FEATURE FRIDAY

Feature Friday: Aviate Press

Happy Feature Friday!

This week we are featuring Ava Puckett of Aviate Press, a shop of handmade greeting cards and other goods! You’ll be able to find a card for your sassy, funny or sentimental friend from Aviate Press’ amazing greeting card line. We love how Ava has developed her business and how open she is to trying new designs and different strategies to take Avaite Press to the next level. She’s always pushing the limits of where she can go and others have recognized this as her work has been featured on sites like Buzzfeed! Read on to learn more about Ava’s story.

: Tell us a little about yourself.

: Well, I am an illustrator, small business owner, full time job haver and dog lover. I’m originally from Oklahoma City, but came to Nashville to pursue music at Belmont University. I fell back in love with art and illustration after I graduated. During the day I work at MerchCave managing day to day operations.

: We absolutely love your designs and the products you create for Aviate Press! How did you come up with the brand’s name and decide to create such awesome greeting cards?

: Thank you! I was originally going to name it after myself because I had already established brand awareness as Ava Marie Doodles via Instagram and a blog I used to have, but then I read something by one of my greeting card idols, Emily McDowell – she talked about how she wouldn’t recommend naming your business after yourself for several reasons. After that, it took a few weeks of brainstorming and figuring out what voice I wanted to have in the greeting card world. I landed on Aviate Press because ‘aviate’ has my name ‘ava’ in it (cool) and because I liked the idea of incorporating paper airplanes into the logo, to go with the fact that it is all handmade. Once I came up with the tag line, I knew it was a winner: ‘handmade goods to lift your spirits.’

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Maker Monday: Mary Beale Art

Happy Maker Monday! 

This week we are featuring Mary Clark or Mary Beale Art! Mary Clark, a Rochester, NY native, received her BFA in studio art from Skidmore College in 2012. Her work is easily recognizable by her playful style and complex palette. Mary’s artworks are an abstract representation of shapes, contours and vibrant colors found in nature. She begins her paintings with a loose hand and expressive marks. By deliberately layering color and shapes, Mary creates complex pieces bursting with excitement and rhythm. Read on to learn more about Mary and her work!

: Tell us a little about yourself.

: Hello! My name is Mary and I currently live and work in beautiful Saratoga Springs, NY. I split my time between painting and working at a local boutique – taking any day off or free night to work on my art. I have always been artistic, and always had the mentality that art would be my “side gig”. I even went into college thinking I’d pursue a degree in Chemistry and minor in Studio Art. I ended my freshman year and knew I wasn’t following my heart. So I changed my major to Studio Art, with a concentration in both painting and textile design and never looked back. Even though I graduated not having a clue what I would do with this degree, I always managed to keep up with painting. Since graduating, I’ve lived and worked in Rochester, Boston, NYC and now Saratoga Springs. I spent 3 of those years at an incredible company, where I worked hard to learn as much as possible, eventually becoming the executive assistant to both of the CEO’s. I owe so much to my time at that company, where I learned so much about myself.  I realized, ultimately, that I truly wanted to dedicate myself to art, so this past October, I left NYC and my full time job (EEK!).  It’s been the best decision I could have made. I am moving slowly and cautiously, really taking the time to think about how I can best create a future based around my art. I spend any free time I have painting and working on commissions. I am happier than ever and am excited for the future of Mary Beale Art!

: We love your paintings! How would you personally describe your own work/aesthetic?

: My work can 100% be described as “happy art” – it’s very whimsical, bright and floral. I try to limit my palette but always end up throwing more color onto the canvas – and I think that is totally ok! I never sketch out or plan my paintings, I just start painting. Ultimately, I want my art to make you smile – I want it to brighten your day and bring joy to whatever room it’s in.

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Maker Monday: NVillustration

Happy Maker Monday!

This Monday we are featuring Vaishali and Nayan of NVillustration! We love their incredible paper cut products. Each piece is so unique and crazy detailed! It’s so cool that Vaishali and Nayan work together to allow their artwork to be carried on with their customers through jewelry. Each piece tells a little story into their personal interests or a concept they wished to portray. We think you’ll love their Feature, so read on to learn more about NVillustration! You can also check out their Etsy to snag one of their amazing pieces for yourself.

: Tell us a little about yourself!

: Hey we are a team of two, Myself Vaishali and my partner Nayan.
We started our venture in 2015. Our professions are quiet different but our interests or you call it passion is what made us start this venture of ours.

Let us introduce ourselves. Hey I am Vaishali, a visual effects artist and an animator. I love exploring and illustrating nature. My art always try to express the beauty of nature in any form. Here at our studio I use my skills of art to create different type of products and artworks by combining different processes and technology with different materials.

Hey I am Nayan a Furniture designer; my interest includes exploring new techniques and materials for representing my work and art. As a furniture designer I got good amount of knowledge about material, technology and design. I use this knowledge to get art come alive in a form of different products.

: Your products are beautiful! How did you learn to Paper cut and decide to pursue a business with Paper cut products?

: Oh thanks for the complement, our journey of making Paper cut artworks started a year ago. We were working on a project with an Institute for making Miniature Architectural models that was a time where we use to do work with a lot of materials and processes for making different parts for models. While doing that we stumble upon the thought of getting our artworks cut in paper. From that day we started exploring the technique of Paper cutting and started making different products. We wanted our art to be with people forever and jewelry was the apt choice. So we started making hand painted Paper cut jewelry and never looked back, we love it more than anything we do.

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Feature Friday: Des Sottises

Happy Feature Friday!
Today we have the fun, bright work of Margot Tissot who designs just about everything for her brand Des Sottises. You can find her illustrations on cards, posters and prints, tote bags, and even as pins — one of her favorite products to create! Her shop is based in Switzerland and we love getting to showcase amazing creatives and shops from all over the world! The images she illustrates are largely based off of things that inspire her, or are part of her daily life, which creates such a personal product! And we can’t help but just love that she illustrates veggies and makes stuff like broccoli and lettuce look pretty cool. Des Sottises has such an amazing diversity of illustrations and products, so keep reading to see more and learn about the maker behind the brand!

: Tell us a little bit about yourself!

: I’m Margot, I’m a 28 year old graphic/web designer based in Lausanne (Switzerland). Over the years while I practiced graphic design, I developed a passion for illustration and I’m trying to develop my little brand “des sottises” since nearly a year now. Beside this passion for illustration I am fascinated by the whole magical universe (I’m a Harry Potter fan) and I would like to think I’m a sorceress 😀

: How did your shop Des Sottises get its start?

: Des Sottises started in between two jobs. Last year, I lost my dream job for economical issues and I had a few weeks of unemployment. So I took advantage of this time to create my Etsy shop and created a lot of illustrations. I started with the animal alphabet, I made one illustration for each letters and searched for various supports to put them on. The animal alphabet poster, bookmark and pennant were my first items to sale.

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Feature Friday: Emily Keating Snyder

Happy Feature Friday! 

This week we are featuring artist, Emily Keating Snyder! We love her playful approach to her artwork and how she lets her pieces reflect the imperfections of the human hand. Katie was kind enough to tell us a little more about herself, her artistic journey and her pieces. She also made an awesome video to teach you some of the techniques she uses in her watercolor paintings! You have to check it out, especially if you’ve been wanting to get into watercolors, but haven’t been sure how to approach them. Emily will give you the confidence to give it a try and experiment – what artists do best!


“I’m a colorful artist, designer, and art party hostess in Los Angeles. Playfulness and a good sense of humor are huge in my life. My favorite materials to work with are paper, paint, watercolor, collage, and embroidery. I believe strongly in the importance of working with our hands and not being too precious with art. After studying art and art history as part of my custom concentration at NYU, I had a few different art world jobs then made the leap to independent creative (and doggie caregiver) a few years ago. I’ve been grateful to show my work in New York, LA, and other major cities and to be featured by Saatchi Art and The Etsy Blog… and here on Castle Foundations!

I’ve been making art my entire life and to this day the best creative advice I’ve ever gotten was from my kindergarten art teacher. Whenever we were working on a project and wanted to rip it up and start all over after one misplaced tempera paint mark, she would say, “Turn your mistakes into something else.” I don’t think it was purely out of encouragement or necessarily kindness. It probably had more to do with needing to ration an entire school’s paper supply, but it has always stayed in my head and helped curb perfectionism in my art for 25 years.

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Maker Monday: Juleco Design

Happy Maker Monday!

This Monday we are featuring Julie McClements of Juleco Design! We love her amazing and positive typography prints. Julie uses her creative passions to bring encouraging words to those who may need them. A kind word at just the right moment can be all a person needs during a challenging time and it’s awesome that Juleco Design is there to help you say it. Julie’s shop is also great for finding your next inspirational mantra. We are huge fans of creating a space that inspires you, keeps you motivated, uplifts and reminds you of who you really are. Funny that it’s a Monday, as Julie’s prints are definitely the kind that make you jump out of bed, grab that coffee and fearlessly conquer the week ahead! Read on to learn more about Juleco Design and Julie’s journey.

: Tell us a few things about yourself!

: I’m Julie McClements, the designer behind Juleco. I have always been a creative person, doodling since I was no age. You will often find me behind my laptop or with a guitar in my hand. I’m a lover of typography, guitar and singing… (and as you will see in my work, I love monochrome!). I currently live in Bangor, Northern Ireland, with my husband David and work full time as lead designer at a full service digital agency called Eyekiller.

: What made you decide to start your brand, Juleco Prints?

: In my full-time job at Eyekiller my main focus is designing websites for a wide range of clients as well as lead the design team. I really enjoy what I do. However, I was missing the creative freedom I experienced when studying at art college and how I was able to express myself through my work. This made me consider doing something different with my creativity in my free time. I have also been on an ongoing journey with fear and understanding my own worth. Throughout this I have had wonderful friends helping me with wise words and encouragement. Knowing how this helps first hand, I wanted to use what I have learned to encourage other people.

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Feature Friday: Artwork by Sahar

Happy Feature Friday!

We’re heading to the world of fine art for this one! We are so excited to share Artwork by Sahar’s story and give you all a look at some of the incredible pieces Sahar creates. We love how she’s always pursued art in her life and has constantly found an outlet for her creativity. Her outlook on her own work is amazing as well, and she truly wants the viewer to see her pieces in their own way and create a personal connection with it. We are always huge fans of artwork that can be interpreted however the viewer sees it! Sahar has a lot to share about her personal creative journey as well as her process for crafting her original artwork. Keep reading to learn more about Artwork by Sahar and see some of her pieces!

: Tell us a little about yourself.

: Hi! My name is Sahar. I work full-time at an advertising & marketing agency based in the Washington, DC area, but I’ve been an artist my entire life. I started taking art classes at the age of 6, and studied Studio Art (with Painting & Photography concentrations) at the University of Maryland, College Park. #GoTerps!

I am huge, huge Terps basketball fan and Washington Capitals fan – I love repping where I’m from! I live with my fiance – our wedding is this fall! – and our blue heeler mix, George Costanza. We love to spend time outdoors and veg out with Netflix marathons.

Between my full-time job, planning a wedding, and well – life in general – launching a business has been quite the endeavor.

: Since you were a child you’ve taken art classes. What about art made you stick with it into your adulthood?

: My parents put me in every kind of class you can think of – piano, tennis, swimming, tap – but nothing every really felt right. I wasn’t passionate about those other hobbies, and to be completely honest, I kind of sucked at them. Drawing, painting, creating in general – it made me happy. Everything made sense in my head.

Fast-forward to today, and it is truly my version of meditation. I am so grateful for painting in my life.

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Feature Friday: Carole Lola

Happy Feature Friday!

This week we are featuring handletterer, Carole Lola! We love her Etsy shop and all her excellent advice for those starting to handletter. Carole is always learning and evolving her style, but it has a classic beauty to it that’s perfect to adorn invitations, prints, decor and more! She is constantly striving for excellence over perfection and community over competition, and it certainly shows in her work and lifestyle. Read on to learn more about Carole’s story!

: Hey Carole! Tell us a few things about yourself!

: Hi! My name is Carole, but I also go by Lola. I am 26 years old, a California native, and a proud mom to Sophie, my little pomchi. I graduated from San Jose State University in 2012 with a B.A. in Art History and worked in several different industries until 2015, where I decided to drop everything to attend ministry school in Redding, CA. My business was born out of my time in Redding, and I’ve been blessed to be surrounded by some amazing creatives there. I love and enjoy food, and there’s nothing I won’t try once. I especially have a love for ice cream, coffee, pastries, and generally, anything with carbs. I’ve always appreciated fashion and I love the way I feel when I wear clothes that I love. My favorites are J.Crew and Madewell and you’ll find that most of my closet belongs to one of these brands. Some favorite stores for window-shopping and cheering-up include Anthropologie, Paper Source, and the Floranthropist. (I also love finding cute little paper/stationary boutiques in new cities that I visit.)

: How did you join the hand lettering world and discover you had a talent for it?

: I fell in love with handwriting at a young age, obsessed with making my letters look pretty on my school homework. I didn’t even know that there was a whole world of hand-letterers and calligraphers out there until after college! Once I got exposed to that world, I started following lettering blogs (my pre-Instagram days!), bought a book on modern calligraphy, and basically taught myself from there. My friends encouraged me to try and make a business out of it, and once the idea got into my head, I couldn’t shake it. So I ended up creating Carole Lola!

Feature Friday: Johanna Wilbraham

Happy Feature Friday!

Today’s feature is probably unlike anything you’ve ever seen before! We were truly astounded when we saw the incredible portraits by Johanna Wilbraham, and found out she creates these huge masterpieces by using jars to pour diluted oil paint straight onto the canvas! It’s amazing how something so unplanned and unpredictable can produce such beautiful results! Each portrait she does tells it’s own story and we love how she shows vulnerability and real women throughout her work. To learn a little more about the meaning behind her portraits, as well as her creative process, keep reading!

: Tell us a little about yourself.

: I am a British Artist who has lived in Australia for the last 6 years with my Aussie husband. I currently live in Melbourne where I have a little studio for some very large artworks. I work part time in an Art Gallery alongside my own creative practice. I’m obsessed with painting faces, hanging eclectic figurative artworks around my house in gaudy gold frames, playful folky illustrations and music, candles that smell like cookies, floral dresses, and my dog Fox.

: We love your portraits! How would you describe your current work?

: Thank you! This year I have been challenging myself to paint on a smaller scale than usual. I’m used to working on very large canvases, and it’s quite liberating for me to be working on small 40 x 40 cm boards right now. It also enables me to paint quicker and experiment more. With my technique there is a lot of drying time in between layers, so working small allows me to get the most of my little studio. I can’t quite get away from large works though, so always have a few of these on the go too. I would describe my current work as a group of colourful, expressive and quirky portraits of women in my life. The faces tend to have a sadness and vulnerability to them which is deliberately contrasted with bright, bold colour pairings and the use of flat pattern work.

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Maker Monday: Art of Melodious

Happy Maker Monday! 

This week we are featuring Melodie Burns of Art of Melodious! We love her cards and the way she mixes quirky greetings with fun illustrations. A lot of her work features animals and each one has such personality. It’s no wonder so many people immediately think of someone her cards would be perfect for or instantly think that a particular card matches their personality to a tee. Melodie’s interview is just full of amazing advice so make sure to keep reading to learn more about her, how she started Art of Melodious and how she has gotten to the point she’s at today!

: We would love to hear a few things about who you are! Introduce yourself!

: Hi my name is Melodie Burns. I am an illustrator/wife/entrepreneur living it up in the countryside in Ontario, Canada. I love animals and you can tell firstly because the majority of my artwork includes creatures and I have a growing fur family of 2 dogs and 2 cats, soon to be 5 chickens! My artwork can be found on the cards that I create for my store Art of Melodious and let me tell you I love creating artwork for cards.

: You started Art of Melodious with homemade cards. Tell us a little about your background and how you got into creating cards and then starting your own shop selling them!

: Growing up I loved drawing and horses, so I drew, painted and rode horses. The great thing is I still do all those things!! In 2009 I graduated from Sheridan College with a Bachelor in Illustration, I had pursued post secondary education mainly to work on my traditional drawing skills, which I did, but I also expanded my breadth of creative outlets. These outlets after school led me to developing the style I use today for my cards today.

More about the cards now. Again growing up I made all my cards, cards for fathers day, mothers day, birthdays, wedding, Christmas, I even made my family’s Christmas cards every year to send to relative and friends. It was always something I loved doing, it was fun thinking up a funny idea for the recipient and getting creative with the artwork. Fast forward to me meeting my husband in 2011 (at the time bf) he encouraged me to take some of the artwork I had created on my own time and put them on cards. Honestly I had never considered greeting cards, even though I loved making them, my main goal was doing freelance illustration. But I decided to trust him and put out a couple designs and people loved them, and the rest is history haha. The more cards I create the more I loved them, it allows me to share my humour and connect people together. I hear a lot ‘oh that is so him’ or ‘haha that is so me’ It’s cool that people can see themselves in my artwork and also help bring people together.

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