Conversations with Cannon: Amanda McCorkle

I first learned about Amanda when I received the most brilliant letterpress birth announcement from a friend. With an art background myself and a special love for etching - I just had to know who was behind this art piece in the form of a letter.
Amanda McCorkle is the artist mind behind ColorQuarry Letterpress, which presents unique, one-of-a-kind birth announcements and wedding invitations, which simply add to the excitement and magic already surrounding these significant moments. I am in awe of Amanda's artistic talent - her birth announcements are such gems and I am so excited to share with you a few of this statements from the artist herself - I think you will be smitten too...
Cannon: Can you explain your artistic process from the initial consultation with a client to the final product?
Amanda: After consulting with the client about possible themes and imagery they'd like included, I sit down and sketch out ideas. Sometimes I have a clear vision from the start and then it's just a matter of executing it on the computer. Sometimes it takes a bit more playing around with pieces to make it work. Once I have a completed design, I email a proof in several different color options. At that point in the process, if there are any minor edits to be done, we get the announcement to a good point and then send the file off to the platemakers! They make an aluminum plate of the image (in reverse, of course) and then it's ready for press!
C: What was your initial attraction to letterpress printing?
A: My very first time seeing letterpress type was while I was in school, going to Rhode Island School of Design, here in Providence. As a true type nerd, I loved playing with combinations of old letterforms and colors to make little type 'collages'. After graduating in '98, I worked primarily as a print designer, but it wasn't until I had my daughter, Ada, that I got back in to designing for letterpress. I wanted to design a birth announcement that was as amazing as my lil' girl was...and so went the start of ColorQuarry Letterpress (an offshoot of ColorQuarry, my primary design work). I started an Etsy shop and realized there was a real market for people who wanted birth announcements or wedding invitations that reflected who they were, and how excited they were at this extraordinary time in their lives!
C: How has the style of your announcements and invitations evolved since starting Color Quarry?
A: Quite a bit actually! When I designed my daughter' announcement (my first birth announcement) I didn't have an idea for a specific theme or place. I just knew I wanted it to feel magical and surreal, so I found a lot of strange vintage clipart and redrew portions of the wallpaper we had used in her bedroom to create a pretty wild frenetic piece. I think now the announcements and invitations have a more cohesive feel to them ... more like tiny flat dioramas of scenes. It's great fun talking with a client about what they'd like and then creating that world for them.
C: Where do you draw your inspiration from?
A: I know its cliche to say, but I really draw inspiration from everything. There are artists I've loved and draw general inspiration from (Calder, Cocteau, Alexander Girard, Ungerer, Henry Dagger, etc), but I think right now, children's books are one of my biggest inspirations. There's so much amazing illustration in vintage children's books (A Woggle of Witches, Moomin, anything drawn by Brian Wildsmith). Sometimes it's  just a random idea I'll get from looking at National Geographic (We got my daughter a subscription after she fell in love with this issue).
C: Do you have a favorite or memorable announcement or invitation?
A: It's hard to choose, but some of my longest running favorites are Ace, Jonah, and Henry for birth announcements. There was a job I did for an amazing couple that was getting a new dog (Isabella) and wanted to send out an extravagant announcement for her. They sent me chocolates at Christmas and we still stay in touch via email! I love getting to do stuff with different papers and inks like I did with the Luke & Emily invitation (gold ink on black paper). I hope to be able to do more jobs like that in the future! There's this seed paper I have been dying to use on a job. The recipient of the invite or announcement can simply wet the paper, plant it in the ground, and wildflowers will grow from it!
C: What are your hopes for Color Quarry? Where do you see the company going from here?
A: My short-term goal for CQ Letterpress is to continue to grow the size and scope of the projects. My long-term goal is to maybe one day have a real bricks & mortar storefront for the biz! I would love to actually meet face-to-face with clients someday!
C: How has motherhood impacted your artistic pursuits?
A: Haha, good question! It was much more difficult in the first 2 years than it is now. I went from essentially working 20 hr. days and loving it, to being a full-time mom for a couple of years. Obviously, there are countless other ways I fell in love with my new 'job,' but it definitely helped me develop the ability to focus my ideas better when I'm working on something. Ada's still only in preschool (part-time), so when I have time to work I am sure to make the most efficient use of it! It's a challenge, but I always work better under pressure. ;)
I knew you all would be obsessed after reading this! For moreColorQuarry Pressannouncement and invitation designs, check out her website and Etsy store!