One of my lovely wedding clients, Nadine, was kind enough to send me a shot of her wedding invitation suite all assembled and ready to mail. I love how she used some simple rustic materials like burlap and raffia to really personalize the suite and make it her own. Thanks, Nadine! Take a look at the rest of the Tree Branches collection here.
It's amazing how quickly a year can slip by, isn't it? On New Year's day I found myself trying to remember what has even happened over the past twelve months. The more I thought, the more I realized that 2011 was actually a great year. I don't usually talk too much about my personal life here on the blog, choosing to keep it more about what I'm working on, but I think I'll make an exception to do a little "2011 year in review"- hope you don't mind! I've condensed my entire year into one memorable event from each month. JANUARY
While I spend my nights, weekends, days off and lunch hours working on illustrations and making things, during the day I work for Providence Media, a publishing company here in RI. January marked my transition from assistant art director (which I started as in July '09) to art director. That month we were working on a cover story for February's issue of Providence Monthly, which was definitely the highlight of the month. We made paper cutout props and had a fun nautical-themed photo shoot. You can see the rest of the issue here.
In February, my family adopted Bonnie. This photo is from one of our first walks together. Look at that face!
The biggest project I worked on this year was Easter Encounter, basically a giant walk-through art installation created by 70 artists and volunteers from Renaissance Church that sought to communicate the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Being involved in the dreaming, construction and sharing of this was a humbling, exciting experience and was definitely a highlight of my year.
MAY May meant packing up and saying goodbye to a beautiful apartment. In the process I ended up going through a ton old paintings, as far back as when I was 5 years old, photographing each one before unceremoniously shoving it into a garbage bag. (Ouch!) It's okay, I saved my favorites.
JUNE Now you see why I had to get rid of so much! I'm learning to love living with less things. My new workstation holds the whittled-down essential tools that I need to make my art. (Even with less stuff, I still manage to make a huge mess.)
Every year I look forward to the Newport Folk Festival with much anticipation. It's a great mix of bands I already love and bands I fall in love with that weekend. Here's me, in my giant sun hat, with Rhode Island's famous Del's frozen lemonade. Mmmmm.
This year I turned 25, and the cake was delicious. I also got hurricane Irene the week of my birthday, which reminded me that, yes, I can survive without the internet.
SEPTEMBER Shortly after the hurricane, my family and I took a quick getaway to New Hampshire. My favorite memory from the trip was exploring a hiking trail that followed a cascading waterfall down the mountain. It was way more beautiful than my camera could capture, but this photo at least reminds me of it.
The biggest milestone of the month was finishing the illustrations for my first children's book! Unfortunately, you can't see that yet. But the other exciting event of October was going to see The Civil Wars, my favorites. This was, hands down, my favorite concert ever.
NOVEMBER My mom makes a great Thanksgiving dinner, and this years' was no exception. But the highlight of the month, honestly, was getting to hang out with my family. Now that my siblings and I are all out on our own, I really treasure our time together.
I had ten days off in December. Ten days.(I still can't believe it.) I spent a couple of those days working on getting a new series of paintings started, and it was bliss. Resting and making art? A perfect way to end 2011, if you ask me.
What was the highlight of your year?
When I moved into my new apartment this June, I had the challenge of condensing all of my belongings from my previous cavernous apartment (where I had a big bedroom and basically two studio/work rooms) to one room with a tiny closet. The simplification was great for me, but it's been a challenge to figure out how to organize my new live/work space. It's probably still a work in progress, but it's at least presentable enough to give you a peek at where I work. Take a look:
Here we are at the entrance to my room- you can see my bed/desk to the left, dresser to the right, and my giant ikea shelves in the back corner of the room. The rug is also from ikea- I think it was something like $20, and I love the flower design.
The colors in this photo are a little off; the walls are painted in this hazy purple-pink-grey color that I'm obsessed with. It's the same color that I painted my room in my last place and I still love it. Because the room is a little small, I chose to paint all my furniture white so it didn't end up looking like a cave. This bureau was picked up off the side of the road a few years back, and was pretty dingy. I re-painted it and splurged on some fancy anthropologie drawer pulls, and I love how it looks now. That yellow wall shelf was snagged for $5 at a yard sale in my neighborhood, and I use it to organize my toiletries and knicknacks. My favorites are the hand-stitched stuffed turtle I made for an art installation, a woven totoro reed basket from Bolivia, and a mounted butterfly from a shop in Providence that doesn't exist anymore.
I found this vintage hankie at an antique store (looks like it could use a little ironing!). The brown wooden box is a stationery organizer given to me by a friend that I've been using for my jewelry.
This shelving unit has made it so much easier to organize my art and shop supplies! I keep my fabric, prints, mailing envelopes, sewing supplies, and a bunch of other random things here. On the top I have one of my first paintings (the one of the sunflowers) that I did when I was seven, my beloved cursive typewriter, a print that needs to be framed, and an embroidered piece from a couple years ago.
So much of my furniture is from ikea! The loft bed frame is actually "vintage" ikea; bought it off craigslist and painted it white. I attached a couple strings of white lights to the wooden slats on the underside of the bed that light up the desk space. The lights are plugged in to a dimmer switch (also from ikea) that I can easily switch on and off. Before that I was crawling underneath the desk to unplug them, not a great situation. To the right of the bed and desk is about a foot and a half of space that works pretty conveniently as extra storage space since my closet is super tiny. It's thankfully pretty inconspicuous (except that in this picture it kind of looks like things are starting to pour out of it - I'll need to work on that!). The desk surface is a very heavy blank door that I bought at home depot. I used two ikea filing cabinets to prop up the desk; the one on the right is great for storing paper and projects. Unfortunately they're not the same height, so I ended up using some wooden blocks to level it out.
I recently installed this little shelf and lamp by my bed; before this I would stick my glasses and books in between my mattress and bed frame. (Not smart.)
I love my duvet cover! It's hard to see from this angle, but interspersed in the branches are birds and butterflies.
This pegboard keeps all my most-used tools in easy reach. I fastened it to the bed frame and it does double-duty to block off that storage area.
These two storage areas help keep my work surface free of clutter; the hanging ceramic cups keep my painting and drawing tools organized, and a shelf with a couple boxes keeps the rest of the mess off my desk.
Hope you enjoyed my little studio tour!
It's still a work in progress - this was taken about a week ago, it's a bit tidier now - but this is where I've set up shop as of this month. It's a much smaller space than I've had before, but it's been fun figuring out how to make it all fit. Still have a couple more things to do - paint that ladder is one of them. When it's finished I'll give you a closer look.
I walk by this reminder every morning: "be a kid forever"