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Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Joyfully Crafted

Joyse Rivers has given her creative touch to thousands of greeting cards since 2000. The long-time Evansville resident started Joy Designs with photographs from travels with her husband Nelson. Her dual inspiration came from viewing photo cards in a Santa Fe art gallery and dealing with stacks of excess photos.

“I asked myself, what can I use?” says Rivers. “And I discovered all kinds of things that worked — scraps purchased at a Pendleton wool outlet, metalwork and wood, fiber papers and fabrics, and linen from reupholstery work. I love making something better, upcycling for another purpose.”

Joy Designs evolved from simple photo cards to wherever Rivers’ imagination travels. As she discovered more items for use, her passion grew for upcycling everyday materials. She uses almost anything in her world, from natural elements including wild turkey feathers, leaves, and flowers to an old Amish quilts address book or an old dress with an interesting pattern.

While all of Rivers’ work highlights her attention to detail, her cards from nature are perhaps the most beautiful. She uses a gadget called a microfleur press that preserves and dries flowers and leaves. She places freshly-cut daffodils between two squares of plastic, felt, and broadcloth and 50 seconds in the microwave removes the moisture. What remains is a perfectly preserved flower, used now in a purposeful way.

“When I make a card, my hands have touched the card. It goes to someone who writes to a third person,” she says. “I have a connection to the end user.”

Rivers doesn’t advertise and has benefitted with repeat customers, both individuals and corporate organizations, thanks to word of mouth and a limited number of shows.

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