perfectly bound


Issue 22 is just about finished! Here are shots today by Chris Young from The Prolific Group of UPPERCASE in the bindery. For the next few days, you can still subscribe starting with issue 21 (spring). You'll get both 21 and 22 bundled and mailed to you (that's 232 pages of beautiful design and great content!) with issue 23 out in October and issue 24 in January.


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!)


type tuesday: painterly type


Pawel Nolbert has created these intriguing paint-splattered sculptural illustrations out of a combination of real paint on acetate and digital manipulation. Clever!

{ via Type Worship }

International Typewriter Day: book cover reveal!

On this special day, I am happy to finally reveal the cover of The Typewriter: a Graphic History of the Beloved Machine. It's International Typewriter Day, commemorating this day in 1868 that Christopher Latham Sholes was granted a patent for his invention. 

When I embarked on this project two years ago, I had no idea that the book would take so long to make. Epic floods, moving offices, personnel changes, working on the magazine and so on... there have been many obstacles. During that time, typewriters have only gotten older and more interesting! (And my collection of artifacts and vintage ads has grown considerably.)

The book will be heading to print in late summer. Please preorder yours in the shop. Thanks!

Calligraphy Auditions

The summer issue is freshly printed, but I'm busy working on the next one! In contrast to the colour issue I've just completed, issue #23 (October) will be monochromatic with a special focus on calligraphy. 

I have to admit that I've devised this call for submissions so that I can have the pleasure of receiving your amazing examples of calligraphy... The submissions for "Calligraphy Auditions" are in two parts. Your digital submission (a bit about yourself, photos of you, your studio and work) PLUS a mailed-in example of your work showing off your love of the art of calligraphy. Certainly one of the most endearing aspect of calligraphy, particularly in correspondence, is the joy that a hand-lettered message provides its recipient. I look forward to receiving your submissions and appreciating them in person!

Please read the complete details on the submission page.


Prints & Ink


Melanie Yugo is the creative director of Spins & Needles, a record label and screenprinting studio in Ottawa. She and her partner Jason Pelletier have an multi-disciplinary event happening this weekend that sounds interesting. I'll let Melanie do the talking:

"We've been subscribers of UPPERCASE Magazine for a couple years now and have discovered the work of lots of emerging and established artists in print and design because of it. Also love that you're a Canadian bringing your perspective to the print world! 

Prints & Inks is a new celebration of the diverse field of print and graphic arts in Canada's capital. This weekend-long show will feature the work of exciting Canadian talent in print, illustration and design, alongside a pop-up shop, hands-on print activities, and a late-night art party. It takes place from June 20-22, 2014.

It'll be like art + design show meets DJ party meets interactive print workshop. 

Our motivation was to bring together the work of amazing Canadian talent from across the country in the capital. Many are showing here for the first time. It's also a space for people to learn more about these artists as well as creative processes like printmaking and illustration. This is our second instalment, and we are aiming to make it an annual event.

More about us: We're a music + making duo who produce events, including DIY + DJ parties, workshops, art shows, installations, and also run an indie record label. We're based in Ottawa but travel to different cities during the year for events."

Check out the Spins & Needles blog for studio tours and interviews with printmakers like Jenn Kitagawa, an Alberta College of Art & Design graduate whose work has appeared in UPPERCASE.

And, while we're on the topic, I'm working on printmaking as a theme for a forthcoming issue of UPPERCASE magazine, so if you'd like to share your work with me, please submit here.


inside the design

Issue 22 of UPPERCASE magazine is inspired by colour. With such a broad topic, I had to find a way to tackle it within one issue.

Like many graphic designers, I thrive on constraints. So I gave myself some rules to follow: 1) The issue would be organized Roy-G-Biv-style, going from red at the front of the book through to violet at the last page. 2) The arrangement of the content and structure of the magazine would stay the same as any other issue of UPPERCASE. For example, the Beginnings column is the first few pages of the magazine and would therefore feature predominantly red imagery. I set out to find an artist whose work uses a lot of red: Canadian painter Janet Hill has been in my inspiration file for years and her paintings are punctuated with ruby accents. At the other end of the spectrum, I described the concept to longtime contributor Andrea Jenkins, who wrote a musing on her love/hate relationship with the colour purple. With these guidelines in place, I assigned and curated content—sharing my art-directed rainbow concept with our contributors and featured artists along the way.

I am so grateful to all the amazing contributors and featured artists who shared my colourful vision for this summer issue and turned in some spectacular work. UPPERCASE issue #22 will be released July 1. 

Subscribe here.

In Tags

Why Do I Study Physics?

Purple, Printed

UPPERCASE issue #22 is printed! But of course, that doesn't mean it is quite done... next up is a few days for the printed stacks of paper to dry before it is off to the bindery. Below is a video I made when I attended a press check for issue #16; it lists all the steps that follow the print run.

On Monday I'll be sending the subscriber list to the shipping department for mail prep, so if you renew or subscribe over the weekend, you'll be part of the first wave of mailing. The magazine is literally sent from the printer directly to you!

Click here to subscribe. Thanks!


Jason Taylor's Everyday Objects

Jason Taylor was featured in Issue #21, and has an exhibition this week at The Harley Gallery from June 11 to August 10, 2014. 

Here is an excerpt from Fun with Function written by Vinciane de Pape

Jason Taylor is an established, UK-based artist and industrial designer whose innovative work plays with the form and function of readymade objects. His line of lighting and furniture designs has been sold internationally and exhibited in museums and art galleries around the world. Jason brings an artistic sensibility to his design process and enjoys the restrictions and challenges of creating unconventional products inspired by mundane objects.

Finding early on that he enjoyed manipulating and inventing simple designs from objects like tin cans, Jason pursued an education in design to follow his passion for experimentation and to further develop his skill set.

“I chose to do a 3D design course because of the techniques I could learn in different materials, but the focus was mainly on functional objects,” he explains. “An object would become my starting point and I developed different paths I could go down, such as developing a different function for it or remaking it in a different material.”

Somewhat frustrated with the compromises required by the commercial side of product design, Jason decided to go back to what he does best—experimenting with objects. This is when his Everyday Objects project came to life.

“I learned with a previous project that I could be more productive than I thought, and I also enjoyed the sculptural side,” Jason describes. “But what would be the reason and how could I make myself do it? I had seen other people do everyday photography projects and then thought of the double meaning of ‘everyday objects’ and I had to go for it.”

To read the full article about Jason Taylor in Issue #21, click here.

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!

In , Tags

OK to print (overcoming my fear)

Even after all this time, the process of publishing a quarterly magazine is hardly routine… 

I start each issue from nothing but an inkling of what it might become. Creating a new issue challenges me to see how I can take something so broadly stated as being “creative and curious” and focus it into something that is very “UPPERCASE”. 

I’m the publisher, editor and designer of UPPERCASE, so every headline, photo and minute detail has been filtered through my brain and my eyes… but by the time an issue is designed and off to print my hope is that it has become something greater than my personal expression. Each issue takes on its own personality through the content it carries. For example, issue #21 and its Surface Pattern Design Guide collected surface patterns from 100 different artists and so that issue is bursting with visual stimuli. Issue #20 explored a more abstract notion of broadcasting one’s ideas, so it was thoughtful and more typographic. 

The concept for issue #22 is one I’ve had in my mind for quite some time, but I was afraid to take it on. I wasn’t sure if my skills as art director and editor were good enough. Colour is probably the single most inspiring element for creatives in design, illustration and craft… it was overwhelming to know where to begin! Realizing that there’s never a better time than the present to push through self doubt, I decided that this would be the year to tackle the colour issue.

Like many graphic designers, I thrive on constraints. So I gave myself some rules to follow: 1) The issue would be organized Roy-G-Biv-style, going from red at the front of the book through to violet at the last page. 2) The arrangement of the content and structure of the magazine would stay the same as any other issue of UPPERCASE. 

With these guidelines in place, I assigned and curated content—sharing my art-directed rainbow concept with our contributors and featured artists along the way. I am so grateful to all the amazing contributors and featured artists who shared my colourful vision for this summer issue and turned in some spectacular work. Over the next few weeks, I'll be sharing more about the design process and I'm working on a video as well.

Now that this issue is off to the printer, the bit of time between signing off on the proofs and receiving the printed results is just long enough for me to separate myself from the design… by the time I hold this issue in my hands for the first time as a physical object and flip through its spectrum of stories, it will have become something completely new, something outside of my head, something tangible made with ink on paper… something ready to be sent off into the world and find a home with you.


The mailing data for this issue will be finalized on Monday, so subscribe right away to be on the list! Use the code "brightsummer" for $10 off a subscription or renewal this week. 


Type Tuesday: Letraset Type Transfer

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

featured stockist: The Creatory

The Creatory was founded by Gill Brooks and Romana Toson in Sydney, Australia. "Long time friends, we both come from a designer/maker background, so we wanted to create a space where we could indulge our love of 'handmade' and share it with a wider community. Our shop is very much a reflection of who we are and what we love,” say the duo. 

At The Creatory, you can find a wide variety of handmade pieces from artisans in Sydney, Australia, and abroad. 

printmaker & designer Fanny Shorter

Fanny Shorter is a printmaker and designer who grew up in country town of Winchester, UK. Fanny is inspired by the intricacies of flowers and nature, and you can see her interest flowing through her work.  

“Nature’s never just attractive,” says Fanny. “There’s always something else going on. There’s a reason why a plant looks like it does. I like combing the fact that its aesthetically attractive with the fact that its interesting.” 

Fanny was trained as an illustrator at Brighton University, and she uses ethically sourced materials and water-based inks on all of her creations.  

Her work can be found on furnishings, stationery and accessories in her online shop

thank you for the thank you!

The open calls for submission have been so well-received lately — thank you for all your great contributions to #22. Now that this issue is "put to bed" (ie off to the printer), I emailed everyone who submitted and today I got this lovely photo back from Aunyarat Watanabe, an illustrator in Japan who was also a runner-up in the recent They Draw and Travel contest.

With so many great submissions and limited space in the magazine, I couldn't include everything. But I will share more here on the blog in the weeks to come. And the printer proofs are coming by courier on Monday, so I'll share pics of those on Instagram.

Would you like a nice pile of back issues, like Aunyarat has? You can now purchase our entire collection of available issues in our Back Issue Collection. And if you want to go all-in with UPPERCASE, add a subscription starting with #22 in there as well! The code "brightsummer" can be used for $10 off.

green graffiti & commuting beakerheads

photo by Neil Zeller 

photo by Neil Zeller 

Beakerhead is a new annual event held in Calgary each September. For 5 days, Calgary “turns into a giant laboratory” where Beakerhead visitors are entertained with public performances, contraptions built in people’s backyards, ingenuity competitions, and engineered art. Last year was Beakerhead’s first year and it was met with open arms by excited event-goers. "On the surface, Beakerhead looks like a week of spectacular fun every September. But it’s more than a schedule of mesmerizing events: it’s a time and place where engineers show their creative sides, and artists get technical, where science hits the street, and everyone gets ingenious,” say organizers. 

On May 23, Beakerhead organizers wanted to amp up excitement for Beakerhead 2014, so they worked with the City of Calgary and artist Michael Mateyko and Hans Thiessen, also known as Komboh, to develop “green graffiti” to paint on a Calgary underpass. The “green graffiti” is made of eco-chalk and is entirely environmentally friendly from the application to removal. 

Michael Mateyko is a Work/Life 3 participant and works and lives here in Calgary. I asked Michael a few questions about his participation with Beakerhead. 

photo by Penny Breedon

photo by Penny Breedon

What was your involvement with the "green graffiti" painted downtown? What was your role?

I came up with the commuting beakerhead(s) and designed the characters with feedback from the whole Beakerhead crew.

Who initially asked you and Hans for your help, and how did they know that you would be the right people to contact to help with this project? 

I was contacted out of the blue last year by Hanan Chebib, who is the Director of Creative Experiences over at Beakerhead. She somehow ended up with a poster I made and was pretty stoked on working with us on something. Our interests align pretty well; art, science, engineering, and trying to get people interested in the intersection between those three.

Had you heard of this "green graffiti" before you were approached to help? 

Not really. Originally the idea was to do a bit of pressure-washed reverse graffiti, but unfortunately (?) Calgary's underpasses are way too clean for that.

What do you enjoy about Beakerhead? What is your favourite "event" that you have attended? 

I actually didn't even get the chance to attend last year, but I'm definitely making my way down for 2014. I dig Beakerhead because it's really all about encouraging what by all accounts is a pretty conservative town to let loose and admit that we're all actually artists and engineers on the inside.

Did you attend the initial "green graffiti" event while the figures were being painted? If so, what was the experience like? What were passersby's
reactions to the graffiti? 

It was all being put up overnight, I believe around midnight or thereabouts. I had to do a TV interview at 5 in the morning the next day so I was trying to get as much sleep as I reasonably could and wasn't there for the install. During the photo shoot with the Mayor later the same day there was a pretty good crowd going and everyone seemed pretty pumped about it all. I received a lot of really positive comments from people that were just excited to see some public art that was a little weirder than usual. Also, Mayor Nenshi did his best to psychoanalyze each character in turn, so that was pretty fun too.

photo by Neil Zeller 

photo by Neil Zeller 

In , Tags

family snapshots of yesteryear by Rihannon Adam

Rihannon Adam is an artist who lives and works in London, England. She attended Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, and also the University of Cambridge. She recently released her new book called Dreamlands / Wastelands, a collection of photographs taken on expired Polaroid film in the resort towns of Margate and Benidorm.

"I’ve always been interested in 'the holiday destination', partly down to my unusual upbringing aboard our boat, Jannes. While sailing, we spent a lot of time in coastal holiday locations stocking up on supplies. Most people that we met there assumed we were on holiday, like them, rather than our nomadic existence being a lifestyle choice," says Rihannon in her book.

Here is an excerpt written by Rihannon from Dreamlands / Wastelands

"MARGATE Mar – Gate. Gateway to the sea. Though I hated living on our boat, I still love the sea and am always drawn back to it. It also hard to avoid when living in the UK – drive in any direction and you eventually hit water.

Somehow Britishness relates to being an Island nation, having an indefatigable spirit, and being determined to make the best of what we have. There is nothing more British than standing on a beach in gale force winds with your toes buried in cold clammy sand having a ‘good time’. Or sitting in a parked car with a thermos, the windscreen wipers brushing away the tears of another summer downpour.

Margate is a place that most of us have heard of. It is the poster child British seaside town, its name synonymous with childhood memories of swimming in water that's just a bit too cold, of buckets and spades, ice cream, deck chairs and donkeys. Its history riddled with familiar pairs: mods and rockers, Chas and Dave, Del Boy and Rodney, highs and lows, boom and bust. We all have our own Margate – you can find one on every British coast.

This project explores what is beautiful about Margate - then, and now. Shot entirely with expired Polaroid film echoing family snapshots of yesteryear, these pictures show what a good old-fashioned British holiday resort looks like on the cusp of resurgence. Polaroids imbue a cultural cellular memory and nostalgia for all of the millions of childhood moments spent ‘beside the seaside, beside the sea’.

The film is now extremely expired causing imperfections, bearing resemblance to the scars of passing time and memories transforming, blurring the boundaries between past and present. These effects also mirror the cracks and decay that permeate the walls of every British resort town. These photographs are my memories, your memories, our memories.

Even after a recession, a change in taste, and the advent of cheap flights and package holidays abroad, Margate is still beautiful when the sun shines." 

For more information on Dreamlands / Wastelands, click here

inky hands at the Letterpress Academy

Saint Gertrude Letterpress Academy is a letterpress workshop in Melbourne, Australia that designs and prints letterpress ephemera on their 100-year-old platen affectionately named Gordon. Saint Gertrude is now offering hands-on letterpress classes. 


"Letterpress Academy is a new open access workshop offering participants the chance to learn more about the process of modern letterpress printing," says founder and Creative Director Amy Constable

The classes are open to professional designers and beginners alike. To get your hands dirty (and inky) with Saint Gertrude, click here