For Courtney Beyer, a trip overseas led to a whole new career path

Here's an inspiring story from an UPPERCASE reader. It would have been a good fit to the content of the summer issue #34's Explore issue, but I had already finished that issue when I heard from Courtney. She writes, "I went to Granada, Spain for an Islamic Art workshop that I signed up for on a whim. It changed my life and now I am a pattern designer."

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"Last September traveled to southern Spain and Morocco to celebrate my 30th birthday and take in as much Islamic pattern tile as possible. At the time I was a web designer in Silicon Valley and feeling like I was going to more meetings then designing. Before the trip I came across a workshop in Granada, Spain called the Art of Islamic Pattern, a 5-day workshop to learn to draw Islamic patterns and visit the Alhambra." The dates of the workshop lined up with her itinerary and she signed up. "I am usually not this spontaneous," she admits. 

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But this leap of faith turned out to be life-changing. "I reconnected and re-valued the craft of drawing and pattern making," she says. "I also connected with other artist on the trip who were mostly Arab in background either from England or the Middle East. I learned so much from them, about history—and about how much is actually not taught in school."

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"The trip set me on a path to quitting my job." Inspired to start creating with her hands again, she decided to specialize in block prints and surface pattern designs through her company Courtney Beyer Design that she founded in January of this year. "I sell hand-printed cards, journals and tea towels on my Etsy shop and I am working on a pattern line."

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Courtney says that one of her instructors taught the class a prayer that she now recites to herself before taking on a creative assignment or project:

May we all be guided by truth
May we have beauty revealed to us
and may it result in the good 

There's more to Courtney's story and art over on her website.

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Issue 34: scenes from the printer!

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UPPERCASE 34 (July/August/September) is printed, being folded and heading to the bindery! After that? In the mail to YOU. But only if you're an active subscriber by June 15.

Subscribe, renew or purchase a gift subscription before June 15 and use the code 'explore34' for $15 off.

Folding issue 34 (video from @youngcmyk ) subscribe or renew before June 15 to be on the mailing list! 📬

A post shared by Janine Vangool (@uppercasemag) on

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Cover reveal! The next issue's cover art is by Laura Maxcy.

The July/August/September issue's files are off to the printer!

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The issue is about creative adventure—real, imagined, personal, historical... So the lettered globes of Laura Maxcy caught my eye as cover material.

Through her company Wild & Free Designs, Laura specializes in hand-lettered goods—her prints, postcards, mugs and painted vintage globes are adorned with quotes and phrases meant to inspire and to encourage a sense of adventure and wonder in the world around us. 

"Wild & Free Designs came about from my background in graphic design, a love of reclaimed vintage, and inspiration from the Transcendentalist writers' works on nature and the world around us (works of Thoreau, Emerson, and Muir in particular)." 

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"When I was younger I was constantly outside exploring the world around me. I drew so much inspiration from being out in the woods, and those memories have become such a large part of me. Everything I create with Wild & Free Designs is directly influenced by my time as a young explorer."

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"Although I got my degree in graphic design, I needed a creative outlet that didn't involve staring at a computer screen all day. I started hand-lettering quotes on vintage landscape prints I found at a thrift store, with which I planned to decorate a room in my house. Instead I decided to list them on Etsy, along with my painted globes. Each of my items are definitely unique and one-of-a-kind. I especially love doing custom work for someone and getting to experience their satisfaction and appreciation."

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Issue 34 will be ready to mail in a few short weeks. Please subscribe or renew today! Mailing data for the issue will be finalized on June 15.