Monday, February 15, 2010

LindaButterfly, LindaCaterpillar Cards and Art

"One Fine Day"
LindaButterfly and LindaCaterpillar Etsy Stores
By Donald T. MacKinnon

One fine day I was sitting on a bench along Main Street in a small town called Etsy. I noticed a person walking on the other side of the street. This person stopped to look in a shop window at the many items on display. After a few moments he turned crying and sobbing openly as he continued his walk. Another person walking also turned to look in the store window. She turned after letting out a burst of uncontrolled laughter and continued her walk down Main Street, giggling to herself all the way.
What kind of store could bring such extreme responses as I had just witnessed? I was unable to read the sign over the store front window from my bench seat on the opposite side of the street. The store seemed relatively busy with people entering and exiting through the old fashioned single door in front. More people stopped to stare in the window and as they continued their walks each seemed to exhibit emotions that varied between sadness and joviality.
Curious, I left the comfortable bench and crossed the street to take a closer look at the emotion provoking display. The store front window was filled with greeting cards. Every occasion, holiday, and event had a card with a cover describing the function through art, or photography. The sign over the store front window display said “LindaButterfly Cards and Art”.
As my eyes went from one card to another and another I thought, what’s in a card? There is plenty; memories, feelings and dreams are in a card, as I answered my own question. A card can raise a tear, paint a smile, bring people together, announce an event, celebrate a beginning, or acknowledge an ending. A card is a messenger in a thought or emotion provoking cover. A photograph, drawing, or artwork can set the mood and define the cards purpose. At first glance a card seems like something small and inexpensive. Does this fact make a card less of a gift or not as meaningful? A quality card like those in this store front window can resurrect memories and bring an emotional response far more valuable than any other type of gift.
Before long I found myself opening the door, and much to my surprise I found two shops inside. Now this is different, yet it works and works well I thought. One shop LindaButterfly was just cards. Display after display of cards each ready for a message to accompany the cover.
I turned my gaze to the other store, LindaCaterpillar, a collection of paintings and photographs. Along the walls larger paintings, drawings, and artwork were displayed. At the center of the room were three rows of display shelves. The shelves were part of a tier system which made viewing the smaller paintings, drawings, ACEO’s (art, cards, editions, and originals)and other items much easier.
I decided to go into the LindaButterfly virtual store first since I spotted an interesting card already. “Look at all these cards”, I said quietly to myself. “Sir, what did you say”, said a voice from behind the display in a distinctly British accent. “There are so many cards” I said. “Yes, I try to provide a good selection, something for every occasion”, she replied as she appeared in front of me, this lady with a big warm smile. “Hello, I am Linda”, she greeted me. “Is there something special you need or would you like to just look around?” “Just one question; all of the cards I have looked at are beautiful on the outside, but with no writing on the inside, why?” “Good question, the card cover has different meanings. This way each person who buys a card can write something appropriate to the occasion at hand. Possibly to convey a meaningful personal message or recount some past experience”. She paused a moment, “The individual can make a card so much more than just a card. Look around, enjoy the store, ask and I will help you.” I thought to myself; this is somebody who really enjoys making greeting cards.
Later, after talking to Linda about her store and original greeting cards, I discovered that she is a retired school teacher; now she pursues her dreams, feelings and visions as a writer, artist, and photographer. Linda the Artist is a person who creates images that reflect her love of beauty, and life with all its color and texture. This is obvious as I look at greeting cards, note cards, and postcards each with one of Linda’s paintings, drawings or photographs printed on the front cover.

Imagine how someone you know would feel upon receiving one of these beautiful cards with a personal message carefully penned inside. Think about yourself writing a message that resurrects an old memory about a person, relative, place, vacation, or a shared moment. When you take the time to exchange heartfelt sympathies, feelings and thoughts, the card becomes a priceless treasure. LindaButterfly is no ordinary card store; no, there is nothing ordinary about this treasure trove of Art covered vehicles each having the potential to carry a meaningful message to a loved one or friend.
I walked along the display until the cards with original paintings as front covers suddenly changed to beautiful photographs. Row upon row, card after card is displayed on the shelves, each one with a photograph taken by Linda and printed on the cover. There is nothing boring about this photography with images of people, life, places, things, and more. In our earlier conversion, Linda mentioned long walks with camera in hand. During these walks there is not much that escapes the lens of her camera. “There is so much to see all we have to do is look,” she said. Linda the photographer is much like the artist as she captures the image for a moment in time. Look is exactly what I proceeded to do and here are just a few examples of the front cover images on the cards displayed:

Linda’s vision for thought provoking imagery is uncanny, to say the least. You probably see as I do from these 6 photographs; let’s compare notes. I see a card for peace and tranquility, the bird lover, a hunter, someone into sewing, a walker, the gardener, a yachtsman and so much more. It is easy to understand why the card inside flap is left blank, awaiting the thoughtful and appropriate response. I continued to browse the bountiful selection of greeting cards, and enjoy a rollercoaster ride of emotions with memories as the catalyst. Cards, cards and more cards, I must remember to purchase some before I leave. Excuses? I have none left after my tour of this incredible store.
I glanced at the time, it was late and I still needed to spend some time in Linda’s other store LindaCaterpillar. As I headed down the aisle I nearly knocked over a display stand of magnets. Wait, magnets? What is this? These are beautiful; my refrigerator could become a control center with an artistic flair. The refrigerator door in our house is information central with grocery lists, doctor appointments, repairmen’s business cards, prescriptions to be filled, and “to do lists” all held in place by an indiscriminant collection of magnets. Linda has enclosed small photographs and copies of her artwork in glass with two super magnets affixed to the back. I can see it now, our refrigerator door with these colorful magnets holding up for display the day to day information that we need. Look at this wonderful way of bringing art into our everyday lives.

Once again I remembered the time, and headed over to the store featuring drawings and paintings by Linda.
By now, I am overwhelmed by this artist’s skill and yet there is still more to see as I enter the store LindaCaterpillar. Pastel drawings, watercolor and acrylic paintings hang from the walls while on shelves are displayed miniature works of art called ACEO’s. “Donald, are you enjoying my works?” a voice from behind me said. I replied “Yes, but where do you get all these ideas?” Linda thought for a moment and said “I generally get hundreds of ideas and execute a very small proportion of them. My love of beauty, color, texture, intricacies, and life help me sort of feel the painting. Then I see it. It becomes an urgency to get the emotion of the painting out onto paper. I see the picture on the paper and simply paint what I see.” “You make it sound so simple,” I replied thanking her, and continued to look at painting after painting. This is Linda the Artist, expressing her emotions and feelings through her paintings, drawings, and photography. Here are some of my favorites:
Watercolor Paintings
Acrylic Paintings

Pastel Drawings
Linda the Artist

My visit to these wonderful stores must come to an end. I ask you to visit LindaCaterpillar and feel for yourself the emotion as it emanates from her artwork. See the vibrant colors, intricacies, and love of life that is apparent in both her art and photography. Both stores have much to offer with LindaButterfly focusing on greeting cards, art embellished magnets, art covered mouse pads, and much more. LindaCaterpillar has much to offer with its pastel drawings, watercolor and acrylic paintings, Photographs, ACEO’s and much more. I have enjoyed a virtual fine day in a small town called Etsy.

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Valerie's Essentials said...

Donald you have such a gift for writing!!!! And I LOVE these shops!!! Aewsome Job!!

Michelle said...

How beautifully written! Linda is truly talented and you have captured that in a wonderful way!!!

hamnaatif said...

Very nice! you did a great job covering her talent.

Dina Cuomo said...

Donald, your article is so beautifully written and just perfect really! I loved seeing the photos of Linda at work too. A wonderful tribute to linda and her amazing work and creativity!

Linda said...

Donald, how hard you worked for this wonderful result. Thank you for asking me sensible questions, and for getting such an amazing piece of work done, even though you were unwell in the midst of it. Thank you.

Linda said...

I've copied this to Mixxmade, MySpace and my own blog Donald, with a link to your shop. I can promote them all!

marysmaids said...

Lovely article, great tribute to a talented artist!

Linda said...

Thank you ladies for your lovely comments

Nancy said...

Wow Donald! What a wonderful write up you did a awesome job drawing us in to Linda's shop. To do something you love so much to feel, to be there is great above all things. I used to feel this way about dance and I forgot what it felt like. I seem to remember through this shop of Linda's and your beautiful write up. Thank you...

Ivy9 said...

I can see how coming into someone's shop is the same as coming into his or her world. It is easy to lose all sense of time there enjoying the thoughts and creations of another. said...

Donald, what a beautiful writer you are! Linda, this was a great opportunity to get to know you better and all about your shops. I think the pictures of Linda working added so much to it. Great job as always:)

Expressions By Cheree said...

Donald, this is a fantastic article that you've written about Linda's shops. Linda's work is so amazing!!