At its core, art should make you feel something. And for herbalist, gardener and artist Michelle Wallace, the medium that elicits the emotion is the mandala. Created with foraged flowers and leaves, Wallace’s transient nature mandalas leave a lasting impression – both spiritually for her customers and strategically for her business – by printing collated instead of uncollated: “Print has given me a variety of ways in which people can really experience and connect with my art and share it with others.”
Meaning “circle” in Sanskrit, the mandala has long been a symbol for spiritual and personal connection and the cyclical nature of life. Wallace demonstrates this with the products she creates for Nature Mandala Art of Vermont.
“The nature mandalas I create are visual meditations that are impermanent, lasting only a few minutes or hours,” Wallace says, noting that she takes multiple photographs of them but keeps just one. “The photograph chosen for print captures the stunning colors, shapes and textures of the plants, along with a clear center point to hold the viewers’ attention to both the wholeness of the piece and the finer elements and details.”
Wallace turns those photographs into various products, and she does all of it with Collated Printing. Allowing you to print a different design on each sheet in a deck, Collated Printing ensures those designs are then sorted in a specific order. You’re not left with one stack that’s all one design and another stack with a different design. It’s a time-saving online printing solution for projects like Wallace’s, where sequencing is vital.
“It was a game-changer for my art business,” Wallace says. “This service offers me the opportunity to do large print runs of many different images and multiple print runs of my product line over the year, incorporating new and seasonal images.”
Collected with Care
Exploring all that nature has to offer in the fields and forests around her home near Vermont’s Hardwood Mountain, Wallace uses any and all plant materials, from seed to stem, to inspire others to find beauty in their own surroundings.
In stunning arrangements both intricate and simplistic, vibrant and monochromatic, Wallace’s symbolic designs encourage introspection through her signature Meditation Deck. “Each deck has 40 cards with beautiful images and inspirational messages to contemplate and meditate upon,” Wallace says. “People choose one card each day and pause and reflect on its personal meaning for them.”
As the cards are meant to be held often, Wallace adds Smartpress’ Ultra Gloss UV coating on both sides (she adds this to her collated bookmarks, too). “It allows for daily use and handling, while offering protection from moisture, dirt and general wear and tear,” she says. “The coating also brings out the vivid colors of the images.”
With sheets in the same shape and size but with unique content on each one, Collated Printing is the only way to go for Wallace’s deck. Along with different coatings, our online printing services include lamination options, too, so your projects look professional and feel protected at all times.
While Wallace is in the business of inspiring others to live with intention and leave room for reflection, the fact is, it’s still a business. Leveraging Collated Printing in every customizable way possible, Wallace also offers insert cards and unique square postcards to spread her meditation message.
With mandala imagery and her contact information side by side, the insert cards are perfect for “people [who] want to include a small, discreet note with a gift rather than a full-size note card or greeting card,” she says.
As for her postcards, Wallace says it’s their uncommon shape and simple sentiment that makes them one of her most popular items: “The postcard, also acting like a mini art print, invites people to once again send handwritten notes in the mail.”
And from the customer response, Wallace has no doubt her postcards are “offering people comfort and a sense of connection to one another in the world during difficult and uncertain times.” (Hint: Let Wallace know you read about her here and she’ll send a free set of postcards your way.)
Offering finishing options like drilling, rounded corners, stapling and even shrink wrapping for retail, Collated Printing lets you design projects just how you want, no matter the specifications.
Passion & Profit
Though Wallace’s actual nature mandalas don’t last forever, with a print strategy, they live on in the hands of her customers. One look at the feedback she receives, with reviewers appreciating how personal and thoughtful they are, it’s no wonder it’s a tactic she’s sticking to.
“Printing my art images has enabled me to share it in a much more meaningful way than I would be able to do with just social media,” she says. “Print offers people a way to buy my art, not only supporting my growing art business, but also supporting small local stores and over 60 retail outlets across the country that carry it.”
Working with an online printer like Smartpress makes it easy to keep Wallace on the path to success. “The quality of the print materials is exceptional – especially the color,” she says. “But the thing that impresses me most is the online estimating tool. There is truly no other company out there that I know about where you can explore different printing options and see the cost in real time.”
In the end, Wallace sees collated printing as a smart business move, but more importantly, a way of sharing her artistic endeavors: “It allows a person a choice of what images they truly want to keep and cherish and be a part of their lives.”
Hint: Get more collated printing inspo: