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!
And that's where she had me.
Sometime this spring I will make Tara's rice. Because someone who could create self-saucing pudding can't be wrong. About anything.
This morning I took the tube to Anne Smith's studio on the South side of the Thames. Anne did the perfect pigeon illustration on the cover of issue #12, so I couldn't come all this way and not meet her!
We had some tea and a nice chat about books, the realms of online and offline community, the creative drive and inspiration... so nice. Her studio had lots of books—I saw many that are common to my shelves at home. With nice light diffusing in from windows on two sides, it was a really fresh and inspiring studio.
See a few more images in the flickr set. Thanks, Anne!
Long time subscribers, may remember Courtney's name from our inaugural issue where she redesigned the book jacket for the Tao of Pooh.
Courtney's first typographic memory was discovering her father's extremely meticulous handwriting as a child. From then on she carried a pad of paper with her everywhere, feverishly trying to perfect her own and create new styles. Little did she know it would lead to a life-long obsession with typography. The obsession forged a path to Syracuse University, where she studied Communications Design. She then landed in New York and hasn't left since.
When not attached to the computer, Courtney collects business cards from New York restaurants, plays with her gocco printer and catches live music wherever she can.
Nikki Sheppy wears many hats around UPPERCASE. She's a subscriber, a contributor, and an entertaining party guest. Nikki was profiled in issue #9 but, since she is our thirteenth subscriber, we asked her to share more with us.
Subscriber Profile: Nikki Sheppy
How are you creative in your daily life?
I dabble in cake-baking, doodle on napkins, and compose palindromic poetry (in which the word “the” never appears because I spurn interjections that make me seem too Canadian).
What are you most curious about?
Beautiful or unexpected forms. I like poetry, maps, data graphing, and architecture. I like abecedaria, altered books, and the sculptural potential of new paper and textile technologies.
What is your most prized possession?
Access to the world. I’m constantly grateful for the fully functioning faculties (motor, cognitive and sensory) that allow me to explore what’s out there. I think this is so basic and necessary that many of us take it for granted.
What is your favourite letter of the alphabet and why?
Usually, it’s Q – a smooth face with a single pubescent whisker; an O that forgot to shave; an R&D developer for the British Secret Service, slyly packing an arsenal of deadly gadgets: quirky amphibious cars and quinine-tipped darts. But today I prefer Z, a letter with a lot of razzle-dazzle, a zany gonzo journalist unafraid to veer boozily into the most improbable reaches of a story, taking every s-curve like a zed.
What is your favourite colour?
Cherry red - Visceral, as deeply satisfying as the fruit itself, bloody, not for the faint of heart, and the main contender in so many of those brisk plaids of the fifties.
What is your preferred creative tool?
Language. Its plasticity, its resistance, the coy, coltish way in which it refuses to let me write like wunderkind Karen Russell. The alphabet contains only 26 letters. How hard could it be?
Would you like to share your curosity or creativity with us?
Monday is Guest Post Day on UPPERCASE and we are always on the hunt for the freshest ideas. Please contact Erin if you would like to participate.
"I began scouring the internet for anything ‘paper’. And immediately felt totally intimidated! If you look at the back of PAPER BLISS there are a wealth of ‘inspiring sites and people’ to look up. And these, among many more, have been my inspiration. But you know, you do what you do. We each have our own abilities and aesthetic, and what made me feel confident was that I was just like so many other people: unsure of my skills, uncertain of how projects might work out once I’d thrown myself full throttle into them. So, I have no idea how to construct paper couture, or minutely fanned and intricately folded origami sculptures. But, I consoled myself, I have my own, somewhat ‘shabby’ aesthetic, and that, my friends, would have to do! There was no turning back.
And I did what I always do: had madcap ‘crafter-noons’ with friends where we sat around my outdoor table and ate nice food and drank tea (and maybe some wine) and got to making something from the stuff that was in front of us. It was amazing to see people’s skills revealed in this way! It taught me much, which I was keen to pass on as tips throughout the book.
I also went on holidays with my paper! Much to my boyfriends bemusement, I took suitcases full of paper bits away with me. Clothes would come a very poor second or third, after inspiring books and yards of interesting papers to construct things from. At the airport, I scurried through the people scanner, wondering how I might explain it all should I be asked to open my bulging bags."
Next up: A paper baby.
"Not surprising, perhaps, for someone so visually orientated, I started with a visual representation of my idea. I gathered images from the net and from things I’d made over the year and plonked them all in a desktop folder called ‘Paper Book’. I then did a rather bad mock-up I now realise (though I am a designer in many senses of the word, I am no book designer!), scattering a myriad of images that took my fancy around square pages in INDESIGN, which I use despite not really knowing an awful lot about it, technically speaking!
I had this 20-odd page document printed onto lovely heavy-weight paper, spiral bound it and wrote an introduction and a few sample projects, plus a contents page. I pretty much made that up, as I wasn’t sure yet which projects would make the cut or not. The ideas I had for things to make were really rather a ‘wish list’…I’d find out if I could do them afterwards (I’m a cart-before-the-horse kind of person!)."
Next up: Crafter-noons and a suitcase full of paper
"I got the idea for Paper Bliss from having so much paper around me all the time! I was on the lookout for things to do with paper and card samples that I would otherwise put in the recycle bin. It was this, but also a strong desire to ‘go deep’ into something…and to find an excuse to spend time physically making things rather than on the computer so much. A book allows an immersion into a subject that not many other things do: it’s kind of like doing a Uni (college) degree (I never did one, so it’s my kind of University degree!)…or a thesis of some kind.There were also a plethora of cool, how-to crafty type books being published in Australia and I wanted to join the fray!"
Next up: Skye talks about the process she used to create Paper Bliss
While you are waiting for your favourite postal person to deliver issue #13, we thought we would share recent work from one of our previous contributors. Skye Rogers shared stories of her life with paper in issue #12.
Skye has been an illustrator for a good part of her adult life. But the long apprenticeship to her career was her childhood passion: she has been drawing on, cutting up, stamping on and pasting bits of paper together since she was very young.
Her book, Paper Bliss was released on April 1st.
From the publisher:
PAPER BLISS has fantastic paper craft projects for all levels: from those at ′infants school′ and only at paper-aeroplane level to more advanced projects for ′paperians′ to get their teeth into, to those at paper high school who want to advance their skills with some more complex and elaborate projects. With some easily sourced items: scissors, cutting blade and mat, glue, fancy fasteners, paper punches, needle and thread and some found, pre-loved, new, hand-decorated, plain or recycled paper, there are hours of fun to be had with these projects. Whether it′s the simple completion of something that inspires you, a gift for a special friend or spending part of a day with the kids away from more pressing demands, you might be surprised by what you find.
Next up: Sky shares her inspiration for the project.
Monday is guest post day on UPPERCASE. If you are interested in participating, please contact Erin.
I am happy to welcome my friend Erin Bacon to the UPPERCASE family! (There must be something about talented women whose names begin with E! Read about Eleanor who manages the UPPERCASE online shop and subscriptions.)
I've known Erin for quite a long time (she writes an excellent introduction below) and I am thrilled that she will be helping to grow our online content. We receive so many links, portfolios and suggestions from our amazing readers but in the past I haven't had the time to post everything that I would like to. My husband Glen Dresser, will be a regular contributor online as well. Together we'll be featuring more from our contributors, subscribers, guest bloggers as well as behind-the-scenes, companion content and extras from our books and magazines.
I've been doing things on my own for far too long. I can't really describe how relieved I am to have such wonderful people as part of my team... I guess good things do come to those who wait.
"Like many of you, I've been a fan of UPPERCASE from the beginning. In fact, I've known Janine for over 10 years and for the first time in many years we are working together again. We first met and collaborated as client and designer. Across the years, we've experienced a number of major life events as friends; we were there at each others weddings—in fact, Janine did me the honour of designing the collateral for my wedding—we have become mothers and together we watch our children become friends.
I have had the great pleasure of watching my Janine grow UPPERCASE into the incredible success it is today and during that time, Janine and I have been plotting on how to find a way to work together again. Now, finally, the stars have aligned.
Coming to work at UPPERCASE sees me returning to work after being a stay-at-home mom for the last year. My son, Anderson, is four and my daughter, Quinn, is about to turn one. Art and design—and the creativity and curiosity innate in both—are an important part of who I am and play a significant role in my life. My husband and I own many pieces of art, several purchased from UPPERCASE including a Shatner Show print that is proudly displayed in our living room. But, for me, it is more than just having art in the house. It is important to show my children how much fun it is to create and be curious. From sprouting seeds for our vegetable garden and forcing bulbs in the kitchen to turning one of my cupboards into a chalk board. Personally, I express my creativity through knitting. Beyond that, knitting connects me to generations of crafty women in my family and gives me a space to let my type-A tendencies run rampant.
I'm looking forward to putting my depth of experience as an arts marketer to work—my professional passion is working with visual and performing artists, in established organizations and students just embarking on their career. I am thrilled to be the Online Editor for UPPERCASE, curating creativity for you each day. I'm delighted to be a part of the community you've built around UPPERCASE. Janine and I are excited to spend more time in this space with you."
Eloise Renouf is a talented pattern designer and illustrator whom we first got to know through her Etsy shop. Janine purchased a print and collage from Eloise some time ago and with issue #13's theme about how weather inspires creativity, Eloise was the perfect person to ask to create the cover art.
Eloise just received her copies (thanks to the quick magic of Fedex!) and writes: "Thank you so much for the lovely package of magazines which arrived here this morning! I'm absolutely thrilled with them and I think they look great. I hope you're pleased with the way they turned out - the foiling was a master stroke! It's such a beautiful magazine and everything about it is just lovely - it looks and feels really special. Have already enjoyed a quick flip but am going to settle down with a cuppa for a proper read. Happy days!"
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 bluebirdmill.blogspot.com. 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.)
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!!!
I admire Fiona Richard's aesthetic and business sense and so I am happy to feature her in Erin Loechner's Beginnings column in the current issue #12. Perhaps a Cartolina card or sweet message via her iPhone app will do just the trick for Valentine's.
I would also like to thank Erin for her excellent columns in UPPERCASE. She has a new addition on the way and has wisely decided to cut back on her workload, so she'll be on hiatus from contributing to UPPERCASE for a little while. (I regret not taking real time off from work when I had my baby. Instead I worked harder than ever. So I commend Erin for her decision.) Erin recommended the excellent Adrienne Breaux to continue the "Beginnings" column and I'm looking forward to Adrienne's contribution to issue #13.
The party table runner graphics were made by some of the bloggers that I know who attended the conference. Squarespace had provided their handwritten slogan as a starting point, so the intent of asking more people was to have more a diversity of voices represented. Thank you:
Eva Jorgensen / Sycamore Street Press
Erin Loechner / Design for Mankind
Alyssa Yuhas / We like We Love
Jessie Senese / Shop Sweet Lulu
Brooke Reynolds / Inchmark
I asked them to just scribble the theme "handmade by you" on a piece of paper and make whatever doodles came to mind. Had I had more budget for digital printouts, I would have liked to use more of the graphics, but I settled on the various interpretations of the words, making a wallpaper design out of it.