dottie angel's world

dottie angel from UPPERCASE gallery on Vimeo.


Book launch tonight!

Friday September 30, 6-9pm

Assemble Gallery & Studio
7406 Greenwood Avenue North
Seattle, Washington

(If you can't make it, you can order the book online here.)

The road I'm on…

Tomorrow's my last day at home/work before we all take off (yet again!) for another trip. This time to Seattle to celebrate the launch of dottie angel. I can't believe how quickly the year has gone since Finley, Glen and I first met Tif and her family at Mossy Shed.

When I look back at the 18 months since Finley was born, I can scarcely believe at how much the magazine has grown (let alone my baby boy!)... and that I've also released FOUR books: The Elegant Cockroach, Work/Life 2, A Collection a Day and dottie angel. That's over 1600 pages of content. People often ask "How do you do it?" The answer is simple and difficult at the same time. I just do. Each magazine issue, each book, has its own set of steps. If I just do one thing, then the next, and the next... just keep going and it will get done. Some of the steps are easy and joyful (design, editing, creating), other steps are long, arduous, stressful and not much fun at all (logistics, bills, shipping). But even when the steps seem painfully impossible, I know that if I just push my way through, things will get done. And so even getting one step done in the long process becomes a reward in itself.

Publishing UPPERCASE magazine and creating books is the road that I'm on. I am happy to be on it! Though I am grateful that I started on this path before having a baby. Being the owner of your own business has the benefit of flexibility. My workspace and worktime have been adjustable (for the first year, I designed the magazine, Cockroach, Work/Life 2 and Collection a Day from my basement at odd fits and spurts between feedings, playing and changings.) Glen and I juggle our creative work time with looking after our child; having a supportive partner like Glen makes my work possible. (Glen has been working hard, too—he has finished writing the first draft of his second novel!)

In some ways, I think that I have pushed myself so hard in a creative and business sense because I had a baby. I did not want motherhood to impede my own pursuits and I set out to prove it to myself. My child benefits from a mother who is creatively challenged—and happier for it. Though I would really like to reduce my to-do list (and assign some of those steps to someone else) to free up more time for thinking, musing, planning, playing, making and doing nothing. Indeed, finding that help is a step coming up on my list.

Step one? Spend a lovely few days in Seattle with my great little family, the wonderful Tif and her clan... rest, relax and have a well-deserved vacation.

If you're in the Seattle area this Friday, please do come by Assemble and visit.

A digital mockup of the front of the book launch invitation

(Oh, and out of curiosity I'm also going to check out what "big" publishers do and attend the Design*Sponge book release celebration at Anthropologie the night before.)

A delightful pop-up gallery

Jessie and Tif admire the works / Tif holds a print by Amy Rice

The night before The Creative Connection started, Tif, Jessie and I went to see "Delightful" a pop-up show by Amy Rice and Jennifer Davis. It was aptly named, full of pretty yet interesting paintings, drawings and prints.

Jessie and Jennifer

TCC: Little Big Pants

It was so fun to meet Terra of Little Big Pants at The Creative Connection Marketplace. When she was unpacking her softies, I knew one of her creations would be coming home with me. Although I was torn between her elegant dolls and their stories of love won and lost, I was pursuaded by a little art thief carrying off a mini Van Gogh (my last name, Vangool, is sometimes mistaken for Van Gogh). I'll have to take a better picture of him (he now resides at Art Central, so Finley can play with him when he has to come to work with me.)

Please visit Terra's blog for more images of her beautiful dolls, such as this wonderfully stylish doll with chic mohair-sculpted coif!

TCC: Wendy Addison

My photo of Wendy at The Creative Connection

I had ready about Wendy Addison's business some years ago, I think it was perhaps in a Country Living women entrepreneurs issue... her work, combining letters, vintage imagery, embellishments and some glitter, really stuck with me. I used to stock her gift items by Chronicle Books back when UPPERCASE did retail of other companies' products.

Peruse her iconic glass glitter letters and other products at Tinsel Trading's website:

Yes, just googled... it was indeed this feature in Country Living! Check out her studio space and details. I think the article was from 2006. I remember being so inspired by that particular issue; it came out just a few months after I had started UPPERCASE.

Photos from Country Living

Thanks, Wendy, for the letter F—it will decorate Finley's Christmas tree this year and be a year-long reminder of that spark of inspiration and encouragement I felt many years ago.


TCC: Vintage Notions

It was really nice to meet Amy Barickman, the author of Vintage Notions (a book I had heard lots about and am enjoying reading at last). Amy and I were on the self-publishing panel along with another fabulous Amy: Amy Powers plus Terry Walters and moderator Nancy Soriano. Here's a picture of all of us over on Amy Barickman's blog.


TCC: Photos

Sorry, the website seems to have had some problems loading due to the Creative Connection flickr slideshows I had embedded previously. I've since removed them, so please clear your cache if you're still having difficulties. There's so much I could recap about The Creative Connection—and would have loved to do so earlier—but the week passed since I got home has been gruelling! The work never seems to end; I spent many many days getting the mailing data for UPPERCASE #11 ready to go. I really do need to hire some help!

Light cube, I love you.

I wish I had made this purchase sooner! A table top lighting system for product photography. I'm still working on proper exposures and best compositions, but off to a nice start. The images still need photoshopping for removal of the background, but so much easier than waiting for decent light to filter in through the window...

(Purchase these books here. Or get all four of the most recent books as part of a bundle and save off the cover price and on shipping.)

Breakfast date!

In less than an hour I have a breakfast date with a few hundred people... I will be speaking on a panel for the "VIP Breakfast Panel, Women Entrepreneurs"! (eep!) If you're here at the event, I welcome you to stop by the UPPERCASE and dottie angel table in the marketplace and say hi. I would be happy to answer more of your questions there and am always receptive to your ideas for the magazine.

Here's a classic shot of Tif in our display:

Pitching and slamming

This afternoon, nine hopefuls had the chance to pitch their ideas to a panelist of magazine publishers (including UPPERCASE). There wasn't a lot of slamming, though, we are all too nice for that!

Tif started to set up the display for tomorrow's marketplace.

The summary so far: lots of talking, eating, listening. I'm looking forward to Holly Becker's keynote presentation at dinner shortly. But first I have to open my design files and fix some prepress preflight problems on issue 11. No break for me!


St. Paul

So a mere 24 hours ago I was uploading the final print files for Issue #11 and now I am sitting in a hotel in St. Paul, Minnesota, doing my homework for the start of The Creative Connection tomorrow morning. It is kind of hard to adjust my brain, from being so focused on the final and minute details of the magazine to now have to think outwardly and prepare for an event with apparently 700 attendees!

I have enjoyed my jam-packed 10 hours in St. Paul so far: the hotel is beautiful, I met with Sharon Werner of Werner Design Werks (I've admired her design work for years!), enjoyed wandering the city for a while (though the wind in bitter cold, which doesn't help my ringing ears from a head cold + air travel), visited a gallery show of Jennifer Davis and Amy Rice, and to top it off, dinner with Tif and Jessie followed by a nice chat by the fire. (Alas, no hot chocolate, Tif! You'll have to carry some in a flask.)

I've got my big camera and laptop with me, so I'll blog recaps when I can. But if you want to follow along in real time, I'll be on @uppercasemag on twitter and instagram sending dispatches from the event.

Featured Stockist: Ray Stitch, Islington

I just wanted to share this press release with you... UPPERCASE magazine and the dottie angel book have a new stockist in the UK! The shop looks absolutely marvellous and Tif and I are thrilled to have our book on the shelves (real and virtual) of Ray Stitch. Thank you to Michelle Zimmer for making this happen.

World’s First Haber-café-ry opens in Islington
Official Opening Monday September 19th 2011
Ray-Stitch, a new concept in haberdashery, is opening on Essex Road in Islington. It’s the brainchild of Rachel Hart, a self-confessed “maker of all things”, who felt fabrics and sewing materials weren’t being done justice by existing retail outlets.
When you walk past the row of brightly-upholstered deckchairs into her beautifully-appointed shop you can see what she means. One end of a six-metre-long, solid oak counter works as a coffee-bar specializing in Climpson & Sons coffee, delicious pastries and freshly-made sandwiches, while the other acts as a generous fabric layout and cutting table.
Fabrics from Ray Stitch’s many and varied suppliers fill the whole of one wall and are displayed like precious books rather than on the usual, clunky white metal rollers you see in department stores. There are patterns for things you might actually want to make such as bags, cushions, and cloaks. And at the far end of the shop are all the tools of the trade – glass-headed pins, tailor’s scissors, measuring tape – an extensive range but, again, tastefully displayed.
“I wanted to present textiles in a non-mumsy, non-tacky, non-bland way,” says Rachel, otherwise known as Ray, as in Ray-Stitch. “But most of all I wanted the shop to be comprehensive. It’s a pain if you want to begin a project and can’t get everything in one place, so I aimed to create a one-stop shop. People can pick up a pattern and browse for the fabric, trim, and buttons. But they can also get the useful and technical bits in the way of an old-style haberdashery or a DIY or art shop.”
So how did the haberdashery get combined with a café?
“I think it’s easier to walk into a café than a sewing shop,” says Rachel, “and what could be nicer than browsing the shelves with a hot drink and a snack close to hand?”
Sam Richards runs the café and he’s downstairs making up the sandwiches before the shop opens at 8.30am each day. He’s become a specialist in the art of good coffee and fits in happily between the pins and the patterns.
If you want tips on what to make, however, you’d do well to ask Michelle Zimmer. She left top textile magazine, Selvedge, to join forces with Rachel and is an avid fabric ‘stasher’. “I’ll always buy a metre of nice fabric wherever I go,” she says, confident she’ll have many uses for it “…cushion covers, a skirt, a bag, a needle bag, bunting, or even wrapping paper for a friend’s present.”
A programme of sewing classes will begin in the basement workshop later in September and Rachel and Michelle are confident in their market. The business has been running successfully online for two years. “Our customers are happy to buy fabric on the internet especially if it is well-chosen and well-presented, but as soon as we started talking about a shop it was clear that many would be delighted to view our wares in real life. There’s also an amazing buzz from local people – it’s a proper high street shop, selling proper things and people are interested to see the how the café/haberdashery mix will work.”
And with their tape measures hung round their necks they return to the counter to welcome their first customers.
Ray-Stitch is at 99 Essex Road, London, N1 34P

Today: Carolyn Fisher's new book

Carolyn is celebrating the release of the latest children's book that she illustrated:

You and any kids you know are invited to my Good Night, World launch party!

2pm, Saturday September 10

Monkeyshines Bookstore
113, 2215 - 33rd Ave. SW, Calgary

I'll do a reading and signing, and then we'll have some treats. We'll break out some paper and crayons for kids to make a NEW book of their favorite ways to say good night. If we're still not ready for sleep (after all, it is a bedtime book) we can all go back to my house and jump on the trampoline.

Submit asap! Triangle Trend

Artwork by Lisa Congdon

I've got an unexpected page open in the issue that I'm working on. A backup idea that is being bumped back in is to explore the triangle trend in craft, illustration and product design. So... submit your triangle-adorned work! (Or you can leave some leads to websites in the comment section.) Deadline is Sunday. thanks!

Share the love: Magalerie

Paris-based Issue #10 contributor, Magalerie, has curated a beautiful Etsy treasury inspired by UPPERCASE contributors.

Her photography and typographic arrangements deserve some attention too!

Omar Jaramillo Traverso by Martin Connelly

I am happy to welcome some new contributors to issue #11. Martin Connelly is a writer and videographer living in Newfoundland, and Omar Jaramillo Traverso is a travelling sketch artist. Together they profile a Newfoundland fisherman for issue #11 (more on that later this month). Here's a video that Martin made of Omar sketching a Newfoundland street scene.

Sketching Downtown from Martin Connelly on Vimeo.

Blogshop in NYC!

UPPERCASE is please to be a {small} part of Blogshop, a travelling photoshop + blogging workshop, when they make their next stop in New York City September 24 and 25. I've provided complimentary issues going into the goodie bags for all the participants, to help ignite their creative fires! Check out this gorgeous workspace that they'll be using. wow.

Here's a video from a recent workshop. Looks like too much fun!

B L O G S H O P 2 - Los Angeles from Son of Shark Pig on Vimeo.

Blogshop is run by Bri Emery of designlovefest + photographer Angela Kohler

"BLOGSHOP is is a Photoshop bootcamp. minus the push-ups. It is a full weekend spent stuffing your brain full of things to make your images on your blog unique and eye catching. We teach the basics from scratch as well as some more advanced techniques and then applying them with your own perspective to layouts that you will use when you go back to your own blog. People who have no experience with Photoshop will leave the course with confidence to create layout, prep images for mood boards and collages, retouch skin and color correct images, animate gifs, add textures, borders, type and drawing to their images to make each of their blog posts or other visual materials special. At the end of the first day we will have a portrait session, so on the second day you can work on your own pictures which will be perfect for contributor photos and bio pages. This jump-right-in approach to Photoshop is a great way to demystify the program, and make it another tool to bring with you into the competitive world of visual design."

Collecting: Less than 100g

Tony Xia has started a new blog that celebrates small things such as erasers, stamps and bottlecaps. Head on over to Less than 100g and check it out!

Collecting: Typewriter Tins

Chris from Seattle shares pictures of his typewriter tin collection, displayed with magnets. As most collectors can attest, he started with just one!

"I bought a ribbon tin (unknowingly) several years ago with my daughters at an impromptu "garage" sale underneath Pike Place Market in Seattle. Loved it. Looked it up (big mistake). Found them on eBay (of course), but became enthralled after seeing your flickr collection (beautiful)."

Local talent: Colleen Philippi

Colleen Philippi creates dimensional collages of images, drawings, paintings and artifacts resulting in very engaging objects. She has a show of recent work at Calgary's Newzones Gallery, opening September 10 and on display until October 22. The reception with Colleen is on September 17 from 1-4pm.