Monday, September 29, 2014

Swimming in the Milan Spring Summer 2015 Catwalk

Will you just look at this fabulous-ness?
Emilio Pucci for SS 2015.

                                                                                      
And this from Stella Jean?



This is serious eye candy, and a sumptuous teaser for the palettes and styles you are going to see in the Spring and Summer of 2015.  





Gorgeous colors and flow-y, drape-y and swish-y styles are going to permeate the landscape of the streets, restaurants, shops and parks next Spring...how lovely is THAT??




The only thing I love more than layered swish-y fabrics is the sartorial look, which is a great counter point to this look and has a flirty tension all its own...but that post is for later.  Right now, just look at these colours and patterns!








The Milan Catwalk for Spring/Summer 2015 was simply delightful.  
The palettes and patterns presented by some of my  favorite fashion designers 
made me smile out loud.  And I'm utterly delighted that although I had no clue 
what they would present on this September's catwalks, I've apparently been 
swimming in the same pond without knowing it since April.
I had started a new collection based on one of our trips this Spring, 
but was hesitant to finish it out... 
I felt like it was too "Out There" - too Saturated.  Too Landscape-y.  
Now, I can lay those fears to rest and finish those collections with a party in my heart.

Look at Stella Jean's lovely skirt and blouse: 
Stella Jean SS 2015

And...here is my Cottage Porch Collection, started in June of this year.  When I saw Stella Jean's "Houses On a Hill" walking down the catwalk, I nearly 
fell out of my chair with delight!


Now, take a look at this close-up of one of Just Cavalli's dresses:























                                                              And this serving of scrumptiousness from Stella Jean:















Don't you want to go get a big spoon and just 
eat this up??

(In my next life
I am going to be
5'10" and have
gorgeous hands
and a long neck...)  













With these lovely images in my head and heart, how could I NOT be dancing in my studio? 

Now that I've gobbled up this catwalk, 
I can't wait to get my collections finished and 
posted to my Spoonflower shop. 
Lesson learned.  Follow your heart; always follow your heart.

Now, back to working on my new Cavalli Jean Collection!




Monday, May 26, 2014

A Report on Surtex and National Stationery Show 2014

I'm bidding a fond farewell to New York City
and heading home with my head packed with images
from the National Stationery Show
and Surtex.

Like this early evening view from my hotel window:


The Shows were beautifully presented.
Hundreds of Exhibitors and throngs of Buyers
created a great upbeat vibe throughout the Javits Center.

The artwork presented was beautiful.

Here is a tiny sampling of what I saw - all images from the artists.
Artwork of Laura Lobdell
Artwork of Sandra Jacobs


Artwork of Diane Kappa




Orange, Dusky Pink, Emerald Green, Blues, Mustard Yellow
and pops of Orchid in shades from Plum to Lavender
were the Colors of the Show.

Cactus and Succulents, cute little Forest Creatures, Vintage Kitchenware,
Paisleys, Plants in Pots, and of course lush Florals
were everywhere.  Tropical motifs, including Flamingos 
were also widely represented.
Lighthouses, Whales, Anchors and Beach Scenes 
caught my eye in some booths,
and of course there were the Seasonal workhorse motifs 
in many booths.

It was a virtual Tidal Wave of art.

By far and away, the National Stationery Show had the largest crowds and the most exhibitors, including a new section of Gifts and Creative & Lifestyle Arts
and another new section for Etsy Wholesalers.

In addition to the lovely booths offering Stationery and other Paper Goods,
there were booths displaying equipment to be used in the creation of all this lovely stuff.


Waste Not Paper was packed with buyers - both retailers and artists.

Janome had a huge booth set up with embroidering machines.
There were paper scoring machines, corner rounders, and foil finishing equipment services.
Software for personalized stationery and Hot Stamping services.

AccuCut had a booth that was hard to get into - they doing a booming business selling their Stationery Die Cutting Machine, the GrandeMARK Roller.
Image courtesy Traci Ambrust of AccuCut...the night before opening.

I jostled my way through numerous paper and stock booths,
looked over the Scotch Brand booth, 
and visited The Gift It section.

Perhaps the most amazing booth was the Hewlett Packard presentation,
where they had latex printers displayed that would print on almost any substrate,
up to Billboard Size!

Bottom line, this is the best Market I've ever attended to bring artists, artisans, agents, equipment and buyers together.

If you are an artist wanting to sell your artwork for application, do yourself a favor
and start saving up now for Surtex 2015 to at least walk the show.
If you have a small business in Stationery, Embroidery, or other hand made product,
the same goes for you.

It is truly worth the price of admission.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Pattern Genes from Mom


This is an old picture of my Mom at a Girl's Party in her Mother's front yard.
Mom is on the far left, and her Mother is second from the right.
You can see from the clothing and hair styles that fashion and grooming
even in the Depression Era was very, very important.
Grandma has on a dotted dress with tucks detailing the front,
the guest on her left has lovely tailored sleeves on her dress, and 
all of the young women are groomed prettily.
That was how Mom was raised, 
and that was how she was
all of her life.

When I was a little girl, she made most of my little dresses. 
My Dad bought her a Kenmore Sewing Machine from Sears Roebuck, 
and she could make that thing fly. 


She bought her fabrics from Wilson's Bargain Center in Florence, Alabama.

Image by Cathy Wood of the Tennessee Valley Art Association

Founded by "The Tall Man With the Low Prices", 

it had wooden floors that creaked and snapped agreeably as you walked, 
kibitzing companionably 
about the sewing project you had in mind
- a lovely, cozy connection from your feet to the fabric and trims.

We spent weeks of my life in there, with my eyes stinging 
from the copious amount  of formaldehyde used 
in the finishing process of the fabrics, but I didn't care.
I just loved fabrics, same as my Mom. 

When I was very small,
I watched as she and her sister Clara would cut apart brown paper grocery sacks,
smooth them flat, and then lay them out on her bed.
They would spend hours discussing the sleeve design, the fullness of the skirt, 
the waistband and neckline of the dress they were imagining.
And then, my Mom's scissors would start flashing through the brown paper,
following the pencil lines they had drawn and re-drawn.

They had their pattern, and it was time to cut the fabric and start sewing.

Later in life, she bought her patterns from McCalls and Simplicity,
and this was one of her favorites:



She made this one up in pink and white,
but amended the pattern
just like she always did, cutting freehand.

I made up my first pattern by folding a  brown paper grocery sack in half
and cutting out a triangle with a square sticking out from the side-
that was the sleeve, I think.

I don't sew much anymore - 
my days are filled
with happy Pattern Making of a different sort.

Instead of scissors and paper,
 needles and thread,
my tools are pens, scanners,
Photoshop and Illustrator
as I draw patterns for the fabrics
she may have chosen to sew up into dresses.



I think she would approve.

Thanks again for those art genes, Mom.  I love you.
Dorothy Louise Cornelius Sizemore, my Mother.
Happy Mother's Day.







Sunday, March 30, 2014

Finding My Childhood Under A Jello Mold

Growing up in Northwestern Alabama became a challenge right about the time I hit puberty.  Gone was the enchantment of playing in the woods and planting flowers with my Mom; 
I was ready to move on, and never look back.  
All grown up, I wanted to dump that frivolous kid stuff and go search for
the Real Meaning of Life.

Or something like that.

A Buttercup Meadow near my house that reminds me of my childhood.
But for the last three weeks, pushed by a brief created by
Lilla Rogers in her Assignment Bootcamp,
I have been gently delving in memories of my childhood; 
peeling back the layers of life to get back to that sweet time
when nothing was more important than what was happening at that moment.

Just that.

Drinking it in, smelling it, tasting it, lying on the ground and rolling in it.

I have to explain 
that growing flowers and vegetables was one of the premier pastimes of my young life.
My Mom and Dad were gifted gardeners who understood in their bones and souls 
the miracle of planting tiny seeds and nurturing them to verdant
stalks that bore strenuously and gave no hint of their small, dry beginnings. 

On Spring and Summer evenings after supper, we would remove
to the yard, where soaking hoses had been laid in the flower beds.
With the smell of grass around us in the radiant evening, my Mom and Dad
taught me to lift the tiny, fragile new plants from their watery bed
and tease their roots apart.  With a poke of the finger, a welcoming cave
would be made and the newly separated and tender plant would be pushed into it,
surrounded by a muddy water bath that would nourish it to its full potential.
I loved those times.

Besides that memory, one of the most powerful recollections
 wrapping around my childhood life like a fish net are the Sundays and Holidays
spent at my paternal Grandma's house.  I say Grandma's, because
I'm a girl, she was a girl, so Grandpa didn't count as far as the house went.

Every year on the day after Christmas, we gathered at my Grandma's house 
for my Grandpa's Birthday and a huge potluck dinner.
The pride and joy of two of my aunts were their amazing Jello molds. 
I was scared to death of those things.



Can you imagine facing this when your head is only just above the level of the table?  And you have no clue what that stuff is that is trapped inside that jiggly green gelatin?  My mother, to her eternal credit, never made me take a bite "just for manner's sake" out of any of those nuclear bombs.  I love her all the more for that.

So, when Lilla Rogers gave us her mini brief on March 3 and the subject was Jello Molds, I was swept back to that time in space...

My first thought was those heart throbbing moments of sneaking past those
congealed salads and wondering - with the clarity of distance -
if there really were bugs and spiders trapped in that jello?

Ewww.

Then I started drawing.  From the first bug-themed jello molded salads of my nightmares came a natural progression...I'm wondering if any artist does this differently?  
What flowed out of my pen were traceries of molds, egg beaters, whisks, and of course,
gelatine molds.  Remembering the copper molds on my Mom's kitchen walls,
I smiled and dug deeper.  The molds quite naturally were
joined by botanicals.  To my great surprise, the simple bluebells of my childhood meadow
wanderings became front and center.



The molds became more ancient, more Old World and I was off down the river again.
Once you jump in, you just have to go with the flow, you know?



When the time came to post my final submission, I was still dancing in flower meadows, smelling my childhood, and unwilling to stop.
But a deadline is a deadline, and this is the real left-brain-sided world,
so I hugged my rosy cheeked child-self and posted my final:

And now I'm going back to dance some more, plant some flowers in memory
of my Mom and Dad, and just maybe...maybe make a congealed salad.  Maybe. 

Thursday, March 13, 2014

A Stitch In Time For Yeppoon Australia

The 7th Great Big Stitched Postcard Swap is on!


Here's the plan:

Make a Post Card using the theme Create.

Use any materials you want, but put some stitching somewhere.
Then send it to someone you've never met, from another country from where you live.

This is all orchestrated by Beth Nicholls of Do What You Love.
She is an amazing person
who inspires literally thousands of artists around the world on a daily basis.


Include stitching?

Not a problem - I have MULTIPLE sewing machines scattered around.
(Some have collected dust while I dance with the MATS Assignment Bootcamp)

Finding stuff to use is also not a problem...
I have A LOT of fabric, paper, and fringe drops.
Like most artists do.


The decisions of where to put what got harder and harder to make.
I had SO MUCH STUFF I wanted to put on my card
for my new friend in Yeppoon, Queensland, Australia.

























I finally decided to use it all.
What the heck.  The theme is CREATE, for crying out loud!!
You can't hold back when in CREATE mode.


When she opens the card, she'll see these instructions:


And now, I'm going to go create something while my card is flying to Australia.

And stick it on my refrigerator door.

Off to the studio!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

When Tiny is Really Huge

Sometimes, a very tiny thing is actually quite large.  Powerful.  Eye-grabbing.

It's a tough act to pull off, but Lady Bugs and Wild Mushrooms in the forest 
manage it with a classy aplomb that I envy.

My Iphone Case, "Hello Hello".

What's all this tiny talk about?
I'm taking another Lilla Rogers class online - this time it is called Assignment Boot Camp.

All of us who have taken her previous two classes have an edge, because we've already had truck loads of information about the Surface Design Market shoveled into our psyche.

And one of those things is this:  
When you submit your artwork to a company you are simply dying to be with,  
a very good test is to shrink your submission to about the size of a postage stamp. 
Leave the room and then come back and see it grabs you.
If it reads at postage stamp size, you've cleared the first hurdle.

Sounds simple, but with all the 10 million other industry secrets that Lilla has tossed our way, it gets hard to remember.  Especially when you are in creative throes.

For our first assignment, Lilla teased us with a mini-brief.
Draw Cuckoo Clocks.
Lots and lots of them.

For a solid week, cuckoo clocks poured into our online classroom.
Some clocks looked like engineering marvels, with stag heads on top, woodmen and their wives standing on a deck in the middle, and the utterly necessary cuckoo bird screaming from the loft doorway.  It was amazing.

 I started to wonder how on earth something as detailed as a traditional Cuckoo Clock could be translated into a powerful, instant-read icon.
For the Market, remember.  For the broad Masses, you know?

Then Lilla pulled one of her famous tricks.
Take all those very detailed drawings that we had made for a week
and arrange them on an Iphone case.

You know how big/small an Iphone is, right??

She said we didn't REALLY have to put our presentation on an Iphone template, but it would be just fine if we did.  By the time the deadline arrived, I had decided not to - I couldn't choose from the icons I had and didn't want to ditch any of them.  

On Tuesday of last week, Lilla presented to the world the gallery of submissions.  And most of them were on Iphone templates...

We had been drilled to the wall with Lilla's lesson about the importance of a tiny read.
And I won't forget it again.

If you want to have access to over 400 artist's interpretations of Cuckoo Clocks, with quick links to their studios and websites, Lilla Rogers and Beth Kempton have made the class gallery accessible to the public - an amazing gift, both to us and to the public.

Here is the link:  Boot Camp February Gallery

Go take a look - I'm on Page 7!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Three Big Lessons from The Atlanta Gift and Home Market

Now that the Market is over, I want to share with you the three biggest things I learned.

Big Lesson #1
At the Atlanta Market, I saw a lot of booths and showrooms that didn't "have it".
Their displays were drab or too simple, reflecting a lack of effort or even worse,
a lack of awareness of their product and how it looked from the curb.

Then I would pass by a showroom that was packed tight with buyers, music was amped up, 
and the atmosphere was electric with positive energy.  
It was a happy uproar.
Image of Creative Co-Op Showroom by Creative Co-Op
Showrooms like Creative Co-Op had attended to every detail of their appearance "vocabulary".
They were confident in their work because they had done their homework,
attended to every tiny detail,
 and were consequently comfortable enough to let 'er rip.
They were having fun.
And it showed.

The Lesson?
Do your homework before you start.
Be aware of what is going on in the Market.
Know what your vocabulary is.
Then work your composition until you know there are no holes in it.
Have a blast while you are doing it, because that will automatically show up.
Stand back and see if it has curb appeal and joy - if it does, it will grab the buyer's eye and hold it.

Big Lesson #2
While walking this Market, it was easy to spot the new trends,
alongside the trends which have already run their course.

Owls and chalkboard art have had their time, but you will continue to see both for seasons to come.
Farm animals, big florals, and outdoor activities like camping were strong,
along with coastal and shore images, but there were still foxes, hedgehogs, dogs, alligators, crabs...
know what I mean?

Orange and blue were dominant "trend" colors, but I also saw every color in the rainbow.
Image from Company C

When you walk through any large shopping district, you see eye-catching displays
of "on Trend" products.
But you will also see other themes displayed just as beautifully.
What anyone ends up buying to put in their home or to give as a gift
 will always boil down to personal choice.

The Lesson here?
If you are an artist trying to sell your art for application, stay aware of what's going on out there,
and then just go and make your own absolute best art.  Every day.

Because there is a buyer out there for everything.

Big Lesson #3
Amy Howard of Amy Howard At Home has been tremendously successful because she practices several personal rules, which she passed on to us in a short seminar at Market.  I won't go into full detail here, because I'm sure Amy will be teaching this in her upcoming seminars and retreats.
But what I took out of her session was this:  Get Your Game On.  Really.
Images from Amy Howard At Home

When you walk a Market like this, you realize with absolute certainty that you have to be at the top of your game, and you need a game plan to follow to get there.

I picked these two simple steps from Amy's rules to

Be The Best At What You Do Best:
1.  Figure out what your Achilles heel is.
What stops you from being the best you could be?
Procrastination?  Record keeping?  Organizing your studio?
Face it head on and figure out a way to handle that weak point.
Create a solution to keep it from gomming up the works
and stopping your work flow.
Do that NOW, with a firm hand.
Commit to your solution.

2.  Then, take a critical survey of all that you do with your creative self.
What do you do BEST?
Now apply yourself to doing that better than anyone on the face of the earth,
and let the things that you do WELL fall by the wayside.

As Amy loves to say, "don't be a Jack of All Trades, and a Master of None".

Make what you do best be what you are known for.

And that's it.  I hope these Three Big Lessons will help you out - I am off to school again:

School@LillaRogers.com

Lilla Rogers Assignment Boot Camp!







Tuesday, January 14, 2014

More Trends from the Atlanta Gift and Home Market

The Atlanta Market is winding down,  but I continue to be blown away by this show.

Image from Peking Handicraft

The showrooms I visited at the beginning of the show in the Merchandise Mart were all about Old European Style, wood, metal, flaking paint, burlap and tweed,
unbleached canvas and natural linen.
A fairly masculine feel.

And then...
The last two days, I focused on the flip side - Powee!
Fabulous color - several million square feet of it.  And florals, chevrons, dots, patterns, 
and throbbing style:

Image from All For Color

Image from Peking Handicraft
Image from Thomas Paul

If I had to name a single color that stood out the most in the Atlanta Show, it would have to be Orange.  Followed by Blue.

Image from Kay Dee Designs
Image from Peking Handicraft

Motifs and themes that popped out of this more colorful side were all about the Shore, 
both Lake and Coastal. 
Lots of Octopi, Sea Horses, Conch Shells, Starfish and Sea Turtles. 
And Whales.  I saw whales everywhere.

The Great Outdoors was also a constant theme - 
camping, hiking, and playing outdoor sports.

Canoes, Bears and Moose.
Fly Rods.

Image from Sideshow Press
A huge, beautiful Market! 

Now, think about the millions of dollars spent in developing all these products.
And the thousands and thousands of hours that artists spent 
creating the icons for these products.
It will all wind up on store shelves and then float into your homes.

It all starts with a sketch.
Pretty unbelievable to think about, huh?

Think I'll go put my feet up, pour a glass of wine, and sketch something...

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