I don’t know about you, but I like exploring the edges.
That gap between the known and the unknown.
I’m not talking about living life full-on in the unknown, but the place that bridges the two. Where you recognize enough to orient yourself but still get to experience the wonders of the unknown.
It’s at the edges that we experiene life at the fullest. Where new opportunities arise.
It’s where magic is made.
It’s easy to say that. It’s not always easy to live it.
The known brings comfort and safety – things we’re hardwired to seek. Maslow has a hold on us. Shelter. Safety. Tribe.
For me, safety looks like the business card in your wallet right now.
It looks like the fancy invitation you got to some forgettable wedding last year (long-since recycled).
Safety is a pretty letterpress notecard.
It’s the place people conjure in their mind when I tell them I make stationery.
And it’s wrong.
See, in my mind, I’m living on the edge. Where stationery doesn’t always mean paper.
Where it can mean wood and metal and concrete.
Or even a stuffed fox (please let me make you a stuffed fox invitation).
Where it’s a fantasy world in a glass cloche or a piece cut from a classic car and carefully packaged. Meant for keeping and remembering.
Because if I make you an invitation from the known, it will quickly be forgotten.
If you hand your prospect a card from the known, it hits the trashcan before her phone is done processing your contact information. You’re one of a sea of contacts.
But when we explore the edges?
When I craft for you something that bridges the known and the unknown, it rises you above. It is (and, by association, you are) remembered.
Balancing the known and the unknown is a challenge. Sometimes it’s rearranging the familiar in unexpected ways.
Sometimes it’s a known format and unknown form.
Exploring the edges can be hard to understand.
When I say I’m a stationer, it conjures a certain image. One that’s far removed from reality. It’s the known. The crowd. It’s what you see on Oh So Beautiful Paper.
But its not what I do.
So, what do I call myself, then?
I was talking to Parris this week and he said I sound more like an Imagineer than a stationer. He might be right.
If not that, though, what?
I’m not sure I have an answer. But if you do, I’d love to hear it.
I think experimental stationer fits pretty well. You’re still crafting things that serve that purpose: an object that is transferred between two people in order to facilitate some kind of invitational social interaction (come to my wedding, check out my business, etc.). You’re pushing the bounds of what constitutes stationery, what a wedding invite or a business card can be (which is cool as hell, and I hope someone takes you up on the taxidermy idea), but the purpose of the thing you’re crafting is still the heart of it.
I like that! Experimental Stationer.