The Artist and the Business Card

Ad4! is a creative company. We need creative and cool business cards.

Business Cards: DONE

Now, we need a cool business card holder.

Where do you go when you need a very cool business card holder to hold very cool business cards?


There was really only one choice: Julie Gill of Big Glass Art, right here in Huntsville.


And before anyone starts in on me, yes, Emily has one too, but I didn’t have any of her cards and I thought it would look funny with my cards in her holder. But know it’s there.


And while this post is partly about the complete coolness of our new business card holders, I really want to talk about the creativity of the artist.


A short while ago, I started thinking about all the cool art that Julie creates. I’ve become hooked on her fine glass art. (Technically, it’s art glass, not stained glass, but that’s a distinction for another day.) She made a beautiful transom window for my office at home and we have a few other pieces of her art as well. So, as I thought about all the cool stuff she does, I began to wonder if she would be interested in making me a card holder. Naturally, she said she would.

“What did you have in mind?” she asked.

“I don’t have anything in mind, I want the full ‘Julie Gill’” I said. I lied. I was thinking about a simple box the length of a business card and wide enough to hold 20 cards or so. I didn’t want to limit her thinking, so I kept it to myself.

“Do you have any particular colors in mind?” She persisted.

“Well, our colors are red and black, so it should probably go with that.”

“Am I making this for you, my friend, or is this for the Ad4! Team?” she asked.


Oddly enough, I hadn’t even considered that. I’d been using an antique Depression glass Scottie dog coffee creamer to hold my cards. Not a typical business card holder, but different for sure. “Yes, of course, let’s make them for the team.” I replied.

“What are their names?”

Wow, so many questions, for a simple business card holder. “Felica Sparks, Emily Heinkel, Rodney Pennywell, and me.”

There were a few more logistical questions that I answered. I know how she and frankly all really good creatives work, so I knew what to expect.


One day a couple of weeks later, I was in the shop and Julie came up to me smiling like crazy. “I have a design in mind” she said.

“For what?” I asked.

“The business card holders. I have a design in mind that I think will be really cool.” She could hardly contain herself. She had completed the really hard work of putting the dream and passion together into a piece she could actually make.

“Excellent, I can’t wait to see them.” I was starting to get excited. I came back the next week and she had part of them made. Her creativity, and more importantly, the difficulty of the task brought out her smile. When Julie Gill is happy, she can’t hide her smile.

The first of several steps was now completed. I was ready to show them off. But they weren’t quite finished. I’d have to be patient.


“So someone’s desk will be very cool come Monday” said the text attached to the image of the finished card holders.
“Wow!” I texted back. I could hardly believe it. They were fantastic! WAY better than I ever imagined. Heck, I was thinking about a little box with cool glass. This was a work of art.

When I finally saw them in person the next day, they were even more awesome than the little picture on my phone. I had challenged her to create something cool. I had not given her any parameters other than ‘it should go with red and black.’

I’ve learned over the years that creative people love to be given direction and left alone. They love to have their creativity challenged. When this happens, they go above and beyond your thinking, and do what you couldn’t imagine. When you hover and prod and recommend, their imaginations become boxed-in. And the boxes are small and ordinary. When you take them out of a box and let them fly free, they go where you can’t. Truly creative professionals don’t think like the rest of us. Not in terms of visual art anyway. My creativity is in terms of words, and a little bit of music. But mostly words. Julie thinks in terms of finding something that captures her client’s imagination and speaks to their passions at the same time. She thought about finding my essence and passion and combining it with a little red and black glass in a way that would absolutely thrill me. Of course it did thrill! And not just me.


“This is just so cool. It’s fantastic,” said Emily.

“They’re gorgeous!” said Felica.

“I love them. Wow! I love them,” said Rodney.

There was one thing for sure, we were all in agreement. And we were having difficulty finding the words to describe how unexpectedly awesome these card holders were. I think they were thinking about boxes to hold cards. Probably along the same lines as my original thinking. But they weren’t anything like that. They are a combination of nostalgia and modern that fits perfectly with our style and passion. They were absolutely perfect!

Business Card Holder:  DONE


Julie Gill works her magic nearly every day at Lowe Mill ARTS & Entertainment:







Big Glass Art
2211 Seminole Drive, Studio RR#4
Huntsville, AL 35805



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Scottie Dog Depression Glass image courtesy of