Blast From The Past

Work in Progress: You Can Take It With
I've been thinking a lot lately about the kid that I was in middle school. Looking back, I was fearlessly creative and completely unafraid to be myself, and therefore so un-self-aware as to be utterly clueless about anything social. I had almost no friends, but except for the constant teasing at school, and bullying, it almost didn't bother me. I had my creative outlets and my books, and that was pretty much enough.

In some ways, I think I was almost happier back then because I didn't have the kind of creative inhibitions that I do now. Self awareness has its price, and so does the desire for social acceptance. There are days when I am so worried about how someone will judge my work and me along with it, that I'm afraid to do/make anything. Considering how badly I want to make my living through my personal handiwork, this is a problem.

While thinking about these things, I decided to make a piece of art as if it were 1983, and all I had were scissors and glue and an old magazine. This is what I came up with. Nothing is glued down yet, because I'm still fiddling with placement and pondering new elements, but I'm not displeased with the effect I've created. I like the ghostly, Cheshire Cat-like effect of the eyes. We'll probably be seeing more of that in the future.

I don't have any answers to my problem yet, but at least I made something real.

Frida Progress

Frida in progress
I've been making some progress with my Frida Kahlo illustration. At this point, I'm much happier with her face. The smile and brows are much better (thank you, Heather!) and I've made the eyes just a touch larger, without the chibi-ness of the second version. There's a ways to go on this, though. I need to figure out what I want to say with the composition - the illustration as a whole.

Getting Your Hands on Vintage Books in St. Johns

It's true!
One of my favorite tasks as a designer is to work with Néna at St. Johns Booksellers to come up with ideas and window designs to promote her wonderful bookstore and the books she sells. For January, Néna wanted to showcase some of her outstanding vintage books. This is what I came up with:

Decembers's window was a much-welcome explosion of lights, color and glitter for the holidays, so I wanted to do something very clean and simple for January to let the amazing vintage books shine. Hence, the idea of books being pieces of history you can hold in your hands. To carry the idea, I created a number of hand outlines in various fun and vintage-style papers, to place in the books and around the window.

The results were exactly what I wanted! I love the moment when I take a step back, about halfway through the process of setting up the window, and realize that my idea is going to work exactly the way I'd hoped. Especially when times are tight and the design budget is limited.

I've had so many compliments on the poster I created for the window, I decided to offer it for sale in my Etsy store.

Néna has some AMAZING vintage books, including a gorgeously tooled set of Oscar Wildes, and an almost unbelievably cool self-published and AUTOGRAPHED Anais Nin! She also has a Victorian-era Imperial folio on Pompeii which is just incredible. I am rapidly running out of superlatives!

Check out more about St. Johns Booksellers over on Facebook.

Frida vs Frida

Chibi Frida vs Realistic Frida
I've been working on a vector illustration of Frida Kahlo and I'm not sure which direction I want to take. The more realistic version has its appeal, but the big-eyed, more caricatured version is a bit more what I was going for - taking the visuals that signify "Frida" and exaggerating them to make the finished product more my own.

Which version do you like better?

Red and Rose Romance Bracelet

Red and Rose Romance Bracelet
This bracelet is one of the prettiest things I have every made. For once, I really let myself go in terms of over-the-top girly charm. When I bought the various elements for it, I looked for the most feminine, sparkly, romantic beads and bits and bobs that I could find.

For this, I wanted to experiment with making my own chain, so I used sterling silver jump rings and decorative silver links. I used silver head pins and ring pins to wirewrap the charms, which include just this huge range of elements: garnets set in silver, Swarovski crystals, pewter lotus and heart charms, faceted rose quartz beads, lampwork glass, freshwater pearls, vintage red glass beads, and a big pink jade flower to be the focal point.

It is definitely one of the most complex pieces of jewelry that I have ever composed, and I am so proud of the way it came out!