this unique collabo could be a case study in ‘right place, right time’ as well as ‘why twitter is good for your business’. yep, twitter. Kendra Zvonik of Green Post tuned in at just the right second to see a tweet by Marnie Karger of Crafterall that would get the wheels turning for a project together – a project that was great for them and even better for Mother Nature.
read Kendra’s half of the story here – then click over to Modish to read what Marnie had to say to Jena about this cool collabo.
[all graphics by Jena Coray of Modish]
Which came first: the idea or the partnership? Who approached whom?
I believe a friendship came first. An idea appeared one day this spring, live on Twitter, like a brilliant light bulb above Marnie’s head. She was having a conversation with someone about maybe asking Green Post to make her some wildflower seed cards to send as thank you notes to her customers. I just happened to get on Twitter at that precise moment and I saw the bright light of opportunity! Even though I had never made paper in the traditional sense, I jumped on board with Crafterall to make this desire a reality. So, this was a spontaneous partnership and idea that evolved from our year-long online friendship. She has always been supportive of my work and has offered me feedback as I have struggled to develop a product separate from my paintings. Now, I must credit her publicly for not only agreeing to collaborate with me but also for helping me to find my calling in paper making. I have never been happier than I am now.
What is the nature of your collaboration? (did one of you purchase the rights to use the other’s artwork, do you both receive revenue from sales, is the artwork on-loan for a limited time or # of pieces….)
The idea behind our collaboration is the recycling, re-using and repurposing of paper. Marnie sends me her scraps in a big box and I recycle, re-use and repurpose them. In exchange, Marnie receives a big box full of Green Post products, like After Craft Seed Cards, that she can re-use in her business. We don’t exchange money. We only exchange paper. We also promote and advertise for each others’ businesses through our shop announcements, blogs, treasuries and through the individual sale of our products. Even though we both sell paper products, I do not believe that we are in competition. I would suggest to any of my customers that they would do well to visit Crafterall’s shop and purchase from her because her work is so unique and so well constructed. Supporting each other in business is central to the idea.
How did you coordinate the project work and determine who would do what?
It was very clear who would do what because of the nature of our individual work/business. My business is based upon recycling paper. Marnie’s business is based upon creating artwork from exquisite and colorful manufactured papers. Because her work is intricately cut and fabricated, there is always some waste. But, the beauty of paper and probably why we both are so attracted to this material, is how simple it is to use and re-use. She conscientiously saves all her paper waste and sends it to me to give the material a new life.
Is the collabo ongoing or was it a one-and-done deal?
I hope this collaboration will last forever!!
What made you want to partner your art with someone else’s?
My art depends on acquiring “junk” papers to recycle. I can only gather a limited supply of my own paper scraps, so I must depend on others to help me. Who better to partner with than someone like Crafterall who uses such beautiful, saturated, rich, colorful and high-quality papers? Recycling such wonderful papers creates a beautiful end product for Green Post. Also, helping artists recycle gives me a sense of purpose and helps me fulfill my commitment to the environment.
Do you work with other artists to create collaborative pieces?
As I am also a fine art painter, I have worked in collaboration with many artists over the years. I am currently collaborating with my husband in creating collage paintings using upcycled boat canvas that he saves from his work as a sailboat canvasser. In Green Post, I hope to collaborate with as many artists as possible. I think the very nature of this business IS collaboration since this material belongs to us all. Green Post was created with the intention of showing how plentiful junk papers are and how easy and important it is to re-use this material. Green Post is intended to be a collaboration with the general public in this way. I also curate a gallery on Flickr that displays the work of other Etsy artists/sellers who use Green Post products in their work.
Do you have any suggestions for other artists who are considering a collaborative project?
I think the most important aspect of any successful collaboration is to be realistic about the project at hand, about the person with whom you are working and to be realistic about yourself and your expectations. In the past, I have tried to collaborate with others and failed because I had a romantic idea about our relationship or the project.
The beauty of this collaboration is that the idea IS the material and, therefore, concrete and very difficult to misunderstand or romanticize. When the idea is something more abstract or vague, then honest and direct communication is even more important. But, communication is essential to any working partnership. Lastly, I believe respect is crucial; not only for your partner’s work/business but also for your own. It is, therefore, important to seek balance and this is best accomplished, I think, by always being realistic and keeping the lines of communication constantly open.
If you could work with any other artist to create a piece together (famous and/or deceased included), who would it be and what would you make?
The list of artists that I admire is so long that there is hardly room for that here! But, that said, I am very content to be able to collaborate with Marnie now because when I first joined Etsy, when I first saw her work, I felt like she had it nailed! Her work speaks to me so directly and fills me with a sense of calm like nothing else. I sleep with a framed Aqua Topo next to my bed. It is the last thing I see before I go to sleep and the first thing I see when I awaken. To work with Marnie is an honor and a privilege. I am truly grateful for this opportunity. Thank you!
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Thank you, Kendra! Your collaboration with Marnie is the ultimate in good business, good friendships and good “earth stewardship” – cracks me up that twitter was the catalyst for the whole thing!
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