a creative team with her husband Tom, who recently retired from the U.S. Navy, where he served as Submarine Officer. They live on a small island in the middle of the Puget Sound and find inspiration in the natural beauty that surrounds them. They put this inspiration to good use in the Etsy shop, “Paper Window.”

MC: As you know, we’ve been doing a series of interviews with paper crafters, all of whom use paper in their own special ways. You’ve focused on stationery. How did you choose cards as your paper craft?

Caitlin: My love of art and paper started early. When I was little, my mother actively encouraged us kids to create art and held "craft-time" every afternoon. I always loved to draw on paper.

I also experimented with origami. My favorite papers are Japanese prints. I love the tight patterns and vibrant colors, the very ornate prints. I also love batik prints on paper because of the textures and organic feel.
MC: How did “Paper Window” come into being?

Caitlin: When I was planning my wedding, I discovered my love for creating stationery. After a thorough search for a special wedding design, my husband and I decided to design our own stationery and invitations. That’s when we discovered our passion for creating these things together.

Ever since our wedding, we've been creating stationery as gifts for family and friends. At some point, it dawned on us how often our family asked for more stationery gifts on their birthdays and for holidays. It got us thinking about developing an online business.

The inspiration for our shop name and logo comes from the design for our own wedding stationery. Our shop currently sells blank stationery sets, as well as personalized greeting cards and monogrammed stationery. Plus, I’m creating new card sets, like the new Skyline series.

MC: Skylines of cities?

Caitlin: Cities and landmarks. A family friend, who moved to Boston, wanted unique cards to notify others of his move. I had so much fun creating the silhouette sketch of the Boston skyline -- my hometown -- that I started sketching all the other cities I love. Of course Seattle, and also Chicago and New York City. The first “landmark” in the series is a Washington state ferry.

MC: Are you planning to expand the line?

It's such a fun new venture. Little by little, I hope to have a large collection of cities and places around the world. And it’s definitely not limited to just my favorite cities. Special requests for skyline drawings of any city or town are welcome.

I just got a request for a drawing of a lighthouse in a friend’s hometown, and that will be in the same style.

All I can say is, if you’ve got a city or town you love, or a landmark, not just an official landmark, but some special thing that symbolizes your hometown for you, get in touch and we’ll see what we can do.

MC: Are you working on any other new ideas?

Caitlin: I just did a birthday card for a friend who went parasailing this summer. I was very pleased with the result -- the man, the boat, and the parachute in a skyline-style drawing. I’m planning to add a "bon voyage" message and create a set. But don’t look for it right way, please! I’m adding new lines as fast as I can, but I’m only human.

Bulldog by Marian Cates

Bulldog by Marian Cates
Click for prints, canvases & various products

Burrowing Owl by Marian Cates

Burrowing Owl by Marian Cates
Click for prints and canvases & products

Jack Sprat Mother Goose Rhyme by Marian Cates, from a vintage illustration

Jack Sprat Mother Goose Rhyme by Marian Cates, from a vintage illustration
Click for prints, canvases & products

Robin Hood by Marian Cates, from a vintage illustration