Words for the Day :: No. 31



Have a great Thursday, friends!


Art Inc. Book Tour Dates!



Friends, as you know, my latest book Art Inc. is released August 12. I have a few exciting book events scheduled and I wanted to share them with you:

Tuesday, August 12, 5 pm PST: Global Book Launch at CreativeLive. Anyone all over the world can participate in & view this event, since it will be broadcast live over the internet! The amazing Meg Ilasco will be interviewing me about my journey as an artist, the writing of Art Inc, and the lessons & advice in the book. There are also live audience seats for the taping in San Francisco. The seats for this event are close to being filled, but you can sign up for one of the remaining seats here. Get all the information you need to either watch this event online OR get live audience seats here. I’ll be signing books after the interview (you can purchase a book there if you don’t have one already).

Wednesday, September 17, evening, EST: I’ll be giving a 45 minute talk at CUE Art Foundation in Manhattan followed by a book signing. Seats for this event are limited. Tickets will go on sale soon (the event will be free to CUE members), and I’ll keep you posted here on the blog with all the information you need.

Thursday, September 18, 7-9 pm, EST: In this special event at Powerhouse in Brooklyn, New York. I’ll be in conversation with one of my favorite people, Grace Bonney of Design*Sponge! We’ll discuss my journey as an artist, the lessons I’ve learned along the way, and the tips I give to other artists in Art Inc. The conversation will be followed by a book signing (Grace will be signing copies of her book too). RSVP’s are recommended. You can do that and get more information here.

There will be more events and book signings to come, so stay tuned for updates & please email me with any questions you have about any of the events!


Block Printing Class!



As you may recall, I’ve been learning & playing around with block printing recently. I have been wanting to experiment with printing my own fabric so I signed up for my friend Jennifer Hewett’s Block Printing on Fabric class at Handcraft Studio School this past Saturday. The class is designed for beginners, and most people in the class had never carved blocks or block printed before. Since I had some experience, I had grand plans for the class! My goal was to print enough fabric to make a dress. I brought some of my own linen (Jen provides fabric if you don’t bring your own) and extra rubber blocks since I wanted to carve five different shapes to make a pattern.


Carving blocks (especially when they have intricate detail) can take time, but it’s not difficult. Most people in the class exclaimed with glee at how addictive and fun block carving is! The rubber is soft like cream cheese and fairly easy to carve (as opposed to carving linoleum for linocut printing, which is much more time-consuming and a bit more difficult). Drawing your design, transferring it to the rubber and then carving the block is an important & enjoyable part of the process, but, for me, the printing is where the magic happens. My block designs were big, simple shapes, so it didn’t take me long to carve all five and I got down to printing pretty quickly.


{Photo by Tracy of homesteadhandmade}

I decided to create an all-over design in four colors on my fabric. I didn’t make a perfect repeat. Instead, it was more random, but I was paying attention to overall balance and composition, using the shapes and colors as my guide — sort of like I do when I paint a canvas. Block printing is, by nature, an imperfect art — every time you lay down your block to print you don’t know what you are going to get! And that’s what’s liberating about it: the beauty comes from the imperfections.

After five hours of printing (whew!) with a short break for lunch, I managed to print this giant piece of linen. Later in August, I’ll be making a dress from this fabric (if I can bear to cut it up!). I’ve saved the blocks, of course, and I plan to print some tea towels with them soon. So stay tuned for that!


I really, really enjoyed this class & the process of printing fabric! Jen is a great teacher. She explains the process really clearly, she’s there to help if you need her, and she is very encouraging! I also loved meeting & talking to the other women in the class. Here is my friend Rae printing some fabric with a small block she carved:


And here is another class participant with the small tote bag she made from a more intricate block she designed:


{Two photos above by Jen Hewett}

Bay Area folks: lucky for you, Jen is offering her class again on September 6 at Handcraft Studio School in Emeryville. If you want to learn to carve blocks and print on fabric, this is a fantastic way to spend a Saturday. To boot, Handcraft Studio School is a lovely, light-filled space run by the kind & generous Marie Muscardini. I can’t wait to take a class there again. If you are interested in printmaking, I also recommend following Jen’s 52 Weeks of Printmaking project.

Have a great Wednesday, friends!


Words for the Day :: No. 30



PS: I’m sending out my first email newsletter soon! To stay up to date on my events, classes and sales, sign up here.

Have a great Tuesday!


2014 :: A Sewing Odyssey :: #5



Many of you know that I am working hard this year to not purchase new clothing. My goal is to either sew for myself or buy vintage. Lately, I’ve been so busy with work that I’ve had very little time to sew. In fact, the last dress I made was in April! So instead, I’ve been hitting vintage shops and thrift stores when I have the chance. Recently, when I was on vacation in Oregon, I had the chance to do a bit of vintage shopping.

Those of you who buy vintage know every now and again when you are digging through a thrift or vintage you find a dress that was made for you — it fits you perfectly, it’s got all “your colors” in it, and it’s something you could wear every day. I had one such experience recently in Astoria Oregon, shopping at Commercial Astoria. But before I tell you more about the dress I bought there, let me say I love this shop. It’s small, which means it’s not overwhelming, and it’s well curated. And for a curated vintage shop, the prices are great. And they sell vinyl (we also bought a bunch of records while we were there).

So back to the dress. You can see me modeling it above. But the thing is, when I bought it, it didn’t look exactly like this. It was floor length and the sleeves were a bit too long also. Typical 70′s style: cute, but not something I’d wear very often. In every other way it was perfect, however,  vintage Scandinavian print and all. So I decided to buy it and alter it a bit to make it more current — something I could wear every day. I chopped a couple of feet off the bottom of it, and several inches off the sleeves, hemmed them up and voilà: a new-to-me every day cotton dress.

Besides the fit, the thing I love most about this dress is the pattern. If you know me, you know I am obsessed with all things Scandinavian, and the fabric this dress is made of is no exception.

scandi fabric

While I love shopping for vintage and altering vintage clothes, I am going to sew more clothing again, hopefully soon. In fact, on Saturday I block printed a couple of yards of fabric (more on that later this week) and I plan to sew a dress from that before September is over. Stay tuned.

Have a great Monday, friends.



Sketchbook as Surface Design



{I made this spread while sitting at my friend Ron’s pool on a hot July day earlier this summer.}

I am admittedly not a traditional sketchbook user. I don’t sit and sketch the people or places I see — at least very often (though I think that is a valuable exercise for sure — and one I should probably do more of). Instead, I use my sketchbooks as a way to play around with composition, color, and design elements in my work. The great thing about sketchbooks is that they are, by nature, personal work — they are for the user, not a consumer. Sure, I sketch concepts for clients all the time, but those don’t end up in my sketchbook. The majority of people don’t even show what is in their personal sketchbooks. So your sketchbook can really be a fantastic playground for anything you want it to be — traditional sketches or abstract exploration. There are no rules.

On October 10, I’ll be giving a talk sponsored by WeMake Portland for the closing of Design Week. The talk, part of sketchXchange, will focus on — you guess it — my sketchbooks! I’ll be focusing on “sketchbook as surface design,” since 8 times out of 10 I end up filling the entire surface of a spread in my sketchbook with something — a collage, an intricate line drawing, or some random lettering like the one pictured above. I’ll talk about my process, my motivations and what is going through my brain when I am creating my sketchbook spreads. Tickets go on sale soon, and I’ll keep you posted!

While I was on vacation in Portland a few weeks ago, I spent a lot of time with my sketchbook. That’s the thing about “sketching for fun & exploration” when you are a working artist. Unless you have time to build it into your daily work schedule, this kind of fun, free form sketching only happens when you are not working. And since I work most of the time, I don’t have much time to sketch — except on weekends, late evenings and, you guessed it: vacation.

Here are some of the spreads I finished while I was there.

photo 1

This one above I made with micron pens and Koi brush pens (also by the Japanese pen company Sakura). I use these pens almost exclusively.

photo 3

This spread above I created entirely from one Ladies Home Journal Magazine from 1969, scissors and a glue stick. I did it all while sitting on the guest room floor at my parents’ house watching bad cable TV shows.

photo 2

As you know, I love drawing buildings! This time I colored them in. I drew this spread while I was visiting Astoria, Oregon.

And this one took forever! I finished it last night:

photo 4

Do you keep a sketchbook or a book of daily or weekly paintings & drawings? Email me at lisacongdon@gmail.com with a short description how you approach your own sketchbook and 2-3 images and I may include it in my talk for Portland Design Week!

PS: I post fairly regular photos of my sketchbooks on Instagram, so if you don’t already, you can follow me there.

Have a great weekend, friends!


Words for the Day :: No. 29



Have a great Thursday, friends!


Art Inc :: Global Book Release Event!



I’m super excited to announce that on August 12 from 5-6 pm, the official book release day for my latest book, Art Inc, Creative Live is hosting a LIVE book release event! The great news about this event is that a) it will be broadcast live, b) anyone in the world can participate because it will be online, and c) it’s free! If you are in the Bay Area, there are 50 tickets available to come to the studio audience (and I’ll be signing books after the broadcast — more on that in a minute).

In this intimate broadcast, I’ll be talking Meg Ilasco about my path to becoming a fine artist & illustrator, and the lessons I share in my latest book. You may know Meg as an amazing designer, illustrator, art director at Anthology Magazine, writer, founder of the “Inc” series, and serial entrepreneur. Meg also happens to be the editor of Art Inc. This is an opportunity to hear us talk writing the book, my personal story about becoming a working artist, the lessons I learned along the way, and more!

There are two ways for you to participate in this global book launch event!

1) RSVP to WATCH ONLINE: If you are not in the Bay Area OR cannot get to the event at the CreativeLive Studios on August 12, you can watch online. To get access, you’ll need to RSVP (which means signing up for a CreativeLive account if you don’t already have one, but that’s SUPER easy). You can RSVP here by clicking on the blue RSVP button on the right hand side of the screen.

2) SIGN UP TO BE PART OF THE LIVE AUDIENCE:  If you are in the Bay Area and would like to be part of the LIVE studio audience for this event and get your book signed after the talk from 6-7 pm (Chronicle will be selling copies if you don’t already have one), you can sign up for FREE tickets here.


Have a great Wednesday, friends!



New Phone//Laptop Skins & Cases!



I am incredibly excited to now be offering Phone cases & skins, along with cases & skins for other devices including iPads and computers. I am thrilled to be working with Nuvango (formerly GelaSkins) to produce high quality, sturdy products with my designs. For my launch, I have uploaded four different designs. Don’t see something you like? Every week I’ll be uploading a new design.

Go here to take a look at all four patterns I’m offering currently (you can also see samples above and below). If you like one of the designs but are worried they don’t make it for your phone, never fear! Nuvango makes skins for practically every phone & device imaginable! If you don’t see your phone or device on the first screen, simply click “see more products” to find yours.




And for a limited time, I’m also offering archival prints of both of my “Arches” patterns. Nuvango’s prints are made on gorgeous paper and come completely framed.


Have a great Tuesday, friends. And check out my new Nuvango shop!


Create Explore Discover Retreat


Screen Shot 2014-07-21 at 6.59.31 AM

For the past two years I have attended a really wonderful retreat in California! It’s called Create. Explore. Discover. and this year it’s happening October 24-26 at this gorgeous spot in Truckee.  Organized by the amazing Sarah Stevenson, this year retreat features workshops by such dynamic artists and craftspeople as Mati McDonough, Anne Weil, Andrea Jenkins and Courtney Cerruti, and I am so excited to attend again. I’m not teaching this year, but I will be giving a short talk and leading an evening activity! The rest of the time I’ll be taking some of the workshops myself.


The retreat includes insanely delicious food and wine (the most important thing, right?), fantastic art, photography and needlework classes, beautiful surroundings (complete with fall foliage) and the most comfortable beds in the universe! There is ample time for relaxing, too.



I’ll be there again this year and I hope you’ll join me! Through July 30 you can get 10% off your registration by using the code cedlc2014! Space at the retreat is limited, so sign up early before it sells out. If you live in the area, you can register for day passes too! You can register here.

Have a great Monday, friends!


Patti Smith Exhibition



My mission is to communicate, to wake people up, to give them my energy and accept theirs. We’re all in it together, and I respond emotionally as a worker, a mother, an artist, and a human being with a voice. We all have a voice. We have the responsibility to exercise it, to use it. “ – Patti Smith

Friends, I’m pretty excited to be part of a show that honors one of my punk rock heroes, Patti Smith! The show, entitled Patti Smith: This is Your Golden Age: Life is an Adventure of Our Own Design, is showing right now at Wild Goose Creative in Columbus Ohio.


{My portrait of Smith, above, hanging in the gallery}

The show, curated by Vanessa Jean Speckman, includes over 35 homages to the life and work of Patti Smith by artists all over the world.


You can read more about the show and see more images here. The show is up until the end of July.

Have a great Thursday, friends!

Have a great

CATEGORIES: Exhibitions

Seven New Prints in the Shop!



Friends, after a three week vacation, my Etsy Shop is back open! And I’ve got seven new prints for sale, six of which are limited edition and printed on velvety German Etching paper.

1) LOVE CONQUERS ALL PRINT. Celebrate marriage equality with this new print! I had so much fun drawing this one! Get it here.


2) LIMITED EDITION “LIVE EVERY DAY” PRINT. Limited edition of 20, signed and numbered. Printed on archival quality German etching paper, heavyweight 310gsm. Get it here.

3) LIMITED EDITION “THE STOMACH CARRIES THE HEART” PRINT. Limited edition of 20, signed and numbered. Printed on archival quality German etching paper, heavyweight 310gsm. Get it here.


4) LIMITED EDITION “VOYAGE OF DISCOVERY” PRINT. Limited edition of 20, signed and numbered. Printed on archival quality German etching paper, heavyweight 310gsm. Get it here.


5) LIMITED EDITION “BE KIND” PRINT. Limited edition of 20 (new colors!), signed and numbered. Printed on archival quality German etching paper, heavyweight 310gsm. Get it here.


6) LIMITED EDITION “WE SHALL FIND PEACE” PRINT. Limited edition of 20, signed and numbered. Printed on archival quality German etching paper, heavyweight 310gsm. Get it here.


7) LIMITED EDITION “ONCE IN A GOLDEN HOUR” PRINT. Limited edition of 20, signed and numbered. Printed on archival quality German etching paper, heavyweight 310gsm. Get it here.

Have a great Wednesday friends!


Words for the Day :: No. 28



Happy Tuesday, friends!


Words for the Day :: No. 27



Have a great Thursday, friends!


Words for the Day :: No. 26



Have a great Wednesday, friends!