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Cirque du Noir 2013


For a couple of years my Husband and I have attended a unique Halloween event called Cirque du Noir here in Worcester.  It is an incredible night of art, food, music and costume and all proceeds go towards supporting the Worcester County Food Bank.  I've posted about it before here.

For the past few years we have donated art to the silent auction but this year we were invited to be part of the live art fusion event.  This is one of the main attractions of the evening and has always been my favorite part of the night.  Its an honor to be included but terrifying all the same!  There are five canvases and five artists and every few minutes you switch to the next person's work until a complete rotation has been made allowing you to finish on the one you started.  Super fun to watch, super stressful to be in!  

The Virgo control freak in me wants to run away screaming.  We did a practice version the other night and boy was I out of my comfort zone!  Should be interesting to see what happens when its actually in front of people.  In years past the artists have used more drawing materials but this year we have collage and painting in the mix so I found myself using acrylic for the first time in a long time.  Fingers crossed this goes well!  

Worcester Magazine did a great little promo piece leading up to the event and you can not help but fall in love with Michelle May and her creative energy.  She pours everything she has into this night and I am always amazed at the sheer volume of people, products and services she juggles to make this possible every year.  Better start figuring out my costume black soon, Sunday is coming up quick!  For more information about the event check out Cirque's website or there is a great interview with Michelle here.  I'll let you know how it goes next week!

Photo Credit: Mike Hendrickson, Unity Mike Photography  Logo Design: Michelle May, Festival Creative



Shop Talk - Offsets

I had the amazing opportunity to talk with the Seniors of the Illustration Department at Mass College of Art and Design yesterday.  Public speaking is not my forte but I'm always so happy when I've done it.  I am so ecstatic about what I do and what I've learned and am even more excited to share it.  Sometimes I am so focused on where I am right now with things I forget that I only started this process three years ago.  I am impatient, especially of late.  Talks like these sometimes are just what I need to put things into perspective.  My professor introduced me to the class as someone who had reinvented themselves.  I forget that beyond the art that I do or what I am doing with it, one of the things I've done is stop dead in my tracks and completly change the direction of what I was doing with my life.  I have an art career now, where 36 months ago, I had an art degree and portfolio collecting dust in a closet.  

Even better than the talk was getting to sit in on the class critique.  Call me crazy but I LOVED critique days in school and I LOVE them now!  How fun is it to see all the different solutions to the same project!  Really though, when do I not like chatting about design concepts!  They are working on coming up with an illustration to be used as tissue box design.  I was very pleased to see that I could already sense what markets the students might be approaching out of school.  Having an idea of this early in the year is so crucial in exiting with a well formed, well branded portfolio.  Even though you have assignments which are looking for you to fulfill certain requirements I think it is so important to make sure the pieces you produce will work toward your final goal.  What's that called, a "twofor"?

One of the things that came up a number of times was to make sure that the two sides of the image related so when you were looking at the box, "in the round" you would have an equally strong image.  I brought up using the offset function as a way to layout their images.  I thought it would be especially helpful in this sketching round.  Turns out not too many people were familiar with that filter.  I had never used it myself before I started learning to make patterns so I put together a quick little reference sheet for them.  For illustrators these types of projects are less common but its still a great tool to have in your back pocket.  

I use the offset function when I'm making patterns but I also use it when I do my boarders.  It can also be helpful when adding a cuff design to a gift bag.  I first learned how to create a patter by taking a dot and making a polka dot.  Not the prettiest but it works.  Even though my patterns are much more complex that same principal still does apply.  I should mention too, you do not even need to own the full version of Photoshop to do these, Elements works just fine!

Here's the tutorial I stared with but here are some others

Oh My Handmade- Let's Create a Repeat Pattern in Photoshop

Half Drop Repeats Video

Half Drop Repeats 




Red Berries Mason Jars

Eventhough it is barely fall, my last month has been all been about the Holidays.  I've been working on a new collection for fabric and several new designs for invitations.  Here is one being sold by Invitation Consultants.


Back to School (and work!)

Today my daughter went back to school and I had my first work day, I mean REAL work day in months.  Its days like today that I realize that I don't just love, but ADORE what I do.  I love that I have the opportunity to walk her to school and return home to a quiet house where I get to work on my art and my business.  Then I get to walk her home and  hear about the day, make a snack and at the end of the day I get to start back in again for the night because everyone is actually in bed.  

Every Summer I forget that this is the cycle.  I beat myself up for not being productive enough and being unfocused.  I have a constant feeling of being behind or not having enough hours in the day.  I forget to take in to account that it is harder to start work at 11pm than 8pm and that I have completely lost my work days. When school starts and the schedule falls in place and I feel far more together, saner, happier.  I think all I am looking for is to concentrate on one thing at a time and really be present for it  

It takes days like today to remind me that all the multi tasking and juggling it is all quite doable when things are in balance.  I'm not nearly has frustrated with things as I feel I am, I'm just looking for time which is just mine so that I can breath again.  I hope within a few weeks I will be able to recognise myself again, see that hard worker back, and start to feel productive.  Today I saw a glimmer of those qualities, I think they are still there, they've just been buried for a bit.  So excited to wake up and do it all again tomorrow!       


Pretty Hanging Files

Despite the advancements in pretty file folders, no progress has been made for the hanging version.  I have rolling mesh file boxes and the army green or primary color options just weren't doing it for me.  This is a very inexpensive and simple way to create hanging files to match your office decor.

Supplies:  Wrapping Paper, Xacto Knife, Binder Clips, Ruler, Self Healing Mat or cardboard, Packing or Double sided tape, hanging files

1.  Roll out your wrapping paper on top of your cardboard or mat and align your hanging folder against the edge on one side.

2.  Using the folder as your guide cut the paper with your xacto knife.  If it's easier mark the folder's edge with a pencil and then use a ruler as your straight edge instead.  You will want to allow an additional 1"-1.5" to over hang the top and bottom of your folder.

3.  With your folder on top of your sized paper, align edges and fold down top flap.  Use double stick or packing tape to secure your paper.  Trim any over hang.  

4.  Now fold both your folder and paper up (the way the folder would hang) and crease the bottom edge with your fingers.  

5.  Fold the remaining paper down inside your closed folder and secure with binder clips just along front edge.  Open your folder and tape the edge down as you did in step 3.

6.  Feel for the indentations of the tab slots and cut a small incision for the tab edges.

Sometimes small inexpensive things can make big differences.  I think its important to like where you work, it is amazing to me how many hours we all spend in our offices and how little we think about what goes in them.  This project might be fun to try do with wall decals or fabric.  Or maybe pretty folders are on the minds of manufactures too?