Noteworthy Paper & Press: An Exclusive Interview

Noteworthy® Paper & Press was founded in 2008 by entrepreneurs Taylor Valliant and Amy Dolan as a brick and mortar retail shop in Missoula, Montana. Over the years, they witnessed first hand what inspired and engaged guests when they walked through the door. It was this unique insight that in turn inspired the launch of Noteworthy®’s own stationery and gift brand in 2012. A line that not only reflects customer desires but one that reflects Noteworthy®’s unique culture and values: creativity, collaboration, hard work, playfulness and respect for the people that come to work or shop at Noteworthy® everyday, all wrapped up with our deep love of art, literature and the outdoors. In an ever-evolving market, the Noteworthy® team understands that it can be hard to separate one product line from the next, which is why we focus on building a unique, high quality selection of artisan goods.

We were lucky enough to sit down (virtually) with one part of this epic duo — Taylor to get a little sneak peek behind the scenes.

1. What’s your favorite book?

Taylor: Oh boy this is a tough one. I have too many favorites but I usually judge them on how they affected my overall view of the world when I read them and two strong leading favorites are AB Guthrie’s The Big Sky and Toni Morrison’s Beloved

2. Favorite movie?

Taylor: Has to be The Princess Bride 

3. Favorite TV show?

Taylor: I fracking loved Battlestar Gallactica (the newer one) and more recently The Walking Dead.

4. Favorite song?

Taylor: I pretty much like music from every genre but I love … anything John Prine.  In Spite of Ourselves, Killing the Blues, I Remember Everything. The man understood the human condition. I hope that I can channel a little of that energy in our cards. I cried a lot of tears when he died last year.

5. Favorite food?

Taylor: Growing up by the water in Massachusetts and Rhode Island we ate a lot of seafood in general but Lobster is my fave, (never at a restaurant though, it has to be home cooked). I love the whole process of picking the lobsters out of the tanks and the way that place smells all briney and seaweedy, taking them home in their paper bags, steaming them to perfection and stuffing ourselves silly with local corn, caprese salad and a good bottle of white wine on a summer night. The absolute best is cooking them on the beach and using rocks to smash them open … it’s good, messy, fun.

6. Drink of choice?

Taylor: A spicy tequila drink or just a good Whiskey on the rocks.

7. Go-to karaoke song?

Taylor: You ain’t Woman Enough to Take My Man, Lorretta Lynn … you can really belt that one out.

8. When did you realize you wanted to be a designer?

Taylor: When I realized my degree in English/Creative Writing was relatively worthless if I was too scared of rejection to keep submitting work.

9. Did you go to design school or teach yourself?

Taylor: I am mostly self-taught, I did a 2 year program in Graphic Design at Champlain College in VT after my undergrad at U. of Montana and several workshops in letterpress printing in the early 2000s. But my mom was an artist and printmaker who went to The Museum of Fine Arts School and Tufts in Boston and growing up I would often skip school to go to school with her. Some of my favorite childhood memories were built there at MFS watching her paint or use the giant press they had there. For better or worse, when I think of the smells of childhood, turpentine ranks high among them. I feel so lucky to have serendipitously found Adrienne, who has worked for Noteworthy for 9 years, studied at University of the Arts in Philadelphia and is responsible for a lot of the magic that happens at Noteworthy. Her training in illustration has really informed the direction of Noteworthy’s style and helped me develop as an artist and art director. I think when artists work together they really push each other to do better work. We make a great team and I can’t imagine Noteworthy without her. 

10. If you had to describe your style with only three words what would they be?

Taylor: hand-drawn, authentic, unique

11. When did you start your company?

Taylor: I started Noteworthy aka Noteworthy Paper & Press in 2008 with my business partner Amy Dolan.

12. Where is your studio located?

Taylor: Missoula, Montana

13. What’s your favorite card of yours on Postable?

Taylor: I think my favorite cards are the ones Adrienne and I have designed together. A good example of one of these is Moose You Everyday or Birthday Camper… In these examples I drew the Moose and the Camper and Adrienne added the backgrounds and shading. I usually set a color palette for the year and Adrienne will try to work off that.

I also like our Owl and Pussycat Card… it’s one of the first cards I made so it is a fun reminder of how far we’ve come and it seems to resonate with people even though it’s pretty simple… and because, you know, owls.

14. What artists, past or present, inspire your work?

Taylor: For color I’m continually amazed and drawn to the palettes of Van Gogh and Toulouse Lautrec. The prints of Mary Cassatt, the typography of Alfonse Mucha, the imagery of Frida Kahlo and the detailed work of Audubon. Currently, I am following the work of a favorite local artist painter Sheila Miles, printmakers LaToya Hobbes and Laura Baisden and muralist Jane Kim of Ink Dwell on Instagram. I’ve always been interested in the line between commercial and fine art.

15. If you had to choose a spirit animal what would it be and why?

Taylor: Probably an owl. I love birds in general and if I’m honest sometimes I feel like they’re trying to tell me something … an owl because among the more flattering qualities they’re known for, they’re also a bit silly and weird, which I identify with 100%.

16. When was the last time you laughed really hard and why?

Taylor: That is a tough one in the winter of covid but my kids make me laugh pretty consistently (when they’re not being annoying by drinking all the milk in the house and leaving the empty carton on the counter.) We just got back from a spring break river trip on the San Juan in Utah’s canyonlands. Something about being on a little boat for days makes things seem really funny and it helped that we forgot all about covid for a while. One specific incident in camp was when my friend’s 7 year old boy, with whom I have quite a repore, fell back in a camp chair with an entire plate of dinner. He didn’t want to sit in his little chair and instead had chosen a small adult backpacking chair that the kids love but is super tippy. I said, hey buddy don’t forget all the adults are going to need a chair and your chair is too small for anyone else. He turned, gave me the most self-satisfied, priceless smirk of defiance as he sat, a little too aggressively in the coveted chair_ he then promptly fell straight back onto the sand, his hotdog flying a good two feet in the air above him … kids are funny little beasts and karma’s a b**ch at any age.

17. How would you spend your dream Saturday?

Taylor: My dream Saturday would be spending the day at the ocean or in Montana at a lake. Doing something active like surfing, water skiing or paddle boarding and if I don’t hurt myself trying to do something I’m definitely not cool enough to do, then cocktails & BBQ with close friends around a fire after. *In this “dream day” I also don’t have torn rotator cuffs and still look like a 30 year old in a bikini… oh and someone else is making all the meals and putting sunblock on my kids. 

18. If you weren’t allowed to work for 12 months, what would you do?

Taylor: Travel, write, create things without having to create things.

19. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?

Taylor: This question depends so much on if they can just invent teleportation already … but for now, I think I would stay right here in Montana.

20. How did you spend the extra time at home this year?

Taylor: Can’t say I had a lot of extra time between online-schooling and keeping a small business afloat but when I did find time to decompress I took some online writing classes through the Writer’s Studio in NYC, tried to teach myself a little more guitar, hung out outdoors with my neighbors, cooked endless meals and recently embarked on #the100dayproject on Instagram @taylorvalliantart where I’m doing a portrait a day for 100 days… I’m already 10 days behind, but who’s counting.

21. 3 words that describe your 2020 thus far

Taylor: Intense, challenging, unexpected

22. Your dream travel destination for the (hopefully near) future?

Taylor: Well, the day Trump announced his travel ban, I was on a flight with my husband and kids to Spain & Morocco for almost 3 weeks. As borders closed around us we ended up flying back to the US via the UK less than 5 days later after, spending only one night in Malaga. So I guess I would like to be able to take that trip… or any trip on a plane really.

23. Any goals for 2021?

Taylor: For things to return to normal. Not so much for me, I’m a bit of a recluse at heart, but for my kids so that they can resume their most important work of growing up and doing things they love with their friends and family.

24. Favorite part of the holiday season?

Taylor: Normally it would be time spent with extended family. This year we focused on a beautiful tree and a lot of time spent on our skis playing in the snow.

25. Do you have any unusual holiday family traditions?

Taylor: Ha no, we’re pretty basic in that department… my husband is basically an Atheist and would rather do away with the whole thing. I grew up Episcopalian and though we don’t go to church I still feel a strong pull toward those traditions particularly around holidays. We do alternate years for choosing our tree, this year we bought one (I like a full tree that can fit my hoards of crumbling ornaments) so next year we will go cut one down and have more of a charlie brown style tree. The most important thing about any holiday for me is the food. Thanksgiving is my favorite because there are no gifts, just sharing a good meal with family and friends in the soft glow of candle light.

20. Was this questionnaire too long?

Taylor: All good thought provoking questions.

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