If you'd like your studio to be featured here, in my newsletter or in the print magazine, please submit your photos here. Thanks! This is a colourful glimpse into Debi Adams' workspace. Let's hear more from her:
"I'm Debi Adams and I have been creating since about the 7th grade. Although I went to college to be a teacher, art has always been and continues to be my passion. It is also my occupation, having worked in some form of the industry for nearly 35 years. Born and raised in Southern California, with my children grown and gone, I relocated to Phoenix to work at another art-based company. Adjusting to living in an apartment (from living in a home) has had it's challenges in creating a do-able workspace. However, where there is a will there is a way and, I made this work for me. Of course, I am a MAJOR junker and bargain hunter and enjoy looking for unique items to decorate or organize my art room. Very few items have come from a store with the exception of the drawers and they will be replaced as soon as I found some vintage piece that I can't live without and will work. The pieces that embellish my space are inspirational. I love to find the story behind each one, if possible. Just recently I have begun to add my own art to my corner of the room, which is my dining room by the way. If there was one word to describe my art or my style it would be eclectic. I love it all and feel so fortunate to GET to do what I love everyday."
Thank you to Chris Young and all the fine Press Operators at The Prolific Group in Winnipeg. "We'll be sending the cover off for be clear gloss foil stamping," says Chris. "And early next week we'll be folding the interior and later in the week we should be on the binder. Things are moving along very nicely indeed."
Peeps are a free service for subscribers of the magazine. Have you just launched your portfolio? Maybe UPPERCASE readers would love your shop with a unique offer? Are you starting a special project that seeks collaboration? Have a special message for a fellow reader? A friendly word of advice to share? That's what UPPERCASE peeps are for!
Please compose a thoughtful message to share with the UPPERCASE community. The Peep form is open now and will remain open until I've received 30 Peeps or it's Friday.
It's that time again... time to reveal the next cover of UPPERCASE !!!
Do you love buttons as much as I do? For me, loose buttons are nostalgic but also incredibly inspiring as I imagine the perfect project for each little gem. This is an assortment of vintage bakelite, casein and celluloid buttons that I've collected. I'm planning to print a gloss foil on the buttons to really make them shiny and to contrast with the uncoated stock of the cover.
The April/May/June issue explores how things glossy and plastic inspire our creativity. There are articles about vintage bakelite, fabric made from plastic, incredible (eco-conscious) projects by UPPERCASE readers (plarn = plastic yarn!) as well articles on using the newest technology in recycling for creating your own plastic projects. Another related theme is heat and fire, such as welding, lampwork, encaustics, glassblowing, ceramics and more. Fellow graphic designers, craftspeople and artists also submitted their stories about how to find a balance between creation and consumption with creative responsibility.
I'm very grateful to welcome back Appleton Coated as our paper partner—they are providing coated paper for the reader submissions section of this issue!
I hope you'll really take a shine to this new issue.
(Sorry, couldn't resist that pun. I promise to use it only once.)
Please subscribe, renew and/or purchase a gift subscription! Your subscription keeps UPPERCASE magazine going, year after year. For over 8 years! What!? Wow! That's kind of amazing in independent publishing.
The Creative Boost
UPPERCASE Subscription Draw
Last year, I did a draw for 100 complimentary subscriptions for folks in challenging circumstances. Over 740 people entered. (Read about it here and here. This also prompted me to list sponsored subscriptions in the shop, so that generous folks can sponsor fellow UPPERCASE readers experiencing tough times. So far, 28 subscriptions have been sponsored! Thank you!)
I know from your stories that reading UPPERCASE can be uplifting and motivating and, even, life-changing for some. Subscribing to the magazine is a considerable financial investment ($80 in North America and $120 everywhere else) and for some readers, that takes it out of reach.
Perhaps you're going through a tough time financially, medically, emotionally... there are many factors that can get in the way of purchasing a subscription. If you truly cannot afford a subscription due to such circumstances and this is what has prevented you from becoming a subscriber, please enter your confidential information below and you'll be entered into the draw for one of 100 free subscriptions.
Please note that for the purposes of this draw, simply being a student isn't a qualifying situation. Please ask your school's library to subscribe for you and your classmates. Thank you for understanding.
Please use the honour system — I trust that you are submitting your name because this is the only way you can access an UPPERCASE subscription. Please enter only once, otherwise you will be disqualified.
I will be drawing 100 free subscriptions on February 28.
Thank you to everyone who came out to the meetup last Wednesday at Brooklyn General Store! It was great to meet many UPPERCASE subscribers in person and put some faces to people I enjoy following on Instagram. Thank you to Catherine Clark for hosting this lovely event.
There are only a handful of UPPERCASE stockists in the city. One of them is The Ink Pad, a unique shop specializing in rubber stamps, scrapbooking and paper arts. Located on 37th Seventh Avenue at the corner of 13th Street, the shop has been in Greenwich Village for over 18 years.
Thank you, Anna, for carrying UPPERCASE in your shop! If you're not in NYC, you can shop The Ink Pad online, too.
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 1, 5-7PM
update: please RSVP here
I'm looking forward to spending time in Catherine Clark's beautiful shop, Brooklyn General. This is the perfect venue for a little UPPERCASE gathering. Please drop by and join us for a browse (yarn, fabric, tools, books and creative supplies!) and refreshments. If you have something you'd like to show me for consideration for the magazine, bring it along and we'll have an informal show and tell. We'll have the Feed Sacks book, the new issue and I'll bring a few goodies in my suitcase...
From their website:
"Brooklyn General Store resides tucked away on a sweet block West of the Carroll Gardens and Cobble Hill neighbourhoods. At the north end of Red Hook, this commercial block on Union Street used to be a thriving shopping block for all types of foods and goods. Brooklyn General’s home within the Old Frank’s Department Store is a throw back to that era, with its preserved floor to ceiling shelves, rolling ladders and classic old wooden floors. The vintage interior is not reproduced, just uncovered, cleaned and painted. If the original shelving isn’t enough to hold all the goods, vintage rolling shoe racks, stacks of old blueberry boxes, vintage pie safes, vintage hardware displays and shelving built from reclaimed wood house the rest."
The Brooklyn General instagram is nice to follow!
Jennifer Moore started out as an illustrator. Now she owns her own organic fabric company. "I loved art as a kid, but never really believed I would do it as a career. I have a clear memory of myself in a fourth-grade art class, working on a lush purple-and-blue mandala, and wondering if I could figure out a way to do that for a job. I decided that was ridiculous—no one would ever pay anyone to draw pretty patterns—so I took a winding path to finally doing this as a career."Read More
Kimberly Ellen Hall and Justin Hardison are the creative company, Nottene (pronounced [nuh-ten-uh]). Nottene was originally featured in the first edition of the Surface Pattern Design Guide. Since then, they've developed a line of wallpapers.
"Our papers are screen printed by hand in New York, and feature the signature and delicate motifs which are a continuation of the our interest in finding patterns in the small details of everyday life," says the pair.
I received their catalogue in the mail recently—though not in time to include it in issue 32 which was already designed at that point. But I thought I'd share a flip-through of it with you here. The inclusion of the actual samples shows how beautiful the wallpapers are—velvety and satisfyingly matte with hits of metallic.
There's more to discover at Nottene.
With the Second Edition of the Surface Pattern Design Guide included in the current issue, I thought it would be interesting to revisit some of the artists featured in the first edition of the guide which was published in spring of 2014 as part of issue 21 (sold out).
"After being featured in the 2014 Surface Pattern Design Guide I went on to submit my work to the West Elm in Charlotte, North Carolina," says Shannon Newlin. "They gave me the opportunity to sell my art in a month long art show and also become a West Elm LOCAL artist. In addition, I began licensing my work to manufacturers as well as annually participating in several indie art/craft shows. The art pieces shown here are just a few favourites from these shows."
"There have been several wonderful career opportunities since being featured in the 2014 issue." At the moment, Shannon is particularly excited: "I will have my first fabric line with FreeSpirit this spring!! It will be shown at the May 2017 Quilt Market. I am really looking forward to sharing this vibrant collection soon!"
The first edition is available as a free download over here.
Creativity has a societal and environmental impact. The processes and materials that we use in our art, along with our creative decisions, affect the world around us.
"What advice or recommendations do you have for being a responsible creative?" This is the question I ask readers in the open call for submissions for the spring issue of UPPERCASE. (The open call closes at midnight MT today, January 16.)
Nicole LaRue of Small Made Goods replies:
"I think we ought to leave room to take on projects that we are fiercely passionate about—ones that pull at our hearts and propel us to take action."
Nicole is the designer of the logo for this Saturday's Women's March. "I’m absolutely proud to have created the official Women’s March logo," she writes on her blog. "A logo that conveys diversity and women standing together and speaking out in a united voice—a voice that calls for solidarity, demands equality and confronts injustice."
"I'm not always the most brilliant wordsmith," says Nicole, "so I can never claim to have the art of words… so instead of protesting with words, I protest with my art and with my design. And, sometimes this can be just as powerful."
There are 100 portfolios presented in the Surface Pattern Design Guide, 2nd edition (published in the current issue #32). They were selected from 744 submissions from readers worldwide who represent a variety of styles and levels of experience—from students to seasoned professionals. Though there are plenty of digitally-created patterns, there are also artists who use more hands-on methods like linocut, mono-printing or textile manipulations.
Bessie Smith Moulton of Babayaga Exquisites is a multimedia artist who has concentrated on the book arts for the past two decades, although her love of design extends to all materials. The last few years she has explored textiles and surface design. Her fabric designs are derived from naturally dyed plant material or various printing techniques, sometimes enhanced with embroidery or by collaging fabric patterns.
Bessie tells us more about her work and amazing studio on stilts:
I retired from my work as a graphic designer a decade ago and finally have been doing the artwork I have always wanted to do, making artist's books. Also, by combining my living situation with that of my longtime partner, I was able to build a studio of my dreams. Previously, I did my art and design work in nooks and crannies, on the dining room table, or in spare rooms.
Artists can work wherever they are, under any conditions. My studio is a bonus. It's large enough to hold workshops or studio visits. It is like a bird's nest built on stilts, over a pond, surrounded by trees and nature. There is a small Japanese garden below. I have named it Baba Yaga after the witch in the Russian fairytale who lives in a chicken coop, which moves around on chicken legs.
It is a place where I can go to be contemplative, study, or find inspiration. It is a comfortable place with all the materials at hand to do textile work, monoprinting, collage or multimedia that go into making artist’s books.
I have an area in the basement of the house where I do printmaking, make paper, prepare cyanotypes and other crafts such as pottery, metal and glass work.
Joseph Campbell said it best, ”To have a sacred place is an absolute necessity…a place where you can simply experience and bring forth what you are and what you might be… a place of creative incubation.”
For 99 other profiles of Surface Pattern Designers, pick up the current issue of UPPERCASE magazine.
Do you use plastics, resins or similar materials in your art, craft and design projects? Do you make things that are shiny and glossy? Share your projects for possible inclusion in the April/May/June 2017 issue of UPPERCASE magazine. The submission form is open until January 16.
This colourful work was submitted by Jo Chambers of Studio Legohead.
Jo writes, "From a love of collage and colour came these Wonky Floral Brooches. There are four in the collection and based around my floral and foliage obsession."
Each brooch is handmade from acrylic and wood and comes in its own limited edition hand-painted gift box.
Looking at Jo's artwork and surface pattern designs, you can see how she has taken recurring motifs and translated them into dimensional objects.
"Through series of collage experiments documented via Instagram," says Jo, "it led me to make some wearable cutouts."
I love the exuberance and confidence of Jo's art! Visit her Etsy shop for brooches, art prints and more.
I'm pleased to share with you the title page for the Surface Pattern Design Guide, 2nd edition, illustrated by Sarah Golden. For an assignment in Lilla Rogers’ Make Art That Sells illustration course, students designed the opening title page to this guide. There were many outstanding designs to choose from! Sarah Golden’s submission was selected for her simple botanical motifs, playful composition and integrated handlettering—a great example of current styles in surface pattern.
Sarah Golden is an artist and fabric designer living in Sacramento, California. Block printing and gouache are her favourite mediums to work with. She creates a modern and handmade style through carving and through hand printing on paper and fabric, along with her use of colour. A love for Scandinavian design, vintage fabrics and geometrics inspire her work. Sarah’s first fabric collection for Andover Fabrics comes out in February 2017.
The Surface Pattern Design Guide is part of issue 32. Subscribe today!
Happy New Year!
I hope you had a lovely holiday and are feeling rested and ready for the year ahead.
As I mentioned in my newsletter today, one of my goals for 2016 was to revamp this website. It's the digital window into what UPPERCASE is all about and very often the first in-depth experience someone will have with the magazine before they subscribe or see a copy in person. The site really needed some focus and a much stronger home page. And in the backend, I've had my site hosted with Squarespace for a decade (!!!) and the navigation and organization was getting out of hand.
I've been thinking about the redesign for months—gathering ideas, jotting notes, saving urls on websites that I like, musing about it, wishing it would magically get done by itself... but my print projects always necessarily take the forefront of my to-do list. And readers will know that I put out a LOT of pages in 2016. Four magazine issues and the 544-page Feed Sacks book!
With my workload done for the holidays and some mental space to tackle a medium that's quite a bit different than print, I started fleshing out the site redesign. I selected a new Squarespace template (I'm using Five) and got the basic framework ready. Full screen video on the home page has been on my wish list for years and I'm happy that there's the support to make that very easy to do now. With issue 32 fresh from the printer, I shot three different videos, trying to get the best possible result. I'm still not 100% satisfied with the video on the home page, but I'm sure I'll improve it with each subsequent issue. I'm a learn-by-doing sort of person!
After a very pleasant and mostly technology-free Christmas, on New Year's Eve—in that concentrated flurried feeling of having to get everything clean, sorted and ready for the change of the calendar—I dove in to the redesign. (Do you feel like that on New Year's Eve? I even felt compelled to clean the inside of my microwave. And I enjoyed doing it!)
The new design went live yesterday and there are still some elements to smooth out and improve upon, particularly on the blog page and some typographic elements... but the best thing about it is how this online renovation makes me feel enthusiastic and energized about the work I'll be doing in the coming year. A fresh new home for the new year.
coming up next
There are two new volumes in the Encyclopedia of Inspiration in progress: Botanica and Stitch•illo will be coming your way in the first half of the year. (You can still order the set and Feed Sacks will ship right away or you can purchase the books individually.) I have more plans and projects that I look forward to sharing with you soon.
be published in uppercase
Want to published in the spring issue? The open calls for submissions are posted and submissions are due January 16.
The 100 designers featured in the forthcoming issue 32 were selected from 788 submissions entered into the Surface Pattern Design Guide call for entries. Submitters without past or current fabric licensing arrangements were also eligible to enter into the UPPERCASE + Windham Fabrics New Designer Competition. Of these entries, I further whittled the selections down to 20 artists whose portfolios represented a variety of styles and personalities. From there, Mickey Krueger, Laura Jaquinto and the team at Windham Fabrics selected a winner who will receive a licensing deal with Windham Fabrics for their own fabric collection.
After considerable review of the artists’ submissions and online portfolios, Laura Jaquinto says, “Ultimately, we picked Mia Whittemore. Her variations in her illustrative style as well as her sense of colour was what sold us on her work. I think she nailed it in her brief bio: ‘Mia’s hope for her patterns is that they bring colour and joy to everyday life.’”
Thank you to everyone who came to the studio on Sunday, November 27 to celebrate the arrival of Feed Sacks: the Colourful History of a Frugal Fabric written by Linzee Kull McCray. All pre-ordered books have been sent out now—it is exciting to see them starting to arrive around the world! (If you didn't pre-order, the book is shipping from our fulfillment warehouses, but without the limited edition cloth sacks packaging.)