archive for the ‘artists, creatives, crafters’ category

stephanie levy : creative courage

Thursday, November 3rd, 2011

europe postcards by stephanie levy : berlin, venice, amsterdam
i’ve been following artist stephanie levy‘s work for a few years, but it is only recently that we’ve formed a friendship. i am actually a bit shy and i don’t want to come across as stalker-like… but when stephanie began her 12 countries in 12 months project in the city of amsterdam, i couldn’t be a silent admirer any longer. i HAD to send her my suggestions for what to do in one of my favorite cities, and it’s so fun to have found another fellow wanderer…

last month, stephanie invited me to participate in her first e-course, creative courage. it has been a great experience: the interviews and insights that stephanie shares are invaluable. and her video posts make me sooooooo happy: stephanie is an expat living in munich and she still has a bit of a southern accent, her curly hair is to die for, and she really is someone that you’d want to spend hours with in person. lucky you: she’s offering her creative courage e-course again in 2012, and i highly recommend it to those that are looking for a little extra courage! and if you’re a wanderer like me, you’ll love the postcard she’s going to send you from barcelona if you sign up!


Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

portrait by mark nilsson
on monday, after i visited the willem de kooning retrospective at the museum of modern art, i had my portrait painted. the artist is mark nilsson, and he had a folding table set up on the sidewalk of 53rd street outside of moma with a sign that said $40. i circled the block  while he finished up another customer, and then i sat down for an hour while he painted me. i was amazed at how easy it was to keep my head still… to maintain a gaze in one direction… and ignore the audience that would gather here and there. at one point, city surveyors were on both sides of us, taking their numbers/pictures with mark and i in the middle…

when the portrait was finished, mark found a box to to protect the painting as i carried it back to my hotel, as it was really wet and thick. an italian tourist peered into the box while i waited at a crosswalk, and she made a comment that made me think she thought i should be insulted by the likeness. my eyes and mouth may seem too small for my face, but that’s the way they are in real life. and yes, i have chronic bitch face. but for $40, i now have a portrait of myself. and i love it.

last night mark sent me a video that 2 film students made when he first started doing street portraits. you can watch it here.

update, october 2012: mark was featured in the new york times. article here.


Thursday, September 29th, 2011

i’m obsessed with a mountain 1300+ miles away.

it’s all chandler‘s fault.

anagram press : chandler o'leary : sketchbook
photo credit: chandler o’leary, anagram press. sketchbook

when chandler began posting her mount rainier drawings in preparation for her artist book local conditions, i was fascinated. i didn’t grow up near mountains, and to have this majestic beauty in your backyard? yes, i want one please. (and i should note that mount rainier is actually a stratovolcano, and this baby is due to blow! it’s one of 16 decade volcanoes, and when its time comes, it’s not going to be good.) reading about chandler’s research trips, seeing her sketches and photos… i wanted a mountain of my own to explore.

anagram press : chandler o'leary : local conditions
photo credit: chandler o’leary, anagram press local conditions

but there are no mountains in minnesota. off i go, to seattle…

the first time i remember seeing mount rainier was december 2009, as i traveled from seatac airport to downtown seattle via light rail. the train took a curve, and there it was: behind a gauze of haze, but present. while i couldn’t wait to report to chandler that i had seen rainier, i don’t remember any other sightings that trip.

rainier, hiding behind safeco field
september 1, 2011: rainier from seattle’s waterfront, hiding behind safeco field

my trip earlier this month was a different story: the weather was perfect for viewing, with the air clearing more with each day of my trip. can you believe rainier is 54 miles from seattle? yet it seems so close… but so difficult to photograph.

from the ferry to bainbridge island
september 3, 2011: rainier from the sound, while on the ferry to bainbridge island

every morning, my first thought was “where’s rainier?” and as the day went on, i would continue to keep an eye on it.

morning run
september 5, 2011: morning on puget sound

on my last day in seattle, i went for a run along the waterfront, and i stopped to take one last photo of rainier as the sun rose. (the quality of this last photo is terrible as i was using my phone.) right after i took the photo, i saw something in the water out of the corner of my eye. could it be? i stood and waited, hoping what i thought i had seen would come back up for air. about a minute later, a seal’s head popped up. i was elated: seeing animals in the wild that i have only ever seen in zoos thrills me to no end. i waited a bit longer to see if the seal would surface again before i finished up my run… no dice. but i still finished my run with a lighter step.

and then i went home, leaving rainier behind.

etsy : anagram press : owen beach hand colored letterpress print featuring mount rainier
photo credit: chandler o’leary, anagram press. owen beach hand colored letterpress print featuring mount rainier

a week or two after i left seattle, an envelope arrived from chandler. within? a hand colored letterpress print of mount rainier from owen beach, with a pup that looks like my old guy (available in the anagram press etsy shop). my heart skipped a beat: i have a wonderful visual reminder of my obsession. thank you, chandler! hope to see you and rainier again soon.

rena tom’s *i shop, you buy*

Friday, September 23rd, 2011

goodies from *i shop, you buy*
i participated in rena‘s retail experiment i shop, you buy and my box arrived this week. for $20, i received a collection of little goodies rena picked up during her recent trip to southeast asia (singapore, bangkok, and hong kong). while i definitely don’t need more “stuff” i’m happy to support new endeavors. plus now i have a few new things in my “emergency gift” drawer.

happy weekend! happy first day of autumn!

letterpress love : orange and teal

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

while in seattle, i took the ferry to bainbridge island and found paperoost. i stocked up on greeting cards:

letterpress love :
welcome baby snow & graham

letterpress love :
happy birthday sugarcube press

letterpress love :
happy studio olivine

letterpress love :

patchqwirk pikku (top:  posie patch / carrot, bottom: patchqwirk dot / blu)

i didn’t intend to pick only items in orange & teal, and when i looked down at what i had chosen, i laughed out loud… i couldn’t help it: orange + teal = awesomeness.

snail mail…

Thursday, August 18th, 2011

fish collage made by jen
…from jen, and it made my day.

merry go round : holiday

Friday, July 29th, 2011

my magazine reading pile. the book reading pile is much bigger.
it’s the last friday of the month, which means today’s post is a part of merry go round, a group of 11 artists/craftwomen from around the world that gather to share their thoughts on the same topic. this month’s topic: do you ever take a holiday from your craft/art?

and i say: yes! if you’re a regular reader, you’ll know that i really haven’t done much this year in terms of new products. i’ve been producing my tried-and-true, i’ve done some custom jobs, i’m still using my polaroid cameras… but i have taken a break creating new goods.

i do have ideas, but i haven’t had the time or energy to see them through. i hope that will change at some point, but until then i try to be gentle on myself and remind myself that it’s ok to take a holiday. and some nights, it’s nice to just sit outside and catch up on reading.

at the top of my pile? aimee‘s newest awesomeness: the stew book. she hand-lettered and doodled all the recipes from our october weekend in northern minnesota. and if you’d like the full recipe for my yummy egg bake dish, let me know. there’s lots of cheesy goodness within, balanced by a tomato or two to make it good for you.

see what everyone else has to say:

laura at blue terracotta
monika at red 2 white
ruth at birdland creations
kim at vilt a la kim
sara at crafts of texture
samantha at vintage is for lovers
mariana at florcita
agathe at le bar du vent
mitsy at artmind
bethany at dirksen dabbles

happy weekend!

she knows me well…

Wednesday, June 8th, 2011

if i ever see chairs like this in person, they will be mine!        (maybe)
from cindy: an instax mini photo she took of a pair of vintage orange chairs on the street in sunnyside gardens.

photo credit: cindy krikawa

national stationery show 2011

Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

in the last year, i’ve become more and more curious about the national stationery show, and it seemed like it could be a next step for me. so i timed my spring new york trip to coincide with the show, and patricia and i made plans to go together last week, representing her red bow studio. but the morning we planned to meet it was raining cats & dogs, making it difficult for patricia to meet me, so i went solo.

it was interesting… i think that’s my word…

but first! minnesota, represent:

national stationery show : igloo letterpress
the first familiar face was allison’s of igloo letterpress. allison taught many of the workshops i’ve taken at minnesota center for book arts, and was one of my favorite instructors. she left minnesota for ohio around 3 years ago and this was the first time i had seen her since she left. it was really fun to catch up, but it’s also hard to chat because if anyone walks by that shows interest in the booth, you don’t want your friend to miss out on any opportunities.

national stationery show : igloo letterpress
allison does amazing work with wood and metal type, and makes bookbinding kits that i secretly wish i had created. the highlight for me was seeing the softcover letterpress brownstone journals: i’ve wanted one since chandler posted about the first batch last year. the illustrations are by chandler of anagram press, and printed & bound by allison. yum. i really hope the show brings good things to igloo.

national stationery show : hungry dog designs
my next stop: hungry dog designs, which is the work of my friend paula. i first met paula when we were in our teens, but we recently reconnected via handmadeMN when i recognized her name in the forums. i was excited when she told me she was participating in the show and that i’d be able to see her booth. she recently moved to bogotá, columbia with her husband and boston terrier (oscar!), so we’re not able to meet up for wine and conversations about making stuff anymore.

national stationery show : hungry dog designs
paula’s paper doll gift cards are so much fun! and i’m not just saying that — they caught my eye at a few local shops before i even realized i knew their creator. we had dinner together the night before i went to the show, so i already had the scoop on her experience from the first 2 days and could focus on her work and be a cheerleader. i really want paula and hungry dog designs to be a huge success, and i know she made great connections at the show. i hope that the exposure continues to bring her good things this year!

then there were some new names!

national stationery show : design orange
down the aisle from paula, i discovered designorange, which is the work of local designer jada schumacher. i walked up to her and i think i said something intelligent, but in my brain it was more like: “me jen. me also from st. paul. me like orange.” and i think i also expressed surprise that i hadn’t heard of her or her work before, but sometimes i forget that there are thousands of creative people in the twin cities and that i probably know of 1% of them. duh. but anyway, we had a nice chat and it’s always fun to meet other creative locals and talk “shop.” i hope our paths cross again.

national stationery show : printerette press
and then… printerette press: the color and presentation of the booth was absolutely perfect. and i had another “how do i not know about this person?!” moment. i actually didn’t have a chance to meet catherine, the dynamo behind printerette, but since we are both in st. paul, maybe one day it will happen. until then, i’ll admire her work via the interwebs.

national stationery show : printerette press
since the show, printerette has gotten some great press, and it’s fun to cheer on the hometown talent. whoooo!

i’m sure i missed other minnesotans… the show is enormous, and i got overwhelmed quickly. also, i had a retail badge, which made me feel like i was wearing a big red R. i felt like if i randomly started to talk to people they’d really think i was a retailer, when in reality i was a lurker. and my little blog is little… there were plenty of design blogs covering the event. so i tried to be low key. still, it was fun to see familiar names while wandering the aisles. the work and talent at the show sets the bar high, and i hope that all the independent designers there are wildly successful.

soooo… would i do it? i’ve got some ideas that i want to explore which might make me a candidate for the show in the future. but i really don’t know if i could smile and sell myself enthusiastically for 3-1/2 days. the thought of it alone sounds exhausting. i could possibly handle 1 day, but not much more than that. that could change (pharma?)… but now? nope. and it’s not a cheap endeavor.

and honestly? despite the beautiful work, i didn’t walk out of the show feeling inspired and full of possibilities. maybe it was the endless grey sky and rain that followed me to manhattan. maybe it was pms. maybe it was the wine consumed the night before. maybe tried & true is the way to go in this economy. i had hoped that i would leave the show bursting with creative energy, eager to get home and start designing and making… instead, when i walked out of the convention center, all i wanted to do was eat lunch.

and i think that’s ok.

birthday film!

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

last saturday 2 packages arrived in the mail. the first package was from florida, from miss carissa paige:

carissa's girls

i never tire of her girls. (see more of carissa’s work in her etsy shop. go.)


she sent me a polaroid of the ocean, embellished in carissa’s way, and a vintage book about one of my favorite subjects.


and then, and then! there was a pack of 600 polaroid film. carissa sent me her film. i know she’s had it for a while. i know she’s been saving it, and she decided to send it to me. how i will repay this girl, i do not know. i’m thinking of ways, though, believe me.

the second package was from cindy in new york:

so pretty!

the present was too perfect to open! and cindy knows orange is my favorite color. hmmm… i wonder what’s inside?


color shade push! yay! it’s the newest color film from the impossible project. i’m really excited to try it — i have its predecessor but this version is really, really close to the real thing. yay!

thank you carissa and cindy, for keeping my sx 70 camera happy. and for making me feel loved. xo.

letterpress love : fish and the f word

Friday, April 1st, 2011

while in chicago, jackie and i stopped at a few stores and i perused the letterpress offerings. a theme became apparent:

crap paper source

wtf tiselle
a few months ago, i had intended to put a post-it note on my computer screen that said “w.f.h. friday” (working from home friday). the next morning a co-worker emailed me to ask why my post-it said “w.t.f. friday” and why was i upset at friday?! oops. so this card is for her.

denver sole [sole mates]
denver sole [ sole mates ] nourshing notes

wtfwjd power & light press
what the f*ck would jen do?

happy fucking birthday
happy f*cking birthday paper source
i’ll gift this to someone that loves the f word as much as i do…

happy april, happy weekend!


Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

copper hare
when i saw the copper hares fiona made, i wanted one of my own. i asked her to make me one (which i happily paid for!).

copper hare, sunday hair
when it is the year of the rabbit, one should have a hare to hang around one’s neck.

letterpress love

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

sugarcube press
sugarcube press

heartfish press
heartfish press

dee & lala


Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

the cabin's deck
last week i spent thursday thru sunday with seven other fabulous women in a cabin just steps from the shore of lake superior in northern minnesota.

great lakes candy kitchen
it was an honor to be a part of the wild & nutty & wonderful weekend.

blacksmith and forge
i am a very private person and at times felt out of place (a fish out of water?). and on the first full day there, i really didn’t know what to do with myself: it’s been a long time since i’ve had a day away from home without an itinerary…

the link
but i got over it and i sewed some journals for the upcoming holidays. i read, i took polaroids. i went on walks and side trips with my weekend-mates. i taught everyone how to bind their own book. and we took turns cooking amazing and good-for-you but oh-so-yummy meals for each other.

words on the table
for one entire day the dining table was full of supplies and words and crafts and color. for each meal we had to pull out the folding banquet table so we wouldn’t disturb the creating.

lake superior
i re-learned how to do nothing and i listened to the wind blow and the waves crash. i watched a bald eagle fly along the shoreline before getting up from bed.

the deck, again
it was wonderful to solidify existing friendships and make new ones…

world's largest walleye, rush city
thanks liv, rachel, susie, kolleen, carissa, aimee, and lori. xo, the fish

36 wishes

Friday, May 7th, 2010

this week i received 36 wishes from jackie:

36 wishes

it’s so fun spinning the wheel…

36 wishes

and seeing the things that she knows i’d wish for…

36 wishes

it’s nice to be known so well…

36 wishes

or maybe i share too much on my blog! happy weekend!

meeting sonya

Thursday, March 18th, 2010

sonya's palette
last friday night i met sonya.

sonya is the creator of one of my favorite valentines ever. she also created pierre, who i’m still in love with. mwah, mwah, mwah pierre!

sonya was in town for the opening of metaphoric fibers at the the textile center. her piece was knitted silk covered with beeswax, and easily one of my favorites. anna and kristin were there, and all of us skipped the artist talk to make our own small talk. the entire night i debated taking a polaroid to mark the occasion. but then i remembered i don’t like my photo being taken, so i cannot ask that others comply. so instead, i’m sharing sonya’s wonderful palette for the evening… it was so vibrant and lovely: orange scarf. chartreuse t-shirt (not as garish as my scanner would leave you to believe). plum sweater, which was handknit. an amazing handmade tan skirt, with a doily screen print and white bird applique. and kick-ass red socks and boots.

i only wish that spring had been more impressive for my friend sonya — who is flesh and blood and not just is a figment of the interwebs — so she’ll want to come back to our funny little town.

a renewed interest in snail mail

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

abstract expressionists
i’ve been waiting for the post office to release their abstract expressionist stamps for weeks… i picked up 8 sheets last night after work, to make snail mail even more awesome.

when i got home and opened my mailbox, there was an envelope from aimee, with the clyfford still stamp on it. and inside:


a collaged bookmark. shocking! on the front, and on the back is a little story about frank, who can’t find his balls, which is forever going to be a juvenile joke between the two of us.

i’m diving into my reading pile with renewed enthusiasm just so i can keep opening my books to see my new bookmark!

hope SEEDS

Monday, February 8th, 2010

hope SEEDS
hello, i hope you had a good weekend! i made a really wonderful thai shrimp curry for some fabulous friends. i plan to repeat this recipe many more times.

i’m slowly putting things in place now that the remodel project is done. a new favorite piece: hope SEEDS by heather smith jones. ikea frame.


Thursday, January 14th, 2010

happiness is just ahead

on my last day in seattle, i met evalynn for coffee. she handed me a package. and within: a collage she created just for me. it has circles, the color orange, a fish, shredded office paper, and a message about happiness, which sometimes eludes me. i was floored — it could not be more perfect. i hung it immediately when i got home.

thank you, e, you are a rockstar!

handmade gifts received…

Monday, January 11th, 2010

was christmas really only 2-1/2 weeks ago? it seems like months have passed, which is good, since it stresses me out so much. it’s nice to have it out of my head. but it’s not all stressful: i am so fortunate to have friends that give me sweet, handmade gifts:

pouch and fat quarters from molly

molly sent me a super-cute pouch, and my first batch of fat quarters. eeeee! (i haven’t gotten far with my plan to learn to sew this winter, but i live in minnesota and we have a months to go before spring makes an appearance.)

granola and garland from jackie

jackie made me granola and garland with blue-grey felt. i’m still snacking on the granola by the handful, and when it’s gone i’m going to make more using jackie’s recipe. the garland matches my new sofa, so it’s still up!

preserves from sister

my sister gave me yummy things she canned: tart cherry preserves, spiced plum preserves, and spaghetti sauce. i think from now on, family christmas gifts should be food-related only.


and lastly, while technically not handmade, but still a great gift: jen put together some fun portland ephemera to entice me to come and visit. sold! when can i come?!

thank you so much!