Beautiful Friends: Maret

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Today I’m featuring my amazing friend and fellow taco-enthusiast, Maret. I’ve always been blown away by her illustrating skills, and own some lovely work that I begged her to create for a birthday gift at one point. This woman has that effortlessly cool vibe that so many of us try to achieve- and this is seen in her work, as well as in the spaces she inhabits. Don’t even get me started on how beautifully designed her wedding was! Of course, I need to credit her husband Jeffrey for being part of that one; they are a design power couple, for sure. Besides being creative and really talented in the work she does, Maret is hilarious in the most intelligent ways. This is perfect for her newest venture: designing greeting cards for a local Providence gift shop, Frog & Toad. If any of you have spent time around me, you’ve probably encountered me shoving my phone in your face to show off her witty cards… I may be a tad bit obsessed with them.

I had the privilege of spending some time with Maret in the studio where she designs, and had a series of freak-out moments over how lovely and interesting the space was. I couldn’t really keep my excitement contained while taking shots of her doodling and lettering Mean Girls quotes- you know, typical work day events for all of us- and hopefully you’ll see why below.

Without further ado, here is Maret’s story:

Pinch me! I never though I would be paid to design greeting cards for a little Providence card company. I feel so lucky to work with great people and to have the freedom to explore ideas and create.

The art obsession started at an early age. I remember when I was younger my mom getting frustrated that I would get books for their pictures and not for their words. And then there was the devastating loss to Molly Brown in the third grade cursive writing contest. Still working through that.

I took my passion for art making to college, where I dove into all of the art classes I could take. It was hard to choose a major, and I wished I could have stayed and studied every medium forever, but in the end I received a degree in illustration. It was the storytelling through pictures that drew me in. It’s beautiful to me that you can tell a story just through one image without words. Color, line, form, and value say it all. Magic!

The post-college path has been a strange one. After losing my job at a museum a few years after graduating (probably the best thing that happened to me), I found myself working two part-time jobs. One doing admin work at a flourishing art center, and the other at a mom and pop gift store called Frog & Toad. In both jobs, I kept bringing in my passions for illustration and lettering wherever I could. That usually meant making the event announcement sign look extra pretty or giving my all on the funny signs outside F&T.  It was these Frog & Toad signs that led to my boss, who is full of big and crazy ideas, saying, “Hey…I think we could make greeting cards.” And Frog & Toad Press was born.

One thing I’ve learned the last year and 30-something cards later, is that it’s so important to be honest in your work. The cards that have been the most successful have been the ones that I would want to give to my friends or husband. People connect with that honesty. If it’s forced, it comes off stale and in-human in a way. The cards from other artists that I love the most, however goofy and dumb they are, resonate with me and point to a truth that I didn’t have words to say or had forgotten. (Even if they are about butts.)

And that’s what I love about art. By painting a cliffside or sculpting a figure, or drawing the letter “A” just so, the artist is saying, “You may not have noticed, but this is beautiful and important and true.” There’s beauty to be seen everywhere. So don’t rob us of your artistic contribution. Your voice is needed! Let’s make something.

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