Meet the Vendor: Unusual Cards
Who are you and what do you do?
Unusual Cards is Francesca Berrini and Scott Ulrich and based in Portland, Oregon. All of our images are the original hand-cut collage art of Francesca Berrini, and are the results of slowly altering an entire library of unwanted old books using only scissors and glue. Francesca is the main creative force and business manager, but Scott is the main manufacturer, heavy-stuff lifter, and creative advice giver.
What’s the latest thing you’ve been working on?
We are working on a second self-published book! It’s going to be a sing-a-long songbook of science with Jesus.
What was your first memory of making something?
I used to make these tiny dolls with furniture that were so small that they were almost impossible to see. I still remember the pained expressions of adults as I would present them with these microscopic handcrafted gifts that I expected them to care for and play with. They could barely handle them without destroying them with their giant fingers.
What is your favorite new product for 2015?
The book! We’re hoping to make a recording of some of the music in the book so that we could include a cd with purchase. The only trouble is that we’re not actually sure that any of the sheet music we’ve created is actually playable.
How far will you be traveling to come to UCU?
We’ll be making the arduous journey up from Portland, Or
What do you love most about craft show vending?
I love catching people by surprise and making people laugh. Seriously, the expressions people make when they are first trying to determine what the hell is going on in our booth are really fantastic.
How did you get started in your business?
I was working in a custom blacksmithing/metal shop in South Lake Union when I started making this series of collages. I had a studio with real workspace for making welded furniture and other big things, but as it turns out, all I wanted to do after being in a fab shop all day was sit around and play with paper. When that place went bankrupt in 2002 I launched the unusualcards.com website.
Is this a full-time business for you?
Yep. Both Scott and Francesca are working at this full time right now.
Where do you see your business in 3 years?
Ruling the planet from outer space, hopefully.
Actually, I hope to keep the business just the right size so that we can continue to travel and enjoy life. As an artist, I’d like to keep the focus on the creative end of things. Our goal is to never have a real full time employee and to keep everything made within biking distance of our headquarters.
Who’s your biggest fan?
I’m not sure. How tall is Jesus?
What’s your favorite item that you sell?
I’m pretty excited about this new Dinosaur on a Bicycle image I just made.
What’s the best experience you’ve ever had with one of your customers?
Every time we can actually make somebody laugh out loud is the best experience we have. The very best is when we catch people completely off guard and squeeze that surprised sort of laugh out of them.