Thursday, December 16, 2010

Providence Patterns

I first came to Rhode Island on a college visit. I explored the city nervously, trying to picture myself here as an art student for the next four years. After a tour of the campus and wandering around I fell in love with Providence's architecture and of course RISD.

Since 2003 I've been living here on and off again (yikes!) There are definitely times when I take it for granted, or forget my initial reaction to the city of Providence.

Visiting Japan was a similar experience. Everything looked so different; the buildings, people and transportation are all scaled smaller. Tall people might find this disconcerting... but I loved being able to reach the handholds in the subway.

I also loved living in the picturesque countryside of Kyoto. No matter how grumpy I felt a quick ride on my bike always brightened my mood. There is really nothing better than casually biking past fragrant fields of rice, vegetables, streams and small houses. I also developed an affinity for the surrounding mountains, they offered a fantastic backdrop and landmark visible from almost anywhere in the city.

At first when I came back I had to fight the urge to point out how different everything is in the US. "Look at my giant coffee!" "Can you believe how loud those people are talking?" Coming back allowed me to see Providence with fresh eyes and of course appreciate the time I spent in Japan. ( The blue painted under porches in New England always makes me smile)

With that in mind I felt compelled to draw patterns of Kyoto and Providence for my East vs. West collection. Here's my Providence drawings...

After coloring it in the computer and about 3 trials of printing and tweaking the colors:

And a close up!

Here's the Kyoto side complete with trains and mountains!

Yay trains!

The fabrics were printed and being sewn into reversible totes, mostly so you don't have to pick one over the other.

They are for sale in my etsy store! A few other items are there that I made for the sale Claire and I did around Thanksgiving. The sale was a bust but at least I got a lot of work done!

Hurrah for getting things done!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

To Infinity and Beyond!

Lately, I've been obsessed with the moon and the early stages of NASA. I've been reading lots of great books about space: Packing for Mars by Mary Roach. She asks all the right questions; who makes the food that goes into space? How do bathrooms work in space? Does space smell after 2 weeks? Her books are always written with a fun sense of curiosity and I always learn a ton of interesting facts. Here's an amazing poster of the moon that I've put up in the studio. It's from a 1969 National Geographic.

Between all the reading and documentary watching I've been wondering if there was a piece I could do about the moon or the 1960's. So when Etsy announced their joint contest with NASA it felt like perfect timing. The winner would get to see an actual shuttle launch and might even have their winning entry sent into space !! How cool is that? Anyways, I started sketching out various things related to NASA; shuttles, lunar modules, astronauts, and ham the chimp! I decided it would be fun to make a space pattern and sew it into something functional such as a laptop case!

I wanted the lining to look like a control panel, this one is pretty closely based off of the Apollo command module.

After studying the construction of popular laptop cases, I decided to create one that zipped 1/2 way down the side allowing easy removal of the laptop. You also can see and appreciate the lining more!

Here's a close up:

When I entered my case in the NASA contest I was hoping to make it to the voting stage, so I could rally friends and family to vote for me. I didn't get in and I was pretty bummed about it. Soon after, I saw this: Moon Embroidery, which also didn't make it to voting. I thought this piece was extremely innovative and beautiful. I couldnt imagine why it wasn't in the contest either. After linking to it yesterday, it appears there was some sort of glitch with the voting system, so who knows what happened...

Despite all that I'm glad I designed the fabric and made this! It's up for sale on Etsy and fits a 13" mac. I'm going to photograph some other stuff I've finished and put it up for sale sometime this week!

I'm pretty happy with how my case turned out! I'd never put in a zipper like this or done work with padding before but I managed! If you or someone you know is obsessed with space why not get them a sweet laptop case for the holidays? ; )

I've been so busy the last few weeks sewing for my first Craft Fair with my sister and finishing up a piece for They Draw And Cook's Holiday Contest.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Food for the Fall

Mmmmm squash... Although it didn't come to me via csa, I thought it deserved a little celebration. I've been indulging a lot in foods I missed last year while living in Japan. (squash, mac and cheese, risotto, hot chocolate, apple cider, roasted veggies) There was plenty of squash in Japan, but it was never pureed or roasted. Speaking of which... I'm a little behind on the veggie drawings. Here's a squash study for a Butternut Squash, Sage and Bacon soup.
Butter is so hard to paint!

I've been busy mailing out promo cards, visiting A.P.E in San Francisco (more on that later) and trying to finish up patterns in my East vs. West series. I'm hoping to sew them into lovely totes for the holidays!

I've also been busy creating work for contests lately! Including: They Draw and Cook's Holiday Recipe contest! This is a blog I've recently stared following and has become a fast favorite. They feature recipes from artists all over the world! Their contest will feature favorite holiday food recipes over the month of December and one will be featured each day on The Food Network, which would be great exposure! I love cooking at the holidays but I'm not sure what I should draw for this... any ideas? What are your favorite dishes to eat?

Okay well that's it for now. I'm still working on a post with favorite purchases from the Alternative Press Expo but I might lump it together with the NY Art book fair, which I'm going to check out this weekend! Also the YOSHITOMO NARA show! If your in NY and want to catch up, come by the Art book fair! (It's free!)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Garlic and Vampires

Garlic and Onions are not the most exciting veggies, but they can definitely supply a lot of flavor. I decided to give these bulbs some credit and paint them on an Autumn like cloth. 3 weeks left of the CSA and I've done 12 veggie drawings so far!
Next week I'll be heading to the West Coast to check out A.P.E, the Alternative Press Expo. (Think Comic Con but with zines and small publishing companies) It looks like they will have some great speakers; including Lynda Barry and Daniel Clowes! I'm staying with my Aunt which is always fun and hopefully I can meet up with some friends, bloggers and potential clients. I've been busy putting together little zine like portfolio's I can hand out.

I can't believe its already October... I'm starting to plan an elaborate Halloween costume to make up for last year's complete absence of Halloween. Something involving a tiny red hat I picked up in Harajuku. If you like Halloween, vampires and fabric depicting them then head on over to Spoonflower. I entered this week's contest. Vote for my Vampires!

I missed the Kawaii competition that I desperately wanted to enter. So, I decided to make this a kawaii/vampire fabric. You might say that crosses and gravestones aren't cute... But that's cause you haven't seen a sleepy coffin or a crying stake.

Voting is up this week till October 13th! And while your there check out all the other awesome fabric people have made! Maybe I should do a post on my favorites sometime soon.... hmm

Monday, September 27, 2010


I'm a big lover of patterns. My apartment and wardrobe are filled with stripes, polka dots, florals etc... I decided I should learn how to make my own patterns. With a little help from a friend I learned how to put my pattern into repeat on the computer. (proving once again that knowing the right way to do something saves time and frustration) And so with my new skills I am going to create a fun series of patterns based on my favorite things from American and Japanese culture. But wait... there's more!
One of my favorite finds in Japan was a small tote I got in a fashion magazine, it was reversible: one side gold and shiny, the other side floral (two of my favorite things together). I got tremendous use out of the bag because of its flexibility and it inspired me to make this tote.

For the American pattern I included the snack foods I really missed while abroad: coffee, berries, pretzels, and cupcakes. I didn't include everything I missed for fear of the pattern repeat being 2'x2'. For the Japanese side I drew: sweet potatoes, oranges (mikan), persimmons (kaki), chestnuts, tea, green tea ice cream, snacks filled with red bean paste, dumplings (nikuman) and a large variety of mochi. I was so excited when my fabric arrived from Spoonflower!

Here's the pattern all cut out!

I sewed together my prototype bag and showed it off all weekend!
Here's the Japanese side:

Here's the American side:

It was really exciting to see something I drew on fabric. Some parts were a little darker than I want so I'll tweak them. Soon after though I will have these babies up on my Etsy shop for sale and the fabric will also be available on Spoonflower. If you haven't already checked out Spoonflower then I suggest you do. They have a wide variety of fabrics you can print on, the quality is great and its a lot of fun to see what other fabrics people come up with and vote in their contests! I'm working on the next set of prints which will be landscapes; one of Providence and one of the rural parts of Kyoto (where I was staying).

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Seeds and Puppies

Fall is here! So is my drawings of veggies from last week; more eggplants, tomatoes and peppers. Doesn't this palette feel like Fall? Although I'm more of a Summer fan, I am looking forward to cooking comforting foods with lots of squash.

Speaking of comforting...

My family got a puppy! I went home for the weekend to indulge in cuteness.

We drove to the middle of Virgina to pick her out and after much debate we named her Addie. (I was partial to Mochi or Olive) She's driving our other dog, Lexey completely crazy. Lexey is almost 15 and would rather be left alone. We are all hoping Addie will calm down a bit and they can be friends. Here's her sneaking up on Lex and nibbling on her foot while she's napping.

Yay puppy love!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Just Beet It!

Sadly, our CSA was put on hold for the last two weeks. : ( It seems like a lot of work to run a farm! Luckily I have a few tricks up my sleeve!

I didn't like beets when I was little, and I thought my Grandfather's borscht was one of the grossest foods imaginable. However, all of that's changed in the last few years, now I love a good beet! ( Especially with goat or feta cheese.)

These babies were roasted, diced and put into a tart filled with onion, goat cheese and walnuts.
Delish! I also love the pink, vibrant color they leave on everything!

Thanks to everyone who came to the opening! It was a blast to see everyone's work and people reminiscing over their fav teen shows. Thanks again to Liz for putting the whole thing together! If you go to my website you can see the pieces in full.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

9.02.10 Show

I have many guilty pleasures... Netflix instant watch has enabled me to relive my middle school/ high school love of Buffy the Vampire Slayer! When my friend Liz messaged me about her upcoming show based off of her love of 90210 other teen shows of the 90's I knew I needed to come up with a project. (check out her blog to see some awesome paintings of Shannon Doherty crying that will also be in the show)
I am so excited for the opening on Thursday, I wanted to share a sneak peek! Here's close ups of my shadowboxes/shrines to favorite boy crushes from Buffy. Seth Green aka Oz the werewolf. My favorite boy from Buffy! He was in a band, had red hair and often made witty comments.

James Marsters aka Spike, the big bad vampire who starts off on the show as a formidable foe complete with grand schemes and biting comebacks. After a brief stint in an experimental government lab he is unable to hurt living things and starts to fight alongside Buffy. He has some of the best lines on the show!

David Boreanez aka Angel. Buffy's first love interest that happens to be a vampire. Gypsies gave him back his soul, so he's a good guy... Unless he has a moment of true happiness and then he's Angelus (evil Angel) I chose to depict him in LA where is spinoff show takes place.

I set out to make pieces that idolized these men and celebrated teenage obsession. These pieces are sort of mini shrines or valentines to each of the characters with elements of their back stories incorporated. I have to say it was incredibly satisfying to get more of a likeness then I was able to achieve in 1997. If your in the Boston/Providence area come see the show!

The Distillery Gallery
516 E 2nd Street, First Floor
South Boston, MA
The opening is 6-9 this Thursday and the show will be up until October 27th.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Eggplants, tomatoes, and a pepper

Even tiny veggies taste delicious!

The BF's stepmom gave me this dazzling, white eggplant form her garden. A few days later the CSA gave us these two beautiful purple ones. We got a ton of tomatoes last week, my favorite being the grape tomatoes! I bought some mozzarella cheese, basil and ate it all up!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Treats from the Lowcountry

Just got back from a week at the beach in South Carolina with my family. In addition to some new freckles, I also picked up a couple of goodies:

The Boots are from Worthwhile, an absolutely breathtaking store full of creative and inspiring clothes, jewelry and tiny thoughtful gifts. Not only do the boots come in a variety of great prints, but they are also fair trade and made of locally sourced materials. Each boot is signed by the person who assembled them. I can't wait to wear mine : )
Robot Candy co., also on King St. is filled with gummi's, vintage looking robots and kawaii school supplies! While I was overwhelmed by cuteness the BF snuck to the register and
picked up the foodie tote, funky monkey pouch and Rilakkum pencil case. (lucky me!)
The necklace is from Dixie Dunbar, a funky jewelry place I always like to visit when I'm in Charleston. I chose this onyx necklace cause I liked the different shapes and thought it would be a great piece to wear from day to night. All of these stores are on King street, so if your ever in Charleston I highly recommend stopping by. I was also digging the combo of these nail polishes... sort of funky, right? Enjoyed my vacation, now back to the grind...

Friday, August 13, 2010

What's Up... Carrot?

I needed to scale back this week's drawing (after feeling slightly exhausted from the Risotto one) and I thought carrots would be fun to draw. They have such an interesting shape and variety of texture I don't have to do much to make them look tasty!

I felt the need to place them on this sweet little checkered apron!

Did you know that if you cut off the tops and place the carrots in water they last much longer? My friend Allie told me that! I haven't had a chance to eat many of ours, so hopefully they will be okay when we get back from the beach this weekend.

Monday, August 9, 2010

All The Tiny Broccolli

Here's a make-up veggie drawing featuring.... Broccoli! I've never understood why anyone wouldn't love broccoli. It's delicious AND it looks like tiny trees! Some people look outside of airplanes and think the trees look like broccoli. I look at my broccoli and want to paint miniature houses with it.

So there you go...

Friday, July 16, 2010

Fennel & Orange Salad

This week's CSA came full of tasty new veggies including: squash, zucchini, broccoli and the biggest kohlrabi I've ever seen! I decided to try illustrating a recipe this week for a change of pace. Although, this recipe doesn't require many ingredients, directions or accuracy its an effortless summer dish and pretty to boot!

This recipe is adapted from Red, White and Greens, The Italian Way with Vegetables by Faith Willinger, one of my favorite cookbooks!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Loose Lips Sink Ships

I realized I never put up the whole image of my Kappa or my other Japanese Sea Monster pieces! Here's my Kappa complete with children swimming nearby unaware to the danger that lurks below.

Here's another one of my favorite sea monsters: the Umibozu. Not to be confused with an umiboshi (a delicious Japanese pickled plum)

Very little is known of this illusive, enormous sea monster. They are said to dwell in the oceans off the coast of Japan and will capsize the boats of those who dare to speak to it. It's name, meaning sea monk, is probably due to its bald, shiny head. Some people believe they are the angry spirits of dead monks, and sometimes they will appear to shipwreck victims or fisherman. One account claims they will ask for a barrel and then use it to sink the ship. The only way to insure survival is to give them a bottomless barrel. Another account claims they posses powerful tentacles and can shoot fireballs out of their eyes! Few people have seen the Umibozu and lived to tell the tale... so if you do see one look the other way and pretend you don't notice it!