Step inside and explore the creative world of Cat! Here, we invite you to discover her beautiful artstic designs as they bring a sparkle of inspiration or hope to your day. Be transported into an atelier-inspired wonderland where dreams come alive through stunning hand-painted greeting cards and stationery.
A Glimpse Inside Cat's Creative Atelier
Tell us about yourself and what you make?
Hi there! I am Cat, a New York based artist whose love of art, florals, and stationery combined to create the eco-friendly paper goods shop, Atelier By Cat. You may see me pop up around NYC in various markets, or hosting my own for makers in Astoria. I began this journey almost 2 years ago by hand painting cards and sending them to friends and family! I am happy to say it has evolved over time into a full Atelier of fun and sometimes quirky art. I love playing with various mediums but watercolor is my go to for everything floral!
How did you get into painting and water color?
I have always been in and out of art classes most of my childhood and experimented with different mediums from paint, to oil, to pottery on wheels. When I moved to NYC in 2013, I put that side of me on the back burner while 18 year old me hustled to make it here. In 2021, I found myself with a lot of free time on my hands. I decided to sign up for an online watercolor class as this was one medium I could never get into as a child.
I started painting on cardstock I had laying around and turned them into notecards, documenting the journey on my personal instagram. I genuinely was surprised by the reaction of my friends and family and ended up offering to send anyone who was interested some pretty hand painted snail mail! I think I had about 20+ people reach out in the end! It was really fun and just felt like a natural progression to selling watercolor notecards.
I still offer a “freebie” sign up from time to time, where you can get a freebie from me in the mail and it’s been a fun way to meet new people, customers, even other small businesses, and artists!
"I started painting on cardstock I had laying around and turned them into notecards, documenting the journey on my personal instagram."
Where do you get your inspiration from?
In the spring/summer my inspiration comes from my neighborhood in Queens! We have some amazing gardens around and you can see the locals take pride in their blooms! I am so excited to create more abstract art and to figure out how my love of florals and abstracts combine!
What do you love most about art and being creative?
I love how everyone has a specific artist style and over time how it evolves and grows just like we do! I am one of those people who find artists' accounts that I love and I will scroll all the way back to their first post to see where they started. It reaffirms that no matter what, we all grow and change over time and being creative just allows us to do so externally rather than just internally.
How do you use stamps for your small business?
I use stamps in my business in two ways! Some of my marketing tools are stamps so when I finish a card, my name and logo get stamped onto the back. Along with this, I use stamps to take my cards from just blank cards to greeting cards! I started hand painting every card originally when the business started in 2021 (and still do for some special collections) but, due to my lack of pretty penmanship, I resorted to creating different stamps to add verbiage options to my notecards. Happy Birthday for example is always a popular one and I have a few different fonts created in my clear cling stamps.
Why did you decide to use clear stamps compared to other printing and branding options?
I decided to use stamps because I wanted my cards to still feel hand made and not printed! Again, stamps are my saving grace as my handwriting is not a pretty addition to my stationery. Offering hand painted cards ensures customers get a one of a kind item, and I believe that finishing it off with a stamp just adds to the uniqueness. That being said, the fact that they are clear stamps helps me with the proper placement as well which is really important!
"(Clear) stamps are my saving grace as my handwriting is not a pretty addition to my stationery"
When did you realize you had creative talent?
As a child I was always super creative! This stemmed from my mother who always had a craft idea and materials everywhere around the house. Countless times over my childhood we created together trying different projects. She still inspires me to continue learning and growing through my art and I challenge her right back which is really fun. We send images back and forth, talk about techniques and what we saw someone do on instagram. It has been really special growing up with a mom like that and I am grateful everyday for her! Also I should probably note my father is surprisingly great at drawing and somehow I didn’t not get that talent. He always surprises us with little napkin doodles and just makes it look so easy. Goes to say it’s all in the family.
Do you accept custom orders/requests?
I do accept custom orders! I LOVE making a special set of cards for someone. I am even getting into larger works of art now too, so as I grow that skill set, I will most certainly look to do more commissions in the future!
Tell us more about the makers market you organize?
I organize a makers market for local creators and makers in the Astoria, Queens, NY area. The market is called the Undesirable Shop and it is a home for all of those handmade “imperfect” items we makers hold onto over the years! It started out as an idea I had about a year ago to bring my “imperfect” cards to a market to see if I could get rid of them during a holiday sale weekend. Now an imperfect card could mean that I smudged the stamp at the very end or dropped my paint brush which splattered paint in the wrong areas! It also could have been originally a custom card design that took a few tries before nailing. All of these in the end would not be sold to a customer, but still has value in being a card and meeting the end function. I was genuinely surprised by the reaction as customers loved the idea of buying a one-of-a-kind item even if it wasn't perfect to save it from being tossed out!
"The market is called the Undesirable Shop and it is a home for all of those handmade “imperfect” items."
That day I looked around and I realized that most makers must have an “imperfect bin” somewhere taking up space in their inventory, costing them money in raw materials and that there was a need in the industry to become more sustainable in our crafts. So I spoke to a few friends to see if there was any interest and as it turns out, it’s been a huge success so far!
I went from thinking of hosting quarterly markets to hosting monthly events here in Astoria, and have a wait list of vendors seeking to sell with us! It has been exciting and honestly, a satisfying experience to use my skills in organizing events to support the local maker community! Sustainability is top of mind for me and very much the backbone of local businesses and I hope this market can fulfill a huge need in the industry.