Interview series: Our Crafted Nation, with Joanne from The Letter J Supply

Last August, I took the plunge and decided to do Average Jo full time. It is a whole scary and uncertain world out there, and at that time, I had no one to speak to about the excitement and self-doubt I might face in this transition. What better people to share with us their knowledge and experience, than craftspeople who've been around for some time, right? So after a few email exchanges and studio visits, here's the Interview Series: Our Crafted Nation. 

In this series, I had conversations with 4 craftspeople who call their amazing community a second home. They have inspired me in ways that I never thought I would be and have humbly shared with me what keeps them going, their difficulties, and my personal favourite part - a quote for keepsake. To start the ball rolling, here's Joanne, from The Letter J Supply.


Jomaine: I know you were a graphic design for about a decade before The Letter J Supply came about. What were the thoughts running through your head that made you come to a decision to do the switch?

Joanne: I did a gradual transition, I still had some freelance graphic design jobs on hand. It was a balance between both fields at first, because I needed some financial stability that freelance gave me. Slowly I stopped taking up design jobs entirely and focussed solely on The Letter J Supply. It was a mix of anxiousness and excitement, but I knew it.

Jomaine: What motivates and inspires you daily? How's your design routine like?

Joanne: Just thinking about the endless possibilities to experiment with my craft excites me. A visit to the art supplies and paper shops is always a good start! I spend some time getting to know my new tool and testing it on different materials. Also looking at work that I like and learning from their work to improve on my own. Good music and a relaxed state of mind is key because everything that you are is translated to paper.

 

Jomaine: Share with me a story/moment that was a turning point for you.

Joanne: When Zixi my illustrator friend came for my first "test" pop-up shop and told me that I didn't have to be afraid of being perfect before showing my work, that learning on the job will push me further and faster. That has got to be one of the best advice I've received!

Jomaine: Your calligraphy workshop is really the hot thing now! You've held markets and craft exchanges in your last pop-up, and were really successful, I must say. What value do you see in such collaborations?

Joanne: I think collaborations can be very powerful when we meet people who are like-minded but with complimentary skill sets. Collabs must be win-win situations, where both parties are working with their strengths. For me working together with different people also sharpens me in learning to work with different styles and systems. The best part is actually the friendship that is born from working towards something together.

Jomaine: There're many more aspiring creatives out there like myself. What big hopes do you have for the local craft scene?

Joanne: That we will support one another more, develop a culture of encouraging words for fellow crafters, and grow together as a community. That everyone can find their own unique voice by enjoying the process of what they do and shine!

Jomaine: You must have a huge archive of quotes, but what’s your favourite?

Joanne: "Favour opens doors, but humility keeps you in the room." - Bill Johnson.

Jomaine: Ultimate essentials that you never leave home without?

Joanne: My organiser! It contains my schedule and important notes. My phone, a notebook and a pen.


Lastly, a personal shoutout to Joanne. Thank you for being more than a mentor and a friend combined. I really had a wonderful time working with you the past few months and am so thankful how our paths crossed and you giving me the opportunity to grow and learn in a dream and inspiring environment. Everything you touch do turn to gold! Can't thank you enough, Joanne, really. 

Jo