Every now and then it happens that you come across a person that is the best type of lovely. Who welcomes you into their life for one hour of one particular day and that hour just happens to become the happiest, most relaxed, joyous and warm hour of your entire week. They are kind, so happy to chat, nothing is too much to ask or too silly to mention and they are just so very nice. That person in this instance was Cat Seto. I took a trip to Russian Hill, a picturesque suburb of San Francisco, to visit her studio/botique, Ferme à Papier. If I didn't already have enough reason to be happy that day (I was in San Fransico!) then meeting Cat and being at the Ferme à Papier studio really just topped it off. Cat is an illustrator, writer and business woman and a super successful one at that. I watched as Cat and her interns buzzed around the studio sorting and packaging and found myself gawking at every single one of Cat's French inspired designs. The whole Ferme à Papier line is inspired by Cat's trips to France. Cat spoke of her inspired travel ventures, her love for her little boy and gave suggestions for the best places to eat in the city (can you imagine my excitement!?). That hour, the best of my week, went by way too fast. Thank goodness for the memory evoking power of photos and this little interview. Enjoy.
What projects are you currently working on?
Our studio is currently working on fulfilling orders with our retailers and researching for fun new products and designs for our new collections. And we are reaping the rewards of a year of collaboration with great folks at Chronicle Books where we have a Ferme journal, notecard set and sticker label set, and an equestrian inspired bedding collection with Land of Nod all releasing for fall.
Where do you draw your creative inspiration from?
We have an open studio and I am inspired by the city, the community and the neighbors who interact with us on a daily basis. Ferme à Papier was inspired by a trip I took to Paris for the first time two years ago. I was quite a workaholic and never did much travel in the past, but now I see travel in a whole new purposeful light.
Why an illustrator/writer? I was drawing and scribbling and sketching before I could walk. I'd sneak a sketchpad onto my lap under the dinner table and when we went out to restaurants. This was always the most comfortable medium for me to express myself in.
Do you listen to music while you work? If so, would you be so kind to share some of your favourite artists?
My music tastes are all over the map... quite schizophrenic and laughable, but I couldn't spend hours on the drawing board without my tunes :). From classical like Stravinsky's Firebird to Vintage French Pop such as Phoenix and Tahiti 80.
Do you have a morning ritual?
My son and I cuddle and eat breakfast together before I get him ready for school and drop him off. Then I work out... I'm somewhat religious about this and use that time to sweat and organize my day ahead. The rest is a hodge lodge of correspondence, phone and conference calls, checking in with the team, studio and boutique. I will eat or round errands in the latter part of my day if I know that I'm going to be designing late in the night (usually vampire hours of 1-4am).
What's your idea of a perfect Friday night?
A leisurely dinner with friends, catching up with my son... to be honest it's nice to just mellow out and relax after a long week!
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
Greece has always been on my travel list. The Capri blue water would likely take my breath away.
Best piece of advice you've ever given or been given?
There's an Ira Glass video called "The Gap" that I have been sharing with my team and new interns. It's a super short video all about patience, honing your craft and being humble.
What's for dinner?
Hoisin string beans and codfish.
The best part about being a creative?
Expression and creativity are at the forefront of your daily missives.
The worst part? Balancing the business component which competes and quite often wins the "forefront" position!
Day or night? Night Old or new? Old mixed with New City or Country? City Coffee or Tea? Tea
What do you enjoy most about living in San Francisco?
The city is beautiful... you can be walking, driving, lost in your in world and then you lift your head up and see the expansive bay spill out from the city.
Thoughts for the future:
The mainstay of my future thoughts are the ones I hold presently: to pursue good health, strive to maintain creative expression and freedom, indulge through my friends and family...and seek out the best ice cream all over the world :)