From Garbage to Greetings


by Jillian Moroney

Threds of tea bag wrappers, old stamps, beer labels, and plane tickets sit in baskets around watercolor washes in the colorful and glittery studio of Boise-based Chique Lixo (Portuguese for chic garbage.) Heidi Marotz, owner and artist at the greeting card company spends hours transforming trash into collage that is printed on recycled paper for cards, prints, notepads, and magnets. The earth friendly card line is finished with glitter to add a bit of “fancy,” according to Marotz.

The Chique Lixo card line began when Marotz was managing a flower shop and wanted to design cards that were as original as the unique arrangements she created. “Stock cards were so boring and seemed especially out of place when paired with an avant-garde bouquet,” Marotz said. Initially doing little tie on cards, customers began asking for custom invitations, greeting cards, and holiday tags. The challenge of creating art for specific events and occasions became a full time job and Marotz stepped away from the floral industry to pursue greeting cards. The collage from trash component of her process began because, as she said, “The things we dispose of as a culture are so much a part of who we are and I wanted to take familiar things and create something new.”  The Chique Lixo line features cards for most life occasions from babies and weddings to birthdays, graduation, friendship , and sympathy. In addition to the all-purpose collection, Chique Lixo has an Idaho catalog that includes many of the outdoor activities associated with the state. From Bike, Hike and Ski Idaho to Idaho Trails and familiar icons such as the Idaho Capitol and Barber Park, the Idaho line has been extremely popular in Boise and in many resort areas around the state, according to Marotz.

“I grew up in Coeur d’Alene, started my career as a reporter at the Idaho Statesman, and married and started a family in Boise before spending several years in Idaho Falls,” Marotz said. She and her husband returned to Boise three years ago. “Living in every region of the state has given me great appreciation for the diverse landscape and beauty of Idaho.”  Keeping all parts of the production process in Idaho is an important commitment to Marotz. The artwork developed in the Boise studio is mailed to Ucon, Idaho where the solo owner of Color Keys Printing and her eight schnauzers scan, set up, print, and fold the cards. Once created, the cards are shipped to Boise where individuals (and lifelong friends according to Marotz) help with the glittering process. Each card passes through human hands before Marotz’s husband Scott packages the cards. The artist-entrepreneur said in addition to creating art every day, she is very fortunate to work with friends and other small business owners. “It’s a privilege to know everyone you work with and sell to on a first name basis.”  She believes the popularity of social media and email has only enhanced the appreciation for “real cards” because something that arrives in an envelope can be put on a mantle, desk, or fridge. 208.520.3638