On Tuesday, I had the pleasure of meeting freelance journalist Caroline Buijs for lunch. Caroline writes for Flow as well as other Dutch publications. And when issue 16 comes out in January, we will be able to count her as an UPPERCASE contributor as well! In a previous career, Caroline was a flight attendent. On her various journeys, she collected the Do Not Disturb signs at hotels worldwide. Since issue 16 explores the notions of home and of feeling cozy, we play on the theme with the convention of a sign on a hotel door to create your a private sanctuary.
Well, that was a great day! The entire Hello Etsy experience was terrific. My presentation went well and I was actually glad to have it over first so that I could relax.
I got to meet some fabulous UPPERCASE contributors in person! That's Anna Denise on the left, me in the middle and Kim on the right. Anna has just begun a job with Etsy Netherlands and Kim was a panelist at the event (and we coincidentally feature her subscriber profile in the current issue that I had available in the goodie bags.)
It was lovely to meet Mitsy and her beautiful daughter. Mitsy was on the same panel as Kim, sharing their experience and expertise about selling on Etsy. I will try to round up a list of Etsy shops and links to the other people I met, but first I'm off to get some breakfast, see the grad show at the Eindhoven Academy and then take the train back to Amsterdam.
Thank you, Marta, for organizing a great event. Thank you to everyone at Etsy for your hospitality and generosity.
We are very appreciative of our contributors. They generously lend their time and talents towards making UPPERCASE a visually rich and well-written publication.
What creative project are you most proud of? Probably my blog. It's not my day job, nor even my evening job. But it remains the place I can write about things I like without anyone looking over my shoulder to see what I am doing. It is small and obscure and all mine. I have collections of books and bits of paper and my blog seems to have given form to both my actual collections and my thoughts about my collections. One of my favourite blogs, Things magazine, said Shelf Appeal is 'one of a relatively small number of weblogs that effortlessly conveys a love for the physical through the digital.' That sums up what I'd like my blog to be doing. And also made me proud of doing it.
Tell us about a time your curiosity got you into trouble? Like Alice I found my rabbit hole. Although I was younger, I shall not forget chasing ahead along the side of big overgrown field on a sunny, lazy, quiet Sunday. I stepped on a wasp nest and promptly woke them all up. Understandably they were in an angry mood. Picture me being chased by a small swarm of wasps whilst being stung all over. In retrospect it was like something out of a cartoon. You'd think that would have taught me a valuable lesson. I fear it did no such thing.
What is your favourite word and why? My favourite word is a french one: dishabille. Odd, because I don't speak French. But it makes me think of historical clothes in paintings and relaxed dressing, draped fabrics, lounging and unbuttoned things—like waistcoats.
What is your preferred creative tool? Probably my iPhone as I like Twitter and find it a creative outlet. I tweet things I have done and things I have found that other people have done. It can bring unexpected glimpses of lovely things in to your day, in a simple and uncomplicated way. That's why I like it. Also, Twitter is the freelancers friend. A nice way to have contact with people also working alone somewhere. Other than that I could spend all day working in Photoshop, if someone paid me to do so.
Girl Crush is a series of small gatherings organized by the Jealous Curator (Danielle Krysa) where you can have a fun and friendly encounter with one of your favourite creative crushes. This past weekend, UPPERCASE contributor Leslie Fandrich took part in Girl Crush Philly and got to hang out with Shauna Alterio of Something's Hiding in Here, Forage and Seed House fame. To read about her experience, head over to Leslie's blog Lights and Letters.
Thank you Leslie for sharing her photos with us. And thank you to Shauna and her husband Stephen for inspiring us with their amazing work and for the contributions to UPPERCASE magazine. And big congratulations to Shauna and Stephen on this very special news!
If you were a kid sometime between 1955 and 1975, you likely remember the Golden Nature Guides. They were pocket-sized books filled with incredible drawings of animals, plants, rocks and minerals. The first one, Birds, was printed in 1949 and was illustrated by James Gordon Irving.
So begins Leslie Fandrich's excellent article in issue #15 about illustrator James Gordon Irving. Personally, the Golden Nature Guides had a big impact on me. I used to check them out of the school library religiously... I loved how the small-size guide fit in my hand and that you could collect multiple topics. When I was little, I dreamed of being a botanist or geologist and used to copy drawings and diagrams out of these guides into my own notebooks. As I grew older, I realized that I liked making the drawings and the experience of the books themselves more than the scientific topics.
When Leslie presented the idea of profiling one of the illustrators of the Golden Nature Guides, I was very excited. She describes her personal connection to the books and how the article came to be:
My husband found his old copies of these beautiful books in his parents’ basement and my two young sons immediately loved them. It sparked a desire in me to find out what had become of Mr. Irving. I wondered if he was still alive and what other work he may have done. Searching online yielded limited information, but I found an article that said he lived nearby in the town of Haworth, New Jersey. We contacted a librarian there, who said she knew of him and thought he had died recently, but, after making a few phone calls, she learned that he was still alive at the royal age of 98 and he would love to hear from us.
It took at least nine months to arrange a meeting. Mr. Irving was hospitalized with pneumonia for a few months, and when he returned home, communication over the phone was difficult. We finally called the librarian and asked if there was anyone who could help us set up a meeting. She got us in touch with his son Bruce, who had been spending every day taking care of his father since he had come home from the hospital. He felt that it would be a real pleasure for his dad to bask in some attention for a few hours.
Finally, the day had come to interview Mr. Irving, and I was excited about the conversation. Arriving at the modest white split-level house on a warm, sunny morning, we were let in by Bruce, who answered the door. Hung throughout the main floor of the house were at least 13 paintings of Mr. Irving’s signature flowers and birds, along with a few portraits. An amazing oil painting of chrysanthemums hung over the mantle.
We are grateful that Leslie had the opportunity to meet with Mr. Irving and to write such an informative and interesting article about this important artist. Sadly, Gordon passed away in August and the article is now a printed tribute and celebration of his talent and impact.
We are very appreciative of our contributors. They generously lend their time and talents towards making UPPERCASE a visually rich and well-written publication. Here's a little interview to get to know Austin, Texas-based writer and photographer Adrienne Breaux, regular contributor to UPPERCASE magazine's Beginnings column.
"I still remember fondly how my love of architecture almost got me arrested."
What creative project are you most proud of? Such a tough question to ask a blogger! Our pride comes in the total bulk of the work we do, I dare say. But, certainly I'm proud of a few key freelance pieces I've had the pleasure to do for various publications. If I had to pick my very favorite creative project that I've done so far in my life, though, it would probably be my senior thesis project book in college. Seriously, that thing was a monster. A lot of people don't know that I went to school for interior design. In our last year we had to tackle this giant interior design project individually and then put it all into this book and get it bound. It's not my favorite creative project in terms of the actual look or scope of the work, mind you. I'm not saying I peaked creatively at age 22 by any means. To flip through it now is borderline embarrassing—there are so many things I'd change and I question so many of my design decisions, my style being wildly different now than it was then—but any time I'm down or stressed or overwhelmed, I dust that puppy off, flip through it and realize that at one point in my life I finished all of that. And on time! If I could have done that surely I can finish whatever deadline is looming in front of me.
What is your favourite word and why? "Bold." I'm going to go with bold. I believe the universe rewards boldness. I don't know that I'm always amazingly bold in every single aspect of my life, but I sure try to be that way. I attempt to not shy away from boldness, at least. It also happens to play an important part in a favorite phrase with a science fiction origin: "To boldly go...where no one has gone before."
What is your preferred creative tool? I want so much to give a real clever answer, like maybe Austin's Greenbelt on a Saturday morning, during a head-clearing trail run. Or perhaps the city of Austin itself, with its ample avenues of inspiration. But if I'm being entirely honest, it's my laptop. It's these keys and their familiar clack and their give under my fingertips and the glow of my screen that everyone can see through my window at night, every night, that has been a trusty partner on many a personal and professional project.
Tell us about a time that your curiosity got you into trouble? Oh boy. I'm always getting into trouble. My favorite thing in the entire world is taking a walk by myself and seeing where I end up. Sometimes that means wandering into an abandoned building or sometimes that means accidentally walking onto land I'm not supposed to be on. I've always been a loner, and I feel happiest when I'm discovering things I've never seen before. Though I always try to respect the law, occasionally I've been politely removed from places I wasn't supposed to be. More than a few times I probably came fairly close to some serious trouble when I used to visit this geodesic dome designed by (my favorite) Buckminster Fuller that was located just outside Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where I went to college at LSU. You definitely had to shimmy under a fence to catch a glimpse of this stunning architecture, but it was totally worth it. They ended up tearing down that dome (the Golden Dome, my friends and I used to call it) but I still remember fondly how my love of architecture almost got me arrested.
Do you have any particular projects that you'd like to share with us? I would just love to point people in the direction of all the places I get to write for on a regular basis. Apartment Therapy allows me the opportunity to photograph the gorgeous homes of strangers. I get to become inspired everyday through the blog at 2Modern. I write copy for really awesome websites and catalogs. I am also working on the next great American science fiction novel. I try to keep my website updated with everything I do (but I'm totally missing like the last four awesome things I've done).adriennebreaux.com
I "met" one of our regular contributors, Linzee McCray, through Etsy. I was doing some research on a story about Type Truck and discovered Linzee's excellent article on the Etsy blog. She covered everything I was hoping to write about in the article, so rather than reinvent the wheel, I contacted Linzee and Etsy to see if we could update the article and run it in issue #12.
Later, I commissioned Linzee to write about oilcloth, featured in the current issue #14. The article features two Etsy sellers:
We can all look forward to a new article from Linzee in issue #16 next year!
Read through Linzee's archive of Etsy posts here >>>.
Shauna and Stephen from Something's Hiding in Here had the opportunity to curate a dream workspace cabin for Country Living's "2012 House of the Year". Along with interior designer Barbara Kurgan, they create an idealized workspace for the husband-and-wife creative duo.
The little cabin was on display in New York City's World Financial Center in May, along with some other created and curated cabins, but I doubt Shauna and Stephen actually had the chance to do any work in it, though! Maybe they got to put the cabin on a flatbed trailer and take it home?
See more in the September issue of Country Living.
I'm really enjoying the typewriter stories that people have been sharing with me.
Kathryn Hunter of Blackbird Letterpress writes: "I'm SO excited about the typewriter book!!! I have 5 in my own small collection. My favourite being the Hermes Rocket. I started a series of woodcuts several years back with women and their typewriters, all with the theme of communication." Thanks, Kathryn for sharing some of these images with us and for your support of The Typewriter: a Graphic History of the Beloved Machine.
Stay tuned for the next update in the crowdfunding campaign! It's a big one!
"My Little Red Cap piece is the first in my GRIM series, a collection of fashion illustrations based on selected Grimms' Fairy Tales. Other pieces that are currently underway are Snowdrop, Hansel & Gretel, and Snow White & Rose Red. Those Grimm brothers were not a cheery pair."
Karen's work was also a part of The Shatner Show.
I've often wished that UPPERCASE was based in San Francisco. There are so many kindred spirits there with an energy that just makes that city a hub for creative innovation. Within that community, Rena Tom (UPPERCASE's business writer) along with Victoria Smith (UPPERCASE interiors and style contributor) and Suzanne Shade are setting up the Makeshift Society:
Makeshift Society is an organization for those who crave camaraderie to fuel their creativity. Our members are curious and creative. They make with their heads and think with their hands. We support collaborative projects and community-building activities through a coworking space/clubhouse, innovative programming, and support for freelancers and small business owners. While we fully embrace technology and its ability to transform and enhance our businesses, we feel like there are many coworking and networking options for technology startups in San Francisco, but far fewer for those in other creative fields. We want to enable everyone to make, learn, teach, and think.
If you haven't had the pleasure of reading Jon Klassen's I Want My Hat Back, we thought we'd share an image of the missing item, just in case you stumble upon it. The search has extended around the world.
We first featured Christopher Stott's oil paintings in issue #7, and you may have noticed his work in this Anthropologie campaign. Christopher has been hard at work on painting new works of some really nice-looking old stuff, available to view and purchase from the Elliott Fouts Gallery in Sacramento, California.
I'd like to thank Kathryn Hunter from Blackbird Letterpress for all her support of UPPERCASE magazine — she's an avid reader, takes lovely photos of the magazine on location in Louisiana, provided samples for our letterpress issue #8, and advertises in our pages as well.
We wish her much success at the Stationery show in NYC.
Christina Crook has been a regular contributor in the pages of UPPERCASE magazine and we're happy to welcome her to the blog this week with a special guest post series on the case for being creative offline. Christina recently unplugged from the internet for 31 days, typing a daily letter rather than posting to her blog, surfing the net or turning to the computer for distraction, entertainment and affirmation.
Please join us every morning this week as Christina introduces us to other creatives and their off-line habits.
Christina's documentation of her off-line experiment, Letters from a Luddite: What I Learned in 31 Days Off-line, is available through Blurb.
Space to Create:
The Case for the Off-line Creative
In January, after half a year’s consideration, I stepped off-line for an entire month. The time was filled with a flurry of inspiration. Books were read. Projects were completed. The cobwebs were swept from the inner recesses of my busy head. I chronicled the project with a letter a day, sharing the thoughts, ‘aha’s, and frustrations of my off-line existence.
We are little gods on the Internet, often presenting only the best of ourselves online. That’s what makes the Work-In-Progress-Society such a unusual and refreshing affair. Here makers from across the world celebrate their unfinishedness and champion one another on to completeness.
We all need space, physically and mentally, to create. A desk. A corner. For the lucky ones: bright, airy studios where we can set our hands to work. Increasingly though, our space is mediated, and often cluttered, by the online space of the Internet.
I thought would be interesting to consider the on- and off-line habits of a few members of the UPPERCASE Work-in-Progress Society, uncovering our counterparts' web habits in order to discover how we each can carve out the space we need to create.
Up Next: Textiles and Trampolines
Regular UPPERCASE contributor Alanna Cavanagh has a tea towel design available through The Bay. It's sold out online at the moment, but still available in shops around the country. Looks like a nice Mother's Day gift!