for the past few weeks, i've been designing and drawing up a storm here in the (for the meantime) stormless city of chicago. i thought i'd share a few of the most recent projects i've finished. first up, for our recent lululemon athletica store reopening party at the 900 n michigan location, we decided to honor our amazing yoga, run, spin, and dance ambassadors (see the lovley amber cook, rebecca niziol, antonia desantis, mike thomson, karim tonsy, and jim bennit). custom cards housed a very special surprise for them, and i was more than happy to provide the lettering for these inspiring and incredible members of the downtown chicago community.
secondly, a lovely wedding logo for a couple of engaged new yorkers, wilma and theresa. they wanted a design that brought the two of them together with their new shared surname. i think it'll look lovely on everything they decide to use it on throughout their wedding planning, and thereafter.
and thirdly, the most lovely woman from north carolina contacted me a few weeks ago to design the logo for her wedding photography business. anne liles is incredibly talented, and her style is so indicative of everything i find beautiful about love - the simplicity, the purity, the vibrancy and richness of all the senses. she captures all of that and more, and i was so pleased to be able to design something that represents that, along with her motto, 'life is art'.
hello darling readers! it's been almost a year now since i got my very first tattoo, and first tattoo design request, and this has prompted a massive revamp in my life and career. i could never have foreseen just how much my life has been shaped by starting down the path of custom calligraphy and illustrative work. it's always been something i do because i love it, because it's somewhat natural, because while i'm a writer, sometimes drawing helps me better express what it is i'm trying to share. and now, having jumped down the rabbit hole, i'm so pleasantly surprised and emboldened by the fact that this could all actually lead me somewhere. i'm so grateful for the support and love of friends and family to push me further down the hole, to widen it, deepen it, feel around in all corners and crevices for new or more powerful ways to build upon the strengths i already have. in that vein, i've begun to build two separate websites - www.jillianschiavi.com will house all of my personal artistic work, writing, installations, as well as information about my yoga teaching. www.jillyink.tumblr.com will house all things jillyink - from tattoo designs to other freelance calligraphy/illustration work. take a look around both sites; they're both in progress (especially the tumblr page), but i'm very excited about the possibilities to come from both arenas.
a few weeks ago, my dear friend (and amazing, inspiring, ridiculously hilarious woman) leigh trombley invited me to come in to the brand (spanking) new lululemon on newbury street (of which she is the inaugural manager) in boston to paint an excerpt from the lululemon manifesto in their back room.
i have to say, so much of this manifesto speaks to me personally; i've preached it to friends, i've shared it through my yoga classes, and i'm living it by following my passions. here are a few photos of the finished product.
thank you so much, leigh, for having me in your new home. and thank you to the phenomenal team at the newbury street lululemon, for welcoming me in, and inspiring me with your goals, your visions, and your follow-through!
i'm so honored and excited to participate as a vendor in soiree events' 'leap into wedding season' event tomorrow night at chicago's fleur de lis florist in river north. the darling tiffany munster, brains and beauty behind soiree, asked me to provide calligraphy for the bridal grab bags - a cute play on the something borrowed, something blue, something old, something.. well, you know. here are the scans of the calligraphy - she'll be printing the e.e. cummings poem on cute little cards, attaching the something borrowed to an adorable little 'emergency kit', and as for the rest, well you'll find out when i do!
for all brides that are attending the event, i'm offering a free custom return address stamp with the purchase of custom address calligraphy for 100 or more wedding invitation envelopes. i'm looking forward to meeting the other lovely vendors, trying some cake, and spending the evening at a decked-out decadent soiree!
some exciting news to share - my installation piece, "all those other words", will be amongst 25 other artists' works in design cloud gallery's 2nd ever group show! opening this friday, february 17th (reception 6-9pm), bleed heart bleed includes work that explores, examines and reflects the many different responses to lost love. my piece, which is also currently up in the sullivan galleries through february 18th, fits into this quite aptly. below is the invitation to the show - if you're in chicago this friday night, be sure to rsvp, come sip some wine, look at art, and share in the universality of what it means to have a broken heart, what it means to mend it and move on.
i know i haven't updated in quite a while, but i have a pretty big-deal post for today. for the past month and a half (and really, the last year), i've been working on an installation piece for an exhibition opening at the sullivan galleries in chicago this friday. the piece, 'all those other words', is a 17 page story written non-chronologically that i laser cut into birch plywood and set behind stained wooden doors. i cannot say how proud i am with how the piece turned out, how happy i am that it looks so beautiful and reads so well, how utterly relieved i am that it's finally up and i don't have to worry about little tiny screws or super glue or nail guns anymore. enjoy the photos - hopefully i'll post more after the opening!
all up on the wall:
my parents came to visit chicago last week, bringing with them my favorite red barn coffee roasters coffee, a six-pack of sam adams, extra yoga mats so they could take my class, and just so so so much fun. and while they were here, my mum commissioned me to make a stamp for our home back in massachusetts.
i had such a wonderful time with them, and i can't wait to see this new little stamp in it's rightful place on the kitchen counter in milford, massachusetts when i go back to visit in august.
last week i had the distinct pleasure to get my hands covered in chalk. a dear friend of mine called and said that a client of hers was in need of a calligrapher to cover the walls of the bristol in bucktown with chalk renderings of gilt city chicago's mission statement, menu for the evening and various other embellishments for their vendor appreciation event. of course i jumped up and down and twirled around and said yes yes yes.
it took all of 5 1/2 hours to complete the restaurant's transformation, during which time i cranked adele and pearl and the beard and vampire weekend over the bar's loudspeaker system. it was so much fun. and instead of taking mediocre pictures myself, i enlisted the help of a very talented photographer friend of mine, lauryn krause, to capture the end result.
i would love to do more events like this - i could seriously not have been happier with how the whole day turned out. and the next; on thursday i went back, erased the gilt city mission statement, and rewrote the bar's menu on the chalkboard walls... all the while wishing i could order a moscow mule to drink while i worked.
it was such a pleasure working with makenna on creating a return address stamp for her and yvonne. originally she wanted a custom initial stamp with both of their first initials, but after a while changed her mind and went for the full address. i think it came out beautifully, and i can just imagine the many envelopes and packages that it will adorn!
recently i had the opportunity to put a few samples together for a bride's upcoming new orleans nuptials. not sure yet if the gig will go through, but i thought i'd share the sample envelopes i designed for her anyway. she is a huge fan of using scrolls on the outer envelopes, and will also use them in the invitation and possibly rsvp card design, so i played around with this idea and really quite like what came of it.
i love love love getting requests from people to make a stamp, either on or off my etsy shop, and then seeing where they're coming at me from. some from far away (a macon, georgia return address is in the works), and some, surprisingly, from just around the block. ashlie just recently moved to chicago from new york, and wanted her new home address at the ready when she arrived - presumably to use on some 'we've moved!' announcements - so voila! all wrapped up in jillyink packaging, here's ashlie and bryan's new return address stamp:
ashlie was such a pleasure to work with, and i wish her and bryan all the best in their new home - especially now that chicago's warmed up quite a bit!
after one and a half weeks of frantic designing, printing, cutting while kneeled and hunched over on the floor (oh my back!), i finally, with the help of my dear roommate) put up my final project for my installation class this semester. and it just so happened that we installed on the one, repeat: one, beautiful, sunny day that chicago's seen in the past month really. it was truly a blessing, and it made the papercut installation sing with clarity, brilliance and full out shine.
i am now completely obsessed with cut paper projects, and will be experimenting with other materials as well, maybe forming language out of wire, or different forms of pellon, or really, whatever i can get my hands on. thank you so much to everyone who's helped support me mentally and emotionally in this project - it really, the whole thing, has made me so happy. and now i'm equally happy that it's done.
and in case you're interested, here's the text of the piece:
she does not see far. the wind twists itself around and about her limbs, sends her hair into a fury, but she doesn't see far./she doesn't hear long. the sounds of rays that creep within the cracks of her skin make no impression on her eardrums./she tries to follow the feel. she touches the ends of things, gropes for a hanging-on of connection. the mouth she has./she lets it all in, and washes it all out. welcomes it in, and stands helpless as it all passes through.
some process photos that i promised - here's the first two panels of large-scale papercuts for my third installation. pre-cutting, here's what the scrolls of paper look like with the designs printed on them:
starting to cut:
the completed first panel:
and here's the final cutout of the second:
i'll just go ahead and let the pictures speak for themselves. more to come!
so. for my third installation project, i'm working with text. oh. i suppose that's been my game all along, hasn't it? this time, however, i'm working with it as a 3d material. you all know from one of my last posts that i'm slightly obsessed with papercutting, paper crafting, paper everything. i decided to try my own hand at cut paper, so i went out to my local utrecht (thank you 10% student discount), purchased a swivel x-acto knife and fancy cutting board, grabbed a roll of white easel paper and headed on home to my kitchen table work space.
this will be super easy, right? i so naively thought to myself. after my first few tries and the first few pangs of a cramped hand, however, i started to get a good rhythm. and then it just started to click. and then it started to look gorgeous. i mean, i don't mean to toot my own horn, but the result is just fascinating - the paper ends up looking/feeling like lace, and the shadows that the lines create are lovely, ephemeral, delicate. it's the shadows that i'm after, actually, in the final piece, but really, i couldn't have been more pleased with the visual in general.
the only thing that slightly irks me is the presence of the graphite on the paper. i could not for the life of me figure out how i could cut out my writing without a guide right there on the paper (if i had a light table, it might be a different story). does anyone have suggestions for the future? fortunately, since the actual installation piece will be much larger and i just so happen to go to a pretty sweet art school, there are tools/machines like fancy laser and plotter cutters that will cut the shapes out for me, so i won't have to worry about the graphite on the final piece. but in the meantime, with x-acto in hand, i'd like to come up with a way of getting this desired effect without the guide... and i have a feeling that erasing it post-cutting would just tear the thing into pieces.
i also love what happens to these discarded pieces of the papercut - they're so sweet, like tiny waves floating suspended on their own. i'll continue sharing the stages to this final project, and i hope you enjoy the process as much as i do!
second installation project - i decided to blasphemously tear pages out of an old 1965 dictionary and infuse them with my own writing. over the course of a week and a half, i painstakingly (and yes, at times, those late nights, hitting f3 and then shift+f over and over again was indeed painful) searched through roughly twenty documents of my own writing that i've produced since last fall for whatever recognizable words i found on each page. once found within a piece of my writing, i'd hand-write the sentence that word was used in over its original definition. thereby claiming its definition as my own.
some of the pages went faster than others. some strangely had no words that i could use, and so in those cases, i made up definitions for certain words. or i would find interesting connections between the words that just so happened to be situated near each other. or i experimented with hand-lettering of certain letters, words, images, etc.
the wallpapering itself took no time, but the entire project, layered together and spread out over the expanse of a wall in my studio, sparked such an interesting conversation about authorship, overload of information, hierarchy of text, positive vs negative space, and so many other things. i truly enjoyed putting this together, and if given the opportunity, would absolutely cover an entire room like this. i mean, why not? now i know how to make my own glue.
almost everyone has some sort of relationship with shakespeare. whether it be that awkward memory of having to memorize shylock's speech in freshman english, or finding that one line in that one sonnet that just so happens to speak to whatever is going on in your life, there's no doubt that for most of us, ole billy has struck some sort of chord.
for my first project in my art installation class, i decided to play around with accumulation and dismantling - in this case, the accumulation of text and chalk, the dismantling of shakespeare's sonnets as well as the concept of what it means to be a book, a collection.
it's incredibly interesting to see what happens when you start to layer words and sentences on top of each other. the negative space becomes positive, the blackboard starts to resemble a white notebook page, and the sonnets themselves become almost completely illegible (although that could also have something to do with the nature of my handwriting). i had such fun putting this together, and i definitely foresee more chalkboard art in my future.
what's your favorite sonnet? i'll always be partial to 116.