I had the real pleasure of working with Meggie Battista of Eat Boutique on the interview for Style Me Pretty Living. Talented Heidi of White Loft Studio was the photographer and stylist for the feauture and I couldn't be any luckier to work with both of them! If you want to read a little bit about Studio Carta, the interview is here to follow and lots of more beautiful photos of the studio are posted on Style me Pretty. What an honor, I'm thrilled. Thank you!
How did an Italian lady find herself opening a design studio in New England?
A leap of faith brought me to the Minnesota Center for Book Arts in 1994, with an internship in papermaking. It was my first experience in the US. I returned to Italy after a few years of learning as much as I could from established paper, letterpress, and book artists across the country. When I met my husband in Italy, his studies and then work brought us back to the US, first living in Michigan and then with our three children, in Brookline, Massachusetts. At first, my studio used to be a small room in my house. Just before my youngest son entered kindergarten, I was ready to move to a larger space and have many more hours in the day to dedicate to my work. Studio Carta opened during the summer of 2010. It felt like a dream!
Tell us a little about Studio Carta.
Studio Carta is a design studio and also the exclusive US importer of my curated line of 100% cotton ribbons from Italy. I work directly with manufacturers to design and develop ribbons and custom made textiles. I oversee every part of the process from designing each product to creating the labels and packaging. I also design a line of letterpress stationery, greeting cards, hand-bound books and journals. I create my own catalogue, website, and take all the photos of everything I sell. Fortunately I have the help from two wonderful assistants who help me assemble and package everything with such grace and thoughtfulness.
What do you look for when sourcing fine stationery and custom ribbons from Italy or beyond? I aim to source high quality, unique product, something I would personally use in my work and that I would enjoy to be surrounded by in my studio and everyday life. I also enjoy collaborating with other designers I trust and admire, to combine our aesthetic and skills toward creating something distinctive. It is probably the most playful and fun part of my work.
Tell us about your family (especially, your seamstress mama!) and how they have influenced your design life.
My earliest memories are the busy hands of my mother, a seamstress, the rhythmic hum of her sewing machine, and the luminous dome of Saint Peter’s Basilica, so big that it seemed to fill the windows of our family’s apartment in Rome. This pretty much says it all. It may be a bit of an Italian stereotype, but I remember my mother by her sewing machine or in the kitchen. From her, I learned a love of the tactile, an eye for beauty, and an attention to the detail of skilled craftsmanship. She taught me the value of being creative, working with passion and mostly doing what you love. I first apprenticed in the book arts in a Bologna studio, where I learned the traditional style of bookbinding while finishing a university degree in renaissance art history. After many years of working with paper and design, it is not a coincidence that when my mother passed away a few years ago, I focused mostly on textiles to stay connected to her everyday.
You work with wedding designers, event planners and brides everyday. What’s the best part of helping to craft a wedding?
I love the excitement behind every event and focus very careful attention to creating something really unique and exceptional for each bride.
What are some words you live by? Less is more.
What’s your favorite quote - in English or Italian - that describes your creative process?
Maybe this one is easy to guess. Charles Eames said, “The details are not the details. They make the design.”
What is one piece of advice you would give another creative just starting out today?
Be patient, kind, persistent and always give only your very best.
Finish this sentence: “Every creative’s desk should have a _____ on it.”
A sharp pair of scissors.
If someone wanted to incorporate one item from your studio into their everyday, what would you suggest and how should they use it?
I would pick a vibrant colored ribbon and suggest wrapping a present with it. When wrapped with a simple vibrant ribbon, an everyday gift will look quite special.
What is the best homemade food gift you have ever received?
Before hopping on a plane back to the US, I received a big bundle of my favorite biscotti from my best friend in Rome.
We are offering free shipping for all domestic, wholesale orders until June 30th. Please review the catalogue and notice that Studio Carta will be closed from July 18th until August 18th. A long time, I know, but we will make sure to ship wholesale orders until the very end, before our trip. Thank you and happy summer!
The National Stationery Show is only a week away. We couldn't be any happier to launch the new products we have been working on for the last few months. They are all exclusively custom made in Italy for Studio Carta: Coda di Topo ribbon in eight vibraint colors, The Neon Round Cord and the Loose Weave Metallic ribbon in Gold and Silver. Our booth # is 1762. Please stop by, we are in great company with Albertine Press and close by Hammer Press, Egg Press, Hello Lucky and Yellow Owl Workshop. Along with these great companies, we are running several promotions, with a scratch-it card and treasure chests. To preview our products, please take a pick at the new Wholesale Catalogue 2014 and let us know what you think. Thank you and see you soon!
A new site is ready! It wasn't easy to sort hundreds of images and pick the right one that could represent the studio and the work we do here, but I hope this can be a good start. Text is brief, I mostly rely on the photos to tell a story. Any suggestion is welcome, please let me know what you think and how you navigate on the site. Your support and feedback is very precious! Thank you.
What a beautiful wedding! I was so happily surprised when the mother of the bride sent me these images of how she used the Metallic cotton ribbon on the wedding favors. The full wedding is posted on Style Me Pretty and I'm honored to be part of this amazing wedding with just a spark of silver on the table! Photos by Acres of Hope Photography.
Even after a few days from the Calligrafia workshop, I'm still dreaming of ink drawing on paper, the beautiful atmosphere we had at the studio with the students and the warmth of Maybelle voice and her way of teaching. It was really amazing. I selected a few photos from that special day and I hope it can give an idea of workshops. I also would like to refer to two blog posting, one by Justine Hand and the other in German by Heike Pototschnigg that add more details on the workshop. A huge thank you to Maybelle for coming all the way from San Francisco to teach modern calligraphy in our studio and to the wonderful students that joined us for the day. It was a dream!
The Calligrafia workshop with Maybelle was a wonderful experience. Ever since I discovered her work through Tristan of Besotted, I was completely in love with Maybelle's style and calligraphy. When we finally met in person the past December, I was thrilled about the opportunity to offer one of her workshop here at our studio. Since the very first hour of setting up the materials and styling the tables for the student to come, I knew it was going to be, indeed, amazing! During the workshop, I couldn't stop photographing each moment of Maybelle teaching, the students work and every detail it went to perform this special day. I have now more than two hundreds photos to sort and edit for the new post, but meanwhile, I didn't want to wait any longer to share these images of the set up with you. More very soon!
|Ink and personalized pen holder for each student.|
|Setting up for each student seat|
|Center piece with wooden pencils and Metallic cotton ribbon spools.|
|Preparing the wood box calligraphy kit for the students.|
What a day celebrating letterpress printing and design! Thank you to everyone that came and joined the day with us and to Ladyfingers Letterpress, Albertine Press, Letter and Lark and Parrott Design Studio, the event wouldn't ever have been possible without you! More pics on Instagram and on lovely Posh and Prep blog. Thank you for the post Julie!
A quick reminder: For the Love of Letterpress event is this Saturday, March 22nd at our studio on 97 Boylston Street, Brookline, MA, from 11 to 4 pm. We are getting ready and make space for the new exhibitors and to open our door to new and old studio's friend. Please join us and happy spring!