Archive for the ‘being an artist.’ Category


perhaps you remember my post back in October about the National Stationery Show? at the end of the post, I mentioned that I was lucky enough to attend Tradeshow Bootcamp’s Paper Camp in Washington, DC; normally held on the West Coast, it was a particularly awesome (and much less expensive) opportunity. Bryan from Yardsale Press and I drove down together to soak up the paper goods tradeshow and wholesale knowledge along with 15 other designers and makers from around the country.

Katie Hunt from Kelp Designs is the ring leader for the weekend-long camp, selecting a rotating cast of speakers from a variety of positions in the paper goods industry. Over the course of the weekend, we heard from:

– Carina Murray and Kim Yurkiewicz of Crow + Canary, a stationery rep group.

– Claudia Smith and Megan Soh of Fig. 2 Design Studio

– Erika Firm of Delphine Press and Chromatic + Co.

– Rachael Hetzel of Pistachio Press

– Nole Garey of Oh So Beautiful Paper, a popular paper goods trend blog.

– Heather Haynie and Dani Antol of Rock Paper Scissors, a brick-and-mortar in Virginia.

the weekend was sponsored by StationeryHQ, Lettuce, and Legion Paper, all who provided awesome samples and swag.


I’ll tell you what- going to a conference about paper goods certainly has its perks in really nicely printed take-home materials. we arrived to beautiful programs printed on Legion Paper and a variety of personalized gear printed through StationeryHQ. I mean seriously- a personalized notepad with my name imprinted on every page? Badass.


after a brief breakfast and round-table introductions, we got right into the nitty-gritty. there was A LOT of information to cram into just two days time. we covered topics like developing wedding albums for stores, the basics of catalogues and other sales tools, what exactly having a sales rep means, building a booth for NSS, marketing tips, budgeting tips, and so much more. it’d be easier to write what we didn’t cover (not much)- at the end of both days, my brain was ready to explode.


photo of the whole group enthralled by the presentation by Mary Kate McKenna Photography

during the weekend, we were encouraged to use social media to post about our Paper Camp experience. I chose to doodle some key points and post them to Instagram- in the end, I won a pack of notecards for my efforts!


it would be impossible to even begin to list all that I learned from my weekend in DC. speaking of lists, I came home with a laundry list of goals and items on my to-do list thanks to the discussions we had.


in addition to coming home with the longest to-do list ever, Katie sent us packing with a TON of awesome stationery-related swag from sponsors and Bootcamp Alumni alike. I somehow crammed all of it into this sweet tote by Sapling Press.




so much paper-y goodness! pictured above is work by: 55 Hi’s, Ladyfingers Letterpress, Farewell Paperie, Pistachio Press, 9th Letter Press, Fig. 2 Design Studio, Flywheel Press, Tattly, Delphine, Meant to be Sent, Pink Orchid Press, Thimblepress, and Brainstorm. i can’t wait to send some cards and decorate my studio with all these fun takeaways.

Paper Camp Class of 2013

Paper Camp DC, Class of 2013- photo by Mary Kate McKenna Photography

Paper Camp DC Part Two, Class of 2013- photo by Mary Kate McKenna Photography

Paper Camp DC Part Two, Class of 2013- photo by Mary Kate McKenna Photography

a big thank you to Katie and her awesome industry cohorts for a wonderful weekend packed with inspiration and information! my class was also chock-full of talented individuals- be sure to check my classmates’ work and keep an eye for them at a future NSS! the camp roster included the owners of the following paper purveying companies:

  *  Idieh Design  *  Inspired Goodness  *  Ten Four Paper  *  Betsywhite  *

*  Think & Ink Studio  *  Grey Moggie Press  *   Ruby the Fox: A Paperie  *

*  Near Modern Disaster  *  Paper Presence  *  Constellation & Co.  *

C Designs & Illustrations  *  Florence & Florence  *  Funnyserious  *

*  Yardsale Press  *  Mountain Paper  *

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wayyyyy back in March of this year, i took a roadtrip down to Huntington, West Virginia to take a weekend workshop with artist/illustrator/educator extraordinaire Kate Bingaman-Burt. Kate is primarily known for her body of work depicting her daily purchases called Obsessive Consumption. the series began as a series of daily drawings, morphed into a monthly zine, and has since become a published book. if you check out her website, you can see that she has a whole slew of documentary projects running simultaneously.


the workshop was held at the Huntington Museum of Art, a hidden southern gem steps away from Marshall University and the Kentucky border. the premise was to spend the weekend creating original zines and was in conjunction with Kate’s first solo show. on Friday, the first day of the workshop, we spent some time learning about her, her projects, and zines in general. we also created a simple individual zine from one piece of copy paper.


that Friday night, Kate gave a lecture about her work and what drives her creativity. i took some random notes in my sketchbook- here are a couple of brief thoughts she mentioned that i scribbled down:

“more is more.”

“constraint leads to creativity.”

“doing what you love leads to people asking you to do what you love for them.”

the next day, we headed into the town of Huntington to peruse some antique stores and a Goodwill for our next zine project- imagined stories. i struck gold with a yearbook from the 90s with scribbled graffiti all over the exterior and interior:


it took until the next day to put the zine together. we simultaneously put together a collaborative zine- we partnered up and put together a page for our partner:


this was our whole class:


the final day (sunday) was my birthday! the aid to the class and a fellow printmaker named Sam was so nice to bring in cupcakes for everyone to celebrate! it was such a kind gesture. be sure to check out her work– she does really cool confection related prints. Kate also signed my copy of her book, which was so cool of her. in all, it was an awesome experience and i’m so glad i got to attend! it was great to meet some printmakers and creatives from the area and explore Huntington.


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as a small business owner and maker, i’m always looking for economical ways to get my work out there. i love printing and creating new items, but half of the battle is getting people to see new work and respond to it. being active on social media certainly helps keep my audience and customers up-to-date, but how can one gain new traffic without spending a fortune? etsy has a variety ad options which i am thankful for, but i wanted something more. if you recall, last year i did a tote bag giveaway with Meghan of eat.make.live– that’s how i discovered Passionfruit ads!

it’s pretty great- you can search blogs who need advertisers by region, ad price, theme- whatever suits your needs the best! i’ve only run a handful of ads thus far and have been experimenting with what type of blog yields results, what region, etc. however, the ads i’ve run have definitely turned in to shop views and that’s all i can hope for 🙂

what types of promotion/advertising have you done to boost your small business? what do you think was a win and what was a waste?



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in early September, i headed down to D.C. to spend a day with the ladies of Hellocraft, a non-profit “dedicated to the advancement of independent crafters and the handmade movement.” the  annual event is held in a different city each year and i was fortunate enough to be a) available that day and b) living close enough that i could drive there!

this year’s Summit of Awesome  was a one day event held at Fab Lab DC, a small studio/fabrication lab space with the perfect amount of space for all who attended 🙂 i arrived with enough time to enjoy the community craft table. actually, i think everyone who attended spent every free moment at the community craft table making buttons, sewing plush, playing with Washi tape, and more. here’s what i came home with:

. . . so now i’m basically dying for a button maker at home and stocked myself up on Washi tape. they also gave out little Moleskins to jot notes during each session. the stamped house on the front of my notebook was created by none other than my neighbor at this year’s Art Star Craft Bazaar- small world! check out Gioconda Padovan’s etsy shop here!

anyhow, after a brief intro, we split into groups to spend the day listening to 4 different topical sessions, as well as a keynote speaker at lunch. i’ll summarize some of the helpful information i took away from each session:

Own Your Awesome with Kelly Rand

Kelly is one of the founders of Hellocraft and also just became a published author with the release of the book Handmade to Sell. her session was basically a pep-talk for female crafters (not to diss you male makers out there, but the Summit was comprised of mostly women). she made a lot of good points- ideas that should be common sense, but when you’re stuck, they’re not so obvious. here’s a couple of phrases/notes i jotted down to pump me up and remind me why i’m plugging along and doing what i do:

every interaction is an opportunity.

– don’t be afraid to ask for help!

– don’t downplay your craft- think about all that goes into your work! what about the choices, schooling, organization, time, and everything else that goes in to everything you do?

– “success” is different for everyone; also, there is always more to an overnight success story than meets the eye.

Craftnote Speaker: Stephen Fraser, co-founder of Spoonflower

Stephen came armed with a powerpoint presentation about the humble beginnings of the website spoonflower. it really was an interesting story- the founders really knew nothing about fabric, but had experience with online platforms from their jobs at lulu.com. they discovered there was a demand for custom printed fabric and voila! they built a site to meet that demand. he spoke about their history, their current products, and future ventures. he also showcased some popular designers on the site and how social the site can be with weekly themed contests. pretty cool stuff! i came home with a great spoonflower swatch sample- i can’t wait to place an order!

Finance 101: The Basics for Crafts with Jennifer Dunn of Outright

outright.com– i am SO glad i found out about this site. it seriously came at the exact time i needed to- i’d been tossing around the idea of buying Quickbooks, but really wasn’t sure how to use it. Excel was getting too jumbled and difficult for me to keep up. along came the information about this site and i am PUMPED. it is a free bookkeeping website that syncs with your etsy, ebay, paypal, etc. and compiles all your information in one easy to use dashboard. Jennifer’s talk was exactly what i was hoping to find at the Summit and it really made the entire trip worth it for me. i have her contact info if anyone is looking for more information about the site. i also received a tip that this website is great for tax advice for small business. outright is really just the software to organize it all, not your personal accountant.

What’s the Deal? New Wholesale Opportunities with Tina Seamonster

another interesting and relevant talk- i had just received an email from uncovet.com two weeks prior and i wasn’t sure how to approach it. i knew i wanted to participate, but thought i needed more time. after listening to Tina’s talk, i said to myself “wtf am i waiting for?” and got rolling on my uncovet sale- i am so glad i did! anyhow, one piece of advice she had was- if the opportunity is worth it, say yes, then figure out how to get it done! seriously though- the opportunity (or one like it) may never surface again. she also gave a thorough and honest depiction of how to calculate proper costs for items. i really appreciated her candid talk about her trials and tribulations. check out her work on her fab website!

Email Me, Maybe? with Amy Ellis of MailChimp

i’ve never been a fan of email lists, so this session wasn’t my first choice. however, after seeing all that MailChimp is capable of with statistics and email layouts, i’m a convert and can’t wait to send my first newsletter to my humble, but growing, email list! Amy not only works for MailChimp, but runs her own newsletter for a club she belongs to, so she had plenty of insight on how to read your stats and keep customers engaged with your content.

the class of 2012

it was a challenge getting there (oh yeah, did i mention my car’s transmission died in Baltimore on the Friday night before the Summit?) but it was worth it to me. i talk to many vendors at shows, but rarely do i get to chat with anyone about these nitty-gritty details. i feel more confident with my business and the Summit really helped me get excited again about what i’m doing! here’s hoping i’ll be able to make my art/craft business my full-time career one day. thanks so much to Kelly, Sara, & Christine for the post-Summit drinks at Meridian Pint! here’s hoping i see you ladies either at next year’s Summit or at Crafty Bastards!

i’ll leave you with two photos- here’s my Escort, dead on the U-Haul we towed it home with:

 . . . and me with my new-to-me ride! so much more room- i love it!



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as mentioned in my hello 2012 post, i’ve finished painting and organizing my studio! i finally took some photos to really show off the space. you can see what it used to look like HERE–  inefficient furniture layout and dank, moldy vintage green walls. yick. check out the new space! you can see all the pics HERE.

all my typeface sets for the letterpress organized by size.

back in november, i bought this letterpress proofing press- i'm so excited to finally get to use it!

the printing side of the studio.

new mini fridge to keep my photo emulsion and a new fabric printing table made out of shelves from my day job- it's large enough to print two yards at a time.

in the midst of printing with my new, larger print drying rack made from shelves from my day job.


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hello and welcome to my first real post about 2012! i finally caught up on my posts all about the holiday shows i participated in- as you can see it was a busy time, but very rewarding and a lot of fun 🙂 i really like sharing the awesome work i see so that people can really get a feel for what craft shows are all about.

anyhow, 2012 started on a sadder note with the loss of a friend to cancer and another friend to moving across the country! for the latter, we got together for a surprise farewell party the day before she left- here is a pic of us gals just before we said “bon voyage!” here’s hoping i get to go visit her in AZ . . . maybe i can find a craft show down there to vend at?

in other news outside of the studio, i’m learning to snowboard (my first time trying snow sports EVER) and it’s one of the most frustrating and painful challenges i’ve been faced with. however, that sweet moment when you’re actually cruising down a hill all by yourself makes it all worthwhile. sorta. kinda.

last fall, i spent a lot of time tweaking my traveling show set up. it will always be a work in progress, but for now i’m happy. my focus for the beginning of this year is on rebranding- revamping my website to reflect the work i’m making now and not all of my work from grad school, streamlining my etsy with better photographs and descriptions, developing package designs and more for the work i sell at shows, etc. i’ve started with my main etsy storefront– have you noticed any of the changes? i also created a second etsy account called exit343designforlife to house my functional printed pieces- accessories, jewelry, pillows, etc. i felt like these items were getting lost in the crowd on my main storefront. so far it’s light on listings, but more will be coming shortly. check out the packaging i created for my greeting card packs:

another big change in progress is my studio space. on thanksgiving day 2011, i came down the stairs to find my entire studio under about 6″ of water. yes, i know i said inches- it didn’t damage much in the grand scheme of things, but did destroy all of my newsprint, boxes of supplies, fabric that was touching the ground, etc. that mini flood was the impetus i needed to start reorganizing and sealing the walls to (hopefully) reduce my humidity issues in the summertime. i’m only halfway done as i type this, but wow does it look great! here are two shots of the space before:

so crowded and gross! and way too many things sitting on the ground.

the walls were painted a retro mint green, but over time they turned yellow with the paint chipping and all sorts of questionable spots- mold? mildew? who knew.

here’s the same space now:

what a difference the white makes! it makes me less afraid of the walls and there’s so much space to move! i think i can even fit in a proper fabric yardage printing table.  just to get an idea of the difference, here’s a pic of a wall in progress:

pretty gnarly. i can’t wait to be finished! i will then post more/better photographs upon completion so you can get a feel for the space. and then i can get rolling on new work for upcoming spring shows 🙂 i did get to print one new thing amongst the mess- check out these custom thank you cards i made for my friends dennis + amy- they used them for engagement thank you’s.  made a bunch of extra in different colors that you can purchase on my etsy:

oh! speaking of listing things, i’ve finally listed all of the newer plush i dragged to every show during the holiday season. here are the goldfish friends:

here is the paisley bird collection– each color has a name and story!

oh! and i mentioned spring shows . . . the first of which is coming up in a month! yes folks, that’s right- the 4TH ANNUAL PABST BLUE RIBBON CRAFTING CHALLENGE! on Saturday, March 10, 2012 at 2424 Studios in Fishtown from 3-10pm! if you’ve never been before, get ready for an afternoon of beer, more beer, crafts, friends, beer, live bands, more art, beer. here’s hoping they don’t run out- so come early and stay late 🙂

that’s all for now . . . back to painting and finishing up a wedding!

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it only took me months to finally sit down and go through all of the photographs i took and business cards i acquired and compose this post, but here it is: all about my trip to Chicago in september!

way back in the beginning of fall, i was fortunate enough to participate in my first ever Renegade Craft Fair. on the 10th and 11th of september, i set up shop on Chicago’s Division St. with over 300 other vendors and got to meet all kinds of talented artists and interesting patrons 🙂 i could write so much about how much amazing work was there, how beautiful Chicago is, etc- but it’s much easier to show you in photographs! and i definitely took plenty. read ahead to see what my new booth fixtures look like, some of my favorite pieces by other vendors, and more! thank you to the lovely people of Renegade for letting me be a part of this amazing event 🙂 also, big thank you to my friend Courtney Jones for flying out to meet me in Chicago only to sit behind a table 80% of the time. another big thank you goes out to the lovely Veronika Goldberg for letting us crash at her new pad- it was a blast! seriously though- check out this beautiful view we woke up to:

anyhow- the show took place on Division Street in the Wicker Park neighborhood of Chicago. the weather was beautiful on both days, my booth was next to my friends Bryan and Hilary of Yardsale Press, i got to debut my new fixtures, and there was a ton of traffic- a great success 🙂

check out the new greeting card stands i built! they match my new neutral colored/wood motif.

here is courtney and i on day two- it was so awesome of her to come out to help! it’s been way too long since we’d seen each other. fun fact- courtney, bryan & hilary from yardsale, and i all went to Rowan University together.

the “tshirts are $15.00” Ts were a big hit- i’m considering printing a short run of them.

here is Bryan manning his booth next to mine- check out those stacked sandwiches!

the show was so enormous, it took both days for me to find the time to go through and see all the vendors. as i mentioned early on, i took a lot of photographs and collected business cards from so many talented artists and crafters. the following is a selection of images and links of just some of my favorites:

how cute are these nugget screens and squeegees?! according to Flora A., these Teeny Screenies are part of a new startup project made up of graphic designers to raise money for the charity The C.A.R.E. Initiative.

“things that are long” by Missouri letterpress shop 1canoe2– love that there’s a weener dog!

i thought the sweatshop of love had such an awesome shirt design.

tshirts for the typography obsessed by the social department (i personally love a good sans).

 i was SO excited to get to see the Shawnimals booth- as some of you may know, i have started a small collection of moustachios:

as a result, when i met Shawn Smith, it was a little like meeting a celebrity. my excitement to meet him may have been a little creepy, but he was super nice- we even chatted a bit about SXSW. i added the handmade black papa moustachio to my growing moustache family.

another booth i was particularly hype to see was the Little Friends of Printmaking – it was SO exciting to see their work in real life and not just on the pages of some of my favorite illustration/design books! i picked up a sweet tshirt with a cat riding a bike- i’ll show you at the end.

Mokuyobi Threads had some super fun accessories for self and home- i love the bright food pillows!

as a printmaker who works primarily in silkscreen, i was totally blown away by the art prints and band posters by Crosshair Silkscreen Design. look at the image above, read the FAQ’s on the left, and look back at the image- the registration is immaculate! (aside from the image being just plain awesome) their booth had a sweet pile of discount prints and i picked up this double sided monoprint:

ciggies! McBitterson’s– so cute!

yup, that’s a batch of rainbow plush penis’- there’s more where these come from on Abitabite’s etsy.

these necklaces by material+movement are so elegant and unique.

in addition to the many booths of vendors, the Moveable Type Truck parked in the center of all the action. kyle currie travels the country in a converted 1982 chevy truck outfitted with, among other equipment, a tabletop platen letterpress.

bryan and i chatted with kyle and she showed us around her space. i wish i had more time to stay and print! although it turned out that the day before the show, i purchased two of her cards from her company power and light press:

 . . . and how adorable is that cat-erpillar by Cordial Kitten?? that was such an awesome trade- i spent both days eyeing this cat from two booths over. thank you so much, candice!

i LOVE these little plush sx-70s by lets be friends! they also had too cool for school handmade hipster bears:

 . . . and here’s even MORE sweet swag! clockwise from the top: the bike racing kitty tshirt is courtesy of the Little Friends of Printmaking, as mentioned previously. the tote bag with cute birdies is by Vahalla Studios. Little Korboose created the package of postcards emblazoned  with the little blue robot saying HELLO! Illustrated Goods offered up so many great letterpress goodies, but i decided on some colorful blank birthday cards. Nourishing Notes was one of my favorite booths- their prints are all food related and so bright and humorous! i can’t wait to frame and hang up the letterpress print i purchased that reads “count the MEMORIES not the CALORIES”

Renegade was super awesome and I met some great people and artists. I can only hope I’m fortunate enough to participate again in 2012!

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my calendar is filling up with upcoming holiday craft shows this season! as i mentioned before, i kick off the season by traveling to pittsburgh this weekend to participate in the Handmade Arcade for my first time ever 🙂 i thought i’d post some pics from the studio and then introduce just a couple of new items that i’ll bringing with me on my trek across PA (there is more on the way, too!).

 buddy the studio cat helped me out yesterday by snoozing all over my fabric.

some christmas card reprints in progress! also- my paisleybirds are getting personalities . . .

the goldfish are all printed! as long as everything happens on schedule, they will be stuffed, sewn, and ready to swim on over to pittsburgh on saturday 🙂

check em out- spankin new hootie-hoo owls! this time around, they are all printed on soft flannel fabric in a variety of colors. each are hand printed and stuffed with love (big thanks to grandma and nick for all of their help)! they will be up on my etsy after their first roadtrip.

completely new to my shop- deer silhouette throw pillows! modeled after my popular christmas card design, these hand printed pillows are two sided- the front is shown, the back features blue polka dots.

alrighty, back to work- still many cards to print and photos to edit. be back soon.

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an awesome example of the multiple. this print is by valerie wallace, created for the annual oregon ink spot exchange. check out her work here: http://vwyellowpress.com/

one of the best things about being a printmaker is the ability to create a multiple. due to the nature of the medium, it so easy for printmakers to swap and collect amazing artwork. however, not everyone has a studio community to swap with- that’s where print exchanges come in 🙂 in 2009, i participated in the littlest print exchange and am doing it again this year. the creator this swap also put together a blog advertising other print exchanges. check it out: PRINT EXCHANGES! 

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i have so much to write about, i thought i’d break it up into different posts. first stop: art star craft bazaar at penn’s landing in philadelphia, pa was a great success! the weather was a big strange on day one, but day two ending up being sunny and warm- a wonderful surprise 🙂 here are some snappers of my tent:

booth number 61 at the great plaza at Penn's Landing!

manning my booth on day one!

hootie and hoo hanging out.

my faithful helper and friend Katy, modeling with one of my pillows and tote bags!

day two's setup: much more rain resistant.

on day two, my good friend and fellow printmaker Bryan Schulthorpe of Yard Sale Press manned my booth while i ran around to check out what other vendors were selling. i definitely got some great deals:

I LOVE my handlebar mustache T from Fuzzy Ink! their whole table was mustache themed- i don’t care how trendy it may be right now, i love mustache goodies haha. the cute handmade bird eye glass holder was a steal at $15 from JennyJen 42– click the link to check out her etsy packed with awesome hand sewn creations. next to me at table 62 was Laura Stanz, a maker from Indiana who spent both days telling customers to “please- hug the walrus!” so obviously, i had to go hug the walrus- and instantly fell in love with the mole-y cat and adorable beaver! you SERIOUSLY need to check out her shop called The Wind and The Sail– her plushies are super affordable and unique and extremely well crafted. she told me the story about the mole-y cat and when i got home, i realized my own kitty has a mole in the same spot!

of course there were so many other awesome artists and crafters that i wish i could have purchased from or traded with . .  to see the complete list, click here: 2011 Vendors  anyhow, thanks so much to everyone who came out that weekend!

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