Pretty Paper Things for Pretty Funny People
CharmCat creates original painted works that capture moments and personalities; and that inspire, excite, and connect people through the shared experience of art.
At the core of CharmCat is honest passion (and watercolor). Everything I create, whether it’s the stationery line, custom wedding invitations, or watercolor commissions, I create everything with love and excitement. And it’s that love and excitement that I strive to convey through my art, whether it makes you feel silly, or happy, or nostalgic.
Because that’s what good art does. It makes you feel.
“Being a geek is all about being honest about what you enjoy and not being afraid to demonstrate that affection. It means never having to play it cool about how much you like something.” —Simon Pegg
As a primarily commission artist, my true art isn’t in the choice of subject matter, but in the techniques and choices I make that give every piece I paint the same vitality and create a body of work that is distinctly mine. A painting is a chance to take a memory and preserve the best parts of it. As such, when I create a piece, I find the characteristics that make that memory special—the sparkle in their eyes, the way the light filters through the leaves, the vivid colors—and double down on those details in the artwork.
I tend towards vibrant, bright colors, but even in a painting where I aim to create a softer look, I still use clean, expressive colors. This is why I have developed a love of watercolor: the finished piece looks so bright and airy compared to other paints or media.
My art teacher in college was very high-minded, and discouraged us from creating art for the sake of art. Everything had to have a deeper meaning. My chosen art path is a direct admonition of that stance. I suppose that means my art does have a deeper meaning: that art is still art if it’s accessible. Art can be for the sole purpose of being able to stop, rest, and enjoy the moment in a world that’s always pushing us to be busy.
The CharmCat Story
CharmCat started as a wedding invitation boutique. When I got the idea to start a wedding invitation business on the side, I was working a corporate job as a design assistant. After having done my own invites, an acquaintance asked me to do hers, and because I’d loved it so much the first time, I jumped at the opportunity to stretch my creativity.
I started my little Etsy shop with a handful of designs, and started to dive into the world of wedding business. CharmCat has grown and changed since then. I found my signature style in painting—a medium I’d studied in college—and discovered an unrealized love of all things paper.
And now, I get to share that style and love with you.
My Guiding Principles
Treat others with generosity.
Share knowledge freely.
Leave each moment better than you found it.
Resist the fear of rejection.
Who am I?
Hey There! I’m Ashleigh Pritchard, and I’m the owner and artist behind CharmCat.
I’m a cat lover, high-fantasy enthusiast, grammar nerd, and sarcastic know-it-all. My favorite book is the Lord of the Rings trilogy. I’m an INFJ. My favorite toy is my label maker, and I think a purring cat is the solution to all problems.
I was born and raised in Maryland (#marylandproud!) next to a farm, at the foot of the mountains and just outside of Washington, D.C. We spent summers camping, boating, and taking trips to the Eastern Shore. I took sketchbooks everywhere. In photos of family vacations, you won’t find me—I was the one behind the camera, catching the smiles and quiet vistas and wildflowers.
In 2010, I graduated from McDaniel College in Westminster, MD, with a bachelors degree in Studio Art, and in 2012 earned a Masters from Stony Brook University—in Creative Writing—but that’s a story for another day.
A Quick Q&A
WHEN DID YOU KNOW YOU WANTED TO BE AN ARTIST?
I’ve always been the artistic type. In elementary school, I was the art teacher’s favorite student. My electives in middle and high school always included art classes. I took workshops during the summers and, inevitably, every year for Christmas I’d get yet another one of those $10 artist kits that I’d already outgrown. Painting had always been a hobby. I had intended to go into graphic design—which I did for a while—but I kept painting on the side. Then in 2015 I started taking commissions!
DO YOU REALLY DO ALL THE ART YOURSELF?
Yep! I love the feeling of handling real paint, paper, and paintbrushes in my hands. It’s relaxing and challenging at the same time.
I passionately advocate for…
Feminism and gender equality
Justice for all
Art as expression of self
Freedom to question tradition
CharmCat will never discriminate against anyone’s race, age, nationality, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, or gender identity.
Purpose of the Welcome Policy
I am a white, straight, cisgender female (pronouns: she/her). I was raised in a fairly middle-class household in the suburbs with not a lot of diversity. I was lucky enough to go to college and then on to get a graduate degree because of the encouragement of my family, my hard work, and my privilege. This Welcome Policy comes from a place of support, not of familiarity. I won’t always understand the struggles my clients face, but I will always do my best to meet their needs.
CharmCat pledges to donate 10% of resources to charity in one form or another: time, product, and services.
You read that right, 10%. It’s a pretty high goal, but I think I can do it!
Assuming I work a standard year, that makes 1920 working hours. So that means my goal is 192 hours of volunteer time, or 192 hours of donated design services for charities, or 10% of my profit (which will be determined at the end of every quarter), or a combination of the three!
Want to request services? Visit my application for stationery services for charity.