November 20, 2007.
It was a dark and stormy night..........oh wait, sorry I have been watching the Peanuts Thanksgiving special, maybe that is not how JPD got started. You have to love Snoopy's way of grabbing your attention though....
My daughter Abigail Marion Lentzner was actually born late in July of 2002, and I was ecstatic to say the least. Not only was I expecting a boy (no we did not do ultra-sound, I just thought I knew....please do not get me started) but she also came out with bright red hair, another shock. My mother was a red head, and her father - it's the Scottish in us, not the Irish (yep, we got that too!). It did skip a generation with my sister and I, you think I would not be so surprised....but hence, maybe it was labor, or just the pure amazement, or the shock of having a daughter.
So, as the fable (no really it's true) or the story told to many a reporter goes, I was just trying to find some theme based letters to personalize my daughter's room. I waited until after she was born to decorate the nursery to boot - no small feat for anal creative decorator crazy Mom, thank you very much.
At the time, in 2002 there were no theme based letters, so I took my talent (in cartooning, not in painting tiles) and made my own letters. Truth is - and you know I can not tell a lie - I never took painting classes in college, I did not have a cool studio. My degree was an art degree, with an emphasis on computers. I had to beg my husband to drill holes in the tiles I painted. Then I ran, or dragged two k ids to the nearest fabric store for ribbon and I (again) begged him to hang them in her room.
These are the original Name Tiles I designed for my daughter's room. She was not even old enough to sleep in the room, but I needed her to have these Name Tiles hanging in her room. They matched her bedding perfectly(duh, anyone else surprised?). Looking back, they are so simple, so void of design or theme, I am embarrassed to almost show them. However, I think for those starting out it is important to forge ahead, no matter how fugly (um, I am talking about my designs, don't take offense) the original design is. I am really a girl who likes to fill the canvas, the screen, the tile, you name it I like to fill it....but these tiles have one letter and one flower - not me at all. I am going to blame it on post-pardom hormones, not my inability to have a "style".
My "other" Original Product
I also decided to create coasters of all things, not that there is anything wrong with that. I just find it ironic since I don't even use coasters, and my forte is in a cartoon style -which these were for sure - other thing is I don't even drink Martinis - but these were hot sellers. The coasters were this easy revenue stream for JPD, and everyone I met wanted them for hostess gifts. Because when you have a 3 year old and a 4 month old - what else to do but paint products and sell them to friends, right?
I used to hate to do them, not sure why, but I did. My passion has always been with cartooning, animation and children's products. I have sort of 'given-in' to the coaster thing (I will show you later) it is turning out to be quite enjoyable to design something completely different. I love kid's stuff, baby images, children's products, childish art if you will - it is the truth.
Do As You Are Told
Back when I hand-painted everything, wrapped it, gift wrapped it, shipped it, invoiced it (just checking to see if you were paying attention....you all know I don't do math), delivered product, I made whatever anyone asked. I would take the order by phone (no website in the dark ages of 2002 and early 2003) and do whatever the customer asked. I had no problem painting exactly what was asked of me. At one point I had a woman describe and send samples of her daughter's hair, so that I could match the color for the birth certificate. Hmmm, wonder why I don't do that anymore?
This is the first tile I ever painted - I had no idea what I was doing actually. No, no I did have an art degree, but I did not know how to paint on ceramic tile, nor did I understand glazing or sealing the art work in. I did know that I loved working on the tile, I loved the slick surface and I loved the fact that it was a keepsake. I have a container in the attic (my husband swears he did not throw it out) of prototypes of my original products - this one hangs at the office. Truth is, painting on tile is very hard - not so easy to do. The paint and paint pen move quite different than on a canvas. I keep this tile as a gentle reminder of how far Jamie's Painting & Design has come, it helps when things get crazy....and um at this time of the year, crazy town here I come!