Courtney Cerruti // Playing With Surface Design

06/08/15

PlayingwithSurfaceDesign A few years ago, I met artist, curator, author & teacher, Courtney Cerruti. Courtney works for Creativebug and helped to concept and produce all of my classes there (including my two best-selling Basic Line Drawing and Sketchbook Explorations classes). Courtney has become one of my most treasured friends. I am perpetually in awe of her prolific creative energy and free spirit. Courtney and I also share a longtime love of neon colors. Courtney has published several books (one which I wrote about here) and her latest is my new favorite. It’s called Playing with Surface Design, and it’s a book of surface design projects, including projects for creating wrapping paper, ribbon, lampshades, garlands, plates and more. Each project is fully photographed and includes step by step instructions. Last week, I sat down with Courtney to talk about this gorgeous new book. I’m also sharing here photos of some projects from the book, all styled by Courtney and photographed by Liz Daly (except the one above, which was taken by me). I hope you enjoy this latest in my Interviews with People I Admire!

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Lisa: What inspired this particular book?

Courtney: I wanted to make a book that showed traditional printmaking techniques with a fresh and contemporary look and feel. I’ve added neons, metallics and indigos to the color palette overall and made specific tweaks to some of the processes like marbling, paste papers and monoprinting so that they better fit into the craft and DIY world we all know and love today. I’ve also thrown in some favorite painting and stamping methods to cover designs for all surfaces.

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Lisa: You have several amazing and beautiful project-based books under your belt. Tell us about what it’s like to make books like this. What inspires you to share techniques with other people?

Courtney: Every book I’ve written came from my current passion/obsession. In addition to wanting to share a process or project that I love to make, most of the projects are ones I teach in my in-person and online workshops. The books aim to inspire people as well as teach successful methods for making. I want people to pick up any one of my books and learn a better way to make an image transfer, a monoprint, a book, etc., and to feel proud about learning a new skill AND smitten because they made something beautiful too.
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Lisa: That is a great feeling! To learn something new and make something beautiful. What is your favorite project in the book and why?

Courtney: OOOH, so hard! I think my favorite might be the Bold Botanical Prints because its evokes the feeling of cyanotypes with the addition of neon. Its also more accessible and less expensive than the cyanotype process. Best of all, the printing surface is an actual slab of gelatin, as in Jell-o, which is just plain awesome.

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Lisa: When you come up with an idea for a project for one of your books, does it always go as you planned? Or do you end up scrapping some of them and trying other techniques? Tell us about this process of risk-taking and experimentation.

Courtney: The process of making a book is ever-evolving. Although I come up with an initial list of projects, they change and shift, because I become inspired by something new as I work. Delving deep into any method allows for moments of discovery and that in turn causes me to add projects and strike others as I become more or less inspired by a certain aspect of the process. Luckily I worked with a great photographer, Liz Daly, and a great Editor, Jonathan Simkosky at Quarry, who were both flexible along the way.

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Lisa: When a project you’ve imagined and then try comes out beautifully, what does that feel like?

Courtney: A successful project feels like falling in love, like what you expected and at the same time like a tiny miracle. The processes I love — and most often use and teach — all have an element of unexpectedness, which is why I think they’ve kept me interested and engaged for years.

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Lisa: There is a gallery in the back of the book of artists who do surface design, in which I am so honored to by included. Besides the artists in the book, who are some of your favorite surface designers today?

Courtney: Helen Dealtry, Chris Schmidt of Yellow Owl Workshop, Naomi Ito of Nani Iro, Kindah Khalidy, Llew Mejia, Kitty McCall, and fabric and work from the studios of Mara Mi, Marimekko, and Liberty of London just to name a few.

You can find Courtney’s website here and follow her on Instagram here. You can purchase Courtney’s new book here or wherever books are sold. Did you make something from the book? Tag it #PlayingWithSurfaceDesign to share with others. Thank you Courtney for this inspiring interview. I hope everyone has a great Monday!

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New Book: Art For All Seasons

06/01/15

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Back in 2005 I met Susan Schwake online. Susan is a fellow artist (one of her gorgeous pieces is pictured above), gallery owner, art teacher and author. I’ve had the great fortune to work with Susan in many capacities over the past 10 years, including in shows as a fellow artist and numerous time exhibiting in her spacious gallery in New Hampshire.

It’s really clear when you meet and get to know Susan that despite her own talent as an artist, her greatest passion is introducing the world of art-making to children. Susan began by teaching art classes to kids in the back of her gallery (she also teaches adults), and then over the past few years began publishing books with engaging and thoughtful art projects for kids. She started with Art Lab For Kids, then published Art Lab for Little Kids, and then 3-D Art Lab for Kids.

Most recently, she’s published Art For All Seasons: 40 Creative Mixed Media Adventures for Children Inspired by Nature and Contemporary Artists. I am so honored to be one of the artists whose work is featured in the book — one of the project is inspired by my hand lettered work!

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Art for All Seasons is a handbook of mostly nature inspired art projects that can be explored with kids. This book is great for parents, teachers, grandparents or anyone wanting to make art with kids.  The book includes over 400 full-color photographs of projects and additional inspirational images of contemporary artists’ work.

You can watch a little video about this wonderful book below and purchase it here or wherever books are sold!

Have a great Monday, friends!

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Print & Pattern :: Geometric

03/05/15

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I’m super excited to have finally gotten my hands on Print & Pattern Geometric, another fantastic compendium of print & pattern by Marie Perkins, aka Bowie Style. I’m honored to have two full spreads in the book with some of my geometric works, along with the works of tons and tons of other illustrators. This book is a treasure trove of geometric visual inspiration — 460 full color pages in all!

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You can purchase the book here.

Have a great Thursday, 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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Blair Stocker :: Wise Craft

04/03/14

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Every now and again a friend calls on me to illustrate something for them. To me, this is the greatest honor: when someone you’ve known for years actually wants to work with you. Maybe some of you can relate — it’s a special experience. Last year I got an email from my agent — my friend Blair Stocker was writing a craft book and she wanted me to illustrate some of the projects. Truth be told, Blair’s book has SIXTY amazing projects in it, and I only illustrated a handful. But it was a super fun project, especially because I got to interact directly with Blair to get the illustrations just right.  I can’t wait to share some photos with you.

Blair’s book is called Wise Craft: Turning Thrift Store Finds, Fabric Scraps and Natural Objects into Stuff You Love. It’s based on many projects from her longtime blog, Wise Craft — and, of course, some new ones too. Instead of throwing away things like old dishes or shirts, Blair teaches you how to remake/reuse them, adding special touches to make them unique. This book is also particularly great for folks (like me!) who like to thrift for special treasures and then use them in projects. The book is divided into four seasonal chapters, with designs that reflect different holidays and the like. Here are some of my favorite projects from the book:

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{Dip Dye Toile Dishes}

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{Bead-bombed Tote Bag, with my illustration in the upper right}

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{Spooky dishes}

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{Summer Sherbet Picnic Blanket, with my illustration on the right}

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{Hand Painted Journals}

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{Hottie Rice Pillow, with my illustration on the right hand page}

You can purchase Blair’s beautiful book here or wherever craft books are sold. I’ll be making those dip-dyed ceramics very soon (stay tuned for a post on that!)

Have a happy Thursday!

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