Around this time last year, Neelam and I were sitting in the Gardener's Rest pub in Neepsend, talking to a second hand book shop owner called David. He's the brother in law of a friend (Michael) whose birthday we were celebrating.
David was in the process of moving his shop (Books on the Park) to larger premises, and one of the things he hoped to do with the extra space was sell cards from local artists and designers. Michael had already mentioned this to Neelam as an opportunity, and she had explored options. However, a day or so after meeting David, Neelam came up with a bright idea.
The best ideas work on several levels. Not only do they do "what it says on the tin", they also suggest ways of using the tin when it's empty. One of Neelam's many problems is that she has a husband with a low boredom threshold. Rather than leaving her alone to get on with her design work, he comes along and fiddles with her pencils. Her bright idea would (she thought) not only lead to suggestions for greetings cards, it would also provide respite for her pencils.
Neelam suggested that I should try coming up with ideas for cards based on book titles. I immediately suggested that she sketch an inebriated bird jeering at the world from a floor littered with empty bottles of Mexican liquor. Neelam chose not to illustrate Tequila Mockingbird, but liked the suggestion. She liked even more the fact that I sat down at my computer and began to generate further ideas. Sadly for her, in less than an hour I had knocked off over a dozen suggestions and went downstairs to resume pencil fiddling.
Within a month, Neelam had produced ten greetings card designs, all on the theme: "A Twisted Title: It's almost a classic". It's a bit of a change from scarves, but she enjoyed doing them. They're now on sale across Sheffield (in Books on the Park, Sheffield University Blackwells, and Sue Callaghan Bookbinder), as well as at Octavia's Bookshop in Cirencester. Needless to say, they're also available from the Look-in-the-Bag Website.