Work-in-Progress Wednesday

image by Diem Chau

Much like the magazine has organizing sections (Art + Design, Craft, Style, etc), when I'm preparing blog posts it helps for me to have some framework to corral my ideas and all the submissions. Type Tuesday is a feature I've been sticking to on a fairly regularly basis and I find it quite enjoyable to put together (I hope you enjoy perusing those posts, too!) So on Wednesdays, I plan on sharing my own Works-in-Progress or images from around my studio, peeks into other creatives' studios and workspaces, posts of the submissions in the W.I.P.S. flickr pool and other "unfinished business".

As a follow-up to the post about Diem Chau, below, here are some additional images from issue #11:

Diem recently posted on her blog that she wants to move her artwork out of her home (and dining table) into a backyard studio. She plans on documenting the process of building her dream studio on her blog and I look forward to seeing progress reports.

Diem Chau

You will likely recognize this crayon image from the cover of issue #11. It is the handiwork of Seattle-based artist Diem Chau. Diem has a new show of her thread drawing and ceramic work opening this Thursday at the Hoffman Gallery Shop in Portland, Oregon. Though perhaps at first glance there's quite a difference in style between the carved crayons and the thread drawings, each speak to Diem's interest in the fragility of objects as—well as her patience.

What a compliment!

The Society of Publication Designers is presenting a round-up of magazine art directors' favourite magazines: "We've asked a lot art and photo directors from around the world to tell us the magazines or apps that they really love. The ones they can't wait to get their hands on, the ones that fire their creative spirit: you know, the ones that make you jealous, or supremely happy, or both." 

Thank you Deb Bishop for selecting UPPERCASE (She designed Blueprint magazine and Martha Stewart Baby and Kids — remember those? So amazing! She's now at More.) 

I've chosen Uppercase because I love the whole package. It is playful and "up," without being over designed. I tip my hat to Janine Vangool who is the publisher, editor and designer. She has created a beautiful format and each page is kind of a feast for the eyes-- not just the design but the featured content. If you love "how-to," and are the "curious sort," about how beautiful graphic things are made it's hard not to enjoy this publication. This issue included intricately carved crayons and the art of paper cutting. Loved the "handy guides," collection.  I admit that I am seduced by the beautiful paper and even the smell of fresh ink when I open the package. In this time of troubled publishing it's nice to learn that this wonderful publication, is created by a small team (3 people I think!) in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. 

Weekend Reading

photo by Kristin TheissKristin has fit her vintage cameras into a suitcase. How very UPPERCASE. {You will find an owl t shirt design from Kristin's company KLTworks in issue #11.}

Andrea Jenkins' vintage camera collection

Would you like to start your own collection of vintage photo gear? Hula Seventy's Andrea Jenkins has an excellent article in the current issue #12. These three photos above show a portion of her amazing selection.

Love Letters

I had a cold and was feeling run down, so I hadn't been downtown to my studio for a few days. When I opened my mailbox, it was overflowing with an amazing assortment of envelopes and small parcels. I instantly felt better!

Inside this beautifully addressed envelope with Australian postage was an actual love letter from Lee of In addition to a gushing letter, Lee included some ephemera, an old map, and a photo of herself. I'm blushing!

Laura Schwammann decorated her envelope which contained a Valentine (which made me think of issue 11 with its themes of linocut/sharp and labour-intensive art-making and owl motif).

Christina Crook, one of our writers (most recently she wrote the feature about Angela Ritchie Ace Camps and Creative Retreats in the current issue #12) sent one of her simple and lovely greeting cards. Each contains a vintage embroidered patch. (They're available on her Etsy shop here. Please visit her shop to see better quality images—it's a great concept for a unique card.)

Mister Edwards sent a fun bag of candy and stickers. (Check out this Crap Book - that's right, no S on scrap!)

Janae Easton of Platypusfile sent a soft owl paperweight/beanbag and some prints of her artwork. Finley is enjoying playing with the little owl, but our dog Percy is awfully tempted, too!

And that's not all that was in this incredible mailbox haul! There's a new book by Gemma Correll, an activity journal to document What I Wore Today, a postcard from Eight Hour Day, and a letter from Carolee Wheeler with some tiny stamps and beautiful handwriting that needs further investigation. A publication from Grow Books entitled Pushie, Jr. And a postcard from Stephanie Levy.

Really, you've all spoiled me. I don't remember a February 14th when I had better Valentines than these. Thank you!!!

New in the shop: Christmas Gift Pack + Subscription

It's really cold outside today and now it is snowing. The malls have their Christmas decorations up. Next week is American Thanksgiving. So I guess all signs point to Christmas! So in preparations for gift-giving season, I've uploaded a special item to the shop: an UPPERCASE Christmas Gift Pack + Subscription. This includes all available back issues (#7-#11) plus a subscription mailed to the USA or Canada for $150 (you save $20). I have VERY LIMITED QUANTITIES and once these are gone, that's it for issue #7; it will be sold out. (Issue #7 is only available as part of this pack. You might try the workroom for single copies of #7.) Please order your Gift Pack here.

#11: Grateful for all the connections

photo: Jacqueline Jaszka

Photographer Jacqueline Jaszka has a great photography project called The Local Creators in which she documents the artisans and makers in her San Francisco community. When planning a feature about 3Fish Studios, also in San Francisco, I discovered that Jacqueline had already shot everything I would want in a feature about this printmaking and illustration studio. Her images capture great detail as well as broader studio shots—and her portraits of this husband and wife creative duo are warm and endearing.

Thank you Jacqueline, Annie and Eric!

Read about 3Fish Studios in the current issue #11 of UPPERCASE.

#11: Mr. Clarence Riggs, Fisherman

As I was compiling content for the current fall issue, a fishing theme emerged. I was drawn to the creativity of fly fishing and fly tying, the appeal of fisherman and nautically-inspired clothes, the diversity in design of lighthouses, and the authentic stories inspired by river and sea.

We have an article about Clarence Riggs, life-long fisherman from Newfoundland, profiled by writer Martin Connelly and illustrated by Omar Jaramillo Traverso. Omar did his sketches in person while Martin conducted the interview!

An excerpt:

"Clarence Riggs (“Clar” to his friends and “Sir” to me) has had a place up on the Terra Nova River since 1960. Born in Burin, Newfoundland, he moved to Glovertown, jtmarust north of Terra Nova National Park, some years before confederation, before there was a “national” anything in Newfoundland.

The original cabin, a field office bought from a completed government building project, burned down in the late 80s. The cabin we visited one grey Saturday in June was the new one. It’s just a kitchen, split bunk rooms and a porch with “Fish ’n’ Fur” written on a sign hung upside down. But you can tell that it has been home to weeks and weeks of good summer, year after year. 

The walls are lined with plaques poking fun at fishermen—the kind they sell in rural gas stations. “Old fishermen never die,” said one, “they just can’t raise their fishing pole!” On another, with what looked very much like a sketch of the cabin: “There is no place anything like this place, anywhere near this place, so this must be the place.”

We made the trip in an open boat, piloted with causal expertise by Clarence’s son, Phil. While his father had come from elsewhere, the younger Riggs grew up on the Terra Nova; this was home turf.  ..."

[Read more in the current issue!]

Martin also filmed and edited this short film of his interview with Mr. Riggs (with a lovely story about meeting his wife for the first time.)

Thank you to all these fine gentlemen for lending their time and talents for this article.

Flip through issue #11!



Dear Readers,

Though our front cover features crayons, this is by no means an issue dedicated to child’s play. (Perhaps a future issue?) In fact, it is just the opposite—with an exploration of sharp objects like hooks, knives, and other cutting tools, this issue could inspire some dangerous pursuits!

Our fall issues have traditionally been more “manly” in content. This time around we profile a few elder gents (a fisherman and a pinstriper), and indulge in a tonic or two. We also spend some time in the dark with a special coated section of the magazine. But don’t be afraid—we have flashlights and lighthouses to guide you on your way.



{ Please SUBSCRIBE, RENEW or purchase a SINGLE COPY or BACK ISSUE today! Use the discount code "weekend" to get $5 off any orders placed until Monday morning!}

Ask Rena Tom

Here's your opportunity to ask UPPERCASE business column contributor Rena Tom a question about your creative biz.

What would you like to know about starting or maintaining your creative business? In what areas do you need most encouragement or advice? Please leave your questions in the comment section.

(Please note that these are general questions, not specific questions or evaluations of your products.)

I've been virtually following Rena's entrepreneurial career for many years and had the pleasure of meeting Rena and her family at the Collection a Day book launch in San Francisco earlier this year. At that point, Rena and Lisa Congdon had just sold their shop Rare Device to a new owner. (Rare Device stocks A Collection a Day and other UPPERCASE titles.)

"Rare Device was renowned early on for its carefully edited collection of design objects, books and fashion, and for supporting small and innovative designers and artists whose work was not easily found in stores. I sold Rare Device in February 2011 but the entrepreneurial bug has not left me. I have met so many wonderful designers, crafters, artists, retailers, buyers and bloggers and have learned a great deal from every one of them."

Rena has since harnessed her experience as an artisan, designer and shop owner and is passing on her knowledge on through retail consulting. She can help you start a new business, open a store, evaluate your product and help you get noticed by the right people.

After reading Rena's guest post "Too Much Success" on Poppytalk, I immediately emailed to thank her for a post that hit really close to home and invited her to extend her experience to UPPERCASE readers. Her first column appears in the current fall isssue #11.

Issue #11 preview (and iphone advice, please)

instagram pic by Karyn ValinoI'm still waiting for the truck to arrive with my many hundreds of pounds of magazines. But many of the fine stockists have already received their shipments, like the workroom in Toronto. (Thanks, Karyn, for the instagram pic!)

I had planned on taking my own instagram pics and twitter about the new issue but my technology is not cooperating. My iphone has worked a-ok for a couple of years, but this morning I dropped off Glen's phone at the repair shop (alas, his met its match with a muddy puddle). After exiting the repair shop, I checked my phone for the time and proceeded on my way. Twenty minutes later, I got to my office and tried to use my phone and it doesn't even turn on! I've tried to restart it to no avail. My first thought was that the repair shop is an evil genius that can transmit "no-workie" signals to unsuspecting phones so that they need repair. It had a full charge this morning.

The frustrating thing is that learning from Glen's unfortunate incident, I was all set to sync my phone on my work computer so that I would have all the videos and pictures of Finley safe and sound. Now what should I do? I don't want to lose anything! The more I think about the pictures on my phone, the sicker I feel. Anyone have recommendations on recovering an iphone 3G without erasing images?

Looks like I'll be heading back to the repair shop on my walk home. ugh!!!

St. Paul

So a mere 24 hours ago I was uploading the final print files for Issue #11 and now I am sitting in a hotel in St. Paul, Minnesota, doing my homework for the start of The Creative Connection tomorrow morning. It is kind of hard to adjust my brain, from being so focused on the final and minute details of the magazine to now have to think outwardly and prepare for an event with apparently 700 attendees!

I have enjoyed my jam-packed 10 hours in St. Paul so far: the hotel is beautiful, I met with Sharon Werner of Werner Design Werks (I've admired her design work for years!), enjoyed wandering the city for a while (though the wind in bitter cold, which doesn't help my ringing ears from a head cold + air travel), visited a gallery show of Jennifer Davis and Amy Rice, and to top it off, dinner with Tif and Jessie followed by a nice chat by the fire. (Alas, no hot chocolate, Tif! You'll have to carry some in a flask.)

I've got my big camera and laptop with me, so I'll blog recaps when I can. But if you want to follow along in real time, I'll be on @uppercasemag on twitter and instagram sending dispatches from the event.