More letterpress! Like I said before, letterpress is a love of mine…I’m happy to share with you another local crafter embracing my favorite antique machines: Parrott Design Studio!
Hi there! First things first: What’s your name, what’s your business name, where are you from, and where are you currently located/crafting?
Hello! My name is Sarah Parrott and I own Parrott Design Studio, a boutique design and letterpress studio located in Providence, Rhode Island. The studio offers a collection of letterpress printed wedding invitations, ready-made greetings and paper products, and custom design and printing for special occasions. Born and raised in Portland, Maine, I currently reside in Providence with my husband, Rich, and two pups, Simone and Scooter.
How did you get your start? Please tell us a little bit about how your business went from an idea to what is is today.
I have a background in marketing, art history, and print design and worked in marketing and event planning at various non-profit organizations for five years. I needed another creative outlet and began taking letterpress and screen printing classes in 2007 at the AS220 Community Printshop and RISD. I purchased a gocco with my tax return money and started selling my paper goods that same year. In 2008 I bought my first letterpress and added a second in 2010. For three years I worked during the day, then came home to design and print until 1 or 2 in the morning. In June 2010 I finally quit my day job to work in the studio full-time!
What inspires you the most to create?
I get really caught-up in the world of paper and the world of weddings. I love to collect vintage postcards and postage stamps and look to those for ideas. I love flowers, both arrangements for weddings and those that grow in my garden. I find a lot of color palette inspiration from flowers and nature. I love home décor blogs and magazines, especially since we started renovating our house. I love looking through textile patterns and textures, as well color. Quite often inspiration comes when I step away from everything, take my dogs for a walk, and clear my head. With inspiration at every turn, it is easy to become overwhelmed and end up staring blankly at a piece of paper or the computer screen.
What are your favorite materials to work with?
I love working with 100% cotton and handmade papers, bright ink colors, natural textures like kraft paper, shimmery twine, and patterned washi tapes.
Do you have a favorite color palette?
I am really digging neon pink and shimmery gold with peacock blue or chartreuse green. Mint green, peach, and a soft turquoise is another favorite, especially for weddings. My go-to neutral is a warm grey.
Who are some of your favorite indie artist/crafters and why do you love them?
Some of my favorite artists and crafters are my family and friends. My mother, Janet, has always been an amazing crafty person and taught me so much of what I know. My sister, Jessica, is a crazy-talented baker and cake/dessert decorator and owns a bakery in Portland, Maine called Nothing Bakes Like a Parrott. My sister-in-law, Debra Bianculli, is a fine artist and many of her paintings, along with her husband’s, are hung throughout our home.
Any exciting future plans or developments in the works for your business? (Nothing TOP-SECRET, of course!)
Yes! I have some big plans for Parrott Design Studio, which I am excited to share, but cannot quite yet (sorry!). But we will be expanding our greeting card line as well as other paper products. I will also be redesigning my website with a new integrated shop.
What are some other things you like to do when you are not busy making awesome stuff?
When I am not printing or designing, I can be found baking & making ice cream, listening to records with my husband, playing with our pups, taking road trips to Maine, gardening, snowboarding, antiquing, and working on our 1930’s bungalow.
What are the top 3 reasons someone shopping at the BBB 2012 should be sure to stop by your table?
1. Holiday cards! I have a whole bunch of designs that will last the whole season, from Merry Christmas to Season’s Greetings, Happy New Year to Thank You.
2. Boxed stationery and other paper goods perfect for gift giving and stocking stuffing.
3. Gift tags and other fun things to make all those gifts you purchase at Bizarre Bazaar shine.
What is your favorite background noise to listen to while working?
When I am working on the computer I usually have my local NPR station in the background or podcasts of my favorite shows like This American Life and Radio Lab. When I am printing in my studio I listen to favorites like Laura Veirs, Florence and the Machine, First Aid Kit, Bob Marley, Phillip Roebuck, and Stephane de Pompougnac.
Where do you (craft) work?
My studio is located in my home. When I first began screen printing, I did everything in the kitchen of my first apartment. Around the time I bought my first press I moved in with Rich and he finished-off a whole section of the basement for me. A previous owner built a huge work table and I brought in various shelves and book cases. Now both of my presses and guillotine live down there. I have a separate office and assembly room in a spare room off our dining room (which inevitably becomes an extended workspace during busy season). Every so often I think about having a separate studio, then I think about the 4,000+ lbs. of cast iron in my basement. Plus you really cannot get over the convenience of walking down stairs and already being at work.
What is your favorite mythical beast and what do you think their favorite crafty past time is?
My mind immediately went to Buckbeak, the hippogriff from Harry Potter (guilty pleasure!). I am sure he was a master wood carver with those large talons.
Not enough info? You can catch up with Sarah, all over the internet!