34 distinguished Canadian artists are being featured at the Cambridge Galleries' CARDED exhibit• ANYA LOMAKO CCE CONTRIBUTOR

34 distinguished Canadian artists are being featured at the Cambridge Galleries’ CARDED exhibit • ANYA LOMAKO CCE CONTRIBUTOR

Anya Lomako

Do you hunt for the perfect greeting card or do you grab the first one you see as you shop for groceries? For many, greeting cards are a staple component of birthdays, anniversaries and other congratulatory messages.

These days, e-cards and mass-market monopolists like Hallmark have replaced what used to be a meticulous and tiresome craft. In fact, purchasing greeting cards has become so easy that it’s difficult to imagine they were once made primarily by hand.

Celebrating this nostalgia is just one of the reasons why the Riverside Gallery in Cambridge is hosting CARDED, an exhibit dedicated purely dedicated to the art of card-making.

Launching November 26, the unusual art show has created quite a buzz.

Exhibit curator Esther Shipman believes each piece of CARDED is special. “[Each card is] a little history lesson that encourages you to go out and learn more,” said Shipman.

Collections of simple, oatmeal coloured-cards with water colour native Canadian flowers, daintily poised on thick paper, have traveled from the hands of Joanna Close of Halifax to make an appearance at the exhibit.

Out of the 300 submissions considered, just 34 Canadian artists were selected, including Kitchener based paper cutting pros, In Paper Dreams.

Co-founders Danielle Hyde and Jen Van Overbeeke put brains and creativity together to make an idea they had in 2011 into an entrepreneurial reality.

While both handle the production side of the business, Danielle takes on more of the technical & accounting aspects and Jen handles the creative design and environmental sustainability requirements.

“I started making cards because it was impossible to find a nice wedding card,” said Overbeeke. “They’re all either ridiculously old-fashioned or ridiculously religious, so I started by paper-cutting all my cards for my friends’ weddings.”

In Paper Dreams compositions include a variety of textiles, glitter, ornate cutout shapes and quirky animals. These features give a unique feel, which makes them stand apart from the more common drug store cards.

Both girls agree that starting out as a local artist is no easy feat, and that having the support of local establishments like Riverside Gallery is key to helping artists take the next step in marketing their craft.

“It’s hard to get out there – it’s hard to get over top of all the noise of all the other people that are doing something. That’s why having the gallery space to show off what you do is so important,” said Hyde.
Despite the challenges of starting a small business, In Paper Dreams is grateful to the city for backing its undertakings.

“Kitchener has been such cool place to start a business,” said Overbeeke, who has felt the support from the community first-hand. “Everyone we know in our art community is super excited for us.”

To meet Jen, Danielle and other designers of CARDED, join the curator for a guided tour of the exhibit on Saturday, December 7, 2014, 2 to 4 p.m.. The event will include tea served in antique teacups and a guided tour by Shipman. Admission is free, but cash donations to the Self Help Food Bank are encouraged. CARDED exhibit runs from Nov. 26, 2013 until Jan. 12, 2014.