Archive for #art

S & L Services, our newest Give A Fig partner!

img_3487We are excited to announce that S & L Services is our newest Give A Fig™ partner! S & L Services provides professional design, printing, and copy services in Kennett Square PA. They also sell stationery, office supplies, and gift items.

“We’re thrilled to be able to offer Suzanne’s line of premium, handcrafted greetings!” says Sandy Tapia, store owner along with her husband Luis. This family-owned business is also a valuable asset to the Spanish-speaking community.

“We’ve worked with Suzanne for a long time, providing quality printing and copying for her award-winning communication design business. It’s exciting to feature her beautiful cards to our local community.”

As you know, at Give A Fig™ we care and we give back to our community by donating a portion of profits to the arts and the environment. Our messages come from the heart. We are an American stationery company with a line of socially-responsible, eco-friendly, superior-quality greeting cards and stationery gifts. Give A Fig™ cards are produced on premium recycled, FSC-certified paper with soy-based inks. Renewable resources such as wind and solar provide 100% of the energy for our studio. Because Give A Fig™ is committed to giving back, a portion of every Give A Fig™ card sold helps support the arts and the environment in our community.

It means so much to find local partners who also Give A Fig like Sandy and Luis. Be sure to check out S & L Services for all your printing and copy services, and ask about our Give A Fig™ cards. Thank you!

Our favorite fungi

gaf-mushroom-smHere’s a preview of our newest Give A Fig™ card, featuring our favorite fungi! In Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, where our Give A Fig™ studio is located, it is known as the “Mushroom Capital of the World” because mushroom farming in the region produces over a million pounds of mushrooms a week. To celebrate this heritage, Kennett Square has an annual Mushroom Festival when the town hosts a parade, tours of mushroom farms, and artisans and food vendors sell all kinds of goodies. There is also a large, lighted mushroom that gets lowered from on high by a countdown on New Year’s Eve like in Times Square!

Here are a few unusual and interesting facts about mushrooms. (Thank you Fungi Perfecti for compiling these!)

1. Mushrooms are fungi. Fungi are as uniquely different from plants as plants are from animals. In fact, fungi and animals are now in the same super-kingdom, Opisthokonta.

2. Fungi recycle plants after they die and transform them into rich soil. If not for mushrooms and fungi, the Earth would be buried in several feet of debris and life on the planet would soon disappear.

3. The oldest mushroom found in amber is from 90 million years ago—a Cordyceps. Scientists recently discovered a fossil first uncovered in 1859 and named Prototaxites, dating back more than 420 million years, a time when the tallest plants were around 2 feet tall. Prototaxites was 3 feet tall laying down, but if standing was nearly 30 feet high. In either case it would be the tallest organism on land… and it was a giant fungus!

4. Some of the oldest living mushroom colonies are fairy rings growing around the famous Stonehenge ruins in England. The rings are so large that they can best be seen from airplanes.

5. You can make beautiful colors by boiling wild mushrooms and dipping cloth in the resulting broth. The book The Rainbow Beneath My Feet shows you how to make dyes with mushrooms.

6. Many mushrooms grow towards light, following the sun just like other plants. Unlike plants, scientists do not yet know how mushrooms use sunlight; only that they do.

7. The spores of mushrooms are made of chitin, the hardest naturally-made substance on Earth. Some scientists suspect that mushroom spores are capable of space travel; a few even believe that some fungi found on Earth originally came from outer space! (Others believe that people who think this must be from outer space themselves.)

8. Under the right conditions, some mushrooms’ spores can sit dormant for decades or even a century, and still grow!

9. Mushrooms are useful not only as food and medicine; some are also being used in bioremediation, to absorb and digest dangerous substances like oil, pesticides, and industrial waste in places where they threaten the environment.

At Give A Fig™, we care and we give back. When you choose a Give A Fig™ card, you show that you Give A Fig™ too. Thanks a bunch for choosing Give A Fig™ cards!

What is Give A Fig™?

GAF-treeSomeone might say, “I don’t give a fig…” or “I never cared a fig…” The idiom goes back to the earliest days of modern English. In Shakespeare’s time, one might “not care a fig, or not give a fig.” It meant “to care nothing at all.” I turned this saying on its head. To GIVE A FIG means TO CARE. It’s also interesting to note that the fig was associated with female fertility and eroticism by the Romans; the fruit was sacred to Bacchus.

Inspired by a love of history and nature, I began to create art with some exciting new artist media I discovered while traveling. For years, I’ve made cards to send to friends and family. So I designed a series of greetings with doodle-like illustrations and clever sayings. I called them Give A Fig™ because they would be different than other cards. I researched ways to minimize the environmental impacts of printing and paper production. They’re printed on Forest Stewardship Council-certified paper with soy-based inks in a plant that utilizes energy conservation and alternate power resources. Give A Fig™ cards with a conscience are produced sustainably.

Because I support organizations that make a difference, a portion of Give A Fig™ profits is donated to arts, environment, and education nonprofits. It is also extremely important to me to support American workers. The cards are printed in a union shop with materials sourced as close to home as possible. Give A Fig™ cards are proudly made in the USA. Choosing a Give A Fig™ card sends a message that you care.

I plan to produce several new designs each year. Eventually I hope to incorporate Give A Fig™ art on tote bags, water bottles, yoga mats, hats, T shirts, and more. There might be Give A Fig™ Books and Give A Fig™ Tours. Thank you for your support of Give A Fig™. I know you care!

Best Teacher Ever, Part I

teacher of holding pen correctlyDo you remember a teacher who was so original in style and so creative with content that she/he inspired you to think in ways that still resonate today?

Ms. Clarke was my seventh grade English teacher and someone we’d call a “free spirit” today. Back in the 70s, she was just a hippy. Untamed curls spilled over her shoulders and flowing clothes hung from her narrow frame. I think she lived with another teacher in a kind of treehouse, but they weren’t married. Looking back, I’d bet she smoked weed. She published novels and she was cool: she even made “The Red Badge of Courage” engaging.

We read lots of books and learned to write essays like most kids. Then one seemingly random day, she passed around small jars of india ink, strange looking pens with metal tips called “nibs,” and parchment paper. Ms. Clarke placed lines under the parchment and showed us how to position the nib at a 45° angle. She demonstrated traditional calligraphy on an overhead projector. After a lot of practice, we began to copy lines from Shakespeare’s sonnets. Suddenly the archaic language made more sense. This “wild woman” of a public school teacher showed her students a way to get inside of something to understand it better. She instilled in us a love of words, of craft. Ms. Clarke chose a fresh way to plant seeds of curiosity. To this day, I’ve nurtured a passion for calligraphy and a fascination with Shakespeare. You might notice a love of words and lettering in Give A Fig™ Cards with a Conscience.
Who was your best teacher ever?
(Photo courtesy of Folger Shakespeare Library:

An Evening of Inspiration

About once a month, a group of women friends meets at someone’s home to share some “Inspiration.” Topics have included calligraphy, yoga, cooking, manicures/pedicures, ceramics, beading, stained glass, ornaments and wreath making, wine tasting, and even a night of games. These are casual events with simple appetizers to share and glasses of wine. We laugh, listen to music, admire each other’s skills (or lack thereof), talk, and create something to bring home, even if it’s simply pretty nails or a new movie or book to check out.

I admire each of the women friends who gathers for our “Evenings of Inspiration.” They’re balancing careers with raising children, volunteering in the community, taking care of elderly parents, working in the schools, and dedicating themselves to many worthwhile causes. It’s often hard to find time to meet. But I think each of us understands the importance of women getting together to nurture each other and ourselves once in awhile. We can be better mothers, professionals, advocates, and activists by supporting each other in a creative way.

Tonight we’re meeting at my place to make a “Couples Wheel.” This is something entirely new for all of us, including me! We’ll chart each person’s position on a medicine wheel based on their birthdate, and then compare that with the position of their significant other. Maybe we’ll learn something about ourselves and about those who are important in our lives. Regardless, we’ll have fun.

What do you do for Inspiration?