Filtering by Category: craft

Nutmegger Workshop sees making signs as an art form

Added on by Janine.

When I'm sifting through reader submissions, I never know what I'll find. From a fresh-faced illustrator hoping to get their first published piece or a seasoned creative who has turned a new leaf and is looking to share their new direction... surprise and delight are the hallmarks of a good submission.

The work of Peter Vogel of Nutmegger Workshop in Portland, Oregon prompted an immediate response from me—I began to follow him on Twitter, sent out a tweet, emailed a thank you and planned this blog post.

Peter introduced himself as a "30-year graphic designer/design director/creative director now making vintage sign art." His talent for lettering and his love of old signage is combined into his business of making vintage-looking signs. His signs are not meant as functional signage—they don't fabricate signs and to site installations—rather the signs are art meant to be hung interior settings, somewhat like charming set decoration or as interior design features. 

"Generations ago, sign writers were a busy, sought-after bunch, but the heyday of their hand-lettered art was no match for the rising tide of digital sign-making technology. Nutmegger Workshop was created to celebrate the alluring charm of this long-forgotten art form. It is our mission to offer the finest period reproductions and original designs — handcrafted works of typographic art that add unique personality to any well-designed space."

Enjoy a leisurely stroll through the Nutmegger gallery of signs and read more about Peter's approach to his art.

finding beauty in the discarded

Added on by Cara Howlett.
photo by Cara Howlett

photo by Cara Howlett

In 2012, Sarah Cameron started a custom clothing design, alterations, and wardrobe consultation company in Calgary called Pure Couture

Before starting her own company, Sarah worked for a vintage clothing store as a vintage clothes hunter. Each day she travelled to a clothing warehouse and went about hunting through piles and bags of clothing seeking unique vintage clothing and accessories to be sold in store. 

Tell me about your job as a vintage clothes hunter working at the clothing warehouse. What was your job like?

I had a master list of what the store was looking for, and I would open bag after bag hoping for something amazing. It was hard work, but super rewarding if—after digging and searching and ripping open bag after bag—you found a real vintage Chanel bag, a beautiful embroidered wool parka with fur trim, or the perfect worn-in-just-right leather biker jacket. If I was really lucky, I would find a band t-shirt from the 70s. If the store I was picking for did not want what I found, I could buy it myself at a crazy cheap price, like a dollar fifty a pound. It was a very lonely job, though, because I was the only one searching for finds.

What were some of the unique things that you found while working there? 

The best situation was if I could find beautiful leather shoes from the 40s and 50s—made in Italy and just so gorgeous. I once opened a bag, and it was full of shoes like that. Some little old lady must have passed away, and no one wanted her amazing shoe collection. That was a good day. My boss was super happy!

photo by Sarah Cameron

photo by Sarah Cameron

Tell me about the quilt that you made your daughter from the fabrics that you found while clothes hunting. Do you remember when you found the fabrics? 

It all started with a dress. I found what looked like a old 50s-style dress that was falling apart, and I saw past that. It was made out of beautiful blues, greens and purple, it was a rose print but sort of modern. It was perfect. It not only inspired the quilt but most of my daughter's room decor. The back of the quilt is made out of what looked to be a old sheet. But not just any sheet—this was a beautiful teal and peach floral print. The both of them just fit, and along the way I found a few more remnants here and there. I started collecting fun fabric when I started clothes hunting in 2010, and when I found out I was having a girl I knew I wanted a baby quilt for her. 

What do you enjoy about fabric patterns? Why do you like vintage ones?

I love unique fabric, but not fabric that's too weird. I think thats why I love vintage fabric, its different, but something about it is so happy and fun. 

photo by Sarah Cameron

photo by Sarah Cameron

When and why did you start sewing? 

I started "sewing" when I was about 10 years old and I was bored with my Barbies' clothing and wanted to design my own clothing for them. The clothes I made for them were mostly taped together. My grandmother gave me a sewing machine when I was about 12 and I loved it! She inspired me, and gave me everything I needed to start sewing. I still have my first sketch book from her. She wanted me to see beauty all around me. 

designs by Sarah Cameron

designs by Sarah Cameron

What do you enjoy about sewing and designing clothes?

I enjoy designing clothing for myself, my family, and my clients. The best feeling is when people try a piece of clothing on I've made for them and it fits just right and feels just right. I have had a few clients cry over a perfectly fitted dress! 

designs by Sarah Cameron

designs by Sarah Cameron

What made you decide to go into the Fashion Design program at Saddleback College in California?

I was sort of unsure what I wanted to pursue in college. My first semester was a mish mash of classes like marine biology, rock climbing, and introduction to fashion. When I realized I could have a career doing something I loved, I jumped at the chance. I was really lucky because the program at Saddleback was amazing!  

Visit Sarah's portfolio for some vintage-inspired couture.

Forge Apparel's new women's collection

Added on by Cara Howlett.
 
photo by Cara Howlett

photo by Cara Howlett

Post by Cara Howlett 

Our neighbour here at the Devenish, Eric Goodwin, is a leather craftsman and founder of his own apparel company called Forge Apparel. Eric is pleased to be releasing his first women’s collection of purses and clutches this week.

Designed to fit Forge's classic look of leather and waxed canvas, the women’s collection will have the look and feel of Forge Apparel's men’s products, but with some feminine touches.

photo courtesy of Forge Apparel

photo courtesy of Forge Apparel

photo by Cara Howlett

photo by Cara Howlett

“I had my brand manager Kelsey Laugher help me out with some of the designs. She helped me out with what women want as far as dividers and pockets and zippers,” laughs Eric. “I merged her influence and design aspects with my own aesthetic and style.”

After graduating with a business degree, in 2011 Eric rented a studio at Art Central in downtown Calgary where he designed, created, and sold his rustic bags and backpacks until moving to the Devenish building in 2013. 

photo by Cara Howlett

photo by Cara Howlett

Describing his products as gritty and organic, Eric’s designs are inspired by the Rocky Mountains and travel. “I love that really heritage feel to it, like back before there were five-star resorts and when travel was still pretty gritty,” says Eric. “That’s why I still work with the wax-canvas and the leather–very classic materials.”

You can check out Forge Apparel's new women’s collection, along with his other products, in his online store

photo by Cara Howlett

photo by Cara Howlett

photo courtesy of Forge Apparel

photo courtesy of Forge Apparel

photo by Cara Howlett

photo by Cara Howlett

photo by Cara Howlett

photo by Cara Howlett

In Tags

behind the scenes of making a ballet costume

Added on by Janine.

Mary Fisher's "100 Good Deeds"

Added on by Cara Howlett.

post by Cara Howlett

Artist Mary Fisher was featured in issue #12 (2011), showcasing her talents in jewelry-making, sewing and weaving, as well as designing fabric and making paper. Besides her work as an artist, Mary is known worldwide for her role as a HIV/AIDS activist. After finding out she was HIV-positive over 20 years ago, Mary has used her art to help others affected by HIV/AIDS.

In 2000, Mary was asked by the White House AIDS office to travel to Africa on a fact-finding mission. While in Africa, Mary identified with the stigma attached to women with HIV/AIDS. Mary started ABATAKA, a foundation dedicated to helping these women. About 30 women hand-craft exquisite bracelets using Mary’s designs—thereby learning how to support themselves and becoming self-sufficient business women. 

Following the release of her memoir Messenger in 2012, Mary met filmmaker Thomas Morgan. He and his family created a game in which they would perform 100 good deeds anonymously. After learning about Thomas’ game, Mary responded by creating the 100 Good Deeds bracelet. Each bracelet is hand-braided by vulnerable women worldwide and strung with one hundred glass beads and a single rubber ring. After wrapping it around your wrist, each time you do a good deed, you move the rubber ring one bead closer to the 1GD charm. With every purchase of a 1GD bracelet, one vulnerable woman is employed giving her dignity and freedom. 

The 1GD bracelet is available in ten colours and may be purchased at 100GoodDeeds.org.

Since issue #12 is sold out, you can read the original article about Mary Fisher, written by Christine Chitnis, by clicking here for a pdf.  

lino fun

Added on by Janine.

The whirlwind trip to San Diego is nearing an end; I'm off to the airport momentarily. The Y Conference was a good one and I am proud to have been one of the speakers.

Here are some photos from the Thinkshop on Saturday, in which I did a linocut... my first one in nearly two decades?

sample sale at Donna Wilson

Added on by Janine.
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Donna Wilson is having her first-ever online sample sale! Some lovely items at a lovely price. Below is the video I made of a wonderful visit with Donna a few years ago.

altered books

Added on by Janine.

Designer Trish Leavitt of Silver Lining Design, explores tactile play through altered book art.

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Altered books change the object's form and meaning through mixed media art: the artist "alters" the original format with various techniques such as gluing, ripping, folding, painting, cutting, collaging, etc. As a graphic designer, I focus on detail-oriented work for clients which is produced on a computer. Book art, by comparison, is inspired play. The small format is less daunting than a large, blank page which can cause paralysis from not knowing where to start. 

Formal studies in colour, composition, scale and form are guiding principles for my book art. The creative approach is pretty simple in that I let colour be the defining element that ties everything together. To start, I select one key visual and layer similar images or implied meaning around it. The book becomes a series of mini canvases, with a loose process that allows me to segue back and forth between pages if I feel stuck. Although each spread is unique, cohesion is created by extending the page edges, cutting windows and alternating flow. Lush colours are balanced by neutrals, patterns coexist and graphic elements play off of each other. My ephemera collection tends to gravitate towards typography, numbers, patterns, handmade paper and fashion. Vintage magazine advertisements are a favorite source of inspiration. I love creating visual relationships and my design style is minimalist. Initially, the work was very grid-like (rigid!) and it's now becoming more organic. 

Altered books are a tactile, intimate experience in storytelling. It's likely that the observer will flip back and forth between pages, notice tiny details, or turn the book upside down. My intention as an artist is to have fun and enjoy the meditative-like process. If the art compels someone to engage with the work and smile, it becomes meaningful on an entirely different level.

match + maker

Added on by Janine.
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Head on over to Oh My Handmade Goodness for a great post by Jessika Hepburn... I recently enlisted Jessika to interview ceramicist Mariko Paterson for issue #21. Jessika writes:

"I expected we would talk about her work and hopefully connect but imagine my joy when I realized Janine had paired us perfectly, we were totally kindred spirits! What are the chances of finding another creative, multicultural, from Vancouver, collaborative, tattooed lady in our little town? I don’t know but thankfully they were in our favour!"

I suspected the two might enjoy meeting one another and since Mariko is relatively new to their small town they hadn't yet met—even though they're just four blocks apart. The meeting inspired a brilliant idea for a blog series called Match + Maker. I look forward to reading more stories of creative folks matched for interviews and studio tours on Oh My Handmade.

Show and Tell: Georgia Hodges

Added on by Janine.
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Ceramicist and multimedia artist Georgia Hodges presentation was heartfelt and memorable. She brought in some simple cups with earthy glazes as well as a large bowl with organic and draped textures. She spoke about life as process and finding satisfaction in the unfinished. From her artist statement on her website, Georgia writes:

My art and my daily life are fully intertwined. Life without a creative practice feels empty, and a creative practice without a purpose feels lost. A successful day is one that is rich with artful moments. Where all tasks feel relevant.

San Francisco Center for the Book

Added on by Janine.
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I'm quite happy with what I'm doing now, but whenever I visit San Francisco, its appeal is palpable. When I was fresh out of art college, I thought I might move to San Francisco and pursue my dream job of designing books for Chronicle. Hmmm, an alternate timeline... 

Perhaps if you lived in that city, you'd take for granted all the great creative opportunities in your own backyard. At least, I should spend a few months in San Francisco on a creative retreat and take classes at the San Francisco Center for the Book.

a visit to Creativebug

Added on by Janine.
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One of the best things about being the editor of UPPERCASE magazine is the doors that it opens. I love being able to meet with creative businesses and get a glimpse behind the scenes. Yesterday, I had the pleasure of visiting Creativebug. If you're not familiar with Creativebug, they offer an entertaining and informative selection of craft video tutorials. From crochet, collage, quilting and a lot more, there is an ever-growing wealth of content that can be accessed through a monthly subscription. I enrolled in their Creative Brand e-course last year and it was fantastic. And though I don't have a lot of time to craft these days, I like to play a video on my laptop while I work on other things... vicarious crafting through video-watching!

Welcome to Creativebug's creative space...

Kelly Wilkinson is the editorial director and a co-founder of Creativebug. We met last year at the Makerie (where we were both extremely busy) so it was nice to have a relaxing lunch. I am grateful that Kelly and Liana were able to take time out of their schedules for a visit.

Kelly Wilkinson is the editorial director and a co-founder of Creativebug. We met last year at the Makerie (where we were both extremely busy) so it was nice to have a relaxing lunch. I am grateful that Kelly and Liana were able to take time out of their schedules for a visit.

Their office has lots of fun handmade touches, like these tissue paper decorations.

Their office has lots of fun handmade touches, like these tissue paper decorations.

As you can imagine, a great deal of work goes into editing videos. Here is the editing crew.

As you can imagine, a great deal of work goes into editing videos. Here is the editing crew.

I spy UPPERCASE issue #14... and a lot of other great books!

I spy UPPERCASE issue #14... and a lot of other great books!

An impromptu meeting to plan out the content course for the coming months.

An impromptu meeting to plan out the content course for the coming months.

Props, projects and necessary tools of the creative and crafty trade.

Props, projects and necessary tools of the creative and crafty trade.

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Creativebug has a set room dedicated to shooting videos. Courtney Cerruti (below) styles the room to suit each instructor. The shadowbox collages on the wall are ones that she made during her own how-to session.

Creativebug has a set room dedicated to shooting videos. Courtney Cerruti (below) styles the room to suit each instructor. The shadowbox collages on the wall are ones that she made during her own how-to session.

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The Creativebug viewer and UPPERCASE readers are kindred spirits. We both love the creative process, setting our hands to work on making marvellous things. I look forward to collaborating with them to help grow our subscribers and share the love of handmade.

A Gathering of Stitches

Added on by Janine.

A Gathering of Stitches is a communal making space for textile and fibre artists located in Portland, Maine. Members can rent equipment and studio space and benefit from a community of fellow makers. You can even rent a "Fairy Godmother", most likely to be proprietor Samantha Hoyt Lindgren, to consult on your project and help you learn new equipment.

Their doors open mid August this past summer, so they're still new and growing. But with a great roster of classes and equipment, it looks like A Gathering of Stitches is stitching up a firm foundation in this creative community.

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UPPERCASE would like to thank A Gathering of Stitches for their ongoing support of UPPERCASE. As we transition away from ads in our print magazine, we are very pleased to have A Gathering of Stitches' ad on our blog sidebar. If you are a creative business owner and would like to advertise with us, we would be happy to hear from you.

textile patterns animated

Added on by Janine.

An exploration of post-war British textiles by Gavin Edwards. {Discovered via the Gallant & Jones blog.}

animation through pottery

Added on by Janine.

button tree decorations

Added on by Janine.
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It is that time of year when I bring out my typewriter Christmas tree! Finley was spending the afternoon at the office, so I let him do the honours of unfolding the tree.

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I didn't have any decorations for it—normally its tinsel branches and strange typewriter base are enough for me—but Finley thought it needed something more...

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Lucky for us, I have no shortage of creative odds and ends... like a jarful of vintage buttons. These are the leftovers from assembling the goodies that come with the Dottie Angel book we published a few years ago (by the way, there are just a few copies left in the shop). Since all these buttons have shanks, we couldn't include them in the flat goodie envelopes that come with each book.

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Also on hand? Some handy waxed thread from the Maine Thread Company—we profiled them in issue #16 earlier this year.

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Finley and I proceeded to string multiple buttons onto lengths of the thread and I tied them into a loop.

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I also made a string garland of buttons by knotting the shank of the buttons at even intervals on a 6-foot length of string. The waxed thread worked really well since nothing slips out of position.

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This was a fun! And super easy. The best kind of spur-of-the-moment creative activity.

Vancouver: Porchlight Press holiday markets

Added on by Janine.
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Vancouver's Porchlight Press will be debuting their line of greeting cards this weekend at two different fairs. Please read their newsletter for the details of the sale locations. Porchlight proprietor Heather Braun wrote in with some sweet things to say (thanks, Heather!):

"Creating my own line is really a long time coming—I'm super excited about getting them out there, I hope people enjoy them! I want to take this opportunity let you know, a few years back, seeing through UPPERCASE how so many others were pursuing their creative passions, it was actually a big influence on my taking the leap to leave my career and start Porchlight. Like so many others, I adore your magazine, it's like Christmas every time it arrives."

Below is a video highlighting Porchlight's letterpress workshops.

In Tags

make something monday

Added on by Janine.
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By now, you're probably getting tired by all the post-Thanksgiving, Black Friday through Cyber Monday shopping hoopla. Me, too. I have a suggestion: Let's rebrand this day as "Make Something Monday." 

Today's the day to create a good old-fashioned made-by-hand gift.

It doesn't have to be something complicated, just something simple showing your recipient that you took some time. Time is precious; showing someone that you took time out of the busy season to make something heartfelt is powerful and will be appreciated.

Create something that comes from YOU.

It could be a handwritten card, a little embroidery on a hankie, some cookies made from scratch, a simply sewn pin cushion, an ornament made from found objects, a collage of pretty pictures, a finger-painting made with your child, a snowman in the yard (Instagram him holding a message for your friend!), a crocheted granny square coaster, a handmade notebook of blank pages with a found-paper cover... these are just a few little ideas that pop into my head.

Stay away from DIY posts and Pinterest!

These days, it is too easy to get bogged down into the perceived perfection of Pinterest and the tyranny of step-by-step craft instructions. Today's the day to unplug from these distractions. Comparing yourself to others and following directions can be so detrimental to genuine creativity. Use your own ideas, your own resources, your own ingenuity... you will make something that is from you and your heart.

Make something out of nothing.

Be experimental. Be silly. Creativity comes from letting yourself go a little bit. If you worry about stitching a straight line, today's the day to zigzag. Just gather up all your creative supplies onto the table and see what emerges.

Enjoy the process. Making things is a lot of fun!

 Happy Monday.

 

 

PS For you cyber monday shoppers, we do have a sale in our shop... It's your choice of discount! Take 15% off your order or select FREE SHIPPING on orders destined within North America. Use the discount code "snowday" for 15% off, or "freeshipusa" or "freeshipcanada" at checkout. (Shipping costs must be under $50 and is for regular shipping only.)

sampler

Added on by Janine.
Sampler by Sarajo Frieden

Sampler by Sarajo Frieden

Sampler is a project organized by Sara Barnes. "Each artist was given a handkerchief to embroider on. I hand-selected and mailed each handkerchief. The ladies adorned their hankie however the like, and afterwards mailed it back to me."

The project features 5 talented artists and illustrators from around the world: Sarajo FriedenLorena MarañónPerrinLaura McKellar, and Amy Blackwell.

Laura McKellar

Laura McKellar

Lorena Marañón

Lorena Marañón

all over sequins

Added on by Janine.
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Nadia Albertini is an embroidery and textile designer and educator, based in Paris. She 
has collaborated with fashion houses such as Chloé and Chanel, creating hand embroidery designs for ready to wear and haute couture. In her new online shop, All Over Sequins, she's taking the high-end techniques and presenting them in easy-to-achieve embroidery kits. Starting with embellished canvas totes, stitchers can practice some basic embroidery and embellishing techniques. She also has a variety of sequins and cabochons supplies for those who want to experiment.

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In her press kit, Nadia shares a bit about her background and techniques:

How and why did you become an embroidery designer?

I’ve always loved to make things with my hands. And I have always loved beads and pearls. I remember I had my own little jewelry line when I was 15 and I used to sell my necklaces to my friends’ moms. I initially wanted to be an accessories designer but I had a sort of epiphany during my first day at Chloé: I realized I loved embroidery. Later, I got offered the job and it all snowballed from there. Since becoming an independent embroidery designer in 2008, I have been able to collaborate with great brands, creating amazing pieces with some of the most talented ateliers in the world.

What makes you different?

I grew up in Mexico city, in a very creative and inspiring environment, speaking three languages and taught to be very open and curious. I love to travel and to experience other cultures so that has helped a lot for my work. I’m a very hands-on person, I like to make things myself to understand how they work. What I know of embroidery, I’ve learned from my grand mother but also through trial and error.

What is your creative process when working on an assignment?

I’ve known some of the designers I work with for a long time now, we understand each other by just sharing images and sketches. That creative dialogue is extremely important. I need to understand what they have in mind, what the inspiration is but also if there are any production or budget issues. The fabric selection and the color palette give me hints of the direction to follow. I start doing research in 2 or 3 libraries and online. After the research I print my research material and then build mood boards, by pinning things on my studio walls. I start drawing and looking for materials, taking pictures of them. I collage a lot and I love the Xerox machine, I use it to create the first 
versions of placements. It’s an organic, intuitive process.

Visit the All Over Sequins blog for tutorials and a bit about the history of sequins and embellishment.