Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Bright & Cheery Tea Set


Project Brief: Design a cheery tea set for a Sunny client. 1x tea cup, 1x saucer, 1x napkin

The brief called for the design of a teacup, saucer, and napkin... but who could resist not designing the entire set?! Not I! I love tea!

What should it have on each piece? I'm not a big fan of the lacy, teensy, frilly flower on my tea sets as many traditional ones do.  And lately, I've been really enjoying working with traditional printmaking methods especially linocut. I made a bunch of patterns and arrangements using stamps I made on my own, and some I took into the digital realm and began testing repeats that way. I was really excited to use my recent patterns on something I'd love to own and see every day. I'm a big fan of tea and the paraphernalia that comes with drinking it.

So I set about sketching and came up with a concept that I'd love to have in my own home. The sketch gave me a general idea of how I'd present my work, and then I set about testing colors.
My first tests with pink...

Oh, I was so unhappy with this color combo! It's not me at all! I'd never buy it. After asking my fellow finches why I hated this so much, they reminded me I don't usually use pink in this way... and they're right, this is not really my shade of pink, nor do I own any pink tableware or pair it with sunshine yellow. Out went the pink!




Once the bright aqua and seafoam green went in, I was gelling. The work just came together so quickly. I knew I had to have sugar tongs and a sugar container, a little creamer, too! Finishing touches...



And lastly, I went to work balancing the tea-set. I wanted to have a nice mix and match tea set and napkins that could work in many different combinations. So the second saucer carried the more intense color, and the mugs match. The tea tray got a nice under-pattern and texture to match.

There you have it! Tea for two... a cuppa for me and one for you!

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Simple Guacamole Recipe

Looking for a simple, delicious guacamole base that your kids will eat? You can add spice to your own batch, but this one's plain delicious and even toddlers will eat it (at least mine does).



The most basic ingredients:
2-3 Hass avocados
1 small/medium red onion
1 handful cilantro
1 clove garlic
Lime juice to taste
Salt to taste

...
After that, add what you like! We usually add tomatoes if they're in season. My partner loves adding spice so he usually adds jalapeƱo pepper and some cayenne.

Also, for best results, don't eat it immediately. Let it sit in the fridge for an hour or so, to let the flavors blend together.

Enjoy!!

(You can see the large version of the illustration here on They Draw & Cook )

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Summer & June Gloom

My Summer Finch for the Finch & Foxglove site!

Did you know about June Gloom in Southern California? I just learned about it at the end of last month. I actually really like it!

So what is it? It's this weather phenomenon where clouds form over the ocean along the coast and the winds move these clouds onto land creating a foggy, cool atmosphere. I LOVE the cool mornings!

All this talk of beach and clouds and such has me all in a tizzy making artwork about fish and water! Did you see my new summer finch up top? It's now live on the Finch & Foxglove homepage, too.

Thinking about the beach...


And the water...

And I've been sewing too, I just haven't had the chance to photograph the garments I've made for my son and me. I participated again in MeMadeMay but again didn't post photographs. I wore lots of me-made clothing for Surtex in fact! I must do a sewing recap post soon.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Thoughts Post Surtex 2016

Finch & Foxglove 2016: V. Lommatzsch, N. Kaiser, L. Kirkbride, M. Penny, A. Bentley,
T. Paget, C.B. Keller, and me at the front
It's just a few days post-Surtex, and I've got a lot of follow-up emails to write (yay!). Before things get too crazy, though, I wanted to post my initial thoughts on investing and exhibiting at a tradeshow like Surtex.

If you've followed my blog for a long time, you know that I have been in the creative industries for many years, but was on maternity leave and focused on textiles and sewing in 2014-2015. I knew that if I was going to get back into illustration in a serious way, that I had to be strategic. Having a toddler and an artistic career is a balancing act to say the least! So, I knew I had to really plan out how I was going to do that! First, I had to make sure my work was top-notch before I exhibited. So, late 2014 through 2015 was all about brushing up my skills and updating my portfolio. In the summer of 2015, I started my art collective Finch & Foxglove and created a safe space for sharing work and getting feedback. And in order to freshen up my contacts, I also started sending my work to dream clients (essentially cold-calling). In doing research about which clients attend what shows, this led me to figure out that...

Surtex is not for everyone.
What kind of art do you make? Is your work best suited for fabric or apparel? Then this isn't your best show. Check out Quilt Market, Printsource, or Premier Vision. Is your work appealing to a broad audience or is it super-niche? If your work is super-cool-edgy-badass, know that the majority of  Surtex attendees' end customers are your average American. There are some attendees looking for this, but you should be in contact with your dream clients long before the show and ask them what shows they attend. Is this the show your dream clients attend? No? You might be better served by exhibiting at NSS or selling directly at Renegade Crafts. Check your expectations. I think Happy Happy's 2015 Surtex Recap has a great Q&A session with their artists that covers expectations and the industries that attended in 2015. It was slightly different this year.  And finally, where are you in your career? Are you on a fixed income or deep in debt because...

Surtex is SUPER expensive.
Got $10k? Well, that's what our 10'x20' booth cost. Honestly, it was actually more expensive than that, but that gives you a rough idea of what you're gonna be spending for a double booth. This size is a necessity when showing with 6 or more people. Ronnie Walter's blog post "To Surtex or Not to Surtex" did a really great job on explaining just how expensive the show real-estate is, and how this may or may not be the right avenue for you. This, my friends, is why I chose to start my own collective!

Finch & Foxglove's 2016 Surtex Booth
Surtex is really big.
It's not as big as it used to be, but still. You'll be among 150+ exhibitors at Surtex showing illustrations and designs, neighboring 200+ exhibitors at NSS, and I have no idea how many ateliers for ICFF. All 3 shows run concurrently at the Javits Center. Are you good with people? Do you have work that will stand out?

Exhibiting at Surtex is complicated.
Booth specs. Contracts. Logistics. Shipping. Air travel. Lodging. Booth insurance anyone? And the Surtex exhibitor's website is deep. I'm talking nested within nested within nested menu items that would take several months just to uncover. Do instruction manuals scare you? Get ready for an ancient PDF made up of 20 years of random applications packaged together also known as "The Exhibitor's Manual". If project management isn't your thing, hire out.

Surtex is in NYC.
What Surtex does have is a great location that is easily accessible via the 7 train, and access to a ton of contacts in the stationery, paper goods, home decor, gift manufacturing, toys, and textiles industries. So if your work fits those markets it might be worth it for you!  Also, this mix of attendees changes every year since you cannot predict who will (or won't) attend.

Lingering Questions
How should I best show my work? Ready to go solo? What about group exhibiting? What's the best way to form a collective? So how do you get these attendees to come to see your work? That, my friends I'll leave for another post... or maybe a book? As far as blog posts go, this one's gettin' way too long!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Pre-Surtex Sneak Peek

May Flowers bring Spring... 
& Surtex!
I cannot believe it's May and time for Surtex!!
It's heeere!!
I've been prepping all year long for this surface design and textiles industry trade show, and it feels a little unreal that it's only a few days away. 
May flowers are an appropriate metaphor I think. I've been planting seeds since last year, and now is when they are starting to bloom...

My seeds (preparations) included creating over 180 images, making booth banners, promo bookmarks, promo books, fabric swatches, greeting cards, brochures, and sewing some hand-printed zip pouches! My fellow members of Finch & Foxglove, my art collective, have also been prepping their hearts out in order to make our collective's Surtex debut a success!




Prep Talk: Little Cards,
Big Thanks!

One of the things I love doing is making things with special touches -- a handmade embellishment, a touch of real texture, a tiny print, or very intricate background. In preparation for Surtex, I created teensy tiny cards that I printed, scored, and cut myself in order to give thanks to visitors, art directors, or art buyers who stop by our Finch & Foxglove booth. I also sewed some zipper pouches that are fully lined inside! The outside fabric is my own work, and it's so nice to see it on an actual product!
This is a general overview of the items I'll be bringing with me to exhibit at my debut Surtex, and I will be doing a post-Surtex review once all is said and done. I'm excited to figure out what works (as well as what doesn't)!

Wish me luck!!

And, if you're going to be at Surtex in NYC this Sunday to Tuesday, you can find me and my work at Finch & Foxglove's booth #543.  Can't wait to meet you! 

Wishing you a wonderful week!

P.S. Let me know ahead of time if you'd like to meet up with me so I can be sure to be at the booth - we're taking shifts since we're 8 artists in a 10x20' booth.