Maker: Shan of Passport to Paper
One of my favorite questions to ask makers is how they came upon their business name. I love the story behind their journey in choosing the words that they will sell their items under. Shan’s answer is so spot on, that it made me smile. Meet Shan and enjoy her paper world!
Please introduce yourself.
Hi. My name is Shan Jones and I am a paper artist living in Oakland California. I’m originally from rural mid Wales in the UK, and moved to Oakland after 6 years of world traveling and living seasonally in Yosemite National Park.
What do you make or do?
Passport To Paper specializes in the design and manufacture of elegantly refined and uniquely over the top paper arts. I hand make books and other paper goods, using recycled or reclaimed materials as much as possible. Using found vintage paper ephemera and objet’s d’art collected from my travels and inspired by bookbinding and paper techniques from around the world. I enjoy making unusual paper products out of the actual old materials themselves. This results in a more unique and individually original creation, where every copy of a particular design is in essence one of a kind. In upcycling these old and exceedingly beautiful materials, I give them new life, and their journey and usage, perhaps once considered over, is kept alive in different and beautiful forms. They evoke a sense of nostalgia & wanderlust while the designs are clean and modern. I have a line of Stationary, earrings and books. I teach paper arts at summers camps and use these same principles for Wedding event design.
Where can we find your creations?
You can see the whole extent of my work on my personal website. www.shanjones.carbonmade.com and sell my line of upcycled stationary, book and postage earrings on etsy. www.etsy.com/shop/PassportToPaper. As I live in the East Bay I sell my work at a lot of fairs in Jack London Square and First Fridays.
Is there an interesting story behind the name of your business?
As there is a strong travel theme in the way I live my life and my work, I feel my products are a ‘passport’ back to real paper goods and create a tangible object (like a passport) of your travel memories.
How long have you been creating and is it your full-time job?
I have been designing all my adult life but this company came about after creating “Give Away Books” for Burning Man and being completely inspired by the creativity there. I returned empowered and have been working on my upcycled stationary company ever since. I work part time for a catering company for supplemental income and health benefits.
When you’re not making things, what do you do?
Travel, hike, exploring my neighborhood, visiting Yosemite and spending time with friends and family.
Is creativity a luxury or a necessity for you?
An absolute necessity, I have to be making something every day, be it gardening, cooking or a paper project.
What obstacles have you had to overcome to lead a creative life?
Being an artist will never be the easiest path to take. Having the self confidence in your skills and self-promotion are the most challenging things for me.
Did someone in your family, a friend or teacher introduce you to your creative side or have they helped you along the way?
My high school art teacher showed me what was possible, but my husband is the most supportive in all the creative and travel endeavors.
Where do you find inspiration?
The world of paper ephemera. Photos, postcards, guide books, postage stamps, even passport stamps!
What’s on the horizon for you and what you do?
Grow my brand, have my work in stores and hopefully a craft book of paper techniques and projects around the world.
If money wasn’t an issue how would your life change with regards to your art?
I would work from a different country every few months collecting paper as I went!
What would be your perfect day off?
Hike in nature, taking photos and nice picnic lunch with my husband.
What inspiring advice would you give to other creatives be they established or just starting out?
Open an etsy shop and start selling at First Fridays to test your products and audience.
Who are the makers that inspire you?
Courtney Cerruti and Lisa Congdon
These products are SO beautiful.
I love your advice for new small business owners, to just start selling, just open the etsy shop. It’s scary advice, but I really appreciate hearing it, and know that it is the best way to go about growing.
I too completely understand listing creativity as a daily necessity. If I don’t have a project to work on… then I’m not me.
Thanks for sharing a bit of your world and business!
Fun to read your thoughts on creativity, always a treat to see your hand moving so skillfully when you make things during our visits. Keep up the wonderful work and good luck at the upcoming fair.
Shan Jones! You are an inspiration!