Hello, hello! Today I’m here with the awesome Kevin Bray. I only very recently stumbled upon Kevin’s Instagram account and I have to say that I regret not having seen his amazing work sooner.
I consider him to be the master of the clean and simple card style. It’s a style I admire but struggle with for some reason. I’m in such a state of awe over his beautiful work.
I’ll have all his links posted at the end!
What is your name and in which country do you currently reside?
Kevin Bray, USA
What do you enjoy most about card making?
I love creating something that I can share with others. I am sort of in love with everything “mail” and making something that I can send to friends and family is my favorite part. Hand lettering the envelope, adding fun vintage postage stamps, and washi tape are one of my favorite parts about the whole card sending process. There have been so many times that I have been so excited to send a card that I forgot to take a photo of it for Instagram!
Stereotypically card making is considered by many to be a hobby in which only females participate. Have you experienced any judgement or discrimination based on this stereotype? (Care to elaborate?)
I am sure I have, but none that I am aware of! I think that the card making community is very welcoming to everyone, especially young card makers. As a young male card maker, I was always welcomed!
The small local card supply store in the town I currently live in always has an “older” lady working. Whenever I stop by the store, they always say it is so nice seeing a young person interested in making cards, especially a young man. They are actually the main reason I visit the store in person; I love to “talk shop” with the owner or whoever is working.
But back to the real answer. While I have not experienced any judgement I have always tried really hard to avoid situations where that could happen. I have told my fiancé not to bring up my cards in front of her relatives because I don’t want them to think I am lame. I don’t really even share with my family that I make cards, except my very close family members.
There are less than 10 people that follow me on Instagram that I know in real life. Maybe it’s because I don’t like talking about myself about anything, but I really don’t talk about my hobby.
How do you deal/ how have you dealt with the judgement or discrimination?
I still try to avoid talking about card making. I share more now than I did back when I started, though. Something that helps with the judgement thing is that I have been interested in “female only” topics in other areas of my life.
I am a volleyball coach, and played club volleyball in college, and have been interested in it my whole life since my mom was a high school coach. In my area, we don’t have men’s volleyball. So I have been used to that judgement forever.
Do you feel that, as a male card maker, you bring any experiences or attributes to the craft that you might not otherwise if you were female?
I actually can’t think of anything. I think that the only thing I could bring is my personality if I ever had the time/motivation to create YouTube videos. I think that male card makers are very memorable and interesting since there are so many less males in the industry than females.
What is the best thing about being a male card maker?
I can’t think of anything that is good about card making that is just specific to being a male card maker. I love interacting with other makers on Instagram! That is by far my favorite part.
What is the most challenging?
I guess the most challenging would be the lack of “masculine” stamp sets. I also do not like when people say they made a “masculine” card. A card can be for anyone no matter what images are on it.
What drew you to card making?
In my freshman year of college I took a graphic design class and we learned about hand lettering. I was very intrigued by lettering and searched YouTube for videos on it. I stumbled upon Kristina Werner’s hand lettering videos and loved them!
Naturally I started to watch her card making videos. After binging all her videos over the span of a couple weeks I knew I wanted to start making cards, too!
Do you do any other crafts?
Cards are my #1 hobby, but I do enjoy the occasional wood working/DIY project. I also find creating an envelope for the card just as fun as the card itself!
Have you always been creative?
I think so. I have always loved watching other people create. Growing up I was always watching some sort of creative TV shows- Bob Ross, cake decorating shows, Project Runway, wood working shows and HGTV. But I didn’t really show an interest in art/crafts until card making.
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
I’m not sure. I guess I get inspiration from the person I am making a card for. I try to think about my relationship with them, what they like, and what I can do to make them smile. I do like participating in challenges, too!
Is there anything you struggle with in terms of card making?
Does not having enough money to buy everything count? How about not having enough time to make cards every day? The one thing that I struggle with the most is not having any local card making friends. I am a very social person and having friends that make cards would be so much more fun!
What has been your proudest card making moment or achievement?
The thing that comes to mind is when Laura Bassen followed me in Instagram. I know this is a lame and shallow answer but she is my favorite card maker ever and I get so excited whenever she likes one of my photos!
What, if anything, would you change about the card making community?
I love the card making community! There are so many great people that make us all feel important to the community, especially through Instagram. I don’t think that I would change anything! Except for more of my Instafriends to be real life friends!!!
What, if anything, would you change about the card making industry?
The industry is great, too! The only thing that I ever see in a negative light is when companies put out very similar stamp sets. I think we have a lot of cute critters, pretty flowers, and script sentiments on our cards. I want more of a variety!
How would you describe your card making style?
My favorite style to create with is clean. I love a card with a lot of white space and one image/focal point.
What words of wisdom or encouragement do you have for others?
Always keep doing what you love! As a male card maker, I was very hesitant to share my cards on social media with my real life friends or tell them about my hobby. For a 19 year old guy, card making doesn’t seem like the coolest hobby. But after doing this for 5 years now, I love sharing that I make cards! Don’t worry about what other people think!
Kevin, thank you so much for taking part in this series. I loved reading your responses and getting to know you a little more. I never really thought about how it might make guys feel to hear a card referred to as “masculine”. Thanks for helping me see that from a different perspective.
If you’d like to see more of Kevin’s work (and trust me, you will) you can find him
As well as on his blog
Until next time,
Pretzels, cheese, water, please!