Category Archives: art + design heroes

What I Like Wednesday : Elizabeth Rose Stanton / Penspaper Studio

Dogs with their skeletons on display, a besotted teddy bear, and chickens with arms – welcome to the world of Elizabeth Rose Stanton.

I was fortunate to discover her work through Illustration Friday (a treasure trove of talent) and now, every time I see a new illustration from her, I am awestruck. From an adorable giraffe to a terrifying Wendigo (and everything in between), Elizabeth displays an amazing versatility that most artists strive for. And she makes it look so easy.

You can see her work on her web site, as well as her blog. Oh, and just to make sure she is extra well-rounded, she also contributes to Underneath the Juniper Tree.

Here are a few of my favorites…just to whet your appetite.

Old Gran Frog and Taddy Pole

Illustration Friday submission – Safari

Illustration Friday submission – Soaked

Henny

Illustration Friday submission – Influence

all images © the amazing Elizabeth Rose Stanton

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With a Wooden Spoon

So, despite my (and apparently, Mother Nature’s) utterly craptacular mood, this week hasn’t been all bad. In fact, I won not one, but TWO giveaways this week. So, I have been anxiously watching my mailbox for each of my little prizes to arrive. And, today, one did!

My karmic pendulum just happened to be swinging in the right direction when Sarah Welch of Wooden Spoon Editions drew the winner of her recent blog contest and before I knew it, I was eagerly pulling the strings off of this little package to reveal the awesomeness inside. BEHOLD!

Lovely, isn’t it? Makes me want to run to the wine cellar (a.k.a. that shelf in my dining room) and uncork a bottle right now. This print, like all of Sarah’s prints, was hand carved and burnished with a wooden spoon. I love the simplicity of this style of printmaking. It’s so crisp, clean, and unfussy – just the way I like things.

You can read about Sarah’s work on her blog. You can also see and buy her work on Etsy.

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What I Like Wednesday : Mentions & Niceties

I’ve had kind of an exciting week. So, rather than focusing on one particularly inspirational person or thing, I thought I would share a few of the good things that have happened this week and the nice people who made them possible. Enjoy!

 

 

Last week’s Friday Favorites featured an etegami illustration by Deborah Davidson (a.k.a. dosankodebbie). In addition to leaving a very nice comment, she was kind enough to give me a little shout out on her blog.

Her work is pretty amazing (as evidenced by this peachy illustration) and I would highly recommend checking out all of the beautiful etegami on her blog.

 

 

 

 

 

I also won a book this week, which was a totally awesome surprise! I can hardly wait to be the proud owner of an advance copy of They Draw and Cook’s new cookbook!

If you haven’t checked out They Draw & Cook, do it now! And don’t forget to pre-order your very own copy of the new book (at a 35% off discount, no less).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Sketchbook Project post from yesterday received a very nice mention on Sketches and Jottings today.

That was a very nice surprise and I was happy to find out that many people found the post helpful (the link was also shared by the Art House Co-op)

 

 

 

 

I also received some very nice comments from some of my favorite bloggers/artists/illustrators – Elizabeth Rose Stanton, Shirley Ng-Benitez, and Deirdre McCormick. Please do check out their work!

 

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What I Like Wednesday : Patti Backer (a.k.a. PatriciaMonkey)

Hmm, it seems I’ve missed a couple weeks of What I Like Wednesday. Oops. No matter, today’s artist is extra awesome, so that should more than make up for my lack of blogging diligence. Heh.

Whimsical. Weird. Wonderful. This is the best way that I can describe Maryland artist Patti Backer’s work. Also known as PatriciaMonkey, she describes her pieces as  ‘a combination of lowbrow and folk art.’

It was her paintings on wood (specifically the big-eyed black birds) that first caught my eye, but her slightly creepy brand of silliness doesn’t stop there. She also has a penchant and talent for reclaiming vintage furniture and turning it into must-have items for the eclectic home.

You can find more of Patti’s work on her blog and on Etsy where she not only sells her quirky artwork, but also offers a treasure trove of vintage goodness.

And now for some of my PatriciaMonkey favorites…

 

 

 

 

photos : by Patti Backer

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What I Like Wednesday : Josh Pincus is Crying

I have a confession to make. I am what is, in certain circles, referred to as a Death Hag. I find stories of celebrity (and in some cases, non-celebrity) deaths fascinating. I dream of wandering Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills. And I have read every.single.bio on FindADeath.com. Twice.

Perhaps it is my penchant for useless knowledge that drives my desire to learn about how the famous and infamous have met their maker. Or maybe I’m just one of those people my mother would describe as morbid while cringing disgustedly. But I find it all incredibly fascinating.

Enter Josh Pincus is Crying.

JPiC, a combination of illustrations, tales of expired ‘celebrities’, and a soupçon of true crime, is another of my Illustration Friday discoveries. It has since secured a well-deserved spot on my list of Massive Time Sucks (I cannot even begin to tell you how much time I have wasted perusing the site just to write this post!).

But, it’s not all stories of how somewhat obscure Hollywood types (like Judith Barsi, Jay Stewart, and Jack Nance) and creepy sociopaths have met their ultimate demise. There are also entertaining anecdotes about being frightened of one’s own reflection and pornographic images littering the street in a suburban Philadelphia neighborhood (go ahead, click the link, I’ll wait here  while you laugh until you pee).

The illustrations are fantastic. The stories are well-written (and humorous, when appropriate). And, to me and my ilk, the subject matter is fascinating.

I highly recommend perusing the entire blog, but for now, you can check out some of my Josh Pincus is Crying favorites…

Donald Turnupseed

 

Phyllis Newcombe

 

Johnny Stompanato

 

And everyone’s favorite center square – Paul Lynde

illustrations : by Josh Pincus is Crying

Wanna see more of what I like? Go here!

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What I Like Wednesday : Jane Almirall

Some whiles ago, I used to bore people to death share stories of my absurd existence on a blog called Frothygirlz. This is where I first discovered the work (both art and writing) of Kansas City artist/blogstress Jane Almirall.

Serendipitiously, I found myself in Kansas City last summer, where I was fortunate enough to meet and hang out with Jane. In doing so, I discovered that, aside from the fact that she is tall, blonde, and awesomely talented, we have a lot in common.

We both spend our days (or nights, as it were) precariously balancing the art of making art with the art of raising children. And we require large amounts of caffeine to do so.

Speaking of which, in her newest series, which includes this piece called ‘Split Ends‘, Jane adds coffee to a mix of colored pencil, gouache, and, in some cases, her own tears. To see the rest of this series and purchase prints, visit Jane’s Etsy shop – Heart Full of Break.

You can also see more of Jane’s work on her web site, which is (thankfully) back online after a recent redesign. It is a great source of inspiration, as her work is not only pleasing to the eye, but also very thought-provoking.

Here are a few of my personal Jane Almirall favorites.

 

The Marvel of Flight

 

Winter

 

The Long Goodbye

In addition to checking out more of Jane’s art at janealmirall.com, I highly recommend following her adventures at Frothygirlz.com.

See more artists and inspirations here.

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What I Like Wednesday : DKM Art & Illustrations

Yes! What I Like Wednesday makes its triumphant return!

Since I have started blogging and participating in Illustration Friday, I have discovered the blogs of a lot of talented people. And I have been fortunate enough to get to know some of them beyond just anonymously admiring their work and wishing I had their amazing talent.

Deirdre McCormick of DKM Art & Illustrations is one of those super talented people. Not only does she create fantastic illustrations in her uniquely awesome style, but her blog is also completely filled with spectacular eye-candy and some sweet tutorials. In fact, if you’re wondering what to do with all that Easter egg dye you bought for $.37 a box on clearance at Target last week, Deirdre tells you here and here in her two part tutorial.

Now, back to the eye candy. Much like yours truly, Deirdre is a collector of randomness (and she knows how to use it). She has all kinds of cool things that she uses for inspiration and she shares them in her posts – first showing all of the awesome things that inspire her and then displaying her gorgeous creations. But don’t just take my word for it check out this luscious post and this one too!

Here are some of my DKM favorites. Visit the blog and find yours!

Vintage Sunflowers. See the inspirations for this gorgeous piece here.

 

Silly girl calls this a doodle. A doodle! My doodles are ridiculous ball point pen monstrosities, usually involving attempts to draw a perfect circle. Deirdre’s doodles look like this!

 

Gorgeous flowers DKM-style. Read more about this piece here.

 

I could go on for days about how much I LOVE this piece. Oy, the colors! So rich that I just want to bite it. See the inspirations here.

 

When you visit Deirdre’s blog (and I know you will), be sure to leave her a comment (or five). She’ll love it!

P.S. I recently heard that Deirdre’s mom reads my blog. So, ‘Hi, Deirdre’s mom!’

illustrations : by Deirdre McCormick

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ACC Baltimore Show 2011: Part III

Okay, so enough about me. Let’s wrap this thing up the way we started it – with more links to awesome artists!

  • Luke Adams (handblown glass) : The heart sun catcher in the photo is one of Luke Adams pieces. They also come in other fun shapes like flowers, comets, stars, and fish. His site gets bonus points from me for not only having a great web address (1hotpieceofglass.com – heh) but also for the awesome blowtorch picture.
  • Michele Smith (ceramic/mixed media artist) : The use of color in her whimsical (and fantastically bizarre) sculptures was what caught my eye. But, I have to admit,  the chain pulls are my favorite. The birds and fish make me want to put a ceiling fan in every room of my house.
  • Susan M. Hinckley (fiber artist) : Wool + Color + Words = Awesome!
  • Deborah Kracht (mixed media artist) : The name ArtHead Studio is fabulous! So is her found object art – JunkHeads, MetalHeads, ScrapHeads. They are all so fun!
  • Tami Rodrig (jewelry) : I can’t think of a more appropriate name than Happy Art Studio. It’s hard not to look at the simple forms and fabulous colors in Tami Rodrig’s work without smiling. My friend L was particularly taken by her work (I see a fun birthday gift in her future!).

This show was filled with so much talent that I couldn’t possibly do it all justice. I have a few more favorites to share in future posts (What I Like Wednesday, anyone?). Until then…

photo : blown out sun catcher by yours truly

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ACC Baltimore Show 2011: Part II

As a mom, I have made a habit of not buying things for myself. When I go shopping, my purchases typically fall into one of three categories – groceries and other necessities, things for Sir (clothes, toys, diapers, etc.), and art supplies (which are viewed as necessities for me to work). I don’t buy new clothes or shoes anymore unless I am to the point where I run the risk of having to leave the house naked (the horror). I especially don’t make luxury purchases like jewelry (which I rarely have occasion to wear) or art (which makes me giddily happy and therefore feels like a selfish purchase).

But every now and then (like when the IRS happens to dump some cash into our bank account), I let myself go a little crazy. Saturday was one of those times, and though I didn’t buy nearly as many lovelies as I would have liked, I did get some pretty sweet stuff.

After purchasing the coolest little wooden toy for Sir (a Flipsy Car from Baldwin Toys – so fun!), I decided to buy at least one (and then another and then another) thing for myself.

The gorgeous necklace above is from Seeka – the collaborative effort of Israeli artists Nachshon Peleg and Stavit Allweis. There was not one piece of their work that I didn’t love and having to choose just one thing was extremely difficult.  This piece is unofficially my anniversary gift (12 years next Sunday!). Heh. Thanks to my friend, L., for talking me into that!

Early on in our art adventure, the work of mixed media artist Michael Baxley caught my eye. Probably because it is extremely eye-catching. Seriously.

His pieces start with a wood box onto which paint and a litho print are applied. He then creates hand-formed porcelain blossoms that are cast onto the painted wood in very flowing organic arrangements. Beautiful.

It took me three trips back to his booth before I finally just let myself buy the piece that made me over-the-top happy. Now I am challenged with finding the perfect place to hang it.

I’m sure it won’t surprise anyone that my final purchase of the day was from Tsuga Studios. As I mentioned previously, I was very excited to see Nick Kekic’s work in person. He has been a client of mine for a while and I love looking at the photographs of his pieces. I was very happy to find that his work is just as gorgeous in person.

After much deliberation, I chose a vase from his Miniature Form Study. He described these frosted pieces as the ‘marzipan’ of his collection. I agree, they are quite delicious! As much as I would love to display this piece in my living room where everyone can see it, part of me wants to keep it hidden away with me in my studio where I can look at it whenever I need a little eye candy and inspiration.

photos : my treasures by yours truly

 

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ACC Baltimore Show 2011: Part I

I have a lot to share from my experience at the American Craft Council Baltimore show because, well, it was completely awesome! There’s so much, in fact, that I am going to have to split it up into a few different posts.

This year the ACC celebrated it’s 70th ‘Rebirth’ Day. As part of the celebration, local cake designers were invited to create cakes inspired by handmade pieces from artists participating in the show. Two of my friends are cake artists and I strongly encouraged them to participate, but the timing just wasn’t right. If they had done it, I know they totally would have rocked it!

While checking out the entries, we got a chance to speak to one of the bakers who let us in on a little secret…they weren’t real cakes, shhhhh. The fondant and buttercream were real, but the ‘cakes’ themselves were cardboard. Yum.

The sheer amount of talent at this show was staggering. I am going to do my best to talk about as many of the artists as I can and share links to their work, although I must admit that I had to narrow it way down to a select group of favorites.

The photo above is a sculpture by Massachusetts artist Dale Rogers. My good friend and trusty sidekick was ready to strap this to the top of her Prius and have her husband install it in their front yard. Sadly, we were pretty sure their HOA wouldn’t approve.

Here are a few of our other favorites from yesterday…

  • Susan Madacsi (blacksmith/artist) : How cool would it be to be able to tell people you’re a blacksmith? Really, how cool would it be to be a blacksmith? Pretty cool (not in the literal sense), I think. Susan Madacsi’s hand forged steel forms are painted with enamel and then distressed. I especially like the way that her cloud pieces take something typically thought of as industrial and turn them into something whimsical.
  • Christine R. Schukow (mixed media artist) : Her dioramas combine two of my absolute favorite things – photography and miniatures (!) (Okay, so the latter is a guilty obsession pleasure and I had to keep myself from squealing with delight when I saw her work, lest I blow my cover as a closet fan of all things teeny tiny.). Sadly, the photos on her web site don’t do her little works of art justice (unless you have a REALLY big monitor). I assure you, they are great!
  • Sandra Bonazoli & Jim Dowd (metalsmiths) : The fact that I have the smallest kitchen ever (one teeny tiny thing that I am NOT a fan of), does not hinder my love of kitchenware one bit. It does keep me from being able to buy all of the wonderful things that I would love to have in my kitchen, however. Boo. I was especially upset by this fact when I saw all of the wonderful things offered by Beehive Kitchenware. They make the sweetest little things for cooking, entertaining, and decorating. Their little birdies make me smile (and to my owl-loving friends, there are a few of those hooting around on their web site too). Love.
  • Jenn Bell (metal/enamel/awesome) : Okay, before you even look at her work, read her bio. Brilliant. Now, for the work. Also brilliant. I adore simplicity, especially when it is, in reality, extremely complex.
  • Christine Kaiser (mixed media artist) : Truly, words fail me when I try to describe her work. It is like looking at a three-dimensional sketchbook – a three-dimensional sketchbook that I just can’t stop looking at. When my friend asked what the sculptures were made of, the reply was ‘Wood. I’m very particular.’  So am I and it works.

I have much more to share, but it will have to wait. Duty calls (in the form of a cookie tasting this afternoon!).

photos : acc awesomeness by yours truly

 

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What I Like Wednesday: Tsuga Studios

I have always wished that I had the skill to work with glass. Years ago, I lived a stone’s throw from a major art glass supplier. I used to love walking around perusing all of the glass art supplies and I kick myself for not taking advantage of the opportunity to take classes there.

I realize now that it is probably better that I didn’t pick up yet another medium that I would end up being mediocre with, especially when there is such a high price tag attached. Oh, but how I would adore having my own kiln…and blowtorches (!).

Best that I leave all that to the experts, like Nick Kekic of Tsuga Studios.

The whole concept of glassblowing is completely amazing to me and the flawless beauty of Nick’s work, from everyday dishware to gorgeous decorative bowls and light shades, just blows me away (no pun intended – heh).  Seriously, amazing.

This weekend, I will be attending the American Craft Council show in Baltimore where I will finally get to see Nick’s work in person *insert embarrassing girlish squeal*. I can’t wait! Expect lots of photos (and possibly more embarrassing girlish squeals). If you happen to be in Baltimore this weekend, definitely check this show out!

In the meantime, go get your daily dose of COLOR at www.tsugastudios.com!

photos : small bowls, dinnerware, ribbon cane incalmo bowls by Tsuga Studios.

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What I Like Wednesday: Back in Black Photography

Once upon a time, there were two strange little girls. They had many odd adventures together and spent a lot of time with their faces behind cameras. One of those girls grew up to be yours truly – a moderately talented (and still strange) wannabe photog. The other grew up to be the very talented beauty and brains behind Back in Black Photography.

Back in the day, I used to blame my parents and their unwillingness to foot the bill for a camera as nice as Sara’s for the fact that the quality of her photos was always light years beyond mine. But it was really just because she has mad skillz. Heh.

She went to school for photography. I went to school for…what the hell did I got to school for? The world may never know…

She’s living it up with the artsy elite in Portland. I chauffeur the two-year-old elite to various social engagements (read: preschool and playdates) while dodging the vehicles of skeezy guys shaving on their morning commutes around Baltimore.

And all because my parents wouldn’t buy me that damned expensive camera! Heh, heh.

Seriously, check out her work. It is inspired and inspiring.

photos: seaside 3, tbf cattails, waters 3 by Sara R. Almirall

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What I Like Wednesday: Fern House Studio

So, I’m trying something new here on the old blog. I’m calling it What I Like Wednesday. I’ll mostly be posting things that fit into the art + design heroes category, but there may be a smattering of other random things here and there too.

I can’t think of a better way to start this new tradition, than by sharing the work of one of my favorite artists (and clients) – Christina Heiniger of Fern House Studio.

Christina has been a client of mine for several years now, which means that I am lucky enough to get to see her new work every time she updates her web site (one of the perks of my ‘real’ job), where she offers her original paintings, as well as cards and handmade finger puppets.

I have always loved her Animal Series featuring brightly colored scenes with animals who interact with each other in interesting ways or sometimes just hang out on their own. I love them so much, in fact, that I framed several prints from this series to hang in Sir’s room.

I sometimes struggle with a fear of color and how to use it properly in my work and I have always been impressed at how Christina can use such a wide range of colors in her pieces and make it work so well.

Christina is also the organizer of the Gifted Hand Show – an annual fine art and craft show in Ellsworth, ME (which I would secretly LOVE to be a part of, if I could justify the expense of a trip up to Maine and/or even make it through the jurying process – heh). So, if you are in or around Maine in early November, be sure to check it out!

photos : Sending & Receiving, Owl Acrobatics, and Sleeping Fox by Christina Heiniger from fernhousestudio.com

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Happiness Resides in an Electric Car

Please allow me to have a mom moment (I promise, there will be some art/design content. Just bear with me).

At nearly two years old, my son is already a huge They Might Be Giants fan. I’m sure this is due in part to the fact that he had quite a bit of fetal exposure to TMBG as my laptop speakers were often pressed up against my gigantic pregnant belly while I worked and sang along to favorites like Ana Ng, Birdhouse In Your Soul, and James K. Polk.

True story: on several occasions, while listening to TMBG in utero, Sir would start kicking along with the music.

Before Sir was born, I found out about They Might Be Giant’s kids’ album No! And shortly after he was born, I discovered Here Come the ABCs and Here Come the 123s, both of which come as a CD/DVD combo. We owned all three before he was even a month old. He’s been listening to the songs nearly everyday since. Within the last few months, he has started watching the accompanying DVDs and has become completely obsessed. He doesn’t watch a lot of television and very few shows actually hold his interest for more than a few minutes. His TMBG DVDs hold him in rapt attention, however, and I can’t say as I’m surprised.

The animations are so well done. They totally appeal to my designer’s eye and, combined with the music, completely mesmerize my son. John and John are presented as puppets that are made from (as far as I can tell) knit sleeves, over a cardboard (?) tube, with some felt details. Simple but brilliant. They were designed by Robin Goldwasser of Deeply Felt Puppet Theater (John Flansburgh’s wife and one of my newest heros. Heh.) Honestly, I could go on all day about what I love about these DVDs…but I won’t.

Recently, I finally got around to buying him TMBG’s third CD/DVD set Here Comes Science. We had heard all of the songs on Pandora over the past few months and they’re pretty fantastic. Sir particularly likes ‘Bloodmobile’ and ‘I Am a Paleontologist’. We sat down to watch the DVD the other day and, while Sir wasn’t quite as engaged as he is with the other two DVDs (the subject matter is a little above his head, after all), I was not let down. Visually, TMBG has hit yet another one out of the park. I loved the whole DVD, but my true favorite is the video for ‘Electric Car’.

It was produced by Tiny Inventions and if I could work with anyone in the world, I would want it to be these people. Hell, I wish I could be these people! They take everything I love and turn it into one gigantic freaking ball of awesome! *sigh* /fangirl gushing.

Seriously, check out their web site. And then email them to tell them how awesome I am and that they should make me a part of their team ASAP.

And check out the video too…

photo : Electric Car screenshot from tmbw.net

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