Corita Kent & Happy Weekend

04/11/14

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Last week when I was in the beautiful city of Ventura, I stumbled into the most amazing used book store (one of the most amazing I’ve ever been in, in fact). And I found (without really looking) this first edition book of poetry by Gerald Huckaby illustrated by Corita Kent (aka Sister Corita). You may recall that last year I hand lettered Sister Corita’s Art Department Rules, and I have been on a hunt for her iconic work (in whatever form & state I can find it) as I am in stores and flea markets. So I was really excited to find this book. BTW: they had different Corita Kent book that was signed, but it was a wee bit out of my price range! Anyhow, the inside of City, Uncity is even more glorious than the beautiful cover, pictured above. Here’s a sample spread:

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This spread just happens to be oriented vertically, but most spreads in the book are regular horizontal spreads. I’m keeping my eyes peeled for other Corita Kent books and posters as I’m out and about these days.

On an entirely different note, this morning I spoke at TYPO Design Conference in SF and it was a great experience! Many of you have been asking, and my talk was recorded, so when it’s up for viewing on the internet, I’ll let you know.

Have a happy weekend, everyone!

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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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Austin Kleon :: Show Your Work

03/26/14

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I can’t say enough good things about Austin Kleon’s latest book, Show Your Work! If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you may remember that a couple of years ago I met Austin when he was in San Francisco and also wrote about his previous book, Steal Like an Artist. I’m a big fan of Austin’s approach to creativity and sharing your talent. I get emails and questions all the time from fellow creatives who are just starting out about how to “get my work out into the world” or how to “promote what I do as a creative person.” I am so happy that I now have Austin’s book to recommend. It’s really fantastic.

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Through stories of his own personal experiences — and with great humor and humility — Austin shares 10 big ideas about what he’s learned about sharing & promoting, including:
+share something small every day
+tell good stories
+don’t turn into human spam
+stick around
These are just a few of my personal favorites.

Austin’s book is based on the premise that sharing — and not hiding — your process (how you do what you do & how you think about what you do) is what draws people to you and helps you gain a following that can provide a sense of community and even help you make a living from what you do. This book is great for creatives of all types, from writers to artists and makers of all kinds.

Austin is currently touring around signing books and talking about his ideas, and I highly recommend going to meet him in person if he comes to a location near you — he’s incredibly smart, inspiring and engaging.

Happy Wednesday, friends! You can see a list of all of the places to purchase Austin’s book here.

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Interwoven is Back!

03/24/14

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You may recall last year I told my readers about Interwoven, an online class taught by my friends Lisa Solomon and Katrina Rodabaugh. Well, Interwoven is back, and it’s better than ever. The class covers four textile-based projects (soft sculpture cloud mobile, crochet, embroidery, and a mini quilt project) over eight weeks. Each section will include a complete step-by-step tutorial to create a finished project. The class also includes exclusive artist interviews, video tutorials, possibilities for altering the techniques, and more. It’s jam packed.

On behalf of Lisa and Katrina, I am offering a special 10% off code SPECIALFRIENDS if you sign up!

Learn more about the class and register here.

Happy Monday!

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Wendy MacNaughton :: Meanwhile in San Francisco

03/14/14

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Those of you who know me know that I am a huge fan of illustrator, Wendy MacNaughton. I am also lucky because Wendy is a close friend and confidant. I met Wendy in early 2011 through our mutual friend Jen Bekman and we became fast pals; Wendy has helped me countless times to navigate the topsy turvy world of art and illustration (and sometimes just my general life). She is a treasure.

I have written about Wendy’s work before many times, most notably when her last book came out. And now Wendy has another book, and this one is really special. It’s Wendy’s first “solo” book (ie: it’s all her) and it’s about the city we both love: San Francisco. To write and illustrate Meanwhile in San Francisco: The City in its Own Words (Chronicle, 2014), Wendy has both been an acute observer of the city’s quirks (and this city has many) and roamed its streets for the last several years talking to locals about their lives here.

The result: a really funny, touching and true to life account of the different communities of people who live here. Wendy has a really fantastic and distinct illustration & hand lettering style (she uses watercolor and ink), and her work perfectly captures the people she talked to and their stories. The book is also sprinkled with great (and super hilarious) spreads highlighting some of the cities legendary places, traditions and peculiarities. Here are some of my favorite spreads from the book:

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{A map of the famous Dolores Park, an almost-always-packed green space in the Mission}

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{The famous bison that roam the western end of  Golden Gate Park.}

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{Mission Hipsters: “Ex-girlfriend is dating other ex-girlfriend”}

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{Critical Mass, a last Friday of every month ritual for the bicycling community here}

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{Dogs, oh the dogs of SF: You know their names, but not their owners’ names…}

This book isn’t just for San Franciscans — it’s for anyone who loves San Francisco. Its 176 pages (yes, it’s that thick) will delight and entertain you. Thank you for making this book, Wendy. I have no doubt it will someday be a collector’s item. Get the book here or at your local book seller.

Have a great weekend, friends!

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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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Kate Bingaman Burt :: Daily Purchase Project

02/13/14

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Today my friend, artist, illustrator, designer, teacher extraordinaire (and overall awesome, kind, spirited person) Kate Bingaman Burt, finished her daily purchase project, in which  she drew (in an effort to be more conscious of her consumption) one of her purchases every day for exactly eight years. I first met Kate in 2007 when she was just a year into the project. My friend Rena and I invited her to install some of her drawings and other artwork she’d made about consumption at the gallery we ran inside our store (called Rare Device) in San Francisco. From there we became fast friends. Since then she’s gone on to do new/more great things.

This was Kate’s first drawing in the project, made in February 2006:

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Over the course of  2,192 days, Kate drew and posted 2,192 drawings! She brings the idea of a daily project to an entirely new level! You can see Kate’s complete collection of drawings here.

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“This project has lead to incredible collaborations, lots of drawing, new ways of working and thinking.” says Kate. Her work has led to books & incredible public talks & textiles and patterns & installations (including the one she did at Rare Device in 2007) & copious illustration work. I am sure it’s also led to many new friendships & personal relationships that she wouldn’t have had otherwise.

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I often tell people, GO WITH YOUR CRAZY IDEA. This, my friends, is a case in point. Kate exemplifies that creative spirit and drive that makes this world a better, more hopeful place. I am excited to see what she comes up with next. I’ll leave you with this photo of Kate blowing up a giant pretzel in her office.

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Happy Thursday, friends!

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Carrie Strine :: Handwork

02/11/14

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I am so excited to share with you the quilting work of artist & photographer Carrie Strine. I first met Carrie through my work with 20×200 and then we became friends when I contributed to Volume 1 of her magazine project, The Knot. As I got to know Carrie, I fell in love with her quilted handiwork. While she was completing her MFA and working on a series of photographic installations, she started “a tiny project hand sewing tiny little pieces of fabric into a pair of pillows,” she said in an interview with It’s Nice That. “It started out just for fun—I didn’t even have a sewing machine—then it became really clear that there was a relationship between my quilting and the installations I was making in my studio. I used to think it was just that quilting was just a little hobby that would keep my mind from getting lazy while away from my ‘real’ work, but its just not the case these days. Quilting has become central to my practice.”

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Carrie’s work is so meticulous that one wonders: how long does all of this take? And, as you’d suspect, it varies. “I always have one project going that is done completely by hand,” which takes much longer. Most of the time, however, she combines machine piecing (that’s sewing together the small pieces of fabric with a machine) and hand quilting. “A bed sized quilt can take somewhere between 6 weeks and 1 year depending on the complexity and my engagement.”

My favorite part of Carrie’s quilts are her use of color and her eye for perfect composition. This one, entitled Medallion, is her masterpiece. It took her three years to complete! And, to top it off, not a single inch was worked with a sewing machine!

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Carrie says that most of the time quilting is very meditative. “I will also think for weeks about what my next step will be with a color or fabric while working on a certain part of the quilt. I really enjoy having the space to work slowly.” In a world where working artists are often forced to work fast to meet deadlines, I love the idea of “slow art.”

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Carrie is currently having her first exhibition of her quilts at Art in the Age in Philadelphia. The show, Handwork, opened Friday, February 7th and will be on view until March 31st. Its a collection of her newest works, both large scale bed quilts and smaller wall pieces.

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You can read the entire interview with Carrie and more images of her work over at the awesome blog It’s Nice That. For more of Carrie’s quilts, I recommend following her on Instagram.

Happy Tuesday, friends!

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The Good Life Project Mashup

02/10/14

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{from my sketchbook}

You may remember in a couple of years ago I sat down with Jonathan Fields of The Good Life Project and recorded this video. Since 2012, Jonathan has been recording interviews with entrprenuers around the globe about what it means to live a good life. Recently The Good LIfe Project launched this mashup video of interviewees talking about what makes a good life, and it’s a great listen.

Enjoy!

And happy Monday.

CATEGORIES Inspiration | Sketchbook
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Scott Patt :: Bigger Smaller Funnier

01/30/14

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Sometime in early January, I noticed that my friend, artist Scott Patt, was posting a series of new peices on Instagram. I love the graphic boldness of Scott’s work, and was intrigued. These new pieces Scott was making were awesomely weird, and instantly I wanted to know more, so I emailed him. The series, entitled Bigger. Smaller. Funnier. is Scott’s ongoing year-long visual record “of things seen, objects found, notions noted and ironies observed.”

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“I started the series because I needed a broader outlet to keep up with the amount of ideas and thoughts running through my head on any given day,” Scott told me. “If we each have 20,000 – 60,000 thoughts daily, even on the low end there’s got to be SOME quality stuff in there,”  The result? Scott’s random thoughts, beautifully illustrated.

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Scott, who is also a talented graphic designer and art director,  wanted  to explore and share his work in a concerted way. What better way to do that than through a year-long series?

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For those who want to get more romantically involved with the collection, each piece is available in a series of 100, 8.5″ x 11″ limited edition prints for $25 each (plus S&H).

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You can purchase Scott’s prints here (many, many more to come this year), follow him on Instagram here, and Facebook here. I’ll leave you with my favorite of the series:

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(This one cracks me up every time.)

Happy Thursday, friends. I hope you have a good one!

 

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A Painting, In Phases

01/15/14

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For two days now while I’ve been staying at the ocean, I worked on the painting above. It is 3 feet by 3 feet, acrylic on canvas. This painting took me two days (with many breaks!) to complete. I photographed the painting in different phases as I was making it. Take a look at how it started, how it evolved and where it ended up in this slideshow. You will notice that towards the end of a painting, the changes are much more subtle.

Music by Sigur Ros. (This will keep looping through until the song is finished, so feel free to hit the pause button to end after you’ve watched it go through once or twice!)

Psst: My Etsy Shop has reopened, and I am offering two new small abstract paintings for sale. Take a look.

Happy Wednesday!

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Molly Hatch :: Tea Cups

01/14/14

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Last year, ceramics and visual artist Molly Hatch was so inspired by an article written in Selvedge Magazine about a curator at the Nordic Museum in Stockholm, Sweden who spent her entire career hand-painting a catalog of objects in the museum (pre-color photography) that she decided to embark on her own cataloging project. Yep, (with their permission, of course) Molly has been painstakingly painting the tea cup collection of the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts.

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I am a huge fan of Molly’s work, and when Molly told me about her endeavor, I was so inspired that I asked her to share some of it with us. In all of her work, Molly draws inspiration from beautiful, old things. She plays with the tension between historic objects and contemporary design expression through her paintings, ceramics, and design work. This latest project is a perfect example of Molly’s passion.

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Amongst its vast holdings, the Clark Art Institute has a sizable collection of historic teacups. According to Molly the majority of the cups were acquired over a lifetime of collecting by the museum founders Francine and Sterling Clark. Molly challenged herself to make a small painting of 300 of the cups in the collection. “These paintings serve as an artistic response to the historic archive of the collection, an effort to view the historic collection through the eyes of a contemporary ceramic artist and designer,” she says. In creating them, her paintings become a hand-painted artistic catalog of the collection.

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The cups Molly painted were originally collected by one family and are all 18th century porcelain. Molly chose these 300 because they are from the same era during which the curator in Sweden was painting her catalog.

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Lucky for us, Molly’s project is being published into a book by Chronicle Books, due out in the Spring of 2015. Through the book Molly invites us to take a fresh look at antiquity through her modern and beautifully executed paintings. Molly’s paintings are complemented with an opportunity for readers to learn more about the history of the teacup through timelines and written components and an index of the original teacups in the Clark collection.The book highlights the role of collector, collection, artist, and museum.

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Thank you to Molly for sharing these images with us! I will keep you posted on the release of the book and where you can purchase it.

Happiest of Tuesdays!

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Wherever You Are, Make Art

01/13/14

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As some of you may know, I’m taking the month off to step back, reflect and relax a little before I embark on a new year of work. Some questions I’m thinking about: Where do I want to take my work next? What ideas do I have for new creative endeavors? How will I create a more sustainable and positive sense of work/life balance?

I’m at the beach by myself for the next several days. I didn’t come here with an agenda about what I am going to create, but I did bring a lot of art supplies with me in the event that I’m inspired. Over the weekend I found myself collecting smooth rocks from the beach at low tide. When I got back to the beach house, I pulled out some white paint and started painting designs on them. I know I’m not the first to paint on beach rocks (my friend Diana is quite exceptional at it), but it was the first time I’d ever done it myself. And let me tell you, it’s an addictive (and rather inexpensive) hobby!

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I wonder what else I will make while I am here and how it will be influenced by my temporary surroundings? Hopefully I’ll have more to share while I’m here. In the meantime, you can follow me on Instagram.

I hope you will come back to visit tomorrow. I will have a very special post on some incredible new work by Molly Hatch that I am very excited to share with you.

Happy Monday.

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Book by Its Cover Relaunch!

01/07/14

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I am so excited that one of my favorite blogs has relaunched in 2014. Book by Its Cover, the brainchild of illustrator Julia Rothman, is a blog dedicated to bringing attention to the beauty of the printed page and showcasing images and reviews of creative publications. Julia now has a team of writers who contribute to the site for even more rich content and gorgeous imagery, including features on artist sketchbooks (my favorite) and interviews with illustrators and authors. There are also new features on the site including a bookstore, publishers’ directory and event listings.

Happy Tuesday!

 

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Painting on Ceramics

12/19/13

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Last weekend I went with my friend Mati on a field trip to a place called Brushstrokes in Berkeley, California. It’s a place where you can paint pre-made (but unfired) ceramics — like plates and bowls, mugs and platters. I was really excited to do this (it’s something Mati and I have been talking about doing together forever), but I was admittedly a little intimidated. And it was not like drawing or painting on paper. The paint was thick, and the surface a bit rough and grainy. I had to draw realllly slowly and keep a very steady hand. But I did manage to make the plate pictured above. And I had so a great time that I plan to go back again after Christmas. This plate is now being fired, and when it’s finished, I’ll post a photo so you can see the finished product.

Here’s Mati with her bowl, donning one of her famous cats!

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Have a happy Thursday, friends!

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