teacup stool by mocha

speaking of teacups, for the children i am enjoying this playful oversized stool, inspired by alice in wonderland, by uk designer holly palmer for mocha.

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made of mdpe plastic, these pieces come in 4 bright colors and are suitable for outdoor use.

you can find more info at the mocha website.


new jewelry from otto von quast

two new fun collections from the german design team of otto von quast: 24 karat pets, made from discarded toys on silk cording, and the skinny icon collection, double-sided perforated leather with silver or 24k gold plated “embroidery” chain.

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clever!

see more pieces in their playful line and purchase them all on their website.


naughty betty cards: let’s chat!

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i nearly spit my drink out when i opened my birthday card from a dear friend recently. actually i may have and i am still a little embarrassed about it, but i couldn’t help it. it was a laugh-out-loud funny, harsh and absolutely inimitable naughty betty card, from the dark and stormy minds of chicago designers christine montaquila and courtney weinberg. christine and courtney clearly have a bright sense of humor and a keen sense of style. their cards are sharp and truthful but are tempered with just a skinch of sentimentality. this formidable combination has enough visual jet fuel to teleport you to a playful place, stand by patiently idling its engines while you play around there for a bit and get you back to planet earth satisfied and smiling. let’s have a chat with c + c and find out more!

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q: where do you live, and where do you create your collection?
a: we live in the northern suburbs of chicago. we’re minivan driving, latte drinking suburban moms. can’t even try to hide it. we either create our cards in our home offices, borders, or crouched in a broom closet so our toddlers don’t find us.

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q: how did you two come together to create naughty betty?
a: we worked together as a writer/art director team at ogilvy & mather in chicago. we did many, many campaigns for women’s brands that we loved but never made it out the door. so we started to craft a voice and look we loved that was brutally honest, and talked to women the way women talk to women.

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q: can you tell us a bit about your creative process? how do these cards get out of your head and onto the paper?
a: it really is a very organic process. a lot of our inspiration comes from our lives. our hectic, crazy, extremely average lives. we tend to write down funny stuff along the way and see how it feels as a card and if it captures a sentiment just right. then we revise, revise, revise.

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q: your collection is so memorable thanks in part to its bold and clean graphic style. do either of you have a design background?
a: the design is courtney’s gig, but since i’m the writer i will speak for her. she’s got a design background and a fabulous eye for cool, modern things. she obsesses over every color! she’s really a design whore. (ed. note: this is the quote of the week.)

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q: the laugh-out-loud, descriptive imagery in your cards really hits the nail on the head and takes me (and i suspect everyone else!) to a specific place and time. have you drawn on your own experiences while creating them?
a: oh yes. all of it. i suspect my husband secretly watches porn, and i have been that drunk girl peeing in an alley. when courtney was ten she french kissed her pillow with braces on. anything you read, we’ve lived.

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q: what inspires you to make the line?
a: we love the idea of connecting with women and creating this dialogue about modern life. we certainly live differently then our mother’s did, working, raising children etc., so part of it is a social commentary on it all. after working in advertising for 15 years, we also love the honesty we’re able to have. you simply couldn’t be this blunt in an ad, but the truth is, people love the truth. they respond to it. and we love being culturally relevant too. greeting cards have a shelf life, so we can talk about things in the world that work now, but may not in two years. plus, life is just a hoot. senators having gay sex in bathrooms, people eating cockroaches on tv… this is good stuff!

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q: exactly who is naughty betty? any relation to ugly betty?
a: naughty betty is the name we came up with on the phone when we realized all the other names we liked were trademarked. it was a bit before ugly betty got so big. we loved the idea of it being a woman’s name, and the naughty gives us permission to offend people with our harsh language. “We’re not Politically Correct Betty” is what I like to say!

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you can purchase naughty betty cards at multiple choices and paper boy here in chicago, as well as paper doll in portland, heartfelt in san francisco and nancy nancy in brooklyn. if you are a retailer contact calypso cards for distribution info, and for more general hilarity and to contact christine and courtney, see their website.

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thank you ladies!


noferin artworks

oh man i am running around like a freak today so this may be the only thing i dash off to you, stupid stupid me clicked private draft on this and it never got published yesterday! so sorry! but i (still) think it’s a good one! behold the lush and magical artwork of australia’s noferin! these richly detailed works come from the minds and imaginations of candy and nicho. they seek to tell us of the colorful tales of carrara island and the pecanpals, some very lovable-looking and bulbous-headed characters who inhabit the mythical island.

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boy, am i tempted to pack a suitcase and move to carrara island now…

see candy and nicho’s work in person for a limited time beginning june 20th at gallery 1988 in san francisco, say hello to them on their blog, view their flickr stream and head over to their website to see more and purchase delightful things.

via notcot and drawn!


michele maule mixed media: miniview

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i think i have mentioned before that my father in law has this awesome collection of old typewriters? they’re all black, which is perfect and fine of course, but just a tad heavy to be filling my eyes and mind, what with all the summery things that are pouring into my head at warp speed right now. the old brightly colored ones are perfect in a different way, a seasonal way, a now way, which is why i am sooo attracted to the most excellent artwork of michele maule. i love her free-spirited interpretation of these utilitarian objects, with their foxy colors and soft curves. there is some big love behind these pieces, you can just tell. and her other work, which includes original encaustic paintings, illustrations and screenprints, is a nice crusty contrast to those colorful jammy typewriters. that’s right, i said jammy. the point is, there’s all different kinds of plenty for people to enjoy in her prolific collection, and with all that said, wouldn’t you like to know just a little more about the brains behind the operation? me too!

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q: where do you live and where do you make your collection?
a: i live in pontiac, michigan, a forgotten suburb of detroit. i mostly work in my house. i recently converted my living room into a work space, and there is also a small space in my bedroom where i work.

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q: what inspires you to create?
a: i find inspiration in everyday objects. i love seeing the personalities that things like chairs, typewriters, spools of thread, and sewing machines take on. every time i draw one of these objects, it seems to take on a life of its own. each one has their own character, and i really enjoy seeing that.

i also find a lot of inspiration in nature, and in illustrated science books. things like the anatomy of flowers and our skeletal system really interest me.

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q: what did you think you would grow up to be when you were a little kid?
a: well, i remember the first thing/person i wanted to be when i grew up was wonder woman. i thought she was rad. i even wore these blue rubber bands on my wrists for weeks and weeks. 🙂 later, i knew that i wanted to do something that would let me be creative. i didn’t know what exactly, and i don’t think i really figured that out until my junior year of college!

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q: can we go anywhere to see your work in person?
a: yes you can!! i currently have work in the following galleries and boutiques: fact and fancy in brooklyn, 323 east gallery in royal oak, mi and the ddp gallery in fayetteville, ar.

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see more of michele’s terrific artwork on her website, check out her flickr stream, purchase these pieces at her etsy shop, and be sure to stop by and say hi on her blog too!

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thank you michele!


pillowmonster softies: miniview

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i love these supercute couch companions from nichol brinkman, aka etsy seller pillowmonsters. i can’t say whether i am more charmed by the fun detailing on these pieces or the very interesting tales of these characters. there’s clementine, who boycotts broccoli, theodore the robot who, despite having been told he has no heart, felt himself getting worked up while watching beaches, and the whipped cream eating daughter of a window washer, polly suzanna. don’t you need to know more about the brains of this operation after reading that? yeah, me too.

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q: where do you live and where do you make these great pillows?
a: i live in bloomington, indiana in an apartment with my husband, joseph, and dog, albert. i have a teeny tiny room all to myself where i make all of my pillow monsters.

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q: what is your inspiration?
a: i am really inspired by other etsy artists and bloggers and flickr post-ers. i love the healthy competition that comes from being part of a like-minded community. i never in a million years thought there would be this extensive sub-culture related to plush dolls, but it is fantastic.

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q: where do you do your best pillow-making thinking?
a: i think all the time about my pillow monsters and new designs for them. i do like to look at books of old circus posters at the library and that triggers lots of ideas.

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see all this and more at nichol’s etsy shop, and be sure to stop by her blog to say hello.

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thank you nichol!


reina mia brill knitted wire and ceramic sculpture: let’s chat!

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when my cool friend burt came back from the acc show in baltimore, he told me that he really enjoyed the ceramic sculpture collection of new york artist (and recent donor to locks of love) reina mia brill. of course when i looked at it i went a little nuts. i love the clever combination of color and form, all the intricate detailing and facial expressions and most importantly the freedom these pieces give to my imagination when i look at all of them. let’s have a chat with reina mia and find out a little more!

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q: where do you live, and where do you create your art?
a: i live and work in a remote section of the bronx in new york city called city island. i like to call it the mythical island in the bronx because in all the 10 years i lived in manhattan i never heard of this place. my boyfriend dan grew up here and we are living in the actual house where he grew up. city island is a very unique place… it is an old fishing village trapped in time. my studio is in the basement with two windows at ground level where i say hello to all stray cats, birds and even snails that come and visit me.

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q: what is your background, and did you study art formally?
a: i have an mfa from san diego state university in jewelry and metalsmithing which was where i got started knitting wire. i made hand-knitted wire jewelry for five years out of graduate school. i never was really happy making jewelry, it just seemed practical at the time. so in 2001 when i received a $7,000 fellowship from the new york foundation for the arts i decided to finally ditch making jewelry and do what i always wanted to — make sculpture. i also hold an undergraduate degree from fit (fashion institute of technology) in accessory design which is why my creatures are always very well accessorized.

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q: so, why wire and clay? and how did you get to that place of combining the two (along with several other materials)? have you always worked in multiple mediums?
a: up until last year i only worked in knitted wire over a stuffed fabric covered armature. all the hand sewing was killing me. i wanted to be able to make work quickly. working in clay is not quick but it is quicker than sewing by hand. now i am able to build the figures faster and more sculpturally. after the pieces have been glazed i will embellish all the clothing and sometimes the bodies as well in knitted wire.

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q: these pieces are exquisitely detailed and must be very labor intensive. (without giving away any secrets of course!) can you tell us a little about the techniques you use?
a: i first start with a drawing usually found in one of my sketchbooks. the figure is then hand-built in a low fire clay and glazed with underglazes. i use two very old-fashioned knitting machines to knit the wire. one is a sock-knitting machine from 1923, the other is a big double bed passap machine from 1960. i can create beautiful dimensional patterns off of the passap machine which i usually use for the clothing. the sock-knitting machine creates a sinuous knitted tube that i like to use as skin covering. i knit with very thin gauge coated copper wire that has been coated with a polynylon coating for color. once the figure has been fired i determine which areas are to be covered in wire. sometimes it is just the clothing and eyes and other times it is the entire creature. the knitted wire is stitched to the clay body by hand and then tacked with an epoxy resin.

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q: i see a common thread of expressive human emotions as well as physical animal traits in these characters. did it come naturally to blend the two?
a: i have been drawing since i was a kid. my dad and i used to play these creature drawing games together. we would start with a blank piece of paper and then one of us would draw the first creature. the next person had to draw a creature interacting with the one on the page. we would keep drawing until the page was filled up trying to make the most outlandish creatures.

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q: what is the price range of your collection?
a: i offer a wide range of prices. on the low end i do creature illustrations framed in knitted wire as well as wearable creature brooches. these works sell for $95 to $250. my standing and wall sculptures start at $275 and increase in price depending on the size and the labor involved. two figures i made for an exhibition in poland last year stood just under 5 feet. they each sold for $10,000 but i spent 6 months creating them.

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q: what is your inspiration for these works? do you have a message you want to send through these pieces?
a: i do lots of sketches. i will study people, usually children on the street for a variety of poses. children’s faces are the most fun to watch for their devious little expressions. the animal/human imagery has just come naturally. when i study human faces, so many are very similar to animal faces. animals, however, offer a wider array of eyes, ears, feet and mouths to come up with my own species of creature. my work does not have a message. i love that it makes many people laugh and smile and remember their childhood. other people are scared by my work and that’s interesting too. the work is open to individual interpretation.

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q: where can we go to see your collection in person? are you exhibiting in any current or upcoming shows?
a: i am currently in three exhibitions around the country. the first is called contemporary repetition at the long beach island arts foundation in new jersey. it’s on view now through june 16th. the second is called contemporary crafts at the jrb gallery in oklahoma city. the show just closed but the work might still be there for a little while. the third is a traveling exhibition called fiberart international 2007. this show opened last year in pittsburgh and will be traveling through 2009. currently the show is in charleston, west virginia through june 22nd at the clay center. this show is accompanied by a beautiful catalog as well. i also show work regularly in new york at the eclectic collector in katonah and mano a mano in bronxville. i will be selling my work myself at the following craft shows: the niada conference in las vegas at the show and sale on july 27th; the doll and teddy bear expo in washington, dc august 9th and 10th; and back again in dc in november for the washington craft show. in 2009 i will be at acc baltimore in february and most likely craft boston at the end of march.

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thank you reina mia (and thanks to burt for the great tip)!


brigette barrager art print(s)

UPDATE: hurrah! brigette has loaded her shop up with many more fun prints and some original works too!

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right now there is only one print available in los angeles artist brigette barrager’s etsy shop, which shows us a kinder, gentler scene of urban living i wish i could jump into for a little while. actually i can and i do, now that i have found it! among other things, i’m enjoying brigette’s cats and lace curtains in the windows, her lighthearted stylings and soft color combinations in this piece, created from her original gouache painting.

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while we wait and hope to see more of brigette’s whimsical prints soon in her shop, let’s say hi to her on her blog and view her portfolio here.


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