Get to Know This Paper Ship


Artists: Joel & Ashley of This Paper Ship

Hometown for Joel: Columbia, MD

Hometown for Ashley: East coast (military kid), mostly WV and NC

Current town of residence: Saxapahaw, NC


Would you rather travel by plane, train, car or ship?

A ship is the most romantic option as well as the most fitting for us! However, seasickness might be an issue, so our official answer is train. We've taken train trips together in DC, Germany, Italy, and Scotland and hope to take many more!

I spend most of my work day…

Drawing, taking pictures of drawings in progress, coloring drawings in Photoshop, networking about drawings, shipping printed drawings to people all around the world, and planning future drawings!

You can find me eating __for breakfast.

Concoctions that, under most standard definitions, would be considered lunch! Our favorites: kale, sausage, feta, and eggs over easy; savory french toast with seared grape tomatoes and sharp cheddar drizzled with honey; and puff pancakes of any kind, especially involving the aforementioned savory ingredients. And of course, there's the obligatory British cuppa (milky tea with 1 scoop of sugar) for Ashley and a cup of French press coffee for Joel.

On the weekends, you can find me…

Relaxing in our loft apartment in a converted 1800's cotton mill and exploring the surrounding town of Saxapahaw, NC; strolling around/catching a movie/tracking down a food truck in Chapel Hill, Durham, or Raleigh; or exploring other exciting areas of the beautiful state of North Carolina. We also occasionally find ourselves visiting family in eastern NC, WV, CA, and Scotland when we can.

Got any pets? Tell us about them.

Four cats and a chicken! Aki, Tsuki, and Pepper are our 3 "home" cats and Ginger is our silly reclusive "studio" cat who lives in our cozy illustration office. They're all rescue kitties and are all a little crazy in their own ways. Henny, our chicken, lives at the local community garden down the hill and next to a creek, and she's a feisty bird—in her 3 years she's fought off raccoons, hawks, and even a fox!

What was the coolest, most exciting thing that you ever bought?

Joel's favorite piece is an old hand-carved statue of Tintin holding Snowy, about 1.5 feet tall, that he found in an old shop in the fishing village of Peterhead in northern Scotland. He wouldn't fit in Joel's luggage, so he stayed out the whole journey home on a plane, several subways, a bus, a train, and finally a taxi ride. Several years later his sister-in-law went back to buy the other two Tintin statues, but the shop was closed!

Our favorite piece we bought together is our circa-1870's Golding Pearl #8 letterpress. She's a beautiful cast-iron beast—the guy who refurbished it for us even got a replica foot petal recast by a local blacksmith to replace her missing one!—and her name is "Golda." She currently lives in our print shop right off our main living area, right at home where huge cotton-spinning machinery once was.

If you were a crayon, what color would you be?

Ashley would be fire engine red and Joel would be lime green.

What’s a song that you never get sick of?

"When You Wish Upon a Star" from Pinocchio!

If you could posses a superpower, what would it be?

Flight! (Of course, we could always choose superhuman drawing ability—but that's a not a power, that's a skill…)

You’re stranded on a desert island, with only a volleyball to keep you company. Luckily, you brought a book, a person and an object.  Who and what are they?

The Bible, because it's the only book we'll ever need; each other, because we actually enjoy spending that much time with each other, we make a really good team, and we could make it the tropical getaway we always wanted; and a really good knife, because otherwise building a hut out of bamboo and palm fronds would be a lot more time-consuming.

Tell us about your Nod Institute of Art print, how you made it or your inspiration behind it.

We love nautical imagery for obvious reasons, and are constantly looking to add more to our offerings for printed illustrations. At the same time, the great thing about being an independent artist is that you can draw whatever you want, whenever you want. One day it struck Ashley's fancy to draw a mermaid surrounded by ocean-floor things while we were listening to the Peter Pan soundtrack (at one point Wendy's "wonderful thought" is a mermaid lagoon underneath a silver moon) and, lo and behold, "Mermaid Lagoon" came into being!