This month we would like to introduce Carrie Yarbrough of Yellow Yardbird Design located in Houston, Texas. We met Carrie last year and fell in love with her beautiful hand designed stationery. We are excited to be able to stock a small variety of her work.
In learning more about Carrie and how she got started we found out she became interested in art as a preteen through her grandmother before her passing. Her grandmother worked mostly in oil painting. Carrie says,
“One day, I discovered some painting books of hers in our house and decided to paint some of the artwork from the books. This became a regular thing for me and I soon learned how to paint by studying other artist’s techniques.”
In her teens and twenties Carrie worked primarily in acrylics and painted mostly realism, but felt that really wasn’t her style. Prior to her third child being born Carrie went through a seven year artist block where she painted very little. Carrie stated, “I suddenly had an overabundance of creative energy. I really wanted to start a business using my creative skills but I wasn’t sure exactly what that would be.” She took on vinyl shirt making and started water coloring.
It never occurred to Carrie to create a business around her watercolors, until one day having a conversation with a friend about starting a business with vinyl shirts her friend. Carrie says “After that conversation, I started my stationery business. Two years later I have more than 60 products.”
We asked Carrie where her inspiration for her beautiful art comes from.
“Everything!” Carrie says. “My eyes are always open to ideas. My blue butterfly stationery is based on a butterfly my daughter fell in love with on our family trip. The hummingbirds stationery is inspired by the hummingbirds that congregate around the feeder on my in-laws porch in the country. My robin stationery is based on the robins that visit my backyard to let me know that spring has arrived. There are stories behind all of my watercolors.”
Yellow Yardbird Design specializes in stationery, prints, invitations, ornaments, and blankets that are based on Carrie’s original watercolor paintings. The stationery cards and prints are created using beautiful fine art paper and give the illusion that they are the original watercolor painting.
Carrie says “I am most proud of the quality of the products that I offer. It is important to me that my customers are getting the very best product on the market.” Before launching her stationery, Carrie told us she spent months searching for the best packaging, the highest quality cards and best quality printmaker. The same process has been used for the blankets and ornaments and for all future products.”
In every business there are learning points. We ask Carrie to share some of hers with us. Carrie told us, “It hasn’t been a smooth road, that every artist and business owner goes through periods of self doubt during a lull in their business.” Carrie states, “In my busy times, I could kick myself for not producing more products. Understanding that idle time is an opportunity to grow my business and increase my productivity is something I’m definitely working on.”
Taking note of lessons learned in finding her artistic medium, when we asked Carrie if she would take the same path again she told us. “As an artist, I think that I have this natural inclination to want to create everything that inspires me. I see other artist working in a different medium or style and I want to try that as well. In the first year I tried out different styles and mediums and, in my opinion, wasted some valuable time trying to do something that wasn’t my style. After trying this a few times I realized that having a cohesive brand and embracing my artistic identity was truly important to the success of my business. “
We were curious to know where all of her artistic work is made, so we asked Carrie to share the history of the life of her studio space. Over the years her studio has shifted, she told us “My studio workspace has shifted over the years from my bedroom, to the dining room, to my guest room. This is where I work on my computer, print and package orders.” She says “My painting studio is very versatile, because my watercolors and notepads travel easily. I like to carry an art pad with me so that I can work on ideas on the go.” Carrie says some of her best drawings were done in the carpool line and some of her best paintings were created outside while watching her kids play.
We hope next time you visit Agnes Belle you will stop by our stationery display and check out Carrie’s beautiful artwork. On the back of each package you can read a short version of her story.