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Favorite Things: Lansing paper artist Deb Smeak and her joy cards


I keep these cards in my purse I create that I can hand out to anybody bringing a smile to my face. It says something like, “You brought a smile to my day and pass it along to someone who brings you joy.” From there people pass it along and I like to think this joy ripples through the community, which is really cool.

One of my favorite things is sharing the joy of creativity and artwork with people. I do that through cards. I even have this hashtag called “#spreadthejoy” where you can see where the card went.

Making cards for me is what I like to say is cheaper than therapy. It is calming and rewarding to be able to see it creatively move from start to finish. To sell it is also a bonus in itself.

Ever since I can remember I grew up creating with paper. I would always cut things with cardboard and glue things together. I love creating things and looking at what I made and thinking, “I made this and it is cute or beautiful.” It doesn’t get old.

I later went to school for art and am going for graphic design. I really love working with stamps now.

I also like looking at Pinterest for inspiration for these. I can lose myself there. When I see something, it just gives me an idea or a jumping-off point. But most of my work is an original creation.

Sometimes even these little cards will take an hour or two to make. The initial design takes quite a while. Then I’ll make them more quickly once I have the routine down.

My favorite color to use with these is coral. I have a bunch of coral flowers and roses on things. All of it is fun to play around with. There is a lot of variety so I don’t get bored.

It was an honor to be the featured artist at Great Lakes Art and Gifts. I really like being here and having this community with local artists here and sharing it with everyone.

My kids are really creative too. I am so proud because they just made me birthday cards and I am so proud of them for that.

You actually brought a smile to my face today by giving me a call so I wanted to give you a joy card today so you can pass it on too. 

(This interview was edited and condensed by Dennis Burck. If you have a recommendation for “Favorite Things,” please email dennis@lansingcitypulse.com.)


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