Lemonni.... yum!

Lemonni always has such nice things! Designer Annie Chen writes, "I love creating things with my hands. All the paper goods are designed and handmade by me. The whole production – from printing, cutting, folding, assembling, to packaging – happens in my studio. I handmade my textile products as well. The fabrics were printed with eco-friendly, water-based pigment inks. I'm a pattern fanatic. I'm always drawn to bold colours and interesting colour combinations. It's fascinating to me that the same colour can appear quite differently when paired with different colours."


School House Craft Conference

School House Craft is an annual conference (September 27 & 28) in Seattle whose aim is to "school you in the business of craft." Check out the class schedule here. (bonus: registrants will receive a complimentary copy of UPPERCASE at the event.)

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See you at Stash!

I'm looking forward to Inglewood's Night Market tonight! First on my list is going to my favourite yarn store, Stash. From 6 to 9pm, there will be additional fun such as vintage wares, the jewellery of Jennea Frischke and sewn goods by Leave it to Cleaver.

Stash will be offering a 10% discount off of your total purchase all evening long. Store owner Veronica says, "We will also be releasing some of our newest fall and winter products for you to fondle. And there will be giveaways and door prizes. Be there or be square!"

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Beautiful Books by Bari Zaki

UPPERCASE reader Bari Zaki makes these gorgeous books using traditional European and Japanese techniques. In addition to blank books, box-making, she also binds photography portfolios and photo albums.

Bari writes:

I have been a hand-bookbinder for 25 years and so your recent newsletters had a particular resonance with me. My career began with a simple yet intense curiosity; I saw a blank book that was made by hand and it sent my heart into a pitter-patter of delight… How do you do that, I wondered?!  I went in search. Since then I have made literally hundreds of books and have several stacks of them in my home, which have become permanent fixtures.

"Many people say to me that they love my books but they are too special to write in… I hear that a lot in fact. I thought about scribbling on the first page as an ode to making the first mess, so to speak." Whether they are left blank to be admired for their integral beauty of form and construction, or filled with sketches and notes, Bari's books live up to the ultimate goal of any book: to inspire.

Visit Bari's shop to see more. 

Marbling: the "tie-dye" of paper

For the Makers offers creative kits of supplies to make a curated gathering of themed crafts. Their latest offering is named Veritas and inspired by paper marbling. With the kit, you'll make a marbled notebook, marbled pens, a locket as well as an old school felt pennant. Their site offers all the instructions and the kit themselves are a delight to receive—beautifully curated and nicely presented in small kraft boxes of a limited edition. I received of couple of their previous kits recently and look forward to some downtime to immerse myself in assembling and making.


My picks on BRIKA

This silk scarf by Shana Frase pairs well with the colour charts article in this issue.

This silk scarf by Shana Frase pairs well with the colour charts article in this issue.

These bangles are made by artisans in Swaziland, but could be a good idea for older magazines (if you could bear to cut one up!)

These bangles are made by artisans in Swaziland, but could be a good idea for older magazines (if you could bear to cut one up!)

These earrings by Upper Metal Class remind me of the colour wheel motif on the current issue's spine pattern.

These earrings by Upper Metal Class remind me of the colour wheel motif on the current issue's spine pattern.


I've got a guest post up on BRIKA today! Here are some other picks that match up with the current issue. UPPERCASE readers can enjoy 15% off their purchases on BRIKA with the code UPPERCASE15 until September 1, 2014.

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Printing 3d objects with water, oil-based ink and gravity

Kirsi Enkovaara‘s Landscape of Gravity:

Landscape of Gravity was inspired by distorted reflections on a surface of water. The phenomenon that enable to capture this almost invisible movement is oil paint floating on top of water. The technique developed to this projects combines this phenomenon and movement of water effected by gravity. All the objects made for the collection are vessels with a hole in the bottom. The vessels are filled with water and topped with oil paint and drained. This phenomenon of gravity pulling the water down transmits the movement of the water to the surface of the vessel while the water level goes down. After this the vessel is transformed in to a object as the inside of the vessel turn inside out revealing the natural pattern.

Read more on Confessions of a Design Geek and the artist's website.

Making a Tartan with Donna Wilson (and friends!)

Donna Wilson was recently honoured with the task of designing a tartan for Aberdeen, Scotland, the area where she grew up. "Tartan is such an important part of our tradition and heritage, and we should never lose that," she says. "I hope to be able to make a difference to the manufacturers who will be weaving it and create something that will be a lasting symbol of Aberdeenshire.”

Donna worked with schoolchildren to select a palette that reflected the natural beauty of the region. They selected and refined the following colours:

Old Meldrum: A gold/copper inspired by the stills at the Glengarioch Distillery, and as one pupil point out-—it's also the colour of whisky!

Stonehaven: A pinky red seen in Aberdeenshire sunsets, and a colour often spotted at the infamous 'Aunt Betty’s' sweetshop in Stonehaven.

Aboyne: A frosty lichen green found in the Ladywood Forest.

Fraserburgh: A lilac/blue symbolizing the seas and skies around Fraserburgh.

Kintore: A forest green from all the woodlands around Kintore.

Harvest: A barley colour that reminded Donna of the farm where she grew up, and her favourite time of year.

Peterhead: A minty green from the seas and sea spray of Peterhead.

The tartan can be purchased by the yard or as a scarf on Donna's website.

Heather Dahl


Heather Dahl is a ceramicist from Vancouver whom I had the pleasure of meeting quite a few years ago at a Renegade Craft Fair where we were both exhibitors. Her ceramics, known under the name Dahlhaus, are beautifully simple—her designer's eye adds just the right amount of decoration and colour.

We feature Heather's work in Issue #21's Snippets pages where I ask her about the now-iconic rounded stripes that she uses to decorate her vases:

“I had made stripe paintings in art school and at some point translated stripes onto my ceramics. I liked the idea that my design grew vertically from the base of the pot (this references the action of throwing a vessel on the wheel from the bottom up). I was trying to find a solution to how far the pattern would extend on a piece and wanted the end of a stripe to just suddenly stop, but to curve back to the next stripe. I use a lot of masking tape to play with pattern in my work so was cutting different patterns and lining them up on my bottle vase form. The pairing of the curved stripes on the oval bottle vase just seemed like a perfect match!”

Heather's work is available through BRIKA, a curated shopping site that celebrates makers, crafters and quality goods. You can read more about Heather on BRIKA.

UPPERCASE readers can enjoy $10 off BRIKA purchases by using the discount code “UPPERCASE10” on the BRIKA website. (Valid with minimum purchase of $40, expires July 31.) 

The square photos in the post are all from Heather's Instagram. (Make sure you look for her colourful popsicle portraits!)


Saskia Wassing's bright and colourful textile work

Saskia Wassing is a textile artist who lives and works in Toronto, Canada. She attended the Embroidered & Woven Textiles program at the Glasgow School of Art in Scotland. Saskia submitted to our recent open call for submissions “What Does Colour Mean to You?” and we’re pleased to share more of her beautiful work with you today.


Saskia’s unique fabric pieces reflect the work of an extensive traveller. Influences from Britain, Polynesia, New Zealand, Australia, India, and Canada are visible in her colourful creations. 

"Colour means everything to me. It is the most important element in my creative life. I realize that sounds extreme but I love colour. I live and breathe colour and as an artist and designer, colour is the driving force behind all of the work that I produce,” says Saskia. 


"If I had to live and work with only two mediums it would be my fabrics and my threads. Cutting, piecing and embroidering with these wonderful, tactile materials allows me to translate my sketchbook diaries into my personal colourful language so that other people can see and feel colour the way I do. Turquoise and reds, purples and oranges, chartreuse and pink, I am in love with colour and all it’s possibilities. The richly coloured fabrics and threads in my home studio are always yelling out “pick me” when I sit down to work. My past experiences, memories and personal identity are always presenting themselves in vivd colour. Black is not an option in my life or my work. Take a look at my sketchbooks, open my portfolio, come visit my studio, look through my online gallery and colour is everywhere in my work and my life.”

For Saskia's and other colourful musings submitted by our readers, please subscribe here. Issue #22 will be shipping soon!

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the season of handmade

Creativebug is an online source for craft and design video workshops. They have just released a video introducing their June classes with instructors Marisa LynchMaggie PaceElke Bergeron, and Lia Griffith teaching a range of crafts–from how to make a braided leather bracelet, to knitting a pair of baby booties. 

For more information on Creativebug, click here

scrapbooked ephemera items by Mr. Ned

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Mr. Ned (aka Ned Jolliffe) is an illustrator and designer from Oxford, England whose work can be seen on book covers, magazines and theatre posters. He has been compiling a scrapbook for about 10 years in which he pastes his collected ephemera items. "Juxtaposing a new bit or bob in its pages makes me very happy; It's not finished - there's lots of pages blank, and I fear the thing will disintegrate before I complete it,” says Ned.

"It's small, squarish little thing that has grown stout over the years from absorbing little ephemeral treasures as I trudge along the streets of wherever I happen to be at the time. My scrapbook is the one possession I would rescue from the raging flames."

To see more of Mr. Ned’s work, take a look at his portfolio here

a wonderful day at the Heritage Park Festival of Quilts

I thoroughly enjoyed the Heritage Park Festival of Quilts today. Hailed as Western Canada's largest outdoor quilt show and market, quilts were on display throughout the park. Kudos to the organizers for curating the show and displaying each quilt to its best potential (even pairing them with similarly-hued buildings). Two large tents housed more prize-winning quilts as well as vendors from near and far who had excellent selections of quilt fabrics and accessories—and some really great prices, too. It was glorious!

New Craft Coalition Spring Show + Sale

The New Craft Coalition in Calgary is having a Spring Show + Sale on May 23 and 24. 

Here’s a little bit of info from the NCC ladies themselves, "At our core New Craft Coalition is a group of three artists working together to make a difference in our creative community. We are makers, moms, entrepreneurs and firm believers in the power of art, craft and design to change not only our communities, but the world. Our current mission is to bring a carefully curated collection of independently produced, Canadian art, craft and design to the people of Calgary twice annually, with other plans unfolding all the time!"

If you’re one of our Calgary fans, come by and say hi! We will have our current issue plus a selection of books, notebooks and lots of back issues for you to peruse. 

There will be 24 artists selling their latests works, so come down to Festive Hall in Inglewood to support local artisans in UPPERCASE’s hometown. 

Friday, May 23, 2014 4:00pm-9:00pm
Saturday, May 24, 2014 10:00am-6:00pm
Festive Hall, Inglewood 1215 10 AVE SE
Admission is $2 per person

Create.Explore.Discover: uncover your creative spark


Create.Explore.Discover is a warm, creative retreat in Truckee, California where women of all ages and backgrounds gather to uncover, and discover, their creative spark. This October, Sarah Stevenson, an interior designer and mixed media artist from Chicago, will lead participants through a weekend of creativity and learning with instructors Mati McDonough, Anne Weil, Andrea Jenkins and Courtney Cerruti

“No matter your skill–or comfort–level, Create.Explore.Discover is safe space for experimenting and trying out new projects. If you don’t currently identify as a creative individual, you will surprise yourself by the end of the retreat. If creativity is a part of your daily life, you will leave Creat.Explore.Discover energized and brimming with ideas for your next project,” says Sarah. 

Participants are able to choose from 9 different workshops with topics ranging from learning how to make paper flower bouquets to making a patchwork collage.

For more information and registration details click here.

"Before there was Photoshop, there was my Dad"

Our current call for submissions asks “What does colour mean to you?” In response, Naava Katz submitted these images of coloured inks whose beauty lies not only in their vibrant and transparent hues, but in the story of why she possesses the jars:

"Before there was Photoshop, there was my Dad. He had a long career as a commercial retoucher running his own studio in NYC. Art directors sent him their photographs and he would use tiny brushes and special inks to "color correct" their images. He did this all by hand. I grew up watching him work, surrounded by those colours. Now I am an illustrator with a little girl of my own. My Dad recently gave me all the inks he saved from his studio days to use in my art. The dropper caps are worn, but the colours are vibrant. I love when the sun bounces off their glass, like glistening heirlooms.”

The deadline for submissions has been extended until May 8. Submit here and share your colourful stories.

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on the road with Purlin' J's Roving Yarn Company

Kingston, Ontario's Joan Sharpe runs and operates the first and only mobile yarn shop called Purlin' J's Roving Yarn Company. "Think gourmet food truck, only selling yarn instead," says Joan.

Joan drives a bright red yarn truck called "Lil Dorothy," named after Joan's mother who taught her how to knit, throughout Kingston and eastern Ontario parking at fairs, markets, and fibre festivals. The yarn truck was formerly a fire truck and Joan says that it still sports its original red paint and interior fittings. "Customers love its ol-timey graphics as well as the selection of yarns and other fascinating fibre paraphernalia found on board." 

Joan and Lil' Dorothy will be parked at the Spring Chicken Craft Fair on May 4, and at Anwyn Studio on May 17 & 18. 

You can find out where Lil' Dorothy will be next by visiting the Purlin' J's Roving Yarn Company website, or by following Joan on twitter!


quick tip: Make your colours portable


Until May 8—we extended the deadline!—we’re asking you to show us your colours. What are the colourful tools you use to enhance your creativity? From paint palettes to pigments, we want to know what makes your mediums of colour special to you. 

Cleo Papanikolas, a painter and illustrator from California, sent us this quick tip on how to take your colours with you.

"Keep a little colour in your pocket wherever you go. Use tube paints of watercolour or gauche. Paint a spot of each colour on a piece of card stock. Paint a thick layer, but not so thick that it will crack when it dries. Staple a piece of waxed paper to the card as a coversheet. You can re-wet the paint with water and highlight your sketches with a little colour."  

Be sure to tell us what colour means to you by May 8, and you could be featured in the next issue of UPPERCASE magazine. Click here to send us your submission! 

inspiring how-to videos by our friends at Creativebug

Earlier this year, I had the chance to visit the Creativebug headquarters in San Francisco. Kelly Wilkinson is the editorial director and a co-founder of this subscription-based online video workshop service. Over a lovely outdoor lunch on a (rare) sunny January afternoon, we had the chance to share our content wish lists and compare notes. Not surprisingly, we are fans of quite a few of the same people and things—and we thought that our respective customers might be, too.

There are many videos on Creativebug that relate to UPPERCASE in one way or another. Molly Hatch, for example is the cover artist of our current issue and through a Creativebug video you can learn how to apply your designs to ceramics and glassware.

I invite you to watch the beautifully produced free preview videos on the Creativebug affiliate page that I've curated specifically for UPPERCASE. If you enjoy learning new crafts or are inspired by watching others create, please click through the page links and sign up for a membership.

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Nutmegger Workshop sees making signs as an art form

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.