Today we have the amazing, whimsical works of Marissa Long from Soft Bloom Tapestries. We are in love with how beautiful and organic her weavings are — and just plain soft and fuzzy looking! The fact that she incorporates so many natural elements into her work (all foraged herself from the Pacific Northwest!) makes her products even more unique and truly have a story behind them. She has a ton of great insight into the world of creating, so keep on reading to hear all about her brand’s start and what she’s learned along the way!
: Tell us a few things about yourself!
: I am 22 and I currently live at the foot of Mt. Hood (Oregon’s highest mountain!), right outside of Portland. When I was a child, my parents were constantly taking my brothers and myself camping and hiking. Getting outside recharges my soul and is still one of my favorite things to do, except now I have a fur-child to come along! I have a golden retriever, Theodore, he goes everywhere with me. I adore plants, I try to be always surrounded by them and that’s why I currently work at Portland Nursery. I also work with Foraged Blooms, creating floral arrangements and helping as needed. I realized early on in life that my heart is fullest when I have a creative outlet, and I love working with mixed medias and trying new things!
: We are absolutely in love with your tapestries! How would you describe your brand and the products you create?
: Thank you! Yikes, that is not an easy question. I describe Soft Bloom as warm, and creative! It’s all about the process of creating something by hand, something that encourages you to touch and explore and experience wonder and warmth. I like to think (hope) that the hangings I create convey my heart, my love of this art form and the way it grounds me and encourages the journey of growth, softness and transformation. I would like to inspire those concepts in the beautiful people that purchase or admire my hangings!
We can’t wait for you to hear about Kelsey of Studio Twenty Six in today’s feature! If you are parents or excitedly expecting, Studio Twenty Six makes the most amazing baby blankets and accessories. We love Kelsey’s mindset behind her brand, wanting her pieces to be a useful (and beautiful!) part of each family’s lives. Her blankets not only look so cozy, but are great to use for almost any age. And as Kelsey says, wanting a blanket that wouldn’t be quickly outgrown by her son was one of the reasons she started her brand! Keep reading to learn more about her start and the fun products she creates!
: Tell us a little about yourself.
: I’m Kelsey. I’m a 27 year old Iowa Native. When I’m not “making” I’m a wife, mom, bookworm, animal lover, and full-time sales territory manager.
: We love your Etsy shop, Studio Twenty Six! How did your store start?: I have always had a love for creating and an entrepreneurial spirit. When I was a little girl I remember going to my grandmother’s house and she would let me help her hand stitch her Grandmother’s Flower Garden quilt. Ever since then I found a love for sewing, but it wasn’t until college that I got my first sewing machine as a Christmas gift. I worked on a few small quilts over the next few years, and it wasn’t until I became pregnant with my son that I really started picking up a passion for sewing all kinds of fun baby things for his room. As I searched for the perfect blankets, sheets, etc. I found it was hard to find something that fit my style and didn’t scream “baby”. I wanted his room to be modern and unique with a style he could grow with and wouldn’t feel outgrown when he transitioned from baby to “big boy”. I had so much fun creating everything, and with encouragement from my mom I decided to turn my new found hobby into a business. I spent my maternity leave putting together my first wholesale order, and as my wholesale business started to increase, I decided to take the plunge and open my Etsy store 6 months later in February 2016.
The weather was a little nicer than usual, so we thought, “Why not take a walk on the Highline!?” We actually hadn’t been to the Highline in over 2 years since it’s pretty far on the West Side, but it was the perfect day to walk around, pop into Chelsea Market, and end the day with the famous artichoke pizza at Artichoke Basile’s.
I was super excited to debut my most successful DIY upcycled shirt – I literally got this cool tee from Salvation Army for $1 (can I get an amen for Half-Priced Wednesdays at Salvation Army!?) It’s a tee from a building supply company but I thought the graphic was pretty cool so I took it home to cut it up!
Today we’re featuring the whimsical works of Lauren Lee, an illustrator who works in advertising by day but creates amazing illustrations every free chance she gets! We are in love with the characters and scenes she creates in her work – honestly we’re crossing our fingers a coffee shop gets her to design their cups, because we’d be there ASAP! Keep reading to hear more about her creative journey and see her fun coffee cup and sketchbook illustrations.
: Tell us a little about yourself.
: I’m a twenty-two year old designer working in the crazy world of advertising. I use illustration as a way of release. Outside of design, I love animation films, re-reading Harry Potter, and binging title sequences.
This week we were lucky enough to have TWO makeup experts give us Halloween tips and tricks before the big day! Although getting the perfect costume is important, making sure your makeup enhances that look can tie the whole thing together. If you want to transform your face this Halloween but need to know how to do it, Hannah Concannon of The Dress Up Box has you covered! On her Instagram and website she features a Face of the Day, a new creative look done by Hannah on her own face! We love checking out her pages to find out what she’s doing next! She has a lot of experience and great recommendations for products you can use at home, so keep reading to get some ideas and make sure to also check out Part I with Erin Scott Beauty! And Happy (almost) Halloween!
: We love that you do a Face of the Day. What are some of your favorite looks you’ve done so far ?
: This is definitely a tough one. My favorites change all the time, but at the moment here are the ones I keep coming back to: The Moon, The Blue Fade, The rainbow swirls, and, of course, Darth Maul.
This week we’re showcasing TWO amazing people who answered some of our own questions as well as some of the questions you guys sent us regarding Halloween makeup. First up, we have Erin Scott of Erin Scott Beauty. Not only does she have great tips and trends for this Halloween, but she gives tons of makeup tutorials through her YouTube Channel year round! After Halloween is over and you need some makeup inspo, be sure to head to her page! You can also find her on Instagram and Twitter to see all of the looks she has done so far. If you still don’t know what you’re going to be this year, keep reading for some ideas from Erin Scott Beauty and make sure to also check out Part II with Hannah Concannon of The Dress Up Box.
: What are you being for Halloween?
: I’m planning on doing my Half Skull, Half Glam Makeup look which I featured on my YouTube channel.
Halloween is right around the corner but the World Series is already here! I decided to combine the two when pumpkin painting this year. For some reason I had the overwhelming want to recreate the Mets home run apple, but didn’t realize how difficult it would be. After many hours, I love how it turned out and wanted to show you the steps to creating a more difficult pumpkin masterpiece!
Today we’re bringing to you Catherine Dawes of Caterham Design! We fell in love with her hand-lettering instantly and think it’s so cool that something as simple as a phrase can be written to look fun, stylish, or even sophisticated. Catherine really does a great job in making sure her typography communicates something. We love how her pieces all have their own feeling or vibe attached to them! She has a lot of great advice to share and we can’t wait for you to keep reading to learn more about her creative journey thus far.
: Tell us a little about who you are.
: Hi! I’m Catherine, a graphic artist from South Africa specializing in hand-lettering and calligraphy. I run my design studio, Caterham Design, from a dusty farm on the edge of the Kalahari; where I drink lots of coffee, eat my fair share of buttery pastries, and create hand-crafted designs for creative, artisan companies and individuals.
This week we’re featuring Jamel Saliba of Melsy’s Illustrations! We love how she got super creative for her feature and integrated illustrations into her answers! We definitely agree with her outlook on your career… you should do something you love! She has always loved art and decided that she should make it into her every day job. One of my biggest fears is working a perpetual 9-5, so once Jamel decided she wasn’t happy living that way either, she wasn’t afraid to try something new. We’re glad she did because we love her fun, girly illustrations! Between illustrating tutus, macarons, and city scenes, something from Melsy’s Illustrations would be perfect to hang up in your room or office wall. Make sure to keep reading to hear all about her big career change and how she was able to discover a new talent and turn it into a business!
This Friday, we’re featuring Ashton of Strung Out Nails! We had never heard of string art before seeing Ashton’s work and now we’re so glad we have. Just look and see how cool it is! A few decades ago this unique style of art was really popular, but now Ashton believes it’s making a comeback. We’re excited that you all will be the first to know about this re-emerging style of art! Keep reading to hear all about Strung Out Nails and how it came to be.
: Tell us about yourself.
: I’m Ashton E. Bemis. I’m a 26-year-old creative living in Nashville, TN with my husband, Kyle, and our four dogs, Hershey, Gracie, Misfit, and Dobby. I have always been interested in art, but I ended up going to school for social work, because of my love for people and diversity. However, here I am, five years post-degree, and I have circled back to my first love. I am now a photographer, graphic designer, artist, and “wannabe” writer, and I’m loving it.
: How did you get started doing string art? How did you learn how to do it?
: It happened quite by accident, really. I wanted to make a unique gift for my husband for Valentine’s Day (he says it was his birthday, but we have agreed to disagree…that’s marriage), and I had remembered seeing string art on Pinterest a few years back. Kyle is from California, so I thought it would be neat to do a California piece for him. I have always been a visual learner, so after looking up images of a few pieces, I just kind of figured it out, as anticlimactic as that sounds. I had so much fun making his piece that I decided to make a piece for a friend’s wedding gift. Once other friends saw that, the orders started coming in, and Strung Out Nails was born.
: Tell us about the process to complete a piece.
: Every piece is unique and takes a lot of time and effort. Most of my pieces are custom orders, so my clients usually have some sort of idea of what they are wanting. Whatever the concept is, I’ll take it and design a template in Photoshop, then print it to the size of the piece. Then, I will start on the base. The bases are a vast array of sizes, so how I create each one is dependent on the size; some are one piece of wood, while others are panels screwed together. Each base gets stained or painted and has to dry for a day before a nail ever touches it. Once the base is complete, I lay the template and begin outlining with a nail. I outline the entire piece like connect-the-dots before removing the template to begin placing the nails. Finally, I begin filling in the space with string. If a piece has multiple colors, I have to decide how I want to layer the colors before I can begin. It takes a lot of patience to complete a piece, of which I could always use more practice.
: Where do you see Strung Out Nails going in the future? And what are some of your biggest/current goals in general?
: I honestly like where it is at the moment. It has actually taken precedence over my photography! I truly just hope it continues to stay this way. I think it would be extremely fun, however, to do a really large piece for a local business.
: What is your favorite part about making these pieces?
: As with most things, I really love the end result. Watching the image come to life is always rewarding.
: What’s the most challenging part about creating your work?
: It is a very tedious art. From trying not to whack my fingers while hammering the nails, to making sure the string doesn’t pop off of a nail while I’m filling in, it’s tedious from beginning to end. In the end, though, it’s definitely worth it.
: How would you describe the perfect setting and ambiance to complete a piece?
: I really enjoy working in my living room while listening to an audiobook or music. On nice days, I have also enjoyed working on a piece outside on a blanket.
: Does your work have any type of common theme? Or since you mainly do custom orders is every piece very different?
: My most common themes are Nashville and Tennessee. However, as I said earlier, most of my pieces are custom orders, and I always enjoy the challenge of creating something new.
: Do you do any other type of artwork? Do you think that helps you in string art as well?
: My background in photography, graphic design, and drawing/painting definitely helps. Being able to find a visual balance makes all the difference in the final look of a string art piece because of how linear it is by nature.
: How popular is string art? Do you know of a lot of other people doing this type of work?
: I feel string art is beginning to grow in popularity again. It actually began in the 1800s by a female mathematician, Mary Everest Boole, who wanted to make geometry more tangible for children, and she created what is called “curve stitching.” It became popularized as an art in the 1960s and 70s, then it died off again. Recently, string art has evolved in both look and variety. I don’t know many other people who actually create string art, but I have found a few other very talented string artists through Instagram.
: Any advice for other creatives/artists out there?
: You make time for the things that are important to you. I never dreamed I would make a career of creating string art, or photography, or graphic design, but I made time for those things. I stuck with them, and I continue to learn all I can about them. I plan to do the same with my writing. Persevere and endure. I truly believe that makes all the difference.
Make sure to check out more from Strung Out Nails on Instagram!: @strungoutnails