animals

Feature Friday: LK Custom Creations

Happy Feature Friday!

headshotToday we’re excited to feature Lizz Klaras of LK Custom Creations! We love how she took her love of painting and turned it into a career — making her work stand out by using glass as her canvas! Her pieces are not only unique works of art, but are also completely usable! She’s truly inspired by her surroundings, creating glassware that has amazing depictions of nature and animals — they’re sure to make a statement in your own collection! Her brand’s story will definitely inspire you in your own creative pursuits, so keep reading to hear more about how she got her start, and to see the gorgeous transformations she gives these glasses and plates!

Castle Logo: Tell us a little about yourself.
lk: I am a freelance artist from a very small town in Illinois. My husband is in the military so we are currently stationed in Chesapeake, VA and we love it!  I have a five year old daughter who is very interested in art and is often found in my studio acting as my assistant.

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Castle Logo: How did you get started with LK Custom Creations and hand painting glassware?
lk: For as long as I can remember, I always wanted to be a freelance artist but it took a while to figure out exactly what I could create that would be unique. LKCC originally started out as a custom invitation business.  I thought that combining my illustration skills with custom invitations would be a great fit.  I loved the design process but assembling them became a very daunting task for me.  I missed painting so much and I wasn’t about to hand paint hundreds of invitations!  I began to look for anything I could produce that could still be custom, yet outside the world of traditional 2D artwork.  Once I learned to paint on glass I was hooked!  It was usable art and that is what I loved most about it.  I started adding glassware designs to my Etsy site and instantly the glass art began to attract customers.

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Rainforest Hiking – Corcovado National Park

BY TARA BURKE

One of our main missions while visiting Costa Rica was to truly experience its rich biodiversity. Corcovado National Park spans just over 103,000 acres of tropical rainforest and holds a very diverse population of wildlife – 10% of all mammals that inhabit the Americas can be found within Corcovado National Park. In turn, we thought Costa Rica’s largest park fit the bill perfectly for exploring the rainforest.

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Feature Friday: Artist Ellie Edon

Screen Shot 2015-09-12 at 14.21.31Happy Feature Friday!

Today we’re featuring Ellie Edon of @wastedpaints. We can’t help but be drawn her colorful, fun pieces! A majority of her focus is on animals and it’s so cool that she makes them look completely realistic, while at the same time often using multicolor. She not only creates art because she’s talented at it, but also loves how it makes her feel. Her pieces make us happy so we’re glad that creating them does the same for her! Keep reading to learn more about Ellie and see her amazing works of art!

Castle Logo: Tell us a little about yourself as well as your artistic background.

Screen Shot 2015-10-08 at 10.13.22 PM: I’m Ellie Edon. I am an 18 year old from Yorkshire in England. I’m a socialist, a vegetarian, intersectional feminist, a dog lover and someone who finds peace in making artwork. I find writing about myself difficult as I am still young and developing who I am. I want how I change as a person, and my values, to shine through my artwork someday.

I remember in Year 6 (in England this is around the age of 10/11) I won my first Art contest with the theme being Easter. In fact, I used very very bright colours even then. I also won a blue peter badge with the same work. (This was a big deal!!) I used to have very low self confidence, and found some self-esteem when people complimented my work. This esteem has helped me develop my skills in where I am today, and has made me a much more confident person. I’m still just someone with an Instagram account – still, it’s pretty cool having a following.

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Feature Friday: Jenny Dale Designs

Happy Feature Friday!
Jennifer Stables
We are so excited about today’s feature with Jennifer Stables of Jenny Dale Designs. The characters she creates in her pieces are so adorable and each one has so much life and personality! We love that she takes the creativity to the next level by accompanying each piece with a poem that tells more about the character and makes for a unique addition to each purchase. Although her art is amazing for a child’s room we still think a lot of these would be great on any wall! They would totally add a quirky touch to your desk space or reading nook. You can tell how much of herself Jennifer puts into these pieces and the happiness that her characters bring to so many people. Keep reading to hear about how she got her start and inspiration.

Castle Logo: Tell us a little about yourself.

JD logo: I am an artist, an educator, and a mother to two beautiful boys. I have a cat named Stretchy-Cat, I collect rocks, and I love Back to the Future. I grew up in a small prairie town called Bow Island, which has a population of about 1500 people. Currently I live in the town of Okotoks, Alberta, Canada (just south of Calgary, Alberta, Canada). I create artwork primarily for children’s rooms and nurseries and I write poetry to accompany each one. Art has always been a part of my life and I have been painting and drawing for as long as I can remember. I received my Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2001 and my Bachelor of Education in 2005 from the University of Calgary. My artwork is sold worldwide through my business, Jenny Dale Designs, and through Oopsy Daisy Fine Art for Kids.

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Feature Friday: Sculptor Jesse Nusbaum

Happy Feature Friday!

BEARFor today’s feature we have sculptor Jesse Nusbaum of Jesse Nusbaum Art! When we first saw his sculptures we were amazed by the complexity, size, and realism of them. Well, actually… we’re still amazed! And how could we not be?! His huge sculptures are so impressive and unlike anything we’ve seen. Jesse is definitely a testament to doing what you love. He was set to be on a completely different career path, but his love of art outweighed everything else and he decided to pursue it. This feature will be sure to inspire you to follow your own passions just like Jesse!

Castle Logo: Tell us a little about yourself.

Screen Shot 2015-05-21 at 22.09.34: I am 25 years old and have lived in Weston, Connecticut my entire life.  I have always had a passion for art from the time I could write and draw.  My other great passion was sports.  I tried all of them on for size.  I got my black belt when I was 7 years old and played on local teams and travel teams in soccer, basketball, baseball, and wrestling.  I was captain of my wrestling team and baseball team in high school and was selected First Team All-State in baseball in my senior year.  I led the conference in home runs, RBIs and stolen bases.  On the art side, I won the Best Sculptor Award during my junior year and senior year in high school.  My father is an attorney in Westport, Connecticut, and the “plan” was that I would be a political science major, which I was at Muhlenberg College initially, and then I would attend law school, which I did for a total of three weeks at the Charleston School of Law, at which time I immediately realized my passion for art far exceeded any desire to become a lawyer.

After leaving law school in September 2014, I immediately commenced my career as an artist full-time.  Two of my husky sculptures are being gifted to Coach Kevin Ollie of the University of Connecticut in recognition of his 2014 National Championship and the second one is being gifted to Coach Geno Auriemma, the Women’s Basketball Coach at the University of Connecticut, who just won their third straight National Championship and Tenth Overall Division 1 Championship, tying a career NCAA record. Upon request, they will be displayed in both of their offices.

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Museuming Around

BY CAILIN BURKE

Yes I made up the word “museuming” but it’s the best way to describe how Tara and I spent our spring break this year. Although part of me wishes we whisked off to a tropical location and got some sun on the beach, my new job didn’t want to give me a lot of time off. I made the best of it though and used my few days off to catch up with family and friends. One of the days, my parents were nice enough to take a day off from their jobs and go on a little road trip with us. We ended up in Massachusetts and spent the day going through the Berkshire Museum. Although when we first walked in I was a little skeptical because it seemed children-oriented, it ended up being a really interesting museum!

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Tara and I went through the children’s interactive section and did all of the activities which was actually pretty fun. One section had arts and crafts materials and asked us to create something cool with what was provided. I made a little flower bouquet and Tara decided to make a lion with the coffee filters they had there. We then moved onto the next section where you had to draw your own version of a Buddha statue the museum had displayed. They even provided easels and a wall where you could hang your final drawings up! Tara and I love to draw but with school and work, it’s hard to find the time, so it was fun to do a quick 5 minute sketch. The whole point of the section was to be creative and innovative and they had great quotes all along the walls that had this same message. We then moved onto the rocks, animals, and dinosaur sections and I definitely felt like I was back in elementary school. Since I learned all about that stuff so long ago it was nice to get a refresher, see all of the sparkly rocks and minerals, and some of my favorite animals.

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The next section was my Mom’s favorite and was a whole aquarium. She stared at the tropical fish forever while I found myself stuck at the poisonous frog section. Tara and I are planning a trip to Costa Rica this year and some of the frogs there could be found in the wild in Costa Rican rainforests. There were six different species so we spent a long amount of time looking through the leaves to try to find them all. Although it was difficult and a lot of frogs were hiding under logs, we finally did it. Besides the frogs and fish there were a lot of snakes, lizards, and turtles. It was definitely one of my favorite parts up until we went upstairs to the history, art, and antiques section. There they had a Nike statue, a wigwam, an antique bike, and shoes from many different countries. I was fascinated by how small the Chinese foot binding shoes were. They looked just like baby shoes! We then saw paintings in a few rooms with several by Norman Rockwell and ones by Eduoard Manet and Keith Herring. They also had a big empty frame where you could pose for your own portrait!

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Finally we headed to their special exhibition which was called “Berkshire Collects.” This was definitely my stepdad’s favorite part of the museum and we spent several hours just in this one section. The exhibit involved displaying the collections of various Berkshire residents and the plethora of items are what made it so interesting. I could tell you about every collection there since they were all so fascinating, but I’ll stick to some of my personal favorites. One collection was personalized cartoons where this guy mailed famous cartoonists asking them to sketch him something. He had a pretty large collection of sketches that even had notes written out to him. The cartoonist for Garfield, Batman, Superman, and Pixar’s Up were just some of the coolest ones. Besides that, I loved the collection of presidential paraphenelia. I’m pretty obsessed with Dwight D. Eisenhower’s whole “I like Ike” campaign for some reason and loved all of the “I like Ike” pins the person had. I kept talking about them to the point that a few days later my stepdad actually bought me my own “I like Ike” pin. Best present ever. After we spent a decent amount of time in the museum we were all pretty hungry and headed to dinner.

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When you’re in college you love any chance for your parents to take you out to a “real dinner.” We decided to go to a local restaurant and after some calamari, Tara got Jack Daniels steak while I got some chicken/pasta/artichoke/spinach/tomato dish that I forgot the name of. It was delicious and we had to get dessert after of course. That’s when we really treated ourselves and went full out getting the craziest desserts. I chose a Chocolate Guinness cake (If you read my St. Patrick’s Day post you may notice I’m on a Chocolate Guinness kick lately). What made it so cool was that the chocolate Guinness was in the buttercream frosting and then the cake was topped with Jameson ganache and chocolate chips. Talk about a crazy cake! It was really good and unlike any other cake I have ever tasted. Tara’s dessert was pretty wild too and called a Banana Changa. It basically consisted of fried bananas wrapped in crunchy tortillas and topped with caramel. There was also a ton of whipped cream and ice cream on the side. By that time we were  sufficiently full. We had a lot of fun with our family and what I’ve learned from that day is that you should totally take the time to check out the small museums nearby you. Although my favorite museums are the bigger ones like MoMA, the Met, and the Louvre, small museums have something different that none of the famous ones can provide. No matter what museum you go to, you always leave with some new idea, inspiration, or knowledge. In this case, we got all of that and a ton of family time too!

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