ABOUT ERIN MARTHA & SANDPAPER ROAD —
As a child, I always created things out of paper including “realistic” props for childhood plays and stories, “3D” free-standing paper dolls stuffed with cotton balls or toilet paper, and an entire puppet theater complete with a “stage” made of boxes and a full cast of paper bag puppets. I enjoyed art classes, but never had any formal art training beyond the regular school day. Then in 1997, a friend hosted a Creative Memories party in my apartment. I became an avid scrapbooker, attending weekend crops and building up a collection of tools and supplies. In 2003, I hosted a Stampin’ Up! party at my home. Although I didn’t take to card-making at first, I was intrigued by the art of stamping and papercrafting. I started to see art projects in my head, projects that combined stamping and scrapbooking and the old “3D” paper art from my childhood. Still, I stuck to scrapbooking the way I knew: start with base cardstock, crop and mount photos, embellish. And even though I loved making scrapbook pages, I wanted to venture out.
Changes in my scrapbooking style came when a company called Making Memories launched a series of “archival safe” acrylic paints and foam stamps. At the time, the thought of adding paint to a scrapbook page seemed sacrilegious. These were the days long before YouTube, so I bought magazines and books and studied the details and designs of my favorite scrapbook artists of the 2000’s: Ali Edwards and Heidi Swapp and the patterns from Brenda Arnall. Soon, I gained the courage to incorporate design theory and color theory into my scrapbook pages.
In 2009, personal circumstances and extreme life changes forced me to put scrapbooking on hold. During that time, family and friends provided me with lots of love and support, and this was when I started card-making. It was important to express gratitude and appreciation to people close to me. This was when I really learned to use what I had: scraps of old store-bought cards, used manila folders, basic glue sticks and thick grade-school markers. It was a time of growth and healing, and getting “back to basics”.
In 2014, I started a small art business called, “Every One Special”. The goal was to make and sell handmade greeting cards and custom-order scrapbooks. Business was climbing, as greeting cards from Every One Special landed in six local retail venues and one design was featured in the Spring 2016 issue of Stamper’s Sampler Magazine. But as I considered the future of the business itself, I realized that mass-producing hand-made cards and getting into more stores was not the direction I wanted to go. I realized the value of those art projects I still saw in my head, and I understood what it meant to try to create art with limited-to-no supplies. I had experienced a “rougher” side of life and had come out on the other side. So I made the decision in November 2016 to change the business name to “Sandpaper Road”. I dove into social media, blogging and YouTube, sharing not just the final products, but also embracing the process itself. I was excited to share with the crafting world all the experience I had gained over the years, including tips and tricks, time-savers, and ways to use what I already had. I wanted to revive an interest in the art of traditional scrapbooking and papercrafting – an interest that died a little inside the all-night-croppers and scrap-addicts each time a local scrapbook store closed for good. I wanted to rekindle a fire in a community of artists who already had invested in quality tools and supplies, but who let their investments sit like bell-bottoms or acid-wash jeans only because they aren’t trendy at the moment.
Yes, Sandpaper Road is about offering quality hand-crafted art for purchase and enjoyment, but it is also about persevering through a journey of change. Artists don’t close down when stores do. Artists see the potential in the future and try to make something beautiful along the way.