It was a beautiful Sunday at Heritage Park — our first visit of the season, perfectly timed to be during the 20th annual Festival of Quilts. The quilts were perfectly paired with the buildings, like all these high contrast and graphic quilts hanging on the Wainwright Hotel.
Finley felt like doing a little dance.
Last year's festival.
The Make it in Design team were delighted to read so many fabulous entries from around the world, but it was Tracy’s shear passion, determination and commitment to design that came across in her entry that earned her the free place.
Tracy’s winning entry:
“The next level, that breakout moment, the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to really live out my potential as a surface art designer are always just out of reach. And yet my commitment and love of design keeps me plugging away at it even when it seems to lead nowhere. Days go by without a sale, and the rent can be in danger of not getting paid. But I sit in this chair, Illustrator open in front of me and I design. Learn new skills. Make new goals. Answer art calls. Never give up. I'm a designer for life!”
A HUGE THANK YOU to everyone who took the time and effort to enter this competition, we’re sorry that we couldn’t make you all winners!
Tracy will be joining a community of advanced designers on The Ultimate Portfolio Builder seven-week professional surface pattern design course.
This course provides all the tools, advice and confidence you need to grow, refine and strengthen your professional design portfolio, make your designs more sellable and give you the fast-track to trade show success.
Brought to you in association with Printsource, one of the top surface and textile design shows in the world, this course will give you exclusive insight to help you secure the right buyers for your work, deal effectively with clients, get trade show ready and discover the secrets to landing your dream work. Plus one lucky person on the course will win a free booth at Printsource Aug 2016 and $1,000 to get you to New York!
Course alumni have gone on to launch their own design studios, win national awards, be featured in design books, on leading blogs and more. Read some of the student success stories here. Could you be next?
There’s still time to register and join this very special, unique and powerful design course. Register today. The course starts on Monday May 25 2015.
Please join me and a roster of talented Western Canadian artists and artisans at the New Craft Coalition craft fair this Friday and Saturday.
Friday, May 22, 4-9pm
Saturday, May 23, 10-6pm
Festival Hall, Inglewood (1215 10 Ave SE, Calgary)
I'll have the current issue (with free printmaking samples while they last) plus back issues, books, papergoods and special offer: subscribe/renew and get a free issue!
I hope to see you there!
ant to support UPPERCASE's next issue through a Calling Card or Peep?
In a rather special corner of London next to the Thames is the home of Marthe Armitage, octogenarian wallpaper designer extraordinaire. An old red brick wall wraps around her home and continues on past other homes where some of her children live. Binker, a perky Jack Russell Terrier, scuttles between the family homes, keeping a weather eye on the whole.
In this somewhat idyllic spot, Marthe Armitage has lived, brought up her family, and designed and hand-printed wallpapers for many decades. She is now ably assisted by her daughter Jo Broadhurst. Marthe married architect Edward Armitage in the early 1950s when she was just 20. She soon had three small children and was feeling her way toward something that would satisfy her creatively—something that might fit in with the inevitably frantic and fluid hours that child-raising requires.
So begins our story about Marthe Armitage, beautifully written by Jane Audas and deftly photographed by India Hobson. "Sharing a cup of tea with Marthe, Jo, India Hobson (our photographer) and Binker was a time out of time," writes Jane. "Marthe’s house is a new build (designed by her son, another family architect) but is redolent of a life well lived amongst creative things. She has her own wallpapers on several walls, and her own oil paintings on top of them. It is an embarrassment of riches, really."
I'm honoured that Marthe allowed us into her home. Although I wasn't able to be there personally, Jane and India did such a wonderful job through their words and pictures, that we can all share in an afternoon with a woman who has let creativity lead her through life.
Purchase the current issue here as a single copy or part of a subscription.
A Journey into the world of Marbling
Barb Skoog is one of 75 printmakers profiled in the current issue. When I was going through the many, many submissions (250!) to curate the content for this printmaking-themed issue, I was delighted to see a paper marbling submission. Barb generously donated a delicious stack of hand-marbled papers for subscriber copies (for those subscribed prior to the end of March).
It was tempting to keep this beautiful stack all to myself, but I know there are dozens of subscribers out there who now have the joy of holding her papers in person.
Barb is a Los Angeles-based artist specializing in the Turkish form of marbling called Ebru. She writes, "This centuries-old art form involves floating paint on thickened water, making patterns and designs using special tools, and then placing paper, fabric, wood, or other materials on top of the water where the image is immediately and permanently transferred. In addition to having my work featured in art and lifestyle magazines, juried shows, and galleries, my marbled pieces have been used in bookbinding, in mixed media, as fashion accessories (purses, scarves), as home décor, and more."
If you'd like to learn this technique, Barb has a freshly-launched eCourse. The video below offers a happy teaser on what you'll learn in the course. It looks like so much fun!
Barb has a special offer for UPPERCASE readers. Using the promo code UPLOVE, you can get $80 off the regular price ($259) and take the course for just $179 if you sign up by May 31. Class officially begins on June 8 (6 weeks guided instruction) but students have access to all info for six months.
Thank you to Barb Skoog for her support of UPPERCASE through a Calling Card. If you'd like to purchase a Calling Card ad for the next issue and for the blog sidebar, please visit this page for more details.
My friends at Make It In Design have a very special prize for ONE very lucky reader — a free place on the next The Art and Business of Surface Pattern Design – The Ultimate Portfolio Builder course worth $875 (£579).
The Ultimate Portfolio Builder is an advanced seven-week online professional surface pattern design course, consisting of an intense five-week class followed by two weeks of design reviews and live briefs. The classroom is accessible 24/7 so you can join from anywhere in the world, and fit the course into your busy life. Places on this course are limited, but one person from this competition will be guaranteed a spot.
This course will give you all the tools and advice you need to grow, refine and strengthen your professional design portfolio, make your designs more sellable and give you the fast-track to trade show success.
Brought to you in association with Printsource, one of the top surface and textile design shows in the world, this course will provide you with exclusive insight to help you secure the right buyers for your work, deal effectively with clients, get trade show ready and discover the secrets to landing your dream work. Plus one lucky person on the course will win a free booth at Printsource Aug 2016 and $1,000 to get you to New York!
Course alumni have gone on to launch their own design studios, win national awards, be featured in design books, on leading blogs and more. Fancy a bit of this action too? Read on to find out how to enter and read some of the student success stories here.
The prize: ONE place on The Art and Business of Surface Pattern Design – The Ultimate Portfolio Builder course starting May 25, 2015, delivered on-line.
How to enter: Check out the course website to find out more about it, then go over to this post on UPPERCASE and leave a comment below in no more than 100 words telling us why this course would benefit you right now and how it could transform your career. (Note: Please do NOT leave your comment on the Make It In Design blog, leave your comment below this post.)
Deadline: 5pm GMT on Wednesday 20th May 2015. Any comments left after this time will not be counted. The winner will be announced on Friday 22nd May 2015. Good luck!
Terms and Conditions: This competition is to win a place on The Ultimate Portfolio Builder course from Make it in Design starting May 25, 2015. One entry allowed per person. The winning place is not transferrable – either by date or to another individual and must not be sold on and no cash alternative will be offered in the event that the winner is unable to use the prize for any reason. By entering this competition you agree to your entry to be promoted on the Uppercase and Make it in Design website and their associated social networks. The judges' decision is final.
Regular readers of UPPERCASE magazine will observe that there are very few ads in each print issue. Sometimes two pages plus the Calling Cards and Peeps, sometimes fewer than that! Truth is, as a one-woman operation, I don't have a lot of time to sell ads. But sometimes, advertisers seek out the magazine and it becomes a natural fit. Like when Sakura of America, makers of the Pigma pen, reached out to advertise in UPPERCASE. You'll see their print ad in the fall illustration-themed issue of UPPERCASE. In the meantime, we're collaborating on a giveaway!
I've been using Pigma Micron pens since college. They're really are part of any designer and illustrator's tool kit.
Sakura has recently introduced a new line of Pigma Professional Brush Pens to the line. These pens use the same rich, black, archival ink, but with expressive brush nibs in fine, medium and bold tips. They're perfect for illustration and lettering projects. I had some fun experimenting with the boldest nib, below.
Master penman Jake Weidmann, whom we featured in the calligraphy and lettering issue 23, tries out a finer version below. Wow, his talent is awesome!
To win one of five Sakura Pigma Pen prize packs, please leave a comment about why you love inky black pens over on this Instagram photo. Make sure you follow @uppercasemag and @sakuraofamerica. This promotion is open to legal residents of the 50 United States, District of Columbia and Canada (except Quebec). You must be over the age of 13. Contest is open until May 18. The winners will be selected at random from the Instagram comments. Good luck!
The National Stationery Show and SURTEX are both coming up fast (May 17-20) and I know a lot of UPPERCASE readers will be heading to New York to show their paper goods and surface pattern designs. Alas, a trip to NYC is not in the cards for me since I've just returned from Chicago and might have to go to Toronto in early June. In between, I have to design issue 26!
Instead, I will share some of the promos that I've been receiving from UPPERCASE readers. First up, is Katie Leamon, a luxury card and stationery brand based in London. "We all love UPPERCASE magazine here in the studio," writes Georgia Fraser.
"With a design studio in central London and a family run production studio in the heart of the English countryside, Katie achieves her illustrious style, aiming to revisit the tangible qualities lost in a lot of today’s mass production. The brand designs, creates and delivers beautiful hand finished collections of original paper products. All products are proudly made in England with incredible care and attention to detail at every stage of their journey."
Katie Leamon's product photography by Laura Hutchinson is top notch! Just the right balance of clarity for the products and a touch of styling.
If you're showing at NSS or SURTEX, please share your efforts on Instagram and Twitter using the hashtag #uppercasereader and either #NSS or #surtex.
The current issue features 75 talented printmakers from around the world.
Their work is diverse—from monoprints to linocuts to silkscreen to marbled paper and more... so it makes for a very informative and inspiring guide to the possibilities of printmaking.
Participants and some contributors for this issue were invited to submit samples of their work for insertion in subscriber copies of the magazine (for those who were active subscribers as of mid March).
From 10 art prints to letterpress editions of 300, the samples were sent to my studio over the course of a few weeks. I certainly made the postman work hard!
I kept a few samples (and saved a few of my favourites for myself) and consolidated the rest to send onwards to my printer for insertion. (A few other submissions arrived after I photographed these images, so not quite all of them are shown here.)
And now... the giveaway! I will be doing a draw for three Printmaking Samplers, assembled from a selection of the wonderful prints shown above. The winners will receive 40-50 prints and cards each.
1) One winner will be randomly selected from current subscribers.
2) One winner will be randomly selected from folks who became new subscribers April 26 through midnight May 1. So if you're not a subscriber yet, head on over here to purchase your subscription.
3) Show your love of UPPERCASE magazine by posting an image of UPPERCASE magazine or books on Instagram using the hashtag #uppercaselove and one winner will be randomly selected from those submissions at the end of May 1.
And here's the full list of participants from the Profiles in Printmaking feature plus a few other fine folks who donated samples. Thanks for sharing your talents with us!
It is wonderful to see the new issue being enjoyed and admired by readers around the world! Please tag your Instagrams @uppercasemag so that I can see them and include the hashtag #uppercaselove so that they show up on this page.
If you want to share what you're working on or just something about yourself, use the hashtag #uppercasereader.
Last week I shared this free download with my newsletter readers. If you'd like one, just sign up here and look for the link in your welcome message. I send out an informative and image-filled email every Tuesday!
I’ve spent the better part of a decade searching for inspiration.
At its heart, everything I make and do with UPPERCASE is curated and designed to inspire me—and by extension, you, my reader. By sharing the stories of talented creatives in a wide variety of disciplines, each magazine issue or book is full of inspiring people, places and things.
But the word “inspiration” is so-often employed these days, that I hesitate to use it. “Inspiration" is diluted. When it comes to creativity, what is truly inspiring?
When something you see or experience triggers a switch to “yes!” in your creative heart, that’s the best kind of inspiration. The kind that motivates you, that fires you up, that kicks you into action. It creates a desire to do something, to harness that inspired feeling and see where it leads you. It’s joyful, pure, instinctual. It has no judgments, no preconceptions, no deadlines: it simply is. yes!
One can be inspired by another artist and while it’s ok to admire, it is never ok to copy. Imitation is not flattering for the one doing the imitating. The phrase “taking inspiration” describes this darker side. If you find yourself relying too much on other people’s work when making your own, stop. If you’re judging your work against someone else’s work, stop. Step back and look at it objectively. Make a list of all the things that you love about that person’s work and all the traits that you aspire to achieve in your own work. Going forward, use that list as your guide and your motivation.
I think we’re overloaded by so much generic “inspiration” that we’re becoming desensitized. We pin on Pinterest, like on Instagram… but this infinite scroll of images—however gorgeous they may be—is training us for snap judgments and short attention spans. It’s a millisecond of inspiration that burns out nearly as soon as it began and you find yourself scrolling for another hit. Sometimes a good dose of pretty is just what you need, but the next time you find yourself in a hangover of pinning and liking, revisit your selections. Was any of it inspiring in a lasting way?
With the twenty-fifth issue making its way into the world now, my hope is that I’ve done my job well and that UPPERCASE falls into the best category of inspiration.
May you come away from reading the magazine feeling joy and optimism, with a flicker of a new idea whispering, "yes!"
This message was originally published yesterday in my weekly newsletter. If you'd like to receive free weekly content like this, plus a look at behind-the-scenes of making a magazine, free downloads and news of how you can participate within the magazine, please sign up here. Thanks!
I know there are a lot of UPPERCASE readers who love to do art journaling and scrapbooking. Stencil Girl products make unique stencils that can enhance your art-making experience. Stencil Girl offers wide collection of stencils designed by a long and growing list of artists. The stencils are meant for mixed media and there are no rules on how to use them. Through varying media, layering and other techniques, they're a fun way to explore making marks. Here's founder Mary Beth Shaw's story:
Mary Beth Shaw worked in the insurance industry for 18 years before she quit her job in 2000 to re-ignite a childhood love of art. She is now a full time painter and internationally known workshop instructor. Her creative process is largely self taught, spontaneous and joyful. She is author of Flavor for Mixed Media and Stencil Girl , both published by F&W and is also a columnist for Somerset Studios Magazine.
In 2010, Mary Beth recognized a need for 'artist designed' stencils and created StencilGirl Products, which has quickly grown into a respected supplier of high quality stencils for all media. Living with her husband and three cats, Mary Beth is passionate about every moment of life.
Stencil Girl has released a new Stencil Club collection for April, designed by Jessica Sporn. Here's Jessica, below, describing how fabrics from her childhood inspired the new, groovy collection.
And in the second video, Jessica shows how to make a gesso resist and then offers a peek into her art journals.
I'd like to thank Stencil Girl Products for supporting UPPERCASE magazine's original content through their purchase of a Calling Card ad.
I'm continuing the back issues warehouse sale until Tuesday at midnight (MDT, Calgary time). At just $10 apiece, it's a great way to stack up on inspiration. There's a low res digital preview for each back issue if you need help deciding which ones you'll like.
The new issue has arrived in the Canadian warehouse and is scheduled to arrive in the US-based fulfillment warehouse on Monday, so if you want to subscribe (hint, hint!) and get some back issues, everything will ship together. There isn't additional shipping for subscriptions, though the cart will calculate shipping on the back issues based on weight and geography. thanks!
The new issue is starting to make appearances! Winnipeg-based stockist Tiny Feast is always the first to receive their copies since the magazine is printed in that city. (Tiny Feast has a stylish Instagram feed, follow along!)
For other stockists, see the list here. (My apologies, the list is a bit out of date. It's on my very long to-do list, I promise!) Please inquire with the store first to see if they have what you want in stock. I expect most North American stockists to receive their copies of issue 25 by the end of the week. Due to overseas transportation times, shops in Europe, Asia and Australia and New Zealand will be receiving their copies of the new issue in about a month.
Since the previous issue is already down to just a few boxes, I upped the print run for issue 25... to 12,000 copies. I hope you guys love print on paper as much as I do, because that is a LOT of print on paper. This photo shows just a few of the subscriber copies that are on their way.
Subscriptions starting with #25 are available now, as well as single copies. Back issues are on sale for just $10 this week as well because with 70 cartons of magazines on their way to the warehouse, I need to make some room.
Thank you for all your support of UPPERCASE and everything I do. UPPERCASE readers are terrific.