Calling Card: A Gathering of Stitches

A Gathering of Stitches is offering some amazing retreats next year! Participants will have the opportunity to work intimately with some really talented and generous teachers in 2015. 

Sherri Lynn Wood of Daintytime will be spending two intensive days teaching a small group to quilt with curves, April 30 and May 1, using the extensive facilities of AGOS. Wood’s first book, The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters will be published by STC Craft in March of 2015.

In July, Amy Butler and Heather Jones will lead a small group through their colour stories, and how to translate them into quilts. This exclusive retreat will take place at the luxurious Point Lookout resort in Northport, Maine.

The dynamic trio of Carolyn Friedlander, Chawne Kimber and Rebecca Ringquist take up residence at the Medomak Retreat centre in Washington, ME, in August, for a long Slow Stitching weekend. Slow down and connect to needle and thread or floss in a summer camp setting with a small community of stitchers.

For the garment sewists, Lauren Taylor of LLADYBIRD will spend four days exploring the joys of making clothing at AGOS. Start the Fall with new skills for creating your very own handmade wardrobe at this September workshop.

Thank you to Samantha Lindgren for her support of UPPERCASE magazine through the purchase of this Calling Card ad.

$10 back issues sale extended

Hi there!

Thanks for all your orders through the weekend and Monday. Since I'm still hearing from folks with questions or who may wish to return to their carts, the sale price on back issues will continue until midnight December 2 MST. If you've just heard about the back issues sale, at $10 apiece, it is a great way to catch up with all things UPPERCASE.

For those of you on my newsletter list, I won't be sending a newsletter today since I sent the "Make Something Monday" one yesterday. I will be sending out renewal notices, though, to subscribers whose subscriptions have lapsed or will be ending soon. 

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Happy Thanksgiving, American friends!

(I'm enjoying seeing all the handlettered b+w messages in my Instagram feed today!)


It's the next cover!

It is my great pleasure to unveil the cover of the next issue! Featuring a collage by Andrea D'Aquino, I am overjoyed with this design for an issue that will explore the modern quilt movement plus the creation and modification of surface through tattoos, weaving and more.

See that swatch of patterned fabric on the right? That's going to be an actual piece of vintage feedsack fabric hand applied to each subscriber cover. Be still my beating heart!

I can't wait to see how the collage changes a bit with each different piece of fabric. It will be delightfully random. Thanks to the many wonderful readers who have sent in feedsack swatches! If you're planning on sending some, the details are here. If you could also please send me an email with the quantity of squares you're sending so that I can keep a tally that would be helpful. We're pretty close to the goal of 10,000!

Oh, and another happy thing? Tattly is generously providing some temporary tattoo goodies in each subscriber copy of issue 24. Subscribe or renew today to get all these special touches!


#uppercasereader on Instagram

Here are some of the things that UPPERCASE readers are sharing on Instagram recently. Please click on the image to be taken to its owner. To share your work, Instagram it to @uppercasemag #uppercasereader and it will be easy for me to find. thanks!


Calling Card: Canoe Wedding

If you've ever dreamed of a romantic destination for your wedding, then nothing comes close to the Canadian Rocky Mountains for scenery and drama. Kirstie Tweed is an outstanding wedding photographer (she photographed my wedding nearly 10 years ago) who lives in a National Park — Banff, to be precise. Close to Lake Louise, Canmore and other mountain destinations, Kirstie and her husband Kevin have built the website Canoe Wedding as the ultimate resource for couples planning on tying the knot in the region. From venues to activities to restaurants, Canoe Wedding offers great information whether you're a tourist planning a visit, organizing a romantic anniversary getaway to the mountains or just indulging in a fantasy of the perfect wedding.

For a dramatic winter wedding, don't let the temperatures below zero give you cold feet — Kirstie and Kevin are the most thoughtful and warm people you could want to document your special day. They've also compiled Tips for a Winter Wedding so you'll be well prepared (not to mention stylish!)

Thank you, Kirstie and Kevin, for being such champions of what I do at UPPERCASE.

Thanks, Sabine!


Illustrator Sabine Wisman sent this to me on Twitter! I'm so lucky to have such amazing readers. Thanks, Sabine!

Frankie's Spaces

It looks like a trip to Australia will be in my diary early next year! I look forward to sharing those details when I can (I'll be speaking at a conference). I won't have time to visit or explore much—and I certainly wouldn't have been able to snoop inside the homes and studios that are featured in Frankie magazine' Spaces book. I blogged about the book when it was first released, and now it is back on its second printing.

Spaces is a collection of homes and homes-away-from-home around Australia: from the east coast capitals to the Adelaide Hills, the wilds of Tasmania and the southernmost tip of Western Australia. The designers, photographers, foodies, musicians and artists you’ll meet inside might have cleaned up a bit for their photos, but their homes aren’t fancy. These are the kind of places that take time and energy to put together, with some of the most precious things in them passed down through families, collected on travels or picked up from the side of the road. With a focus on resourcefulness and individual style, Spaces celebrates the importance of home to a creative bunch of Australians. 

Below is an extract from Spaces volume two featuring the co-work studio Little Gold. Sass Cocker is interviewed by Chris Harrigan with photos by Hilary Walker.

Design Thinkers, part 2

Christopher Rouleau shares more of his conference notes from Design Thinkers.

Richard Turley

Senior VP of Storytelling, MTV (previously: Bloomberg Businessweek)

"Let's Talk About Me"

  • "Typography can change the world!"
  • on bad clients: "the worse I made it, the more they liked it…"

Steve Vranakis

Executive Creative Director, Creative Lab, Google

"Making Technology Matter, and Using Technology to Drive Creativity"


  • the description "must be brave & kind" was listed in a Google Creative Labs job posting
  • make design matter
  • coding = a creative discipline
  • developers = artists
  • code / poetry = right words in the right order
  • break the conventions / structures

Annette Diefenthaler, Ellen Lupton & Lawrence Zeegen

"The Future of Design Education"

What is the most important trait(s) for students leaving college / entering the workforce?

AD: one core skill is more important than multiple skills. A single skill permeates through a portfolio. Don't pretend you can do everything.

LZ: not skill sets, but mindsets / must be able to embrace new thinking – we're looking for innovators who will push the industry forward

EL: don't copy others / "nobody's going to be everything"

What is more important: critical thinking or technical skills?

EL: there should be no division—skill set and mindset should be integrated

AD: students must be adaptable and be able to teach themselves, or know how to acquire the skills they need

LZ: importance of learning both high tech and low tech (analog techniques), as well as learn from each other

How do you teach less-skilled students (the 90% "non-stars")?

LZ: educators are responsible for teaching the entire gamut of students, from all skill levels and backgrounds. strive for better, not best

AD: must question metrics – not just about graphic design "hard skills"
things to consider:

how is the student inspiring / challenging the discipline / industry?
how the student having an impact on his / her community?
how is the student able to communicate / inspire / teach others?
ultimately, educators must embrace diversity of skills and help break down barriers

Should software / technical skills be the core of design programs?

EL: critical thinking is more important that software knowledge
"teach spelling AND poetry in tandem" — always with an element of FUN

How important is coding fluency in a world where students are expected to be multi-disciplinary?

AD: students must have "digital fluency": able to use but not necessarily produce
ability to tell stories with existing apps, platforms, tools of visual distribution

How do you teach students to be "resourceful"?

EL: make students work within constraints, units, specific parameters, this teaches problem solving / resilience creates systems that can change / design is the most basic form of literacy for both designers and non-designers / empower students to do good: either at industry/agency level, or within their community

AD: time = money; make students execute projects in time constraints
find ways to "get to amazing" within 24 hours

What are your thoughts on design departments who are changing the course descriptions from "Graphic Design" to "Communication Design"?

EL: "I will go to my grave as a graphic designer!"
"graphic design" connotes discipline, long standing traditions
"communication design" connotes business, marketing, PR (yuck)

LZ: "graphic design" doesn't adequately describe the tasks any more

What are the constraints of a 3-year design degree? What would you add/change?

LZ: too insular
gap between real money / real time
need to connect graphic design with everything else

EL: too much focus on self, homework, etc. / add communal spaces to create a studio experience, encourage peer-to-peer learning, which is invaluable / also, make all classes electives…

AD: most classroom spaces are terrible – feel too "school-like"
learning / working environments affect how we think, act, and the quality of our work

Visit Christopher's blog for more, including his notes on Jessica Walsh and Erik Spiekermann. Our thanks to Design Thinkers for the press pass to this annual event.