Sales, fundraising in the cards for broker
Steve Sullivan, founder of Hay Wire Creations is donating a portion of all calendar sales to Skin of Steel, a Glenview based melanoma and advocacy support group. | Jackie Pilossoph~For Sun-Times Media
Hay Wire Creations
Updated: December 23, 2012 6:14AM
WINNETKA — With the holidays around the corner, Steve Sullivan is having his busiest season ever.
Not only is the industrial real estate broker working full time, but his Winnetka-based business, Hay Wire Creations, now in its second year, is taking holiday card orders right and left.
Sullivan’s idea to start a greeting card business came from his desire to pay tribute to his late brother, Dan, who lived in Champaign, Ill., and died of melanoma in 2010.
“Dan was a bit of a collector, and one of his many possessions was this rather extensive collection of original folk art by a local painter named Lynn Tague,” said Sullivan, “When he became sick, and conversations would hit a lull, we always got to talking about Lynn’s pieces and the need to get them out into the public domain.”
When Dan passed away, Sullivan decided to pursue the idea, and contacted Tague about putting her paintings on greeting cards, a yearly calendar, and giclee lithograph prints, which are reproductions of the original artwork using high resolution ink jet printing.
“This venture was a no-brainer for me,” said Tague, who lives on a farm in Champaign and said Dan was one of her biggest buyers. “The exposure for me is priceless, but even more importantly, I want people to enjoy my work, so how could I say no?”
Hay Wire Creations does business through their website, www.haywirecreations.net, and their cards are carried in a few local stores on the North Shore. Twenty-five pieces of Tague’s artwork can be found on cards and the giclee prints, and 12 of her works on the 2013 calendar. Tague’s paintings are whimsical Midwestern scenes, such as a county fair, an all-American Thanksgiving, an old fashioned Christmas, a snow day, and something as simple as a Tuesday afternoon in the country.
“You’re supposed to have fun when you look at my pictures and get nostalgic,” said Tague, who said the country around her is her inspiration, “I love color and I love details, and I like to throw in vintage with the new and mix it up.”
“Lynn’s whimsical style is a connection to a simpler time in our country,” said Sullivan, who grew up in Champaign but now lives in Winnetka with his wife and three children. “It also speaks to our downstate upbringing, a love of barns, and to the many shared holidays that my brother went more than a little overboard on.”
Hay Wire’s giclee prints cost between $80 and $100, and the greeting cards are $2 each or $22 for a box of 16.
The 2013 calendar is $16.50. Sullivan has decided to donate a portion of the proceeds of calendar sales to Skin of Steel, a Glenview-based melanoma advocacy and support group founded by Susan Steel, an 8 year survivor of melanoma. The money will go toward founding the national Melanoma Tissue Bank network for further medical advances in the research and treatment of melanoma.
“Susan is an amazingly selfless advocate for melanoma patients and their families,” said Sullivan, who sits on the board of directors of the organization. “What Susan is doing with melanoma tissue research is exactly how today’s prostate and breast cancer survivors are able to enjoy better outcomes.”
When asked if his business and his involvement in melanoma research has been cathartic, Sullivan said absolutely.
“The business has connected me in ways to Dan’s friends and extended family, which has made this a positive acknowledgement of him,” said Sullivan. “I can’t help but think Dan might be bemused with the cards and calendar project, but I think he would be pleased with the Skin Of Steel collaboration.”