Greetings from Nottingham, home of The Curious Pancake. Hi, I'm Claire. I’m an illustrator, designer, and the founder and current sole full-time employee of The Curious Pancake. Wha.. who... whe...? I'm glad you asked! Allow me to continue...
I have always loved illustration and drawing.
As a kid, I used to beg my mum to send my artwork to Tony Hart, with the hope it would feature in his gallery (yes, I am that old!). Creating something from nothing will never cease to utterly delight me. As I grew up, I found that I was always much better expressing myself through the images I’d drawn or the words I'd written, rather than the dreaded face to face! I loved making and sending greeting cards because it was far easier to express my sentiments on paper than in person, after I’d agonized about it all for ages first of course! On paper, I could be this cool, edited version of myself, which, to an especially awkward teenager, was like magic! Being an illustrator, therefore, was the perfect job for me as a wannabe extrovert who had discovered that I was definitely more of a classic introvert! Thinking back, it makes total sense to me today that I find myself selling “emotions on paper” or "greetings cards" to give them their common name!
I started my little odd-named business in 2011 following a protracted period of low-responsibility jobs and lots of house moving. I graduated from my illustration degree in 2000 with first class honours from Loughborough University, which just goes to prove that I really didn’t need Tony Hart’s validation, or his gallery after all! Like all good art school graduates, however, I spent the next decade of my life in and out of part-time jobs, whilst I looked for the perfect, seemingly non-existent, creative career. Mostly, for me, these part-time jobs centred around greetings card shops. At this time, many of the shops I worked in sold the same bland, out-of-touch selection of cards, and it grated on my creative nerves every day! Oh, you're shopping for a birthday card for your dad? Your choice of cards featuring weird image mash ups of sports cars, golf clubs and beer bottles awaits you!
Riled, I convinced myself that other people must also want better greetings cards! Relevant to our modern lives, fab images, quirky typography, non-saccharine cuteness and... er, swearing. So my quest began! With my beady illustrator's eye, I found a wealth of illustrators, letterpress studios and designers with mad skillz. I suddenly had the confidence to start creating a few of my own products and cards!
Since 2011 I have been working part-time on the labour of love that I call my business. Of course, most people who have businesses, especially single-person businesses, know that what they call "part-time" is what any other sane person would call full-time! But the hours do fly by when you are creating what you love! In April 2018 the conditions seemed right for me to leave my part-time job and to go 100% Pancake. I am beyond excited to see what the coming months and years holds for us, and I can't wait to find (and create!) new and fantastic cards, swearing-combinations you've never even dreamt of (owls are bell-ends anyone?) and stationery products and gifts to bring to you all.
On Pancake's virtual shelves you'll find no inner verse, no decoupage, no frilly edges... Instead I bring you my curated range of greeting cards and gifts created by our creative crowd of illustrators, artists and designers from the UK, the US and other parts of Planet Earth.
If you're a fellow illustrator and you think your work would fit in with the products you see in our store, we would love to hear from you. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with info and product images and we can chat further.
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Not sure where to start browsing? Check out our bestselling greeting cards here!