Greeting cards latest creative outlet for Barbara Warnecke

Whether it’s on her daily walk through the neighborhood or a stroll down a supermarket aisle, Barbara Warnecke sees an interesting image to photograph wherever she is.

A former elementary schoolteacher and artist, Warnecke needed another creative outlet after her painting became too physically taxing. A friend suggested to her husband, Richard Warnecke, PhD, professor emeritus of epidemiology, public administration and sociology at the University of Illinois at Chicago, that photography could fill the void. After presenting her with her first camera more than 40 years ago, Barbara Warnecke has rarely left the house without one.

Among the many personal images she has chronicled throughout the years are her travels, weddings, nature, and children sitting for portraits. The walls throughout her home are adorned with her work. One day when she was rotating photographs, she wondered if her images could be used for another purpose. That’s when she decided to design greeting cards. And FOTOcards was born.

“I absolutely love doing it, and I love the challenge of finding new, unique images to capture in a photograph,” she said.

Photography is not a job for Warnecke, it’s a passion. She is also philanthropic-minded, and she felt her cards could be used to raise money for various organizations she serves. One hundred percent of the card sales (each one sells for $3) is donated to charity. In 2017, $9,000 was contributed to the groups Warnecke selected. This year one of those charities is the UI Cancer Center, of which her husband is a member.

Warnecke has a card for every occasion: New baby, weddings, engagements, holidays, graduations. Even overcoming diseases like cancer. Warnecke’s photos adorn the front of the cards, while the inside includes an inspirational message she has written. One such card shows a pink raffle ticket, with the words, “Keep This Coupon.” On the inside, the inscription reads, “For one hug.” The messages may be simple, but the recipients have found that the cards lift their spirits. And that, in turn, lifts hers as well.

To order cards from Barbara Warnecke, email [email protected], or visit her Facebook page at Early next year, orders can also be placed from a website that is currently under construction.

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