Friday, June 18, 2010

Happy Weekend + Stitchery Collection

I'll wrap up for the week with this stitchery collection of hand sewn embroideries, vintage finds, beautiful patterns and colorful threads. Have a vibrant weekend!

P.S. My Owl Barn is on Facebook.

Photo of the Day: Plates

A lovely collection of plates by Michelle.

Interview: Claire Mojher

Tell us a bit about yourself, location, present job, personal stuff.
Born and bred in the hot and humid Florida sunshine, I studied Illustration at Ringling College of Art & Design in Sarasota. After I graduated in 2005, I was offered a job at American Greetings, so I made the long haul to the cloudy city of Cleveland, Ohio, near the shores of Lake Erie. I've been illustrating greeting cards for almost 5 years, and in my spare time I make an effort to work on my own personal art projects. My husband and I bought our first home in 2009 which has room for a studio, which is very exciting for both of us. He's an artist as well, and we're happy to have a little space devoted completely to our work. But, clear blue-skied days are rather scarce here, so if the weather's nice I tend to get distracted and go play outside instead!

What inspired you to become an artist and how old were you then?
Growing up, I was surrounded by art. My father is a freelance illustrator and my mother works at the Orlando Museum of Art. Our bookcases were always filled with art books and I enjoyed drawing with my father in his studio. I don't remember an exact moment when I thought, "art is the thing for me." It was all around me and seemed as natural as breathing! I think I've always viewed the world with an artistic eye and see the potential for an illustration in everything from musical phrases to short stories to everyday accidental moments.

Please describe your materials and medium you use in your pieces.
Until fairly recently, all my work has been done traditionally - paint, graphite, paper, ink, etc. But the last few years, I've moved much more into digital work. My job often requires me to work digitally, and I enjoy the ease with which I can correct mistakes or alter color or resize an image. I still enjoy working with oils and acrylic and charcoal and love the feeling of getting my hands dirty (I'm always proud to have ink under my fingernails), but I don't work traditionally as much as I'd like to. I'm hoping to get back into the habit of creating more handmade pieces and find my own balance between the computer and the pen.

Who are your favorite artists? Why?
I grew up idealizing J. W. Waterhouse, Gustav Klimt, Egon Shiele, Alphonse Mucha and Edward Gorey. Most folks can really see their influence in my college work. Since graduating, I've come across such an endless number of talented artists and illustrators (many of them young) that I would have a very difficult time choosing a current favorite. My husband and I own a fairly hearty little art collection, much of which has been created by friends and other local artists. We're lucky to know so many talented people!

What’s been your favourite project so far?
Looking back on my college thesis, I'm still really pleased with how those 6 paintings came together. It was my most ambitious project at that point and took a lot of time and effort. I've sold numerable prints of those pieces and still enjoy them myself after all these years. Since that time, I've done so much new work that it's difficult to choose a favorite.

What is a constant challenge for you and most rewarding part of having a creative profession?
Since I spend so many hours doing creative work for my day job, it can be a real challenge to get myself motivated to continue being creative and productive once I get home. Most of the time, I'd rather plop down with a film or have a picnic by the lake. I'll do most anything to avoid the things I really should be doing! So, to make sure that I put in time creating my own artwork, I have to arrange to be in gallery shows or set fixed goals for myself. Sometimes, drawing is the very last thing I want to do after a day at the office where all I've been doing is drawing, but seeing all those finished pieces hanging on a gallery wall or posted online is really rewarding. Once I see how much I've accomplished for myself, I'm always glad that I've taken the time to create on my own.

What do you do when you are not working?
We bought our little house specifically in an area West of downtown Cleveland that allows us to walk or bike pretty much anywhere. Picnics, hikes, strolling to the local ice cream parlor or library, watching all kinds of movies (my husband has a ridiculously enormous DVD collection), reading, cooking, bowling, enjoying dinner with friends... I'm a girl who is fairly easily entertained!

How do you use your blog for your art?
I'm not at all savvy when it comes to html, so my blog is an easy and convenient venue for me to display my newest work online. And the pressure I feel to update my blog regularly motivates me to create work more often so that I can share it with readers. I feel guilty when I miss a day or two (although that can't be helped sometimes). Even if it's just a quick sketch or some small silly piece I did for fun, updating my blog regularly encourages me to take time each day to create art just for myself.

I noticed that the most of your pieces that you have on your photo gallery have owls and birds in it, and was wanting to ask you about that.
Magical realism is so fascinating to me, especially things that float or fly. My favorite book is House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende, in which the main character unintentionally levitates when lost in thought. I've created quite a few pieces that hint at some sort of defiance of gravity and birds seem to be the most natural manifestation of that idea in the real world. Birds are used as symbols in so many cultures and owls especially seem to represent something ethereal and unearthly. In my work, birds are usually cheerful and represent happiness and high spirits, although occasionally, they're quieter - my owls are often partially hidden, watchful observers.

Describe your work on which you are currently working?
Just recently, I finished a whole bunch of new pieces for a little solo show. Two of my favorites are Ren & Snippet and Clementine, Lemon & Peet, in which I experimented with pattern in silhouette. The juxtaposition of the cat and the two owls was totally unconscious, but I'm pleased with that happy accident. The cat seems uninterested, so I think the owls are safe. Lately, I haven't been able to get the idea of feathers out of my brain, so I did several digital paintings of stylized, brightly colored feathers bound with ribbon. They're pretty different from my usual work, and I'm happy with how they turned out.

What are your future plans and dreams?
Books have always been important to me. As a child, if I wasn't lurking on a tree branch somewhere, I was reading. I enjoy writing short stories and bizarre little poems and would love to publish my own illustrated books. I have quite a few ideas and am hoping to have something to show for it in the not-too-distant future!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Cosas Mínimas

I'm loving these sweet and simple illustrations by Blanca Gómez of Cosas Mínimas (which translates to “tiny things”). There are over 50 designs in form of prints to choose from her store on etsy and some are available at Moo to create custom business cards and postcards.

{Rolling Pin}

Daniel and Valeria are the owners of the online store Hindsvik, which offers vintage and modern objects for the home. I spotted this gorgeous and rare vintage rolling pin on their store which is made of wood with bright yellow handles and carvings of an unconventional representation of owls and flowers throughout. Wouldn't it be perfect for making decorative cookies?

The couple also maintains a blog under the same name where they share their design inspirations, DIY projects and new exciting finds while they decorate and renovate their 1940s home. Take a peek here.

Bookplates: Petite Press

These hot from the press bookplates are designed by Christine Schneider of Petite Press. The bookplates featuring a studious, wide-eyed owl and the question, "Who who does this book belong to?" are perfect size for paperbacks or your kindle. It comes in a tin box and a beaded bookmark.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Peter Alexander: Mini Hot Water Bottles

It's over 100 degrees here, and trust me I wasn't intentionally looking for a hot water bottle when I came across these cuties. These are so adorable that I couldn't help sharing them with you. These mini hot water bottles are by Peter Alexander who is known for his fun and quirky products. If you are thinking of getting one for yourself, act now because these are going fast.

{image via here}

Shu-Hui: Pottery

Shu-Hui was born in Taiwan and moved to the United States in 1996 to pursue her interest in art. She graduated in Bachelors of Arts with ceramics as an area of emphasis and is presently teaching at Art Studio at the University of California and other locations. Her every pottery piece is hand crafted and one of a kind, adorned with simple drawings. She will be exhibiting in nationally known Renegade Craft Fair at the Fort Mason Center Festival Pavilion, San Francisco in July. For more details visit her website.

Package Design

It's has to be one of the most brilliant and clever package design for skateboard bearings, ever. I couldn't find any information about the designer apart from the website where these are sold. These bearings are available in two different colors on the online store of a skateboarding company in Argentina -Woodoo.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Decorative Initial Cap

Jessica Hische is a typographer who hand-crafts each decorative initial cap everyday for her ongoing project- The Daily Drop Cap. These beautiful decorative initials are available to be used on your blog for free! For more details and to use that cute letter 'O' in your next post, simply copy the code given here.

{image via here}

Habitat's Porcelain Objects

I'm loving these nature inspired objects - a hare and an owl, from Habitat's Ivy collection. These are handmade from porcelain and feature gold pattern with a splash of color on the owl's body.

Design Your Jewelry: Marmalade

Marmalade is a charming jewelry store which offers you a unique opportunity to design your own necklaces, bracelets and earrings. You pick the shape of the jewelry piece, select the design printed on Japanese fabric or paper and voilà, it's done! Isn't that fun?

CSN Giveaway - $80 Gift Certificate!

{Note: This week's new posts will appear below this one.}

I'm so pleased to announce that CSN is giving one My Owl Barn reader the chance to win a $80 gift certificate to shop at their heart's content. Isn't that just great? CSN is a huge online store with group of over 200 specialized stores and has something to offer for everyone. This certificate can be used towards purchasing anything from sleeper sofa to dining sets, from bags to lots of owl merchandise.

This giveaway is open to all followers of My Owl Barn (click here to follow My Owl Barn) who are in US or Canada. All you need to do to participate is -

2. Share this giveaway on Facebook. Make sure you leave a comment with a link to your Facebook wall post (which you can get by right clicking on the timestamp visible under the post on your Facebook profile).

One last thing you must know. While shopping at CSN, please be aware that there may be shipping charges or in the case of Canadian residents, international fees, for certain products.

Winner will be selected randomly from all valid entries using Random.Org on June 15th!

Update: The winner of the CSN gift certificate is #18 anewyorker! Thanks for participating.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Oh, Shoes!

These very expensive Marc by Marc Jacobs flats (with cats, hearts, clubs, diamonds, hearts, rabbits and owls print) will look lovely with jean shorts in summer, don't you think?

Petit Collage

This card is from Petit Collage's new Summer 2010 collection. Isn't it the cutest, brightest card ever? And, it's printed on bamboo paper. That makes this card the winner!

Whistle & Wink

An adorable Night Owl nursery set by Whistle and Wink. Lori Marie worked on the featured appliques/embroideries with the designer Bridget Kelly. The color palette is beautiful and gender neutral for a uni nursery.