Saturday, December 29, 2012

Swedish Institute Inspiration

I like to chose a museum to visit on my birthday and this year I chose the Swedish Institute near downtown Minneapolis.  It began as a Swedish family's castle-like mansion that later became the Institute and this year opened the very modern Cultural Center attached by a hallway to it.  We weren't offered a 'swedish discount' for being a Lindgren but went anyway. It was very busy with holiday visitors checking out the Nordic Christmas exhibit and lace making exhibit.  I took pictures of images, patterns and colors for inspiration.  

main dining room

Ceiling pattern

The Salon

Detail of corner

Lace making

women had this on their lap to hold their lace work

 fireplace detail

tile on one of the many fireplaces

Norwegian Christmas setting

cookie ornaments

paper cut ornaments

paper cut border at base of the Christmas tree

Iceland table setting

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Grandma's Christmas Candy

Grandma's original recipe
My Grandma Rieniets was a great cook and baker.  At Christmas time, we all looked forward to her Crispie Chunkie candy made with Rice Crispies, Corn Flakes, peanuts and held together with a chewy glaze. I don't know why but we could never get enough of it, but it was addictive.  She wrote the recipe down and her tradition has been passed down to my generation.  I made two batches and ate most of it myself!  My Mom had it waiting at our family Christmas get together this week.

For Christmas I decided to make her beloved recipe into a special gift for my Mom and sisters.  I took her handwritten recipe and scanned it into the computer.  Then I made it into a digital file and sent it to Spoonflower, a digital fabric printer, and had it printed onto cotton fabric.  The results were amazing!  To see her handwriting on the fabric, enlarged to fit a 12 x20" towel, with all its character, was just what I hoped for.  There wasn't a lot of border left around the recipe since Grandma wrote right to the edges, so I added a top piece of fabric.  I wrapped them up and took them to Iowa for Christmas.

Her recipe printed on fabric

My Mom with her tea towel

My sister Cathy with her gift
My sister Connie holding her gift
Mom and my sisters opened their presents up at the same time and it took a second to figure out what it was.  "That's Grandma's handwriting!  How did you get Grandma's handwriting on fabric?"  They were really excited to have this personal gift of a cherished memory of Christmas preserved.  

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Show Time!

My booth at No Coast Craft-o-Rama.
It was a busy month of shows this year with No Coast Craft-o-Rama, Bloomington Theatre & Art Center, Master Framers, and Women's Art Festival.  More than once, I'd run out of a certain card or print not knowing what would be popular this year.  The Twin Cities landmarks were very popular including Minnehaha Falls and the St. Paul Conservatory because people got engaged there or married there, shared a first date or family picnic.  It's always fun to hear people's personal connections with my art subject matter.  The same is true with my flowers or vegetables. The strawberry cards reminded people of picking them at their Grandma's garden or the blueberry card reminded them of hunting for wild ones and we'd share where we had success by our cabin. I found that the Cardinal is a very popular bird and I really enjoyed the little boy who picked out my fox print to hang in his bedroom.  My baby snow owl art and cards sold out quickly.

My fabric fat quarters were equally popular with customers. I cannot believe how many quilters there are!  Many people bought them for their quilter friends who said they can never have too big of a 'stash' and admire unique designer patterns.

I get asked how I create my art and have a booklet to show them how I draw everything by hand in pencil first and then scan it into the computer and redraw all the lines into solid flat color shapes in layers that resemble a silk screen print.  It makes more sense to see the actual pencil drawings and digital stages of the process.

I always take notes at the shows of what people like or want to see next year.  One guy wants to see two more cardinal illustrations to make a grouping.  Many people buy multiple cards to group and frame and some want to see much larger prints in the future. It's always humbling to hear how they love my style and have my work framed in their home, or hear from bungalow home owners that they want to add some of my pieces to fit the architecture yet it looks modern to fit today's style. My mission is accomplished!

So thank you to all who came out to my shows this month.  I enjoyed getting to meet you and see how you respond to my art. Now it will be fun to get back to creating new art for next year's show.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Frank Freaks Year in Review


Frank Lloyd Wright Home

It's been a dream year for us 'Frank Freaks' as my sister Cathy, niece Jess and I travelled and toured three big Frank Lloyd Wright sites in the past 12 months.  The first trip was intentionally planned as my sister's 50th birthday trip and research for my business to Fallingwater in Pennsylvania, the amazing home built over a waterfall for the Kaufmann family celebrating it's 75th Anniversary. It was a beautiful October day we visited and took the morning tour.  My intent was to study his use of geometric shapes in design, how he used native materials in the construction, how he blended interior design elements and of course, to spent a lot of money in the gift shop in the name of research and leave samples of my cards with the gift shop manager.  Kentuck Knob was also on the agenda that day and did not disappoint.

Taliesin West
Then in Spring when the usual mid May date for touring Frank Lloyd Wright's home in Chicago was moved to June due to the G8 Summit and now didn't interfere with my Surtex trade show in New York, trip two seemed like destiny. Jess and I drove down from Minneapolis to eastern Iowa and Cathy drove us to Chicago.  Again it was a beautiful June day of touring Frank's home, other Oak Park homes he designed, Robie House and Unity Temple.  You really have to experience Frank's use of space in the buildings to understand the transition from walking thru a narrow hallway into a grand large space like the children's playroom in his home or the Unity Temple sanctuary. It really takes your breath away.  I observed how he used geometric shapes to create abstract nature elements, looked for unifying home interior motifs, use of textiles, rugs and color palettes.  I really enjoyed seeing how families living in FLWright homes adapted today's technology with historic architecture. Usually it was the kitchen that had the biggest makeover and had to blend with the rest of the house.

It was a sad family event that brought us together unexpectedly for our last trip.  My dear Aunt Ronnie passed away and our family made plans to fly out to Arizona to attend her memorial and celebration of life. Before gathering with family,Cathy, Jess and I drove up to Taliesin West near Phoenix to tour Wright's winter home and architecture school.  It was early October and the students of Taliesin at Spring Green, Wisconsin had not returned yet for winter.  Our three hour tour was the best of all the tours we had taken. We met architects who live there and had worked with Frank and gave us insight that regular tour guides can't.  There were many buildings to tour and experience.  Again, local stone was used in the construction to make the buildings part of the environment they occupied.  The hexagon shape was prevalent in the design and there was lots of art incorporated both inside and outside the buildings.  Taliesin West celebrated its 75th Anniversary milestone this year and meant another trip to the gift shop.

I gathered a lot of research and inspiration on these trips and know it will influence how I see nature and how it will influence my work.  There is something in the clean lines, earthy palettes, use of natural materials that feels very contemporary to me.  Frank used nature as his model which never goes out of style. I thank my 'Frank Freaks' traveling partners, Cathy and Jess, for a wonderful year of exploring Frank Lloyd Wright sites.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Fall Color Up North

Gorgeous color everywhere!  We drove up to our cabin to enjoy one last nice weekend and close it up for the season.  The maples, oaks and poplars were a blaze with color and contrasted against the bluest sky I've seen.  Photos don't convey the intensity but I thought I'd share a few I took during the weekend.  We had one last fire in the outdoor stone fireplace, one last s'more and made one last trip around Iron Lake before hauling the boat and dock out. The only drawback to our little cabin in Fall is the tin roof on it.  The acorns that fall on it are very loud! Other than that, I just love the rocks, water,wildflowers, trees and the wildlife. I jot down ideas for new art while up there.  It's always inspiring. Having my sister-in-law Mona and Noel next door makes our summer even more fun.  

View from our dock

Best seat on the Lake

Love our old stone fireplace.  

Our tin roof cabin

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Upcoming Shows

I would love to meet you at some of my upcoming shows around the Twin Cities. Stop by and see what's new and have a great time seeing other talented artists as well. We all appreciate your business and support.

 Here's a list of where I'll be showing through the end of the year:

September 22-23rd
Twin Cities Arts & Crafts Show and Sale
MN State Fairgrounds, Progress Center
Saturday 9-5 pm, Sunday 11-4 pm
$7 Admission

October 12,13,14
St. Paul Art Crawl
Master Framers location 262 East 4th Street
Friday 6-10 pm, Sat 12-8 pm, Sun 12-5 pm

October 20-21
Home Improvement & Design Expo
H.E. Art Emporium section, Mpls Convention Center
Sat & Sun 10 am-5 pm
$6 admission (contact me about tickets)

October 27
HandmadeMN Fall Market
James Ballentine VFW, 2916 Lyndale Av.S., Mpls
Sat 10 am-5 pm

December 7-8
Holiday No Coast Craft-o-rama
Midtown Global Market, Mpls
Fri 3-8 pm, Sat 9 am-5 pm

December 15
MN Women's Art Festival
Midtown YWCA, 2121 E. Lake St. Mpls
Sat 10 am-5 pm

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Contemporary Craftsman

By now you are aware of Pinterest and how time slips away while trolling thru rows and rows of pictures, stopping to share a funny line with a friend, pinning recipes and creating wish lists of places you've been to or want to add to your bucket list.  There is a practical side for my art business to ease the guilt and rename it 'research'.  I created a board called Contemporary Craftsman where I collect imagery that has its roots in the Arts and Crafts Movement but can fit into contemporary homes as well.  That is where I feel my art fits in as well.

The more images I collect and reflect, the more my vision becomes clearer.  I like the clean design lines, the earthy colors and geometric formations of wood, stone and glass. I also think contemporary craftsman is gender neutral in its appeal. So I picture a contemporary home with these elements and wonder what type of prints would work in this home?  What kind of rugs fit into the rooms without looking too retro?   What kind of bedding, kitchen towels, dishes, shower curtains would ease into these spaces?

If you have a contemporary bungalow or craftsman home, I'd love to hear what you'd like to see. I'm going to work on home decor collections that could stretch from Craftsman to Modern and see where this takes me.

Leave a comment below with what you'd like to see designed in the marketplace that the present stores don't offer. I'd love to hear your suggestions.  Thanks!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Gifting Genevieve Gorder of HGTV

Anyone else an HGTV junkie?  If so, then you know Genevieve Gorder who started out on Trading Spaces years ago and is currently an interior design panelist on Design Star.  She has a midwestern charm and a distinguishing eye for design.  But, did you also know she grew up in Minneapolis?  She went to South High School not far from where my studio is.

Genevieve is the latest celebrity The Artisan Group is going to gift with handmade items.  I've been a member for a while waiting for an

                             opportunity to 'gift' someone I admire.  Genevieve was the perfect choice for me, given her connection to Minneapolis and her background in interior design.  So I chose to make her special giclee card prints of my Minneapolis Minnehaha Falls and Stone Arch Bridge landmarks and create special packaging for her.  I bought an orange card box at Paper Source and added a special message inside the lid saying "To Genevieve, With Love From Your Hometown" and description of my gift.

This will be sent to her in a gift bag along with 29 other artists from around the country who are members of The Artisan Group.  These gifts are promotional opportunities for us to reach people outside our normal networks.  There are also opportunities to gift at large events like The Emmy's or The Country Music Awards.  If you are interested in learning more about The Artisan Group, you can follow this link.

There are no promises we'll hear from those we gift, but I'll keep you posted if I hear back from her.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Going the Wright Way

Frank Lloyd Wright home and studio in Oak Park, Chicago
We have a new nickname, "Frank Freaks" following our latest Frank Lloyd Wright adventure.  My sister Cathy, niece Jessie and I are racking up visits to Frank Lloyd Wright's homes and buildings.  It started with Taliesin in Wisconsin, then Cedar Rock & Stockman House in Iowa, and Kentuck Knob and Fallingwater in Pennsylvania.  June 2nd, we drove to Chicago for the annual Wright tours of his home/studio in Oak Park, Unity Temple and Robie House.

Left to right: me, Cathy & Jess
We're starting to anticipate his architectural tricks of small low hallways opening up to a grand high ceiling light filled room.  Never was this better than in his home with the children's playroom and in Unity Temple when you entered the main temple. It's something you have to experience for yourself to truly understand.

The use of wood, glass, rock, and metal in its natural form and in earthy colors and geometric shapes resonates with me. I like the fact this style was born here and feels like home unlike other architectural styles that borrow from other periods in history.

As an illustrator and surface designer, I was looking for clues about the textiles in the homes and motifs that complimented the Arts & Crafts style.  The Robie House tour guide mentioned George Mann Niedecken's rug designs were motifs based on the house's unique floor plan print.  Upon further research, George worked on 12  of Wright's commissions. I hope to learn more about his work and how he integrated it with the prairie style architecture.

We also toured a few Wright homes in Oak Park that are not museum pieces but occupied homes.  The most interesting to me was seeing how families integrated the past with contemporary living.  Most often it was the kitchen that had to be updated and yet flow smoothly from other parts of the original home.  Of course, we couldn't take pictures, but the best ones used natural wood, stone, metal with modern appliances.  I would imagine what rugs, table runners, art prints, and pillows I could design for these homes.

So it's back to the studio to take all this inspiration, stir it around and see how I can illustrate and design pieces for my own pattern designs for todays' homes.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Surtex Show in NYC

 I knew what to expect at Surtex this time as a second year exhibitor.  The booth set up went smoothly on Saturday afternoon with my new art banners and I rented a shelf to show off some product mock-ups.  I brought samples of my fabric designs, a pillow using my Pomegranate illustration, a purse sewn by a Minneapolis artist using my fabric, mugs printed with my designs thru Zazzle, notebooks and journals, as well as my Ginkgo box with the St. Croix Company chocolates.  I bought some fresh flowers Saturday night on Broadway to put on my table and had a porfolio and iPad slideshow of my work.  


New Yorker Hotel lobby

This year we stayed at The New Yorker Hotel, a classic Art Deco landmark within walking distance of Javits where Surtex is held.  The Lobby is gorgeous with its streamlined features and huge chandelier.  Everywhere were touches of sleek graphics of the era.  The rooms were small by today's standards but contained the elegant charm of past lighting fixtures, reproduction prints and decor from the 20's.

Art Deco detail at hotel
Surtex opened on Sunday, May 20th with getting to know our booth neighbors.  Scott Church, Weller Wishes, Breyer were back and I got to know Linadona Botanica better and met KG Art Studio. There were some other Minnesota connections on our aisle.  K&K Design Studio from St. Paul, Two Town Studios and MHS Licensing were there representing artists.  We all wear badges with our names and whether we are exhibitors, manufacturers, press, students, guests, or retailers and from what country. Artist Sandra Jacobs from Holland was back so it was fun to reconnect with her again.  She shows her work in Germany and Paris besides New York.  At lunch, I sat briefly with my retail reps from Square One who were busy with clients from The National Stationery Show which runs at the same time as Surtex.  You have to have very comfortable walking shoes to get thru that show but it's worth it.  All the major players are there as well as independent card companies.  I had entered the Louie Awards as a rising star category as a new company but didn't make it in.  The champagne cupcake reception was a nice consolation for those of us who didn't go to the awards dinner.

Times Square on Saturday night
Monday started off with a huge rain storm that caused the roof to leak at Javits.  There was some quick adjustments by the crew to move a booth or two and rig up a system to stop the rain from disrupting the show. My booth wasn't in danger but I was very wet from trying to get a cab to the show from our hotel.  We ended up sharing a cab with two designers from Ampersand, also from our aisle exhibiting at Surtex who were just as wet.  You never know how you're going to meet people.

I met some Minneapolis friends walking the show- Lindsay Nohl from Paper Bicycle brought a group, and Keith Moore who took a class I attended on working with manufacturers.  Over the three days I met an interesting assortment of people from the Press covering home decor, some fabric companies who checked out my collections, home decor manufacturers, card companies and people in the business who offered their expertise to me as a newbie. I got to meet designer Kate Spain, a card rep from the San Francisco area I wanted to meet and the founder of Motawi Tile to name a few.  Sometimes contacts don't wish to be named so I'll name more as time goes on and deals are made.

I observed that many manufacturers made quick glances and didn't take the time to check portfolios to meet new exhibitors.  I'm going to make a better effort to reach out during the rest of the year to manufacturers I want to attract to my booth next year. But again, I feel I did make some connections that will further my career and am following up with them this week.

Thanks to all of you who stopped by my booth and made my show enjoyable.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Suitcase Full of Dreams Ready for Reality

 I fly out with Mitch on Saturday to New York City with my suitcase full of art ready for manufacturers to view for the second year.  Surtex is a trade show where artists, agents and licensors meet with manufacturers and retail buyers from around the world. Some 6,000 people from 49 countries come to see art work for surface designs like wall coverings, bedding, stationery, dinnerware, and many more.  I purchased a mailing list of attendees to invite particular fabric, home decor, and rug companies to stop by my booth #453- the same booth as last year.

This time I spent more time drawing my designs on home decor items.  Above is a sample page of how my lotus art may be applied to dishes, pillows, totes, bedding, place mats and rugs.  I hope this makes it easier for them to visualize my art on their products.  I even had some actual 3-D products mocked up, like the two mugs in the photo.  I'm bringing my fabric samples to show fabric companies and even my ginkgo art on chocolate to show the Godiva rep who may stop by.

All this work is speculative but I have to believe something good is going to come out of this. I want to thank all of you who have been so supportive this past year.  It's always a confidence boost knowing I have you rooting for me.  I'll post details of my trip on Facebook.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Art in Bloom

My favorite combination of art and flowers together for 4 days at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. Over 150 floral designers create unique flower arrangements inspired by fine art in the Galleries.  My friend Marlene and I took a quick stroll through this morning to enjoy the sights and smells.  We love seeing how the compositions mimic the art and what flowers are used to create palettes and textures.  Here's a few pictures I took.