Posts about 'miniviews'

5 questions for terry border (bent objects)

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Couldn’t we all use a good laugh everyday? For quite some time I’ve been relying on Indianapolis artist Terry Border’s quirky images that he creates for his website, Bent Objects, to get the job done (you might recall that I’m a big fan). Fortunately for all of us his talents were spotted by the right people, and just recently he released Bent Objects: The Secret Life of Everyday Things, a terrific book filled with his original, laugh-out-loud funny photographs. Terry’s appealing images showcase loads of visceral humor to make you howl, but are tempered with just enough thought and emotion to make you look twice. Think about it and look at that photo above (which also happens to be the cover of the book) – how many of us have ever felt like that potato chip walking in on his mate? Yup. Now raise your hand if you want to know more about the brains behind this wonderfully creative operation…

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Gigi: When I look at your collection of photographs, I’m immediately struck (and quite impressed) by your tremendously agile imagination. Do you find that your ideas flow easily, or do you have a more methodical approach when putting a new image together?

Terry: Basically, the idea just comes from out of the blue, or I think really hard about an object, then later when I don’t expect it, my subconscious makes a connection. Then I go “hey, that works!”

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G: Speaking of your subconscious, what’s the most outlandish idea you’ve had for an image but never photographed?

T: I honestly can’t think of one. If it’s a good idea, it gets made.  I started a more adult blog just so I didn’t ever have to censor myself.

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G: I know I howl out loud whenever your new images get published, and there is true freedom in the internet space, but I’m wondering now if you’ve ever shown your work in person and seen the impact it has up front and personal?

T: When I’ve given presentations to a group, it’s pretty cool to hear the laughs and get that kind of feedback. I enjoy that.  A lot of times though, I’m uncomfortable when an individual pages through my book for the first time with me there, and feels the pressure of “getting it” right away. Some of my images take a second or two to come together in your head, and having me around while that happens ruins the enjoyment for the person, and makes me feel strange too.

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G: I get that. I’ve had that feeling personally delivering my photographs to buyers and then wondering if they’ll like them in person.

I’m curious to know if you have a favorite part of your process, e.g., the handcrafting of the doodads or the actual taking of the photographs?

T: I would have two favorite parts of the process, I suppose. After I get a real vision for what the image is going to be about, and towards the end, when I’m really happy with the feel of it. In between those two points is a bunch of figuring things out.

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G: I’ll take the liberty of speaking for your fans here when I say you aren’t the only one who is happy when the image comes together at the end! You bring a lot of joy to people with the unique elements of humor and surprise in your work. Do you think you reveal any other aspects of your personality in your collection?

T: Oh, sure. I think whenever we create anything, we reveal stuff about ourselves. There are some images in the book that show some problems I have and deal with. The only one I’ll mention is the “At the Party” image, which is pretty autobiographical.

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G: Hmmm. I think we’ve all been there. Actually some of us might want to approach the one cheeto, er, person, that doesn’t seem to be like everyone else. Good things can happen.

I am cuckoo for cocoa puffs about your book and am secretly (now openly) hoping volume 2 is in the works. Thanks so much for treating all of us to a lighthearted, whimsical way of looking at the world, and sharing with us how you do it. You’ve got serious skills!

T: My pleasure, Gigi. Thanks for talking about Bent Objects.

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Pop over and say hi to Terry on his website, or stop by his Etsy shop. Purchase the book online at Borders, Barnes & Noble, Amazon and Amazon UK. It’s US $17.95, and published by Running Press.

Need I mention that it would make a most excellent gift for someone with a great sense of humor?

Yes. Yes, I think I should.

Thank you Terry!

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dominic falcione clay sculpture: miniview

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i immediately connected with these handcrafted ceramic pieces in ohio-based artist dominic falcione’s shop the moment i saw them. they’ve got everything i love in high quality craft: the organic, tactile appeal of clay, the handsome sculptural forms, and a bonus: an true function, in this case as a vase. i was intrigued by dominic’s etsy profile, which on first read seemed oddly out of sorts with what he has in his shop, because in it he claims that he is not a potter! how can you have a ceramics line and not be a potter? well, dominic can, and with great passion. and the path he’s traveled to get there seems to flow and glide along as fluidly as his thoughts about it all…

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q: i see you’ve written in your profile on etsy that you have a metalsmithing and sculpture background. how did this all begin?

a: i never really built anything until i was about 21 years old. i was always more of an illustrator or painter. the first thing i really built was an iguana cage for my girlfriend at the time. i think it had a big impact on me because there were multiple elements to address about what an iguana cage is and how it needs to function – like heat, air flow, humidity, lighting, accessibility, security, a variety of landscape elements, etc. at the time, we were pretty attached to that cool little iguana so it was very important to make a healthy environment for it as well as make the cage a piece of furniture, a functional centerpiece to a room that incorporated a design influenced by the life that the cage contained. i got hooked on that kind of alchemic design aesthetic.

i entered college after that experience to pursue what i have always done, illustration and painting, but eventually, i began to see some metal work that other students were doing and started taking 3D courses. i focused in metalsmithing because of the small, intimate, intricate and meticulous work that i loved about drawing and painting. for me, metalsmithing evolved into small sculptural objects and i started to incorporate other materials as part of a language with metals as a base. then i began sculpture courses to make larger fabrications with wood, plaster, etc. i stuck with sculpture for a while because there was no precedent of materials – any material was part of the palette. sculpture gave me fabrication experience with materials and metalsmithing gave me experience in fabricating with precision and grace.

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from all this, i gained the experience and word of mouth as someone who knew how to design and make things well, which landed me a full time job working with a local architectural fabricator/artist john comunale. i quit school and worked in his studio full time for five years building huge architectural signage, interior fixtures like lighting and furniture, and just odd miscellaneous stuff. usually big stuff.

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q: so how did you get from this metalsmithing-sculpture combination to clay?

a: the experience at comunale’s took me away from conceptual work, or art for art’s sake. art for art’s sake was a lot of fun, but it was always expensive and very taxing for me personally in a lot of ways. that’s when i started to focus on functional work, more like art objects for the home or for an interior environment. i wanted my work to have a practical purpose. my work started to evolve from sculpture for shows and galleries, to sculpture for the home. the hardest thing i deal with as far as design aesthetics, simply because i just can’t force myself to let go of it, is how to maintain the sculptural language of materials as the vehicle for concept in practical, functional art. that’s really where the bulb vases came in. i made a decision to limit myself to one platform, and i chose the vase.

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i love the vase right now because it can be sculptural, ornamental, functional, and holds something that no human can really make – a symbol of our size, understanding, and place in this infinite universe of mystery and wonder as well as a symbol of life and death.

to answer your question, i would have to say that i don’t really look at it in that way. it is really just another addition to the palette. i try to use materials that make sense in the language of the object itself. it is an alchemic design approach, and the bulb vases are a successful example, for me, of that kind of harmonious design – hence, harmonix craftworks. the materials, form and function of an object create a language. and, like words in a sentence, they must be symbiotic with each other to be cohesive and understood.

you can find dominic’s work and get in touch with him at his etsy shop.

thank you dominic!


tilman faeker illustrations: miniview

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i derive great thrill and pleasure when i discover handmade collections, in any type of media, where i can find emotion or humor interwoven with that beauty and cleverness i yearn for. don’t you think when those elements combine, a certain alchemy is created which serves as a throughway to the personality of the hand behind the work? i do. and i like that connection. that’s why i am really enjoying these illustrations from stuttgart-based artist tilman faeker. the restrained color selections compliment the delicate line work and subtlety in the subjects he chooses, and it all flows, one piece into another into another. when i finish looking i want to look again because i don’t want to miss anything. as it turns out, tilman provided me with some illuminating thoughts on the subject of handmade work too…

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q: have you always been drawing, even as a child?

a: truth is, i hadn’t done any proper drawings for about 15 years when i went out of art school/university. while studying i was doing a lot of film and interactive media-related stuff (3d animation, sound design, sound art, etc.). everything was very artsy with a lot of theoretical issues involved, and illustration was never a subject.

after i finished my studies, i realized that i was always missing something in my work, which in fact was some kind of manual labour. i couldn’t imagine spending the next 30 years in front of a computer screen pushing around pixels the whole day or becoming some kind of new media artist who does stuff that only other artists can relate to, because they read the same books. i then remembered how it felt to draw, the combination of rational decisions and subconsciousness (there is this saying that drawing is seeing), working with materials and with your own hands, not having to operate a computer and its software all the time… so i started to draw again, put together a portfolio and started shopping it around.

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q: can you tell us a little about your process?

a: i draw everything by hand first, then scan it and then put the different pieces together digitally and colorize them. i’m not so happy about this part, but it is very economical.

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q: what appeals to you most about illustration?

a: the best part of this work is that everyone can relate to it. you can look at an illustration and just like the colors or the quality of the lines – regardless of the visual concept  – or you can approach it in an intellectual way, when you try to “read” it.

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you can see more from tilman on his website. he’s producing some reasonably priced limited edition prints too, and you can find those right here.

thank you tilman!


tabitha bianca brown: miniview

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Are you in a groovy, cool vintage-feeling mood right now? I am. I feel like curling my feet up under me in a Barcelona chair, grabbing a cold one and putting some old Chaka Khan tunes on my headphones right now, because I’ve been looking at the stylish artwork of Tabitha Bianca Brown. I like Tabitha’s style. It’s loose but orderly. Soft, with a little bit of urban edge. It has dimension due to its layers of assorted materials – chalk, acrylic, graphite – and the earthy color palettes appeal to my organic side. I wanted to know some more, so…

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Q: Where do you live and where do you create your artwork?
A: I live in a suburb north of Chicago, Illinois. Most of my art is created while I sitting in front of a window. I like using natural lighting.

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Q: In your collection, I see you have mixed media pieces, paintings and illustrations too. Do you have a favorite technique or medium?
A: I enjoy enjoy mixing and matching different techniques. So, I don’t have a favorite. But, I will say that the staple of my pieces is my 2H pencil. The little guy creates the framework of all of my pieces, no matter what the final medium will be.

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Q: What is it about the 60’s and 70’s eras that appeals to you the most? If you could pick one element of that period to incorporate into the age we are in today, what would it be?
A: I grew up surrounded by records from the 70s. While visiting my Grandma (that’s where the huge record collection lived), my aunt would play these records for us. It’s mainly the nostalgia that appeals to me. I think the music was wonderful, particularly the soul, funk, and jazz. Those genres had so many layers; smooth, gritty, airy, heavy. These opposing layers were perfectly blended into harmony. I would like to carry those layers into the modern day. The complexity and simpleness of everyday life.

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You can see much more of Tabitha’s work at her Etsy shop and website, and say hello on her blog.

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Thank you Tabitha!


karen casey smith photography: miniview

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i want everyone to visualize calm right now. let’s breathe in deeply through the nose and hold it for a moment. now, slowly exhale through the mouth. if it make you feel better, then i think you’re ready to look at the meditative work of karen casey smith. karen’s collection is filled to the brim with thoughtful, focused shots that lead your eye in and hold it, quietly. afterwards, whether you were prepared to do it (or not), you might find yourself a bit more relaxed afterwards, a bit more focused inwardly, a bit more healed – in a million different ways. it’s a zen feeling. and who wouldn’t want to know a little bit more about the brains behind that operation?

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q: where do you live and where do you create your work?
a: home is about 30 miles from chicago, in the northwest suburbs. my work is created first in thought, then with attention to my subject while making the photograph and then in my computer at home.

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q: your flower collection is pretty extensive. what is it about flowers that appeals to you most?
a: i love being around flowers. they are a miracle of beauty, and with closer attention even more amazing than anyone could know at first glance. throughout the ages flowers have been loved and given in love, to celebrate, to comfort, and to lift spirits. the beauty of flowers can be experienced directly, without words. when contemplating a flower, time seems to cease to exist and in that silent space you can experience the beauty to the core of your being.

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q: i think your mandalas are mesmerizing – can you tell us a little about your technique, and the reasons why you create them?
a: mandalas are so appealing to me. i’ve been working in that form since around 1995 when i first read judith cornell’s book, mandala. she teaches that creating and contemplating mandalas is healing at the deepest levels. each of my mandalas carries a energy or vibration uniquely its own. the mandalas are a way to share positive, healing energy.

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the mandalas are made with the aid of templates i designed myself. i first do any editing of the original photograph that’s necessary to make sure the contrast is good, and that all color is in gamut and printable. depending on the flower, i have different templates to choose from that have a varying number of divisions of the circle. in choosing the flower and creating the mandala, i work intuitively. the message or energy of the piece is revealed when it’s completed.

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q: what are you doing when you aren’t taking photographs?
a: sometimes i work with and assist my husband, and occasionally do freelance graphic design. i love photoshop, and am always studying and working to improve my skills in both photoshop and photography. currently you could also find me cooking, baking (sometimes in my solar oven!), gardening, playing my ukulele or djembe, practicing tai chi, and playing with our two cats.

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see more of karen’s work on her website as well as at her etsy and redbubble shops.

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thank you karen!


bill fantini photography: miniview

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i am always on the lookout for beautiful sepia toned imagery and so when i saw these pieces from bill fantini, aka etsy seller houseofsixcats, i thought the mothership had landed. the lighting, texture and composition is so lovely in each and every photo. fortunately for us, bill’s skills are not exclusive to the sepia style. as i dug deeper, i found his shop to be a virtual treasure trove of through the viewfinder, sepia, black and white, still and urban photography. it is inspiring and impressive to see such a breadth of work in just one shop, which really got the old hamster wheel in my mind running, so i thought i would ask just a few questions…

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q: where do you live and where do you create your artwork?
a: well, presently i live in ossining, ny. that is in westchester county, about 45 minutes north of the city. but i have lived on both coasts and we are planning on moving back to portland, oregon in october.

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i don’t have any one particular place i create my art, i shoot in many different locations. i guess the one constant is that i use adobe lightroom and photoshop to help make the shots i took into images of art.

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q: how did you get into photography?
a: i got my first 35mm SLR, a Minolta X700, for my 16th birthday, and have been hooked ever since!

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q: browsing through your collection, it is clear that you have a broad mastery of several different styles. do you have a favorite piece of equipment, a location or technique you like to use?
a: thank you for the wonderful compliment! i really like shooting ttv, through the viewfinder, it’s great fun using the old argus 75 to compose the shot.

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i have to say my favorite shot is rusted gear (below), and it is also from my most unique location, an abandoned power station.

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q: what inspires your creativity?
a: that is the most difficult question. i really don’t have any one thing that inspires me. what i love to do is walk around a location and look for unusual angles or ways to shoot what i find interesting.

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q: if you could shoot anywhere in the world, where would it be?
a: the first place that comes to mind is japan, i love the asian culture, and from what i have seen that country looks fascinating. another photo journey i would love to take is to explore more abandoned buildings here and in europe!

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q: are any of the six cats in the house photographers too?
a: when i started my shop we had six cats, and i wanted a unique name that people would hopefully remember. since then two have passed, but i think it is a nice homage to their memory.

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see more of bill’s broad portfolio of work on his flickr stream, and purchase these prints and more at his etsy shop.

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thank you bill!


laura ferrara graphite drawings: miniview

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too much noise isn’t good for the soul. sometimes i try to go to my zen place when i am driving by myself, because it’s practically the only time i am by myself. it doesn’t always work, and i certainly can’t go to that deep place of contemplation in my car when the guy behind me is honking and pushing me along. no, those moments, which we should incorporate into our daily routines, are better actualized in other scenarios, like looking at these pensive illustrations from laura ferrara, aka etsy seller emersonbookcase. laura’s graphite sketches, with their soft lines and dreamy, fluid energy, are simultaneously delicate and strong. the non-linear subject matter and unusual combinations of real world objects in her triple series collection contrast so nicely against the washy graph sheets, and there’s just enough amounts of light and shadow on the paper to encourage you to slow it down, stare it down, and allow your mind to come up to the surface for a while. i needed to know more about the author of these visual chronicles, so…

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q: where do you live and where do you create your drawings? i am picturing, well, ralph waldo emerson’s study?
a: i live in lovely silver spring, maryland, a suburb of dc. my drawing/painting space is in my bedroom and takes up the whole west wall. it is not nearly as contemplative as emerson’s study or thoreau’s cabin for that matter, but i do spend some of the best moments of my day there.

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q: what inspires you to draw and paint?
a: i am inspired by the odd overheard phrase of a conversation i am not a part of, the way an old man walks in the heat, or the glimpse, out of the corner of my eye, while putting away the groceries, of a moth desperately trying to become a part of the porch light. the little things, you know, the exquisite moments when i feel completely awake and notice everything, taking nothing for granted.

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q: where did the idea of the triple series come from?
a: the idea of the triple series came one day while sitting at work. i was thinking about the world and its place in the universe. how really impossible it seems that we exist at all, given the hostile conditions off the planet. if you think about it, i mean really think, we are so vulnerable and fragile floating around in space. we really need each other, not just other humans, but the whole unbelievable variety evolution has so generously given us. the trees, the insects, the animals. we all need to be here in order to continue to thrive. so i wanted to illustrate the amazing diversity of living things and our mutual dependence, in a very simple way. the composition of three images seemed the most direct.

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see laura’s full collection and contact her at her etsy shop.

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thank you laura!


sara kirkpatrick softies & prints: miniview

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i think serious looking animals are whimsical, and since i like to laugh, there is something about lighthearted anthropomorphic imagery that i highly enjoy. it’s probably because i am convinced that my beloved pets are talking, reading the paper and doing card and circus tricks to pass the time when i am not around. when i look at the plush and paint work of sara kirkpatrick i know i’m not alone in my ways of thinking. sara creates imaginative felt animals and very funny and expressive portraits of bunnies, bears and other animals. there is a pleasing story behind each worried, innocent or gruff-but-loveable character and it makes me want to know more! so i asked…

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q: where do you live and where do you make your art?
a: i live in a little house in athens, ga with my husband and our very sneaky cat. i share a tiny studio room with my hubby’s guitars and keyboards, but i usually end up working on projects in my living room (often listening to this american life archives or an old friend of a movie that i’ve seen dozens of times.) my couch is perpetually covered in glitter and felt scraps and lost sewing needles! (be careful where you sit if you ever come over…)

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q: what inspires you to create?
a: i am inspired by dreams, music, stories, film, dogs with beards, cats with one eye, the sound of the wind through the trees, other people’s amazing creations… inspiration is a bit tricky and usually visits me in random spurts. sometimes i feel very uninspired for weeks at a time, and then i’m flooded with ideas. i keep a sketchbook on my bedside table and usually reach for it when i’m very sleepy. when i look back, i find i’m most attached to the little doodles that i barely even remember drawing.

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q: who is your favorite in your shop right now (we won’t tell the others)?
a: hmmm… i think my favorite in my shop right now would have to be sunny (below). i love the way the colors came together, though i am thinking of making a little birdie friend to sit on sunny’s head. i get very attached to every creature (or painting) that i make. sending them off to their new homes can be difficult. i actually cried when i sold olive (below, second photo)… i was thiiis close to keeping her for myself!

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q: who exactly is the blueberry bandit?
a: i guess you could say the blueberry bandit is me, or maybe my alter-ego. i once made a little softie (it’s my etsy and blog avatar), he was very simple and kind of sad, and i instantly felt like i had made a self-portrait in the form of a softie. the blueberry bandit is shy and timid on the outside, but secretly a bit mischievous and fierce, a quiet little creature that steals blueberries when no one is looking! (i’m not sure i’ve ever actually stolen a blueberry, but you know what i mean…)

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purchase these pieces at sara’s etsy shop (and make sure you take advantage of her two year etsy-versary (now through june 28th!) and be sure to cruise over to her blog to say hello too.

thank you sara!


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