Our Story

Spark came to be in 2004 courtesy of wife and husband, Valerie Carlson and James Watne, a 1920 Chandler & Price handfed letterpress and a few good ideas. What started in the garage of our Minneapolis home grew into a full-fledged commercial print shop with extensive services and products. We have used these capabilities over the years to launch several successful custom stationery albums carried by more than 125 retailers internationally, as well as work with some of the best design firms in the country as a printing partner. 

Our success was built on the relentless pursuit of printed perfection, and top-notch customer service and consultation. We wouldn't have accomplished what we did without the help of our amazing family and staff who treated Spark and its clients with great care over the years.

Spark closed its doors at the end of 2016 but Valerie and Jim have moved forward in their careers by taking positions with Mama's Sauce in Orlando, Florida. 

Listed below are a few of the places you may have seen Spark's work over the years. 

Magazine Coverage

  • Inside Weddings, Spring 2017

  • Grace Ormonde Wedding Style, Spring 2017

  • Martha Stewart Weddings, Summer 2016

  • Inside Weddings, Summer 2016
  • Minnesota Bride, Spring/Summer 2016
  • Mpls.St.Paul, Summer 2016
  • Mpls.St.Paul Weddings Magazine, Diamond Award Feature, Winter 2015/16
  • Dainty Obsessions, styled shoot, Winter 2015/16
  • Martha Stewart Weddings, Special Issue 2015
  • Martha Stewart Weddings, Fall 2015, Modern Deco Suite
  • Minnesota Bride, Fall/Winter 2015
  • Minneapolis St. Paul Weddings, Winter 2015
  • Minnesota Bride, Spring/Summer 2015
  • Inside Weddings, Winter 2014
  • Stationery Trends, Winter 2014
  • The Knot (real weddings), Spring 2014
  • Brides Magazine, Feb/Mar 2014
  • Minnesota Bride, Winter 2013
  • Martha Stewart Weddings, Fall 2013, Erin Fetherston Suite
  • Dainty Obsessions, Fall 2013, Inspiration Shoot
  • Inside Weddings, Spring 2013, Chelsea & Alyssa Suites
  • Martha Stewart Weddings, Winter 2013, All That Shimmers Suite
  • Inside Weddings, Winter 2013, Whitney Suite
  • Stationery Trends, Winter 2013, Dylan Mitzvah
  • Well Wed Hamptons, Winter 2013, Katie Artwork
  • She by the Argus Leader, December 2012, Holiday Tablescape
  • Inside Weddings, Fall 2012, Hilary Suite
  • New York Weddings, Summer 2012, Daphne Suite
  • Destination Weddings & Honeymoons, Summer 2012, Mia Suite
  • Inside Weddings, Summer 2012, Mia & Carina Suites
  • Well Wed New York, Spring/Summer 2012, Custom Invite Design
  • Etc. for Her, August 2012, Spark Letterpress Store
  • Brides (National), April 2012, Type-heavy Invites
  • Stationery Trends, Spring 2012, Carina Suite
  • Dainty Obsessions, Winter 2012, About Spark Letterpress & Impress invites
  • Real Simple Weddings, January 2012, Claire Top Secret Suite
  • Occasions Magazine, Summer 2011, Katrina & Keinon's Wedding Suite
  • Jezebel (Atlanta), Spring/Summer 2011, Custom Padma Invite
  • Stationery Trends, Winter 2011, Chyna & Remy STD, Laura & Zack's STD
  • Real Simple Weddings, January 2011, Claire Top Secret Suite
  • Stationery Trends, Fall 2010, Passport Invite
  • Stationery Trends, Spring 2010, Sparks of Inspiration (how we created our Wedding Love line)
  • Brides (National), January 2010, Spring Green Standing Invite
  • Martha Stewart Weddings, Winter 2010, Champagne
  • Stationery Trends, Winter 2010, 10 Designers to Watch
  • Martha Stewart Weddings, Fall 2009, Passport Invite in the destination weddings issue
  • Stationery Trends, Fall 2009, Isabel Wedding Suite
  • Brides (Regional Issues), Spring/Summer 2008, Orchid Circle Invite
  • Grace Ormonde, Spring/Summer 2008, Floral Wedding Invite
  • World Bride, Spring/Summer 2007, Floral Wedding Invite
  • Brides (Regional Issues), Spring/Summer 2007, Kensington Invite
  • New York Weddings, Winter 2007, Falling Leaves Suite
  • InStyle Weddings, Fall 2006, Ava Stationery
  • Seattle Bride, Fall/Winter 2006, Timeline Invitation
  • Minnesota Bride, Fall/Winter 2004, Valerie & Jim's Timeline Invitation

Online Media

  • Martha Stewart Weddings

  • Brides.com

  • Style Me Pretty
  • Brooklyn Bride
  • Real Simple
  • Weddings Unveiled Blog
  • Daily Candy
  • Paper Crave
  • Always a Blogsmaid
  • Destination I Do Blog
  • CasaSugar
  • Oh So Beautiful Paper

Television Coverage

  • Martha Stewart Show: Wedding Trends featuring our Passport Invitation design. Presented by Darcy Miller, Martha Stewart Weddings magazine editor. November 2009
  • KELO News: Sioux Falls Business Gets Recognized by Martha Stewart. November 2009

Awards and Honors

  • 2015 Diamond Award Winner (Judges' Choice) for Mpls.St.Paul Wedding Magazine
  • Stationery Trends Magazine: Trendy Award Finalist, May 2012, Finalist with Zoe and Alyssa suites in Wedding category
  • Stationery Trends Magazine: 10 Designers to Watch – Valerie Carlson, Winter 2010 issue
  • Stationery Trends Magazine: Trendy Award Winner, May 2010, Amelie suite in Wedding category
  • Stationery Trends Magazine: Trendy Award Finalist, May 2010, Finalist with Lucinda and Amelie suites in Wedding category
  • Greeting Card Association: Louie Award Winner, June 2005, Best Romance Card