Ame // If you want to be happy, be! March 03 2018

Ame is a Tawainese Canadian living in Los Angeles. She’s also the newest member of the Baum-kuchen team. She is a go-getter, super funny and uber creative. One of the things that makes her perfect for Baum-kuchen is her curiosity about the world around her. We love that Ame brings a different artistic aesthetic to the studio and is always enthusiastic about everything involving BK.
"I'm so happy to be at BK. It's like a dream, I didn't even know I had, come true!"

It’s hard to pinpoint exactly where Ame’s analogue journey actually began. Ever since she was young, Ame would doodle and draw for fun and to relax. Sketching is something deeply personal, something where she has no obligations to anyone but herself. She’s always loved drawing, journaling and writing mail; so collecting cute stationery was a natural segue to stationery fever. For Ame, having a cute, organized planner was always a must, even with the event of the cell phone, which she’s never really used for planning.
Ame sketches. A lot! She draws on notebooks, sketchbooks, myriads of postcards, almost anything. Because she is always sketching, she used to use up a lot of fine liners and felt tip pens, making a lot of waste. She started looking into more environmental alternatives to her hobby, looking for pens she could refill. In late 2015 she received a package from a friend, in it there were homemade cookies (important!) and some beginner fountain pens. Epiphany struck as she opened that pen and touched the nib to paper. She fell in love instantly!
“In French we use the term 'coup de foudre' for love at first sight. It literally means being thunderstruck and that was exactly how I felt!” 
The cartridge that came with her first pen only lasted a week, thus starting Ame’s journey into researching more pens and inks for drawing. Her passion for fountain pens led to the passion for quality paper and notebooks.
 
Shortly after receiving the fountain pens, another friend offered her a Hobonichi Techo 2016. The sum of these two events thrust her into a life-changing journey of stationery discovery. Later, in 2017, she moved to Los Angeles to be with her lovely new wife and she discovered BK. Her first step into Baum-kuchen was the start of her love for Traveler’s Notebook – and so much more!
What’s amazing about Ame is not only how talented she is, but that she is self-taught. That includes taking online classes, pursuing her artistic interests and consistently sketching to explore new techniques and learn new things.

Ame is learning to live with her inner artist. She gives herself credit for putting in the hard work to develop her talent but recognizes there are failures too, though she chooses not to dwell on it as it is part of the process.

 

“I try not to focus on the end result, but focus on perfect process. There are always factors that you will have no influence over. Process you have control over. Perfect that.”
ANALOGUE SYSTEM
Ame groups her analogue system in three categories: art, planner, and journal. For sketching and art, Ame uses fountain pens for both drawing and writing. Those that know her know she owns many fountain pens, but her trinity is Lamy Safari, Pilot Prera, and Twsbi Eco. She always has one of each of these inked and ready to go in her pen case.
Her art mediums focus heavily on ink and watercolor. These include a large dedicated palette and a smaller one for light travel. She generally uses brushes for painting, but a water brush is her go-to when traveling as it is easy to carry and use. Ame will occasionally go “urban sketching” at either a café or around the neighborhood. The fleeting nature of urban sketching helps her to be wabi sabi.
“What did I see right then and there? What was I drawn to? How does it make me feel? What was my intention in capturing this? It’s the memory I want to focus on rather than the technicality of the drawing – but a good drawing also helps.” 



Her Traveler’s Notebook is the workhorse of her analogue system. She uses it as a wallet, planner, and a journal when she wants to capture her journey when traveling.

 

The first insert contains [TSLxBK] Travel for Life Wallet which Ame adores. She loves the functionality and that it has many pockets. She takes it out of her TN if she wants to move around light. The second insert is a TN weekly + memo. This is a format that she has used time and time again. At the beginning of every week, Ame and her wife Karen and “dogther” Lili (an adorable poodle mix) sit down and list the happening of the upcoming week.  Lili doesn’t actually contribute much, but enjoys being part of the process and sleeping on Ame’s lap.
As part of her weekly planning process, Ame will create a rough outline of a meal plan to foresee what groceries she may need to get. The memo side of the notebook is a tiny catchall of thoughts, and most importantly a list of daily gratitudes.
“I believe that keeping a gratitude list really helps having a more positive look on life. No matter what, there are always things to be grateful for.”
The third insert is a little stationery corner where she keeps post-its, washi cards and stickers. Much like fountain pens, she is almost never without washi tape.

 

Other modifications to her TN include the foil stamp of the Baum-kuchen wabi-sabi stamp (the embossing service coming soon to BK customers!!!). Wabi-sabi is a concept that Ame has long loved, accepting imperfections and fleeting beauty. She also has a BK daruma stamp on the inside cover to remind her to always have goals. A TSL Leather Card Pocket is sewn in the back to hold her bus card.

 

Ame loves the format of the Traveler’s Notebook and how she can mold it to fit her needs. She’s hoping to somehow merge her sketching needs into the TN in the future.
Ame has been using the Hobonichi Techo A6 as a journal for three years. She includes a little comic strip of something happy or funny that happened that day and sets room aside for writing. The header and footer are often generously decorated with washi tape. Her goal is to record the happy moments of her life so she can look back and think “I really had fun back then!”. She loves catching the little moments that make life so interesting. Sometimes it takes a little effort for her to see things in a better light. When she struggles, she remembers her favorite quote “If you want to be happy, be.” by Leo Tolstoy. She considers her Hobonichi as a witness to her owning up to her own happiness.

 


CREATIVITY
Ame is inspired by nature. She has a Bachelors degree in Environmental Sciences, with a focus on Zoology. Ever since she was little she was mesmerized by looking at animals and touching... everything. She says that sometimes she is so moved by nature that she can cry just looking at it.
Another love for Ame is good food and cooking. Her dad is a really good cook, so she learned to cook at home (again, self-taught!). She is inspired by trying new things and watching tutorials online. Her new year goal is to get in touch with her Taiwanese background. Taiwanese cooking is time-consuming, many dishes must be made overnight and require planning. She has been experimenting and enjoying the process.

Ame sees the Baum-kuchen motto “A life well lived and well loved” from the perspective of the artifacts in our analogue systems. It’s the journey and usage that makes them shine. She thinks that sentiment is beautiful because our stationery reflects everyday moments, which are what we make most of in our lives. It’s a reminder to live with intent and with lots of love.