collecting: fiona richards {cartolina cards}

Today we start off our collecting posts and I thought it would most appropriate to start off with a Canadian, fellow B.C. resident and designer, Fiona Richards of Cartolina Cards. I've had the pleasure to get to know Fiona online through my admiration of her beautiful work and our mutual love of papergoods. I have seen a few sneak peeks of her collections from her website which have been translated through her beautiful designs and I was thrilled when she agreed to share them here. Here is her post on her (I'm already drooling) collections.

I collect a lot of different things. I do think that they all have SOMETHING in common - a basic love of vintage design that evokes a certain era - items that speak of the people and the times they were created.

One of my collections is painted furniture from around 1920 to 1930. I am really drawn to hand made furniture from that era because it was often made by a local fella who had limited skills and materials. I escpecially love furniture that was made in this area of BC. I love that fact that it never really travelled far. Painted furniture is great because of the colours that were specific to certain years. Decorating with painted furniture is fun. We live on the edge of a lake so its fun to bring some of the old lakeside resort feeling into the house(I have a few too many vintage painted oars!) This green cupboard is one of my favourite pieces. It's very big and sits in the front hall. It came from a cabin that was demolished about half a mile from our house. These particular oars came from a junk store on Main St in Vancouver and I brought them home on the roof of my Mini Cooper! The little boat is french, from the market in Paris - it's a pond boat!

One of my biggest collections is paper ephemera. This collection is what really inspires my design work.

I have thousands of stamps, photographs and postcards, and have been collecting since I was a kid. I store the postcards in drawers, boxes and glass jars. I also frame some of the postcards - they make for great art. I have a big collection of art nouveau hotel postcards which are so dramatic - they would look great enlarged and turned into posters.

I love old photographs too. I have many photographs of my family when they ran their business in India (they were textile exporters in India from 1924 up until the late 1950s). Lots of old Indian documents and advertising pieces, fabric printing blocks and textile samples.

I also love stamps, particularly pre 1940 French stamps because of the wonderful engravings that they used. Some of the top engravers in the world worked for the French Postal Department. I have collected stamps for years but I have to admit it is purely for their decorative qualities - most hardcore stamp collectors would be horrified at that! I find them fascinating - I could look at them through a loop for hours! The best place to buy stamps is at the stamp market in Paris (near Place Concorde). It's an open air market and even on the rainiest days there are dozens of covered stalls with millions of stamps and other paper relics to discover.

I love to go to the Marche Aux Puce(the flee markets) in Clingancourt, Paris. The main market is made up of a dozen smaller markets. The oldest market is called Vernaisson and you can spend all day there and still not have visited every stall. Its a great place to find paper items, books, magazines, prints etc.

Whenever I am designing a new collection I rake through the boxes of assorted vintage ephemera. I inevitably find something that inspires me.
I have a number of large magnetic boards in the studio and I have a constantly rotating collection of old printed paper relics. They are there to inspire me and to keep the studio from feeling to clinical and modern.

I think as a graphic designer it is natural to have an interest in vintage type. I started buying wood type a few years ago after I bought a collection of turn of the century type catalogues( catalogues that type setters could buy lead type from). I love the heavy hard wood that the letters and numbers are carved from and the patina that they have from years of usage. This obsession with wood type developed into and obsession with small wooden old things in general! I have a small painted cupboard that holds all my small wooden items. Some of them I can't even identify but, in general, if it has a patina and is a utilitarian object then I am drawn to it!

Jan Halvarson


Anonymous said...

it's nice to know someone else shares my crazy love of everything vintage!

Amanda Conley said...

I love Cartolina cards! I also am really liking your new banner:)

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for sharing! Fiona is such a talented designer - it's so much fun to see what inspires her. :-)

lisa solomon said...


starting off with a bang!

Linda said...

I'm a big fan of Cartolina Cards.
Fiona's designs are so unique and now I can see what her influences are.

Felicia said...

What beautiful collections :)

SeƱorita Puri said...

I love your collection. And i love the way you display everything. I went to the flee marketn in june and they had to drag me away. I was about to buy metal enamel signs from the 50s.
Kisses form a spanish blogger,