I have always loved cards. When I visit London I can spend hours in gift shops looking through cards and picking them out to people I know. I love receiving them, giving them, keeping them. I guess it comes from a deeper love to handwritten letters. My sister-in-law is a winner for giving me the best cards, and even better she fills it all with words. Both sides. Small handwriting. Yes, I love my cards.
When the amazing Ravan spoke about Shayan (Ravan’s usual speaks with so much enthusiasm) I was off the book cafe to see what Shayan’s work was all about. There, among some other handmade displays were Shayan Nuradeen’s gift cards- some of which inspired by Kurdish culture. Yup. She got me there!
I got in touch with Shayan to know more not just about her little initiative in designing gift cards, but also about herself as a person- because that’s what I like to do.
With a masters in international business from the US and an undergraduate degree in business administration from Salahaddin, this 33-year-old woman clearly followed a deeper passion.
How did your interest start, to put together these cards
I have always been interested in traditional ways of greetings and I think my interest comes from childhood. I still have those cute greeting cards I used to receive from my family and friends when I was much younger. The tradition seemed to fade as the years passed by while still receiving some occasionally.
I remember when I was in high school we had to prepare items for an art exhibition and back then my art teacher had me suggested to make samples of greeting cards. It turned out really cool then.
That was until 2014, when I was volunteering at a high school for girls that the idea of creating greeting cards crossed my mind. The idea was to make greeting cards of artworks of students at the school to sell them in the market to raise funds for similarly aged refugee girls at Basirma camp. The cards were quite amazing and it became one of the works I am most proud. It was amazing to see how the young girls worked so hard to showcase their best creative side when someone trusted and believed in their skills.
However, in late 2015 I changed my career and started to work as a graphic designer for an Italian organization and learned how to make digital arts. In 2017, I started creating personal digital artworks and by the end of the year I had a collection of almost 40 artworks, I framed some and gave to family and friends to hang on their walls but then it crossed my mind that I could still use some of them as greeting cards so it began from there.
Why these cards?
The cards come in the unusual 8 x 8 size. It is the small size because I noticed in Erbil less and fewer people are likely to use the big cards and everyone likes to stick a small note to the gift they give to their loved ones. It comes from that: the tradition of giving gifts in Kurdistan.
What is special about them?
What I believe is special about them is that each card has an original artwork behind. Many people think of graphic design as a computer-based and don’t count it as a handmade-like product but that is not the case. The artworks were first sketched by pencil on paper and then scanned and traced by a tablet pencil on the computer. So I believe it makes it special because you can say it is still handmade. It is also special because some of the images represent Kurdish themes or a fantasia world.
Well, the only challenge is that in Kurdistan there are limited printing capacities for small orders. So in this case, not all printing options become available for instance, the thickness of the paper used and etc.
How can someone purchase them if they wish?
They are currently only available in limited quantities at the Book Cafe. Soon a larger size 13 x 13 will be available too.
Where were they printed, what was the process? They were printed at a local print shop named Hawsar printing https://www.facebook.com/hawsar/. I have been working with them for a very long time. it is a small printing house of two brothers. They are quite friendly and gentle. They have also been cooperative over the years whenever there was a philanthropic project going on and that they would print for free. I have never seen such amazing people.
Isn’t she sweet? I mean sweetness can be sensed from her replies. I admire girls who follow their passion and with no doubt, she is one of them. If you want to support Shayan and her work drop by to the Book Cafe to purchase some of her cards, you can also get in touch with her here.
Lots of love from
My Nest in Kurdistan