2014 :: A Sewing Odyssey :: #8

12/22/14

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If you’ve been following along on my blog this year, you may know that I made a commitment last January to consume less. As part of that effort, I committed to only sewing new clothes myself or purchasing used or vintage. On Friday I completed my eighth and final sewing project of 2014, and, thus the odyssey. The result is pictured here!

It’s the “Rae” skirt from Sewaholic Patterns, which I purchased through Fancy Tiger Crafts (for the win, Fancy Tiger also carries yardage of my new Revelry line of fabric and has an awesome array of patterns and fabric). For this skirt I used African fabric that I purchased over the summer at a local fabric shop in Oakland.

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I made the “B” view skirt, which is a bit fuller than “A” and shorter than “C”. The directions for making the skirt were really well written and easy to understand. This pattern is great for someone just learning how to sew. All you need is fabric, 1 inch elastic, thread, a machine and basic sewing skills (and the pattern, of course)! Here’s a close-up of the skirt.

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Tomorrow I’ll be back with a recap of my year long “odyssey” and how I did meeting my goal of consuming less. Stay tuned!

Happy Monday!

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Words for the Day :: No. 53

12/18/14

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Have a good Thursday, friends!

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Block Printing E-Course!

12/17/14

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Friends, I’m so excited to share a new online ecourse by my friend Jen Hewett. In this sure-to-be-fabulous two day class, Jen will use videos, photos, and downloadable notes to guide you through the process of block printing on fabric. At the end of this class, you’ll know how to print your own custom fabric, which you can then use for tea towels, bags, quilts, or other fabric and sewing projects. Awesome, right?

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The course will take place online on January 31st and February 1st 2015 (PST), and will be accessible to you until March 3rd, so if you can’t take the class on that weekend, or if you want to work at your own pace, you’ll be able to access all the course materials through March 3. You will also have access to an exclusive Facebook group, where you’ll be able to ask Jen questions, as well as network and get feedback.

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And from now until December 31, 2014, you’ll get the early bird price of just $99 for the course! The price will go up to $109 on January 1st. Go get it!

I can vouch for Jen’s fantastic teaching: here I am earlier this year taking a block printing class from her in which I made some fabulous yardage that I used to make a dress.

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You design and carve your own blocks, so you can make your patterns unique to you. To learn more about the course and what supplies you need and to sign up, go here!

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Happy printing and happy Wednesday!

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Recent Interviews

12/16/14

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Friends, I’ve done several interviews lately and wanted to share the links with you in case you are the interview-reading kind!

+First, this interview out today from the magazine Dirty Laundry – all about starting in the art world late in life, imposter syndrome, self promotion, illustration vs. fine art and other nuggets.

+Next up, this interview with Stephanie Reagan for her series Material Studies (Stephanie started this series recently and already has several great artist interviews up on her site).

+Recently Caitlin Bacher of Little Farm Media posted this interview with me about the role of social media in promoting my work and on my art career in general.

+Here’s an interview I did with Mohawk Paper about PERCEPTION.

+I already linked to it in this post last week on Rejection & Criticism, but here’s my interview with Susan Muldar for her series The Rejection Chronicles.

Thanks for reading and sharing.

Happy Tuesday!

 

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Words for the Day :: No. 52

12/15/14

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Wise words from Augusten Burroughs. This and 99 other quotes on bravery will appear in my second book of hand lettered quotes, due out from Chronicle Books in 2015! You can purchase my first book of hand lettered quotes here.

Happy Monday, friends!

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Shop Closes Tuesday!

12/12/14

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Friends, there are just five more days to place your holiday orders in my shop! I’ve got loads of signed books, prints, notebooks, and small original paintings for sale. Head over here to place your order before end of the day, December 16! And if you don’t see anything there, you can check out all the other places my work is sold. Thank you for supporting my work!

Have a happy Friday.

CATEGORIES: For Sale
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On Rejection & Criticism

12/11/14

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One of the most common questions other artists and writers ask me is this one: how do you deal with rejection and criticism?

I think the reason that people ask this question is that it is a real point of pain for artists and writers. In fact, it may be “the” point of pain, besides dealing with creative blocks, which are often caused by fear or rejection and criticism. So this question really is at the heart of the artists’ psyche, all the time, whether we are conscious of it or not.

Art is subjective. Not everyone will like what we do. Also, we are human. Sometimes we are going to make really shitty work, especially in the beginning of our careers. And what’s worse is that even as our work gets better, we get our work into the world and we become known, the likelihood that our work will be criticized or that we will experience rejection only increases exponentially.

One thing it’s important to understand is the universality of the experience: all artists deal with rejection and criticism — from the very subtle kind (no one “liked” that painting I just posted on Instagram), to more overt (my work didn’t get accepted into that juried show and the judge said it wasn’t developed enough), to mean spirited (someone publicly criticized my work, said it was crap), to self-inflicted internal rejection and criticism (I’m a terrible artist & my work sucks).

We are all looking for relief from this point of pain or a way to ensure that it will never happen to us. But the truth is, while we can gain some perspective and some thicker skin and most importantly, some self love, we cannot ever escape it. Sure, you can avoid ever being rejected or criticized by deciding never to put your work into the world, but where does that leave you?

Recently I talked to artist Susan Mulder about rejection and criticism for her series called The Rejection Chronicles. She asked me lots of questions about my experiences with rejection and criticism, my take on how to deal with them and some lessons I’ve learned. In turn, I talked about taking responsibility, listening to constructive feedback, ignoring mean spirited criticism, and not taking things personally (super hard, yes).

And if there is one lesson I’ve learned it’s this: rejection is always humbling. Situations that humble us and remind us of our humanity make us kinder, more conscientious people. And that’s always a positive thing. If seen in a good light, rejection and criticism can teach us where to focus, what we are good at, what we need to work more at, what we want to own, how strong we are and all kinds of other amazing things.

You can read my interview with Susan here. I also talk about rejection (and 14 hours worth of other content about making a living as an artist) in my online course Become a Working Artist, which you can purchase (and watch at your own pace) here.

Have a great Thursday, friends!

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New Print // Last Week to Shop!

12/10/14

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Don’t forget: this is your last week to shop in my Etsy store before the holidays!  My shop will be closed from Tuesday evening of next week until early January. All remaining orders will ship Wednesday, December 17.

Good news! Just in time, I have added a new print to the shop, pictured above. You can snatch it up here.

Have a great Wednesday, friends!

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Words for the Day :: No. 51

12/09/14

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Words of truth from Ursula LeGuin. These particular words will appear in my next book of hand lettered quotes, which comes out next Fall from Chronicle Books.

Have a great Tuesday, friends.

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The Jealous Curator Show at Bedford Gallery

12/08/14

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You may recall that earlier this year I wrote about my friend Danielle’s (aka The Jealous Curator) fantastic book Creative Block. And recently 20 artists from the book were curated by Danielle into a show at Bedford Gallery: From Blog to Book to Gallery. Last night I attended the opening, and it is a beautiful show with many amazing works. Here are just a few of my favorite pieces(too many to photograph!) and my own work down at the bottom of the post:

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Kate Pugsley.

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Stephanie Vovas’ large scale photographs.

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Large scale Jenny Hart.

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Danielle Krysa.

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Martha Rich.

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Hollie Chastain.

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Jennifer Davis.

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Leah Giberson.

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Aris Moore.

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Lisa Golightly.

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Me!

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All six of my pieces in the show.

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My hummingbird.

All work from the show (if not already sold) is available through Bedford Gallery. The gallery does not have an online shop, but you can call or email at any time to purchase with a credit card. If you are local to the Bay Area, the show will be up through February 1, and I highly recommend a visit! Here are the seven artists (including Danielle) who were able to attend the opening last night: Kate Pugsley, Lisa Golightly, Stephanie Vovas, Danielle Krysa, me, Leah Giberson & Trey Speegle.

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One last note: both my book Whatever You Are, Be a Good One and Danielle’s book Creative Block were included in Brain Pickings Best Art, Design and Photography Books of 2014!  Have a happy Monday, all.

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Besty Cordes :: Mr. Dog’s Christmas

12/04/14

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Almost two years ago I became acquainted with Betsy Cordes. I was looking for an expert on art direction and licensing to interview for my book Art Inc and through friends I discovered Betsy. Since then we’ve become good friends and collaborators (and she is an expert interviewee in both my book Art Inc and my class Become a Working Artist). One day about a year ago Betsy and I were having lunch, and she told me about an exciting project she was working on — to put back into publication a long out-of-print book called Mr. Dog’s Christmas at the Hollow Tree Inn. She told me the story of the book and its meaning to her family and about the lengths she was stretching to bring the book back to life (it was an incredible endeavor, as you will see). I was so inspired by Betsy’s story and just last week saw the book for the first time (which is now for sale) and was so mesmerized by its beauty that I decided it would be a great story to share here. I hope you enjoy this interview with Betsy about Mr. Dog’s Christmas at the Hollow Tree Inn (scroll to the bottom for purchase details!).

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Lisa: Mr. Dog’s Christmas at the Hollow Tree Inn was originally published in 1898! How and why did you come to bring this old story back to life?

Betsy: That’s right! The author, Albert Bigelow Paine, wrote the story back at the turn of the last century. (Cool fact: Paine was also Mark Twain’s good friend and biographer!) Mr. Dog’s Christmas has been read aloud on Christmas Eve in my family since the early 1940s, first by my grandparents to my dad and his brother. My dad’s been reading it to me and my brother our whole lives and our children have now grown up with Mr. Dog, too. We’re kind of nuts about it… Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas without Mr. Dog! I’ve even been known to ask my dad for a private reading over the phone, on those few Christmases I haven’t been able to spend with my folks.

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It’s always surprised us that the story isn’t more widely known. Although it was written over a century ago, it’s timeless. It’s just a really charming tale about the worldly and rather mischievous Mr. Dog, who decides to surprise his friends at the Hollow Tree Inn (Mr. Crow, Mr. ‘Coon, and Mr. ‘Possum) by playing Santa Claus. He goes to great lengths to pull it off, and treats his friends to a beautiful experience. Until our edition, the story had been out of print for decades and it was a couple years ago that my brother, Jason, had the brilliant idea to republish it with new illustrations. We talked about it a bit and decided we really wanted to do it ourselves, rather than try to get an established publisher interested. We felt super protective of the story because of our tradition, but we don’t own it; it’s in the public domain. We didn’t want someone else to bring it back in a way that didn’t please us!

As an art director, I knew I could find and work with an artist to bring the story to life in glorious color, and I had just enough experience with design, print production and promotion to feel comfortable managing the project myself. Truth be told, it’s become a far bigger endeavor than I ever imagined. Honestly it’s been like a second full-time job for me, but I’ve learned so much through the process that’s helpful in my work with artists, many of whom also want to publish their own books or launch Kickstarter campaigns. I’m feeling really grateful for the opportunities this project has given me.

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Lisa: The book is beautifully illustrated by well known illustrator Adam McCauley. How did he come to illustrate the book & what was it about his style that appealed to you for this project?

Betsy: I know, aren’t his drawings incredible? We are so fortunate to have him as our illustrator and I credit the Makeshift Society for bringing that about. When I started my search for an illustrator, I sent an email to the group and Adam’s wife, Cynthia Wigginton, was the first to respond, saying, “You might want to check out my husband Adam’s work.” Well, as soon as I saw his portfolio I felt he could strike that perfect balance between old and new; a lot of his work has a vintage quality about it while being entirely contemporary. As it turned out, Adam felt a great affinity for the material; it put him in mind of some of his favorite book artists, including Lewis Carroll. Because of the era and flavor of the story he saw an opportunity to work in pen and ink, a medium he loves but doesn’t often get to use for his children’s book work. Really, when I saw Adam’s first illustrations for the book, that’s when this project became so much bigger than I ever imagined. I immediately felt a larger sense of responsibility because of the beauty and rightness of his art.

Lisa: The book is also gorgeously designed! Tell us a bit about the vision for the book design, who designed it, and all of the special elements of the design.

Betsy: Thank you! I’m so proud of it, and it’s been a great collaboration between me, Adam, and—in another huge stroke of luck—his wife Cynthia! As it turns out, Cynthia is a designer and she works with Adam on many of his books. I always knew that I wanted the whole look and feel of the book to reference the Victorian era of the story. I wanted a cloth-covered book, with embossing and foil and those intricate design details that we see in books from that time. Cynthia knew just how to handle it; her choice of type, the gorgeous decorative frame that surrounds the text pages, the faux bois patterning, antiqued look of the pages, and other details are all so spot on. I’ve come to appreciate what a special and particular skill book design is, from a technical perspective as well. Knowing what you want a book to look like is one thing; being able to execute it and deliver it in printable form for mass production is quite another thing. I’m so glad to have had Cynthia on this project, and to have had the support of a really amazing print broker who shepherded it through overseas production.

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Lisa: What do you hope people experience from owning and reading Mr. Dog’s Christmas at the Hollow Tree Inn?

Betsy: You know, I just feel so incredibly lucky to have had this story and this tradition in my family for so long and I hope that our readers get to enjoy the feeling of anticipation, togetherness and continuity that we experience with it. The story is perfectly timeless. To me, it’s at least as appealing as cherished classics like Clement C. Moore’s poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas” (aka “Twas the Night Before Christmas”) and others—stories that have been part of Christmas celebrations for decades.

Lisa: Where can people purchase Mr. Dog’s Christmas at the Hollow Tree Inn?

Betsy: For now, the best place is through our website, MrDogsChristmas.com. The first edition is a pretty luxurious one, so we had to keep the production run small. If it takes off (fingers crossed!) we’d love to do a bigger run and have much wider distribution next year. But I gotta say, if it speaks to you, grab a copy of this first edition, because the look and feel of it are so special. I imagine and hope it will become an heirloom for many.

Lisa: I can vouch for that! It’s just gorgeous. Thank you, Betsy!

Incidentally, Adam McCauley will be signing copies of the book this coming Saturday, December 6 at Rare Device in Noe Valley in SF.  You can pick up your own copy of the first edition there!

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Words for the Day :: No. 50

12/03/14

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This quote, along with 99 others, will be included in my next book of hand lettered quotes, coming next fall from Chronicle Books. I’ve been thinking a lot about this particular quote over the past week.

Hope everyone is having a good & cozy Wednesday.

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Lisa’s Holiday Gift Guide!

12/02/14

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Most of the time when I write about purchasing my products here on my blog, I’m directing you to my Etsy shop. But today I’ve put together a little gift guide with a few of my paintings & products that you can’t get there. Thank you as always for supporting my work!

ORIGINAL ABSTRACT PAINTINGS

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Many of you have been asking where you can purchase original abstract works from me. Five of my paintings (all small/medium in size) are now for sale through Uprise Art’s shop. All prices include shipping, and I am also happy to frame any of these pieces in 1/4 inch birch for the buyer. Go get the while they last!

PHONE, COMPUTER and DEVICE CASES & SKINS

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Pictured above are just a few of my designs! You can order cases or skins for just about any phone, device or computer. More designs in my Nuvango shop!

STATIONERY

Chronicle Books carries three of my stationery items:

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You can find the Birch Flexi-journal here, the Le Foret Notecard Set here, and the Forests Notecard Set here.

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These three notebooks I designed for MoMA are available here.

PRINTS AT LITTLE COLLECTOR:

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Get one or both of these two prints here at Little Collector. They come in a few different sizes and with an option to purchase them framed.

PRINTS AT 20×200

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I have seven prints for sale at 20×200, all pictured above! These also come in a variety of sizes and come with a framing option.

Thanks for shopping and have a great Tuesday.

CATEGORIES: For Sale
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JCCSF Catalog Cover

12/02/14

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It was an absolute pleasure to illustrate this cover for the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco’s Winter/Spring catalog. It was an honor to work for this fantastic organization. Thank you, JCCSF!

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Nativen Bandana Launch!

12/01/14

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Those of you who follow me on Instagram may recall this photo that I posted a while back. Many of you were taking guesses at what I was designing, and I am excited to reveal that I was creating a bandana for Nativen, a New York women’s clothing company (vintage & new). You can purchase the 21 inch square bandana here and see the other artist bandanas here.

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Have a great Monday, friends!

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