today i'm leaving the ville for a while to do some window shopping, and i can't think of a better place to do it than at the doorsteps of some of my favorite artists. many of these talented women have stuffed their shops with colorbursts of handmade goods and promotions for the holidays, and i'd like to get there before anyone else does. want to come along? grab a beverage and a few suitcases (just in case) and let's get going...
first stop - georgia! we'll knock first on jess gonacha swift's door. whatever it is, if jess makes it, it's pretty much a guarantee i'm going to love it. i own one of her necklaces, a bunch of her prints, one of her killer scrap packs, and i used to have one of her calendars, but i wanted to see every print at the same time so i cut it up and made a pattern wall out of it. jess's fabrics were featured in the new york times earlier this year and her coasters are in the december issue of food and wine - her designs are on the rise and it's no wonder. check out her blogs treasuring and pecannoot, too - great reads. go, go. you'll love it all.
right around the corner from jess is the irreplaceable allison strine, whose ladybird collages tell stories of everyday life, about the beauty of being human. i love her pieces "she didn't know how much she could do until she got off her ass and did it", "she's her own kind of beautiful" and "autism is a separate world and her love can build a bridge." allison's tale of how she reached her destiny as an artist (see her etsy profile) lends such an authenticity and honesty to her art that i just want to hug her. so do lots of people - her work has been very popular on etsy and in stores all over the place. her blog has more information about her work and holiday promotions - every collage is available as a print, a card, a magnet and a pendant. perfect little feel-good stocking stuffers!
now we're off to miami where venezuelan artist valentina ramos is working like a speed demon with her rapidograph pens. her pieces are colorful and gorgeous and are so intricate that each piece looks like it took a lifetime to create. her shop is stocked with 2010 calendars and beautifully drawn personalized kids' prints. her blog has pictures of many of her original pieces and you can find out where to see her work locally. her work alone is reason enough to go to miami!
off to another sunny california for our next three visits! first up: mishmish market. susie's watercolors look like juicy pieces of candy and they are a huge breath of fresh air in the judaica market. her prints are perfect for hanukkah gifts (which starts early this year, on december 11). i adore woman of valor, tiny village (which i bought) and the seven species hamsa. she creates beautiful personalized children's pieces, too. if you haven't been to her blog, especially if you are a parent squeezing in your art with your kids and trying not to go insane in the middle of it all, and love to swear and laugh, hightail it over to inner toddler.
i wish liz had been around when i was a stationery buyer. i would have blown through my open-to-buy for her goods and it would have been worth every penny. fortunately we can all buy the goodness directly from her these days - i love her use of patterns especially with the dragonfly card set. she has the market cornered on that canary yellow. i love it! you can find out more about liz and her work on her beautiful blog.
i first went bonkers over pixie campbell's work when i saw it on pecannoot a few months ago. her paintings look like they've come directly out of a dream and i cannot help but want an apartment and studio in her alchemy or magic owl pieces. she has both prints and originals for sale in her etsy shop, and she has a great blog where she shares development of her work as well. and somehow she manages to do all of this goodness with two sets of very cute and active feet running around. one might even still be on all fours. even more power to her! i wish she'd put her name for sale on etsy too - i'd love to be called pixie!
put on your warmest coat and we'll head off to the twin cities, my old stomping ground, to see my good friend jen of painted fish studio. she is a bookmaking machine! with her background in design and an incredible technical ability to craft things by hand, i don't know of anyone who can create or bind books more beautifully than she does. she has loaded her shop full of goodies for the season - take a peek!
keep your coat on and we'll take off to pennsylvania where jan is busy scouring the trees, sidewalks, insides of fruits, maybe piles of tires even, for patterns for her drop dead gorgeous daisy janie fabrics. nothing is outside the possibility of inspiration for her. i don't even sew and i went nuts for her patterns - i got hooked on bloom well over a year ago and i continue to hang in the distance, drooling, hoping she'll eventually take pity on fiber challenged people like me and produce some luxe papers of her designs. she does have one set of designs on paper in her beautiful b&w 2010 calendars which she introduced last year and blew out the door. she also has a great blog in which she documents her discoveries, inspirations, collisions with her dog and wipeouts down the stairs.
sorry, i forgot to tell you that you need your passport. go to the philly airport and get on a plane for the netherlands, where one of the most colorful treats in the world awaits you - and it is not a field of tulips, but rather the gorgeous shop of ninainvorm. i almost don't know what to say other than everything nina puts her hand on results in something spectacular. she has an innate understanding of how to use color in just the right combination in her collages and pottery so they are bold and bright but never overdone. she's the one who inspired me to make a collage wall out of jess's prints. i'm more of a lurker than a commenter on nina's blog but i just adore the way she sees the world. she's damn funny and she writes in a very self-effacing way that makes me love her work all the more.
our second stop in europe is in munich, where stephanie levy is busy creating her world/travel/food/life-inspired collages that are gaining more and more recognition each day. i have her schoener wohnen II print, which to me is her signature piece, and i have my eye on a few more because she is really pulling me in with her travel series. you could design almost an entire international house with her collages: i'll take a house of lisbon, madrid, tokyo, bombay and paris! stephanie also writes three blogs: one featuring her own artwork, her interview series artists who blog, and her delicious recipes on kitchen sketches.
time is running short, so goodbye europe, but we're not quite finished - now we'll come back to my little town of lawrence, kansas to meet two of my very favorite local artists, starting with christy. if you are a letterpress addict, go directly to the petite press and i will understand completely if you do not come back. (tell me if you do not want to eat this citrus booklet.) christy's designs are magnificent, and she is so meticulous about every aspect of her work. i have seen her at work; not even the littlest detail escapes her. even the way she packages and wraps her orders is perfection.
i've arranged for us to stop last at the shop of heather smith jones, where you can rest as long as you like to take in the beauty and power of her pinhole drawings and watercolors. captivating isn't quite enough to describe heather's work - arresting is a more appropriate word. when i look at a piece of her artwork i feel compelled to block out the rest of the world and give it my complete attention. heather, like christy, has an impeccable eye for detail, and she is such a gem. meet her here on her blog - she usually has a hot cup of coffee and a cinnamon roll waiting.
and so ends our handmade holiday tour - i hope you enjoyed it! there is a lot to absorb here, so i'll leave this post up for a few days so you can get your fill of these beauties. happy cyberhandmademonday to you all :)