I had the pleasure of interviewing Sonja Rasula, founder and creative director of UNIQUE USA for issue #17. Together with her team, she's come up with another amazing way to support the modern maker movement. THE UNIQUE SPACE will be a co-working, office and event space housed in a 100-year-old building in LA. To fund a portion of the renovation costs, they've created kickstarter campaign with benefits that include a two-day guest pass to co-work in the space.
Originally published in Issue #17
text by Janine Vangool
photos by Tracey Ayton
Sara Moshurchak is the proud owner of Vancouver’s Granville Eyeland Framemakers, a business that she purchased from her mentor optician, Klaus Sebök, in 2008, after working alongside him for seven years.
“I loved his eyewear store and saw that designing and creating custom and handmade eyewear was the way I could express my creativity as well. Here was an opportunity to work with absolutely unique eyewear that gives the wearer confidence and pride in their look.”
Known for avant garde designs, Granville Eyeland frames are coveted by famous spec-wearers such as Elton John, Alan Cumming and Steve Martin.
Extending beyond her commissioned pieces, Sara will be releasing her first collection of completely handmade eyewear this year. “Being an optician is the best way for me to work with my hands as I’ve always enjoyed drafting, sketching, painting and architecture,” says Sara.
The starting point for a custom frame might be a modification of an existing design or it could be an entirely new commission inspired by a customer’s style preferences. After a reference portrait is made and detailed measurements recorded, Sara explores design details such as frame shape, colour, hinge style coupled with the technical requirements of prescription and lens thickness.
Sketches done by hand and physical mockups are all part of the process in creating a new design. Once the design is finalized, the sketch is transferred to the eyewear material, typically cellulose acetate; a plastic derived from natural cotton fibers.
From a rough cut of the design, the time-consuming process of filing and sanding begins. The frames are assembled and fitted to the customer; once any adjustments are accomplished, lenses are installed and the custom frames are polished. The satisfied customer is owner of a unique, handcrafted work of functional art.
“It is my greatest pleasure to help my clients create their own statements with the frames that they wear.”
(The print article includes a step-by-step photographic description of how Sara handcrafts her frames. Pick up a copy of issue #17 today!)
Do you love UPPERCASE magazine but you're missing a back issue? Have you recently been introduced to this quarterly magazine for the creative and curious and now you wish you had them all?
Here's your chance to purchase an entire stack of all the issues we've ever printed! We have taken a few of our early issues out of our archives for this one-time only auction. (Issues #1-#7 and #12 are completely sold out elsewhere.)
The purpose of this auction is to raise funds for the upcoming studio move (our current home of the past 8 years is in a building slated for "redevelopment" and so we'll be moving to new accommodations later this summer).
Due to the heavy weight of the package, this stack is only available to ship within North America. However, we have created other listings for individual out-of-print back issues #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, #7 and #12 that we can ship internationally.
Bidding ends next Friday, May 31.
Thank you for your support!
"I LOVED the article on the View Master. I remembered having one while growing up and after grilling my parents on it's where abouts, it turns out they actually did pack it in a box with a lot of my childhood memorabilia and I found it today up in our garage! Not just the View Master but a ton of little discs, that are actually in superb and vibrant condition."
If something in UPPERCASE magazine conjures up old memories or inspires you to make something new, please share it with us and our blog readers!
If my work inspires a smile, I know my job is done. My bright, clean designs are full of whimsy, laden with heart, and born out of a deep love for both traditional letterpress and gocco screen printing—as well as simply adding a little cheer to the world with every item I create.
Some folks may call me old-fashioned at heart. When realising those just-can't-stop-thinking-about-it ideas, my process always begins with putting pen to paper. I also lovingly produce my pieces by hand for a truly tactile product crafted right in my home studio, with slight print variations bringing character to every piece.
Aside from my paper goods, I also offer bespoke stationery and invitation design. I work closely with my clients to bring their character and personal style to life on paper, whatever the occasion. I also work one-on-one with clients on a range of design projects.
In addition to the guide, UPPERCASE subscribers (as of mid March) received a special insert courtesy of one of our guide participants in their copy of issue #17. The bookmarks, above, were Sarah's generous contribution.
This article appears in our current issue, #17 and is part of our free UPPERCASE Stationery Guide.
Get your work on stationery
By Lilla Rogers
You walk into your favourite little shop, and you covet the ridiculously cute illustrated journals and cards and notebooks, and even the charming sticky notes, and you ask yourself, “How do I get that gig?”
getting a fab illustration gig
1. Go to shops, turn over products you love and note the manufacturer.
2. Go to the websites of these manufacturers and find their submission details.
3. Stop and reflect on what you love to draw. What’s out there already? Now draw something different.
4. Colours are key. Look at websites like fossil.com or modcloth.com, or at a sumptuous page in this magazine for colour ideas.
5. Set up your palette of these fresh colours.
6. Now draw and paint or vector your images. Make a mess. Use references. Put on awesome music. Dance around your studio. People buy your joy!
7. Free-floating silhouetted icons give the client great flexibility. Having lots of isolated images, such as a mushroom, an anchor or a telescope, give the designer bits to play with. These are used to create coordinating patterns for things like journal endpapers, packaging art and interior pages of sketchbooks. You are making a kind of art kit for the client, a designer, to have fun with.
8. Make sure your icons are related to the theme of your main image.
9. Pop the images onto your website. Post, blog and pin your images. Send out a newsletter with them. Now you’re ready to email them directly to your favourite manufacturers. In the email, pop in about three to five jpgs that are 72 dpi, RGB, and add a link to your website.
10. Rinse and repeat. The system works!
Stay tuned for an amazing opportunity to work with Lilla!
Does your heart beat faster at the sight of beautiful stationery?
Issue 17 of our magazine includes this special Stationery Guide of small stationery companies from around the world. We’d like to share this content with you to help promote their businesses and to give you a small taste of the quality content you’ll find in each and every print edition of UPPERCASE magazine.
Please share this guide on your blogs and your social circles to help promote all the talented people who have contributed their work to this guide.
Verónica Grech is featured in the Stationery Guide and sent us these photos of her enjoying the magazine. She writes, "I studied Fine Arts and Design at San Carlos University in Valencia. Currently I reside in the north of Spain, in a small town nestled between mountains facing the ocean, with beautiful views in every direction. I work with a variety of clients supporting my illustration projects. I love nature and landscapes and enjoy creating strange and fun characters, poetic portraits and colourful urban scenes."
In addition to being an UPPERCASE contributor, Amy Peppler-Adams is a graphic designer, budding surface pattern designer and co-author of the Vintage Scratch & Sniff Collector's Guide. She recently wrote about her experience as a scratch and sniff sticker collector on her blog.
"Some of you may know that my obsession with collecting (hoarding) includes a passion for vintage stickers from the 1970s and '80s. For the first 10 years of the 2000s, right after I turned 30, I was consumed with finding and buying all the stickers I collected as a kid, replacing all those I had stuck to old notebooks and magnetic photo albums with pristine, unused stickers on their original backings. This included scratch and sniff stickers, which had to be unscratched and still have their smell. And I wasn't the only one—eBay was crawling with avid sticker collectors, especially those who wanted sniff stickers. It was a tense 10 years, watching hundreds if not thousands of listings and usually bidding at the last second to try to win. But my collection is nearly complete, and occasionally I am able to fill in some holes when I get the inkling to check out the eBay listings again.
During this time I was fortunate to collaborate with a fellow collector, bubbledog, writing a book dedicated to scratch and sniff stickers: the Vintage Scratch & Sniff Stickers Collector's Guide."
Amy says she was "thrilled to have contributed a short article about the stinky pieces of paper" for issue #17.
If you're interested in starting your own scratch and sniff sticker collection, you're in luck. Email email@example.com by May 15 to be entered to win a copy of Vintage Scratch & Sniff Stickers Collector's Guide.
Our current issue features an extensive Stationery Guide with 50 profiled stationers and paper goods companies. Australian company Ask Alice is included and proprietor Sass Cocker emailed this fun image in thanks:
"Congratulations on another freakin' A-M-A-Z-I-N-G issue of UPPERCASE. I can't thank you enough for featuring Ask Alice... not once, but twice! It's a real honour for me. My cute Mum was teary eyed when I showed her and has since purchased several copies!"
Looks like her dog Diesel was a little too enthusiastic with the paper flag! (But we love to devour paper products, too. Like this lovely blank notebook with multiple found and upcycled paper stocks.)
It is always enjoyable to spend time in artists' studios and peek in on their process. In our current issue, our Work-in-Progress Society article took a new direction in that we decided to focus on an in-person interview rather than curating from the Flickr pool. Bee Kingdom Glass is an exciting 4-person studio hidden in an unassuming house in a Calgary residential neighbourhood. At one point, some of the members of Bee Kingdom were also roommates living in the house; now the living room is a small gallery, bedrooms are office studios—and the glass studio is out back in a converted garage. This close-knit group is aptly named; as glassblowers they are dependent on one another to see their individual creative visions come into form.
Vinciane de Pape, regular UPPERCASE contributor, interviewed Phillip, Kai, Ryan and Tim while I took photos for the article. When the Bees started a demo, I took an impromptu video of the process. You'll find more of my photos and full article about Bee Kingdom in our current issue.
Vancouver-based photographer Tracey Ayton was recently in Calgary on some shoots and she stopped by to visit the UPPERCASE studio. Here are some images of my workspace that she captured; there are more on Tracey's blog. We have published Tracey's work in the current issue (#17) where you can see a photo essay about Granville Eyeland Framemakers.
I was happy that Tracey was here to capture some images of the space "au naturel" (no tidying!), though I am also planning on a final photographic study of the studio to feature in the fall issue of UPPERCASE. By the time the fall issue is out, this space will be a memory and UPPERCASE will be nestled into our new office. It is hard to believe that I'll have to move it all in a few short months.
(I'm back from the Makerie; took yesterday off to stay home with my son and decompress from the intensity of those 4 days in Boulder. More about the Makerie this week...)