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18 Aug, Thursday
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Montreal Families

I Spy Interview: Bess Callard

Recently, someone with a business named English Muffin Shop followed me on Twitter. How scrumptious! I had to visit. Turns out that owner Bess Callard is not a baker, but a graphic designer creating fresh custom prints and maps for children. She also blogs about her design inspirations, life and travels. Let’s meet her!

I Spy Montréal: Hello Bess, please introduce yourself.

Bess Callard: Hi Jessica! Thanks so much for having me on I Spy Montreal, this is a real treat!
I moved to Montreal in July 2010, just a few short months ago. Prior to moving here I lived in Vienna, Austria for three years, and before that in Toronto, where I’m originally from. Currently I’m living in a wonderful ground floor apartment in the Parc La Fontaine neighbourhood of Montreal. I love it here! It’s great to be in a city with such a unique identity, rich culture and plenty to see and do.

I am an illustrator and graphic designer, as well as the designer behind The English Muffin Shop line of paper products. I spend my days creating and running my small business from my home office. Prior to transitioning into the design world, I worked as a contemporary dancer in Toronto. I think a lot of the ideas I developed as a dancer about space, form and structure have come through in the designs and work I’m doing now. It has been an interesting journey so far and I’m looking forward to what the future brings!

I Spy Montréal: What got you started designing children’s prints?

Bess Callard: My husband and I have always joked that I get along best with little kids and grandparents! Somewhere in me is both a 5-year-old and an 85-year-old. Designing and illustrating children’s prints and posters came about quite naturally. I prefer designs with a clean look and value simplicity. I often try to pare designs down to their essence, something I think children innately respond to.

I Spy Montréal: You sell your prints online; are they also available in local stores? Can we see them in person?

Bess Callard: Actually, I’ve just started wholesaling my work to shops in Canada, the U.S. and internationally. When I say just, I mean like last week! So although orders have been placed, it may take a few weeks to get my products into the shops. I don’t however have any stores here in Montreal on my retailers list yet. If any of you have suggestions of great shops that might like to carry the English Muffin Shop products, I’d love to know!

In the meantime, you can check out my online store here: http://besscallard.bigcartel.com/

I Spy Montréal: Do you have a favourite place for design inspiration in Montreal?

Bess Callard: One of the first things I did when I arrived in Montreal was visit the Jean Talon, Atwater and Maisonneuve markets. After living in Europe I was so pleased to find out that Montreal values so many of the same things I had come to love about my European life. My new 2011 calendar is actually inspired by my Saturday mornings spent at the local marchés.

I Spy Montréal: You recently got married – did you design your own invitations?

Bess Callard: My husband and I designed the whole wedding! We really wanted it to reflect our personal style. I designed the invitations, and signage for the reception, we created the menu (my husband is a great cook), chose the music and decorated the venue. We worked with a wonderful café in Toronto called, F’Coffee, where we had an intimate and fun reception after our vows at Toronto City Hall. We invited about 50 of our closest friends and family to come and celebrate with us, which made it a truly special day.

Great to meet you, Bess!

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