Keegan the Card Maker
Written by Selina Hallam
Canadian cowboy-hat-wearing Keegan the card maker is sharing his talent with the world through his range of wonderfully bright and colourful greeting cards. Keegan Varley, who was born with Down Syndrome, lives in Richmond in B.C. and was recently featured on CBC News and there was this CBC Short Film of him made by Nate Slaco:
Keegan's Card Company is the result of his amazing illustrations being made into greeting cards, which are sold at craft fairs and in stores around Vancouver. His mom Lynn realised his talent while looking through his Grade 12 art book and the card that started it all was his sweet snowman illustration:
Lynn thought these adorable snow people would be perfect to turn into a greeting card to give to family and friends and it all developed to him becoming a card maker from there. "I saw a little snowman drawing and, literally, the light bulb went off - I thought this would be the cutest card for friends and families," she said. This one-off idea was so well-received that they kept going, with Keegan creating more illustrations. This ended up with him and his brother Zach walking around a neighbourhood asking if stores wanted to take a look at them with a view to selling them, and many did and do now!
The creative process for Keegan's Card Company is a family affair, with Keegan drawing the designs, Lynn tracing them over onto a light box and then they are sent to brother Zach, who digitalizes them in colour, before then being printed and folded into cards by Lynn. The captions on the cards are a team effort and they often feature cute puns - like the owl card that says, 'You're a real hoot,' or like this fabulous card:
Keegan regularly chooses to design a card simply when he feels like drawing and he really loves to draw animals in particular, but sometimes he will draw something to address an occasion, such as Mother's Day, Valentine's Day or Christmas. Currently, his website shows a selection of cards to celebrate these three holidays, and though they are not available to buy online currently, hopefully they will be in the near future.
The cards are tagged on the website as, 'hand cut, hand folded, hand made, hand delivered' and they have been package-free since day one, with the family striving towards increasingly sustainable materials and methods.
Keegan's cards also help to support the Special Olympics BC, with a portion of the proceeds of every card sold donated to this charity. The Special Olympics is the world's largest sports organization for both children and adults with intellectual and physical disabilities, and Canada has twelve provincial and territorial chapters of the organization, including in British Columbia.
Card maker Keegan hopes to sell his cards in an art gallery one day and we also hope that he achieves this dream with his gorgeous, fun and adorable designs, which you can check out on Keegan's Card Company and Instagram.