I was invited to give a presentation at Lilla Rogers' Artist Retreat, September 17–19 in Arlington, Massachusetts. The first day was programming for the artists. On the second day, I was one of many art directors talking about what we do and how we work with artists and commission work. With representatives from teNeues, Hallmark, Candlewick Press, BlueQ and other publishing companies, it was an honour to be included! Following the presentations, there was a "speed dating" round in which the artists came to show each of us their portfolio, one on one. On the third day, Lilla let me hang around her studio and participate in craft day, bedazzling canvas tote bags. Here's a video showing snippets of that afternoon:
Market Collective is presenting a spectacular event this weekend, in celebration of its 9th year of hosting craft fairs in Calgary.
"Join us in celebrating 9 years of community building through the arts! We'll be in a brand new location with lots of room for artists new and old, as well as all kinds of interactive special installations and features. Come on down for a weekend of food trucks, DJs, live music, and shopping from the amazingly talented local creative community."
SEPTEMBER 15-17, 2017
Friday: 4pm - 9pm
Saturday: 10am - 6pm
Sunday: 10am - 6pm
$5 for the weekend (Kids under 12 Free)
1390 17th AVE SE
UPPERCASE is happy to provide a few magazines for giveaways at this weekend's event. And look for some of our books and magazines for sale at Independent Study Club, a brand new indie pop up book fair starting out at this weekend's Market Collective. "Independent Study’s vision is to promote an appreciation of art book culture in Calgary and Alberta by featuring independent book sellers, publishers, and artists."
The start of fall means the return of craft fairs! UPPERCASE is happy to provide complimentary magazines to some cool fairs around the continent.
Indie Craft Parade started in 2010 as a way to bring talented artists together under one roof. That inaugural show laid the groundwork for an art festival that now draws artists and makers from across the Southern states to Greenville, South Carolina every September.
The show is juried anonymously and showcases quality handcrafted goods in every genre, from ceramics and jewelry to handbags and children’s items. The eighth annual Indie Craft Parade will feature 34 new artists and 46 returning artists. Admission is $5 at the door and children 12 and under are free.
Indie Craft Parade is an initiative of the Makers Collective, whose mission is to empower creative entrepreneurs while cultivating a supportive community around them.
Look for a free UPPERCASE magazine in the maker totes!
UPPERCASE has been happy to provide some complementary magazines to Art Makers Denver participants for the past few years. Art Makers Denver is a 3-day art retreat featuring over a dozen instructors teaching more than 35 different workshops in painting, collage, decals on enamel (I'd like to take that one! or this. I'd just really like to try enamelling!). Botanica artist Carrie Schmitt is also an instructor.
September 24 -26, 2017
Denver, Colorado, USA
Registration for this urban art retreat includes a full day workshop, lunch, happy hour, morning yoga, and much more. To find out more, visit their website.
I’ve been in love with print and paper since I was young. My parents would bring home used paper from their offices, with typewriting or photocopied graphics on one side, and I’d cut these down and staple together little booklets—creating my own stories and drawings on the blank side of the page. I dreamed of these little books being printed en masse, available in bookshops and libraries.
When I was old enough, I began to pursue my interest as a career option. I had a few summer jobs in printing companies, working a process camera, doing negative stripping, plate-making and a bit of bindery. Years later, when I graduated from art college in 1995, computers and desktop publishing software had become graphic designers' primary tools.
My first Macintosh computer was a PowerMac 7100 and I purchased the biggest monitor I could afford. The box took up the entire trunk of my car. Nicknamed Mr Big, the monitor was so heavy, so large and cumbersome that I couldn’t carry it up to my second-floor studio by myself and I had to call a friend to help. There I was, 22 years old with all the equipment I needed to start a career in graphic design: computer, monitor, scanner, laser printer and fax machine.
I had some natural design ability combined with what I had learned in school, but the one thing I was missing—even with an bit of experience in print shops—was how to properly design for print. How to spec paper, what sizes were economical, how to prepare for printing on coated versus uncoated stock, binding methods, spot varnish or flood aqueous? The terminology and the options were all new to me.
On some early jobs, I encountered a few older print salesmen who were patronizing and less than helpful, but eventually I found some really good companies with people willing to lend their expertise and help me learn, step by step. As my freelance design business grew, so did my knowledge of print and paper. I prided myself on providing “clean” files when sending jobs to prepress departments—something that saved me time and my clients money. I was interested in learning new techniques and printers were genuinely happy to help explain—which benefited me and my breadth of knowledge, but also them later on when I had clients who could afford a few “bells and whistles” when jobs went into print production.
Over the next dozen years, I freelanced for arts and culture clients as well as book and magazine publishers. Though I also did some signage, product design and digital projects, my focus and expertise was on print. When I decided to start my own publishing company and later launch UPPERCASE magazine, I had all the tools and skills and contacts at the ready to produce something beautiful in print.
My print education really has been learning by doing. I didn’t have a manual—or even Google, in the early days—to learn how things were done.
Designing for Print is a book by author, designer and educator Marina Poropat Joyce that really is "the epitome of print education.” Marina’s book covers all aspects of what a graphic designer needs to know when creating a print project. As I page through it, I am amazed to see all of the information, terminology and tips that I had learned (sometimes the hard way) from two decades of creating design for print. The book is thoughtful and thorough and an excellent resource for anyone about to set foot into the world of print on paper. And for experienced (ie older!) designers like me, it’s a great refresher. It’s also a useful reference, with standard paper and envelope sizes, paper weight equivalency charts and generalized print method cost comparisons. Designing for Print is the manual I wish I had way back when. Congratulations, Marina, for creating something so vital for new generations of print enthusiasts!
To find out more about this project, visit Marina's Kickstarter campaign.
Finley and I hosted a Sew A Softie party at our house today! Founded by UPPERCASE reader Trixi Symonds, the yearly event encourages passing on the love of hand sewing to the next generation.
Trixi writes, "It encourages parents and children to turn off their computers, put down their smart phones and discover the fun and fulfillment that comes from creating a simple-to-sew softie together. This year Sew a Softie will take place from July 1st to 31st."
I've been teaching Finley to sew for a while and he was proud to be a Kid Ambassador for the event. We invited a few friends and parents over and had some fun making creatures (with a break for cookies and muffins, of course.)
Rather than have a set project that we were going to make—and set up expectations of what something is "supposed" to look like—I simply offered the framework for what were going to do.
1. Draw the body shape of your creature on an 8.5" x 11" sheet of paper (this way, it won't be too large and take too long to sew).
2. Cut out your paper pattern and trace around it on two pieces of fabric. Or have a parent cut around the pattern. We used fleece, felt and various remnants.
3. Cut out eyes, ears, feet, beaks, wings or any other embellishments out of felt. Use a simple running stitch to attach the features to the front fabric piece. Attach any button eyes at this point. We used contrasting thread so that it was easy to see what we were stitching.
4. Put front and back together and stitch around the perimeter, leaving 2-3 inches open so that you can stuff the softie. A running stitch is easiest. Finley used a whip stitch, which was a new technique for him to learn today. Sandwich any feet or wings between the front and back layers and sew them in when you're going around the edge. We used safety pins to hold things together in the meantime.
5. Stuff your creature and then finish by stitching the opening closed. Done!
Our friends were ages 5 through 7, and although some attention spans started to wander we were able to finish our softies in about two hours.
Buds of Buds is a grassroots collective that supports local artists and makers in Calgary. During this year's Calgary Stampede, the group is hosting a Painted Windows Exhibition.
This Stampede there’ll be more than a bucking horse and rider decorating windows of Calgary businesses. Buds of Buds Collective (Buds), has teamed up with artists and business owners to present the Painted Windows Exhibition. This event was inspired by community and social collaboration. Katie Pearce of Buds says, “we're building on Stampede culture, Alberta heritage, and connecting communities.” For its first year the Painted Windows Exhibition will focus on communities surrounding the Stampede grounds: East Village; Victoria Park; and Bridgeland Riverside. In future years, Buds will be expanding the project footprint.
Since the call for artists in March earlier this year, 18 window painters have signed on. The content of submissions was wide-ranging. Geneva Haley, a Painted Windows artists, speaks about the inspiration for her submission, “Alberta isn't all about wild roses. Our history is a lot older than the last hundred years we have in our social studies textbooks. The collision of cultures, landscapes, and architectures over time has left us with a profoundly unique place to call home and live our lives. Alberta is filled with endless images to be examined: Our rough edges and our ugliness are just as important as our sunsets.”
You can find the decorated windows at participating business from July 1 – 15th, 2017. Download the free Painted Windows Exhibition App for a GPS-enabled map of the window locations and to cast your vote for People’s Favourite. (Search for 'Buds of Buds' in the App store.)
Photos from Buds of Buds' instagram account, click over for credits.
Surface pattern designer Amy Peppler Adams had been posting some fun rainbows on Instagram via the #30daysofrainbows challenge. How awesome that she rearranged her collection of UPPERCASE magazines to create a rainbow. (I'm so literal that I've never thought to display them any other way than numerically.) Lovely!
Artists Melanie Thompson and Judith Barnett have created a stunning installation in praise of women's work. "We are the makers of every item in the show," says Melanie. Melanie is a basket maker and mixed media artist. "Judith," describes Melanie, "is an accomplished seamstress with no formal art background but boundless enthusiasm."
"The installation of a 1950s kitchen was inspired by an old wooden recipe box given to Judith by her 93-year-old neighbour Mrs. Williams. The box held a lifetime's recipes, all beautifully scripted in pen and ink. The idea that this box represented the lifetime of one woman's work seemed too great not to acknowledge in art. The strong emotional and nostalgic feelings it provoked felt like a call to make a body of work that referenced the era of the homemaker in the 1950s-honouring women’s work."
"We have made a wide variety of art pieces evoking the homemaker style of the 50s," describes Melanie. "The iconic apron and house dress have been rendered in knitted copper wire, pattern paper, tea stained canvas covered with written recipes, cotton embroidered and dyed with onion skins, image transfer on painted organza, recipe pages, black garden netting and pieced material remnants. There are mixed media wall pieces using stitching, buttons, collage, embroidery, and acrylic paint. Mixing bowl sets made with looping copper wire, handmade paper, and chicken wire as well as stitched samplers on baking trays and a cutlery box with utensils from the era. We have stitched and repaired clothing, small wire houses, recipe books deconstructed, handmade books, a set of pot holders and a tea cozy made from used tea bags and so many more items too numerous to describe. It needs to be seen to be fully appreciated."
The work is on view at the Artcraft Showcase Gallery on Salt Spring Island, British Columbia until
July 5, 2017.
June 23 is International Typewriter Day, marking this day in 1868 that the patent was granted to Christopher Latham Sholes.
Here's an excerpt from The Typewriter: a Graphic History of the Beloved Machine:
The Father of the Typewriter
The notion of a machine to replace handwriting had been toyed with for centuries. English engineer Henry Mill patented the concept in 1714 as “an artificial machine or method for impressing or transcribing of letters, one after another, as in writing, whereby all writing whatsoever may be engrossed in paper or parchment so neat and exact as not to be distinguished from print.”
Though there is a long list of inventors preceding him, Christopher Latham Sholes is the man history has awarded the winning title of inventor of the typewriter, patented on June 23, 1868. His machine was the first to be commercially successful and from it all other modern typewriters evolved.
“I do feel that I have done something for the women who have always had to work so hard. This will enable them more easily to earn a living.”
–CHRISTOPHER LATHAM SHOLES
To read more about The Typewriter: A Graphic History of the Beloved Machine please visit the book's website.
Lana Lepper designs and makes contemporary geometry-inspired jewellery. “I love my craft fiercely and passionately,” she says. “It’s unparalleled to any other task or job I've ever performed.” She lives in Vancouver with her husband and dog. “We live in a small (but not too small) apartment overlooking the city of Vancouver.” She has a bachelor of science in biology and enjoys snowboarding. (“And I'm cocky about how good I am,” she admits.)
Nearly two years ago, Lana was laid off from a corporate job. “I was devastated. I sobbed and sobbed and sobbed, worrying about how I would pay my mortgage or how I would share my perceived failure with my husband and friends.” She felt like she had failed, that she wasn’t good enough. For the job, for anything. “What if I never worked again? Would my husband still love me? Think of all the nasty terrible fears you have deep down inside you about your performance or job expectations—those fears hit me like a wall and nearly drowned me in their miasma.”
Fortunately, Lana’s husband showed his support. “He told me that we would adjust. Find our centre and continue to achieve our goals. He said he trusted me. He believes in me.” Her friends rallied around her as well as she tried to find new footing.
For years she had been living a double life, one in the corporate world, the other as a jewellery designer LanaBetty in the off hours. With a holiday season fast approaching, Lana and her husband decided she should give the holiday markets her absolute best effort. “I decided that I would attack the markets with ferocity and passion. I would get angry about my job loss and funnel that energy into design, production and sales. I would fix up my website. I would set targets and hit them.” The backup plan? “If it all tanked, I would put LanaBetty on hold and look for another corporate job.”
Lana’s primary goal, though, was to be happy. “No more working with stress so high I couldn't sleep. No more working so hard I forgot to eat. No more pushing papers for a company that didn't care.”
“It's been almost two years now and I can honestly say I am happy. I have never worked so hard in my life. Every moment is spent on social media or in the studio. Everything I have done before this moment has prepared me for the next. I have had my jewelry featured in blogs, on models, in magazines, doubled my sales and have kicked up quite a niche market in custom jewellery.”
Lana has found that the most satisfying aspect of running her creative enterprise is that she is accountable to herself. “There has never been anything more empowering or satisfying.”
She is quick to share some hard-earned advice:
“Dive head first into your passion and let every single moment be the best moment. Be happy with who you are and content when you get into bed every night. Strive for greatness and (sometimes) be humble about it. Be proud of yourself and always, always, do what makes you happy.”
The Creative Supplies Swap was a success! We had fun, enjoyed talking craft and creativity and everyone went home with a little something new to play with.
Guest post by Rosalyn Faustino
I was born and raised in Calgary and went adventuring in Toronto for almost 13 years and came back to become an auntie to my nieces and to have a new adventure with my partner in 2014. I graduated Specializing in Sculpture and Design and Art History and became interested in more traditional and domestic craft work such as weaving, sewing, and quilting. Although, I love to draw and practice penmanship.
Calgary Craft Alert started its online presence in November 2015—when I was 7 months pregnant with my little boy. I wanted to create an online space for the art and craft community for the city of Calgary to connect with one another.
My first year of having a newborn and starting a new venture was quite tough, as I didn't often get the chance to explore the city and attend shows. I used Instagram and Facebook as my main sources of researching local talent and I immediately started to build the Calgary Craft Alert website, albeit at a very slow pace. However, you will most likely see my family and I going on craft adventures, now that summer is here!
Sign up for Calgary Craft Alert newsletter for the latest local craft news. See you on Saturday!
UPPERCASE 34 (July/August/September) is printed, being folded and heading to the bindery! After that? In the mail to YOU. But only if you're an active subscriber by June 15.
Subscribe, renew or purchase a gift subscription before June 15 and use the code 'explore34' for $15 off.
I receive hundreds of submissions every year (perhaps the number even tops 1000? There are a lot of them—some from my open calls, others unsolicited). And I'm grateful for each and every one of them! I try to put as many as I can in print, but often there are more ideas than number of pages. And since the magazine is quarterly, it can take a long time for a very good submission to find its way into print.
I want to share more of these submissions—folks have put talent and effort into them and they deserve to be read and appreciated. I'm going to post more of them in my newsletters and here on the blog, and though it might not be as thematic and ordered as in context of a print magazine, there's beauty in the random surprise.
Let's start with Clare Dean, who submitted the piece below as part of the Open Pitch a couple of months ago. Clare offers us (me!) perspective on letting things be a bit more uncontrolled and organic.
Do you find beauty in incongruity or in similitude?
by Clare Dean
Over the past few years, in addition to being a publishing consultant and mother of small chatty boys, I have worked as an artist, illustrator and pattern designer. As my style has developed, like many others I have given a lot of thought to my point of view. Do I have one? What are my convictions? What I am trying to say? Initially, I created work that I hoped would merely ‘delight’, but it soon became obvious to me that there was a lot of ‘delightful’ work out there that pursued a similar theme. What was I trying to ‘say’, if anything at all? As a philosophical theology graduate, and the wife of a philosopher, it seems that I am attracted to thought and meaning.
A couple of summers ago, I attended a modern dance performance/dramatic piece in Boston. The overall perspective they communicated could be reduced down to the idea that everyone and everything is the same – that we exist, and others and other things exist, and there is comfort and complicity in our similitude. I thought about it, and realized that I believe and find comfort in the opposite – that everything is various and different, and that beauty can be found in complexity. In pursuing this idea further, I realized that a common trait in my work is an almost random incongruous assemblage of things and beings.
I delight in mismatching and juxtaposing images to partly highlight the absurdity of the assemblage of things, but also to celebrate the richness in life. Why not, for example, place a poodle on a vintage 1970’s footstool, or a parrot flapping around an antique rocking horse? To me, the combination of these items painted to highlight their beauty celebrates them as individual objects and beings, while saying ‘look how strange – we live in a world where someone shaves a poodle’s fur into funny balls, and also makes and owns a swirly patterned stool on which to rest your feet. Ultimately, the fact that I am drawn to capturing the incongruity is all the more absurd.
Visit Clare's portfolio.
Rosalyn Faustino of Calgary Craft Alert and I are happy to be hosting The Creative Supplies Swap!
We all have extra art, craft and creative supplies that aren't being used. Want to find them a new home? Join us at our Creative Supplies Swap, on Saturday, June 17th, from 1-3pm. Bring yarn, fabric, notions, paper, paints, books, children's craft items, assorted creative bits and bobs*... join us for a fun afternoon of trading and making. You can also bring small, inexpensive artwork and projects that you're willing to exchange with fellow creative swappers. UPPERCASE will also have copies of the freshly published Stitch-illo book and other books and magazines for sale.
*IMPORTANT: Please be prepared to bring your leftover supplies home at the end of the event!! This is a swap, not a request for donations.
Saturday, June 17 from 1–3pm
UPPERCASE Suite 201 B, 908 17th Avenue SW (Devenish Building), Calgary
This is a free event. We will have refreshments and snacks. Kids are welcome, too.
RSVP on Facebook—or just show up!
CALGARY CRAFT ALERT (CCA) is an online resource for the City of Calgary and surrounding area for all things Craft/Art/Design related. Sign up for their email list to be in-the-know about local craft events!
Like this idea? Host your own Creative Supplies Swap in your community! Email me and I'll provide you the graphics.
The July/August/September issue's files are off to the printer!
The issue is about creative adventure—real, imagined, personal, historical... So the lettered globes of Laura Maxcy caught my eye as cover material.
Through her company Wild & Free Designs, Laura specializes in hand-lettered goods—her prints, postcards, mugs and painted vintage globes are adorned with quotes and phrases meant to inspire and to encourage a sense of adventure and wonder in the world around us.
"Wild & Free Designs came about from my background in graphic design, a love of reclaimed vintage, and inspiration from the Transcendentalist writers' works on nature and the world around us (works of Thoreau, Emerson, and Muir in particular)."
"When I was younger I was constantly outside exploring the world around me. I drew so much inspiration from being out in the woods, and those memories have become such a large part of me. Everything I create with Wild & Free Designs is directly influenced by my time as a young explorer."
"Although I got my degree in graphic design, I needed a creative outlet that didn't involve staring at a computer screen all day. I started hand-lettering quotes on vintage landscape prints I found at a thrift store, with which I planned to decorate a room in my house. Instead I decided to list them on Etsy, along with my painted globes. Each of my items are definitely unique and one-of-a-kind. I especially love doing custom work for someone and getting to experience their satisfaction and appreciation."
Issue 34 will be ready to mail in a few short weeks. Please subscribe or renew today! Mailing data for the issue will be finalized on June 15.
Interior pages really stack up!
This weekend is your last chance to pre-order Stitch-illo and get it straight from the printer. The signatures will be folded on Monday and then the book heads to the bindery. It is on track for mailing out the week of May 29.
Order before May 15 to be on the shipping list!
Preview the book here.
(If you pre-ordered already—thank you!—please check your inbox for an address verification email sent earlier this week if you haven't already responded. From May 15, orders will be held until inventory arrives in fulfillment warehouses in early June.)
Please preorder your Encyclopedia set here and Feed Sacks will be shipped to you straight away or individual Stitch•illo books are available here. During this preorder stage for Stitch•illo and Botanica you can enjoy free shipping on those books within North America and subsidized shipping for orders heading overseas.
Join me later this month at the spring Quilt Market in St. Louis, Missouri!
I'll be giving a presentation (and giving away free magazines and there will be a draw for fabric) on Saturday, May 20 at 11am in the Windham Fabrics booth. On Sunday, May 21 starting at noon, you're invited to come back to the Windham Booth for a fun and easy craft: making necklaces and rings with my new collection UPPERCASE Volume 2: Dots, Dashes and Diamonds.
Supplies and space are limited for the free jewellery-making session, so if you're going to be at Quilt Market, please RSVP here to reserve a spot.
If you're going to be showing at market or roaming around and would like to connect, please get in touch.
Volume "S" of the UPPERCASE Encyclopedia of Inspiration is at the printer! I expect it will be ready to ship in late May, but I'll keep you updated here and through my newsletter. Thank you for all your support of this project through preorders of the Encyclopedia set and the individual books, too.
More details and a look inside Stitch•illo are over here. Thanks!