Tell us about your business and how you got started.
I already had a passion and love for illustration, so I kept it in my back pocket as a hobby to make a few printed pieces as presents. That hobby changed when I finished my business degree and went back to school for graphic design. Then, one year I illustrated custom holiday cards for all my friends and family. Each card was an original painting and a lot of people urged me to look into making and selling them. So, I looked into what was out there for greeting cards and along the way I discovered the magical world of block printing. I had always wanted to learn silk screening, but I knew I wouldn't have the room or money for the equipment. When I found block printing I thought it would be manageable given my space and budget plus I seemed like a technique not a lot of people were doing at the time, so I decided to learn the process on my own and eventually came up with my first line of birthday cards, which was when Hop & Flop was born.
Ever since 2011, I added to my block printed cards, painted illustrations for a new collection of greeting cards and attended regular local craft markets. It was important to me that Hop & Flop encompassed who I am as a person and my sense of silly humour. It's my cabinet of curiousity where I get to be a kid at heart to draw and illustrate things I love.
Why did you decide to work with the Library Store?
Books have always been dear to my heart since I was a kid, so I jumped at the chance to illustrate a custom colouring book for the store. To me, the store, library and foundation embody what I love about books - imagination of the soul. I knew I couldn't pass up the opportunity to add to that collection.
You do these humorous designs with animals or food for a lot of your work, especially your greeting cards. Where do you find the inspiration?
In all honesty, animals and food are two of my favourite things. I love animals yet I'm completely allergic to them, so this has become my channel to show my love for them. Food has always been something I loved, especially baking. I would spend hours looking through recipes to see what I could try to make next. With both passions, I'd say the inspiration starts from my own experiences. I will start scribbling away doodles and sketches. Then, I start to take ideas from day to day activities and sayings that I hear from a lot of people. Once I figure out the right combination, I illustrate further to find the right concept for each piece.
What makes your products special?
My illustration style combined with the techniques I use to make the products is what makes it special. I only make each product in small batches because it's important to know that the process takes time and a lot of heart. Once I see a smile or hear a laugh from someone young or old, I know I did something good.
Where can people find more of your work?
My work can be found on my online shop: https://hopnflop.etsy.com
, but there are also a few retailers in Calgary that carry my work. The Uncmns (Inglewood), Greater Goods (Bridgeland), Crafted Goods (Calgary Farmers' Market & Granary Road) and the Regal Cat Cafe (Kensington). I also attend a few craft markets throughout the year. Just follow my Instagram account (@hopnflop) for ongoing news and announcements.
What is your fondest memory of the library?
My visit to Central Memorial Library when I first moved to Calgary. I would be able to find a perfect nook in the beautiful building and be completely immersed in my reading. I would forget the time and realize I've been there for hours reading.
What is your favourite book?
I would say Pride and Prejudice. It was the start of my Jane Austen reading marathon, to read every book written by her. I loved the strong female protagonist, which set it apart from other books I've read.