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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Danielle Krysa :: Creative Block

02/25/14

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Friends, Danielle Krysa, aka The Jealous Curator, has put out the most beautiful book, and I am so honored to be part of it. It’s called Creative Block: Advice and Projects from 50 Successful Artists, and it’s published by Chronicle Books. The book includes interviews with 50 artists, recommended activities for getting your creative juices flowing,  plus pages and pages of gorgeous imagery. Yes, it’s a beautifully curated & edited book, but truly the best part of this book are the countless pages of stories from real working artists talking about their worst days and how they get through them. I always say that it’s our humanity as artists that connects us with the world, and this book is a testament to that.

Danielle is going on a book signing tour to a few major cities, and I highly recommend going to one of these events if there is one near you:
San Francisco, March 5
Los Angeles, March 22
New York City, April 2 (you must purchase tickets to this one)
Vancouver, BC, May 15, 7 pm

A few spreads from the book:

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{one of my mine}

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{Holly Chastain}

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{Aris Moore}

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{Kate Pugsley}

You can get the book here or at your local bookstore. Congratulations, Danielle! I love this book.

Happy Tuesday.

 

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Valentine’s Day Cootie Catcher

02/06/14

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If you grew up in the US (and maybe they were popular elsewhere too), you probably remember the folded paper contraption called a Cootie Catcher. Essentially they are silly fortune tellers, and they are incredibly fun to make and play with. Last year Michelle Taute published the book Fold Me Up: 100 Paper Fortune-Tellers for Life’s Pressing Questions, a cootie catcher book for adults. She asked artists from around the world to create unique cootie catchers, and today in honor of Valentine’s Day, we’re offering a free download of the cootie catcher that I designed for her book (which is all about love, FTW). The download PDF looks like this (below, except larger), and includes the design and directions for assembling it.

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Enjoy and happy Thursday!

 

CATEGORIES Books I'm In
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How to Hang a Picture

11/27/13

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Several months back I was contacted by my old friend Jay Sacher (he was my first editor at Chronicle Books back in the day and now lives in Brooklyn). He was writing a book on how to hang a picture, and also how to make arrangements of things in your home, and would I contribute some ideas? Since collecting and arranging are passions of mine, I said, of course. Well, that book, How to Hang a Picture, is now available. The book, written by Jay and his partner Suzanne LaGasa, is chock full of tips and even technical stuff like which hardware to use and how to find a stud on a wall or hang a picture on (gasp!) cinder block!

Here’s the publisher’s witty description of the book, which I loved, “Like tying a Windsor knot or brewing a perfect cup of coffee, knowing how to hang art on your wall is a hallmark of everyday style and nuts-and-bolts know-how. The where, what, and whys of hanging art are an overlooked, under-appreciated line of inquiry. Most of us simply wing it with a quick eyeball and a swing of the hammer. How hard can it be? we think. What can go wrong? The answer, of course, is plenty: crumbling plaster, ruined antique laths, mismatched art hung too-close together, or a poorly-mounted photograph warping in its frame. But beyond the technical mishaps, there is a more essential lesson to be learned: The skill and consideration with which you decorate your home makes an aesthetic statement about the world you inhabit—and more importantly, when it’s done right, it very clearly looks a whole lot better.”

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How to Hang a Picture: And Other Essential Lessons for a Stylish Home is a user-friendly guidebook that details everything you need to know about hanging, framing, decorating and displaying art. Elegantly illustrated by Sacher, this book is both a stylish addition to your coffee table stack and a great resource.

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My advice is in the collections section of the book (surprise, surprise), entitled (again with wit) “Shelf Life: or How Not to Hang a Picture,” which is all about using shelves and other surfaces to arrange collections and objects

I absolutely love this book. I think it’s brilliant (and a long overdue resource).  I hope you will check it out too. It might even make the perfect gift for someone in your life.

Have a great Wednesday, friends. And happy pre-holiday to my readers in the U.S.!

I’ll be back tomorrow with a Thanksgiving post.

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Iceland & Alvar Aalto in UPPERCASE 19!

10/22/13

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As you may remember, about a year ago I’d just returned from a three week solo adventure to Scandinavia, including Iceland, Denmark, Sweden and Finland. For this month’s UPPERCASE Magazine, I’ve written two articles — one about my love affair with Iceland, and the other about my trip to the Alvar Aalto studio. The Iceland article features pages from my travel sketchbook/scrapbook and some of my artwork. Both articles include original photos I took on the trip.

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I highly recommend a subscription to this gorgeous magazine. You can look at and read the entire issue here online, but it’s really 1000 times better in print. For a list of stockists in your area, check here.

Happy Tuesday!

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1000 Portrait Illustrations

02/12/13

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I’m very excited to have been included in a new book of portrait illustrations called 1000 Portrait Illustrations, edited by Julia Schonlau. Here is sneak peek at my spread:

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The book is chock full of amazing portraits by artists from around the world. You can get this new book here on Amazon or at your local bookstore.

Have a great Tuesday.

 

CATEGORIES Books I'm In
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The Where, the Why and the How

11/12/12

I am super thrilled to be part of a new book edited by illustrator and author Julia Rothman and the folks at Also Design and published by Chronicle, called The Where, the Why and the How.  If you are interested in both science and art, I think you will really enjoy this book.

Here’s a  little about this gorgeous book from the publisher: “A science book like no other, The Where, the Why, and the How turns loose 75 of today’s hottest artists onto life’s vast questions, from how we got here to where we are going. Inside these pages some of the biggest (and smallest) mysteries of the natural world are explained in essays by real working scientists, which are then illustrated by artists given free rein to be as literal or as imaginative as they like. The result is a celebration of the wonder that inspires every new discovery. Featuring work by such contemporary luminaries as Lisa Congdon, Jen Corace, Neil Farber, Susie Ghahremani, Jeremyville, and many more, this is a work of scientific and artistic exploration to pique the interest of both the intellectually and imaginatively curious.”

75 illustrated pages and 75 short informational essays on some of science’s most interesting questions (all underneath a sturdy hardcover)? Oh, yes.

I painted the illustration to accompany the essay about Why Do Whales Sing? Here’s a sneak peek at my page:

Want to learn more about the book and see some more of the illustrations? Take a look here at this terrific video!

Get the book here or at your local bookstore.

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Happy Monday, friends.

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You Are So Loved

07/24/12

It’s always a pleasure to work with Chronicle Books. And one of their latest projects — You Are So Loved — was no exception. It’s a follow up to their previous best-selling book of inspirational phrases penned by artists: Everything is Going to be Okay. Just like its predecessor, You Are So Loved is a visual feast that will make you feel really good.

This is the piece I contributed to the book, on page 13:

And here are just a few of my favorites from the book:

Nicole Lavelle

Jen Collins

Cori Kindred

Available for pre-order. Comes out August 29, 2012.

CATEGORIES Books I'm In | Drawings
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Knot Thread Stitch

07/13/12

Two of my close friends have book releases this week! You may remember earlier this week I posted about Mati’s new book. Today I’m so excited to tell you about Lisa Solomon’s new book: Knot Thread Stitch: Exploring Creativity through Embroidery and Mixed Media.

Lisa (my evil twin who I wrote about here) is a master with thread (just take a look at her expansive fine art portfolio). So it is no wonder that thread is the common theme of this book of projects. The book is organized around simple projects, from tea towels to pillow cases to decorative pieces. For each project, Lisa offers her own design and then highlights the work of an artist. For example, a tea towel embroidery design by Lisa is paired with another tea towel design by artist Kate Bingaman Burt.

I was lucky enough to do a project for the book. I designed a floral silhouette pillow. It’s a labor intensive project, but really pretty easy, and one that you can adapt to your own silhouette if you like.

Wilfredo happens also to be featured in the book (who can resist putting him in their book these days?). As one of her projects in the book, Lisa designed a pet portrait of Wilfredo.

Isn’t it amazing? This project is followed by a pet portrait pillow by Camilla Engman of her late dog, Morran. The list of artists in the book is fantastic.

If you are new to the stitching arts, the also book includes loads of information on supplies, tools and technique, along with the over 30 projects.

Lisa is having a book signing tomorrow evening at The Curiosity Shoppe in San Francisco. Wilfredo and I will be there and we hope to see you!

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Daring Adventures in Paint

07/10/12

I’m so excited to talk today about Mati McDonough’s new book: Daring Adventures in Paint. As many of you know, Mati is a dear friend, and my partner in Get Your Paint On. She’ just written a colorful new book, and I wanted to share a little bit of it with you. Daring Adventures is part painting+collage technique, part inspiration, part Mati’s story, and 100% gorgeous.

Perhaps most stunning in the book is the color photography, taken by another dear friend, Leslie Lindell. She did a phenomenal job at capturing Mati’s colorful spirit, aesthetic and work.

Guess who’s also in the book? Yep, that’s Wilfredo and me in my studio!

Mati’s having a book signing here in San Francisco Thursday evening, July 12 from 6-9 pm at Rare Device in San Francisco, located at 600 Divisadero Street at Hayes. It’s a great opportunity to get a signed copy of this beautiful new book, meet Mati, and sip on a glass of wine. I hope to see you there!

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Pickled!

06/21/12

I am so happy to announce the release of an illustration project I worked on for nine months last year. You may recall earlier this week I was lamenting about how hard it is to keep secrets about my work, and this project was no exception. The book, The Pickled Pantry, includes over 70 hand painted illustrations of pickles, vegetables, fruits, pickling tools, herbs, spices and vinegars. This project was great fun. I loved working with Mary from Storey Publishing on this project. Author Andrea Chesman serves up no only mouth-watering pickling recipes, but tips, history, biographies of picklers, and fantastic stories.

One of my goals for the summer is to learn some pickling (oh, do I love fermented foods), and I’ll be starting with this book. You can get your copy here.

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I’m Jumping on Board!

06/15/12

I’m so excited to be the last stop in the blog tour for a brand new book published by Chronicle Books: Little Paper Planes, 25 Artists Reinvent the Childhood Classic by the brilliant Kelly Lynn Jones. I also happen to have a paper plane in the book! And here she is:

I was so excited to be invited to be part of this book last year. We were each asked to create a paper plane pattern in any way we wanted. I created a Mix ‘n’ Match Glider plane. Here’s an excerpt in my own words from the book:

When I was a kid I loved playing with things that were really concrete (had parameters and boundaries) and also allowed for choice within those constraints. It might have had something to do with being a creative kid: I liked and appreciated the boundaries but also had to have some creative choices. As part of this project, I thought about paper things that I played with as a child. White I did play quite a bit with paper planes (and loved making gliders in particular), and played around a bit with origami, I really loved paper dolls. What I loved about them were the extensive combinations of clothing, hats and shoes with which you could adorn your paper doll. If you made your own paper doll and clothing, the options were endless. I wanted to design a paper plane that was a like a paper doll. The construction and assembly are straightforward, but there are multiple design and color options for the use to experience.

You can purchase Little Paper Planes here. It’s CHOCK full of amazing designs from fantastic artists. You can see the rest of the blog tour (and more images of the inside of the book) here:

Monday, June 4th – Little Paper Planes
Tuesday, June 5th – Jen Renninger
Wednesday, June 6th – Michael Hsiung Kate Bingaman
Thursday, June 7th – Josh Cochran
Friday, June 8th – Brendan Monroe
Monday, June 11th – Elisabeth Dunker
Tuesday, June 12th – Christopher David Ryan
Wednesday, June 13th – Ashkahn Shahparnia
Thursday, June 14th – Renee GarnerHernan Paganini
Friday, June 8th – Lisa Congdon

Have a great weekend, everyone!

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