sf crushing: letterpress letterpress

sf crushing letterpress my very dear wonderful talented friend, rebecca elliot, came to visit san francisco this weekend, so it seems only apt that my next sf crushing series is focused on letterpress studios in the bay area. rebecca herself is a letterpress maven, with a giant hunk of steel of her own back in chicago, and meekling press as her homestead for printing unique and quirky (not to mention exceptionally well-written) books and story collections. in her honor, here are my picks for this corner of the country's best handlers of old vandercooks and chandler and prices.

 

Olive Route

 

olive route

 

olivia san mateo, owner of this berkeley based print shop, has such a lovely, natural eye for collection. each piece in one of her wedding suites can stand well on its own, but put together with all the elements, the whole unit speaks clear and well-constructed volumes about the couple getting married. i especially love her use of texture, natural elements, and of course, varied types of type. i really appreciate a designer who can weave a story into their work - and her use of layers, small details, and perfect color palettes does this for everything she prints.

 

Twig & Fig

twig & fig

 

another berkeley enterprise! twig & fig have, first of all, such a quirky and fun website - this tips me off firstly that their work is made up of personalized and unique elements. i love their uncomplicated, slightly edgy, sophisticated, and utterly fresh approach to designing. it's clear that their inspiration comes primarily from the people they work with. which, when paired with masterful letterpress and design skills, ends up yielding incredibly gorgeous stationery and invitations.

 

Aerialist Press

aerialist press

 

well, apparently i'm in love with letterpress studios based in the east bay. it might be a little biased, since i'm in oakland now, but seriously, when you go take a walk around aerialist press's website, you just tell me how hard it was for you to leave. not only do they have an abundant portfolio of gorgeous, delicate, type-and-illustration-driven designs, but when executed onto paper, the final product takes your breath away, it's made so well. i also have a particular penchant for design teams that are motivated not only by their clients' love, but by their own. alexandra and craig have such a lovely story, and it's evident that they infuse every project they undertake with the same passion and dedication that they share with each other.

 

 

so much love for these paper wielders. tune in next week for a peek at some of my favorite winery wedding venues in the area!

new coasts

compassion  

there's this thing that happens when you move 2/3 of the way across the country. or, technically, all the way across the country - albeit with a 3 1/2 year 'layover' in chicago. there's almost an undoing of yourself, of everything you've known, grown accustom to, comfortable with. you're forced to shed layers of learning that no longer make sense, memories that have become unclear, hazy, that seem to belong to someone else - as if you'd read about them in a book instead of experienced them first hand. you look out the window at mountains in the distance and they feel so far away, until suddenly you realize you're driving through them. the white caps spilling snow down the front of your rental suv, the back weighed down with your belongings.

moving first to chicago was an undertaking of ownership, of exploration and adventure. i moved there for graduate school in creative writing, and ended up earning an education in who i am, what makes me happy, who i want to surround myself with. i accomplished some devastating setbacks, and survived. i tossed through sleepless nights, and woke to new suns. i rode my bike through rain and sleet and snow and ice, through sun and humidity and perfect fall days. i fell in love with new family, and made the most magical of friendships. i fell and rose up in a love that i can only describe through the endless embraces we've shared through moments of trial and utter happiness. i started writing letters for a living, and it's never felt like work. moving to chicago was the best possible thing i could have done almost four years ago.  leaving chicago was the best possible thing i could have done last week.

 

moving here, to oakland, the bay area, san francisco, california, the west coast - this is, very recognizably, an act of utter and total craziness. this is true ownership. independence. freedom. this is an embrace of everything i've built to this point. an unraveling of the things that didn't work, an unfolding presentation of the things that will take root here.

 

i'm excited to share with you this new adventure, and invite you all to share with me your journeys and success and challenges. thanks so much for reading; west coast, hello!!

morning calligraphy: rumi style

rumi love valentines day is around the corner, and to lead up, i'm doing a series of love poetry calligraphy. starting with rumi's 'i swear'.

rumi close up

I swear, since seeing Your face,

the whole world is fraud and fantasy

The garden is bewildered as to what is leaf

or blossom. The distracted birds

can't distinguish the birdseed from the snare.

A house of love with no limits,

a presence more beautiful than venus or the moon,

a beauty whose image fills the mirror of the heart.

rumi letter

A little beauty for your January morning. I hope you enjoy!

rumi close up 2

antlers antlers wedding inspiration shoot

woodland_menus top over the holidays i had the great fortune to work with some amazing new clients, chicago-based wedding and event planners, and some very creative individuals. one of my favorite (favorite!) shoots took place at the historic keith house in chicago's prairie district. it's located in a pocket of chicago that's home to some old mansions, a quaint little park, one of my best friends, and a path that takes you straight to the lakefront.

woodland_menus3

 

splendid occasion shoot

woodland pc

tiffany siladke (a splendid occasion), a talented chicago-based wedding planner and event stylist, had such a gorgeous vision for this inspiration shoot. she wanted to air on the darker side of things - it being winter and all - and decided to incorporate some animal-inspired elements. complete with antlers, cages, fur, darker, lush florals from natural beauties florals, antique pieces from rent vintage chicago and aged vintage rentals, amazing pies from bang bang pie shop, the whole shoot had an amazing woodland wonderland/big bad wolf feel to it. not to mention the models were stunning, with hair and makeup from nika vaughan.

woodland_menus bottom

woodland pc4

i was asked to create some hand-lettered menus for the table design, a sign for the place card table, and individual place cards that fit into gold-painted animal figurines. tiffany hand-charred the edges of the paper, which gave everything even more of a forest-feel.

woodland pc close2

in truth, i loved putting together the paper elements for this shoot. and i love the photos even more. i can't quite share the professional (and might i say breathtaking) photos that karissa kreager took, but here are a few self-shots of the menus and place cards for you. i promise to share the full photo set once it's been published!

 

 

other vendors that worked on the shoot:

treat bags- fox and hound paperie, http://www.etsy.com/shop/FoxandHoundPaperie?ref=search_shop_redirect

invitation- tweedle press, www.tweedlepress.com

dress – nearly newlywed, www.nearlynewlywed.com

hairpiece –  danani handmade adornments, www.dananionline.com

men’s attire – bonobos, www.bonobos.com

video - amelia st. studios, www.ameliastreetstudios.com

models - nick zmuda & bri kreager

a new year for systems, not resolutions

well, hello there! happy 2014! i hope all of your holidays were filled with joy and abundance and love and laughter and good wine and plenty of pie. and now that all that's over with, and our attention inevitably draws towards cleansing.. well, everything - our health, our careers, our relationships, our closets - i thought i'd share what my new year focus is for 2014.  

instead of resolutions, instead of goals, instead of deadlines (though not the ones set by my clients - of course, i'll still adhere to those).. i'm setting systems. consistency is the name of the game for this year; developing clearly outlined, manageable, workable systems for my career and my health that i can plug into and remain committed to, no matter the outcome. i read this great article over the holidays that put a lot into perspective for me - goals have a way of making you feel like a failure if you don't succeed. systems have a way of perpetuating success, validating positivity, and ultimately sustaining motivation. even after you achieve a particular goal, it can become very easy to fall off the building you worked so hard to create.. or to stand atop it and not know what to do next. with creating a system, if your consistent action is to build a little bit every day, eventually you'll have created an entire city of structures.

 

so - for jilly ink, creating a system for reaching new clients, developing new relationships, venturing out into new industries, honing new and old skills, and making work - regardless of pay - every day is my focus. i can only believe that investing time in my business is the best thing i can do.

 

what are your focuses for the new year?

nine months and a new show

bigger is better insta nine months ago, i was invited to show work at the gorgeous both sides gallery space in pilsen, chicago. it was a magical experience, full of meeting new people (one of which just so happens to be pouring me a cup of coffee right now), putting my art work out there, gathering feedback, and becoming exposed to one of the most vibrant art communities in this fair city.

tonight, nine months (to the day, and date - how about that?) later, i'll be showing another series. you may remember when i drew a few bones back in the fall.. well, i've decided to expand on that idea and move a little deeper..ehem.. into the body, and context. the theme of this month's show is 'inner beauty', so my take on that was to use suggestive phrases typically geared towards certain parts of the female and male bodies, and juxtapose them alongside illustrations of bones about which they'd be construed as positive attributes. i'll have much more photos to post next week about the opening tonight (i might have a few pieces that need finishing this afternoon... ever the procrastinating artist), but here's a sneak preview of two of the pieces i'll be framing and hanging on the walls.

rockin curves insta

if you happen to find yourself in chicago tonight, stop by both sides gallery from 6-10pm, on the corner of 19th and halsted. or stop by anytime this month to take a gander at the show!

feel it in my bones

bathroom prints last weekend was my second showing at second fridays down in pilsen, at the lovely and welcoming and gorgeous space at both sides gallery. last month, i showed my wooden-books story installation piece, which was met with a wonderfully positive response.

pelvis illustration

femur bone illustration

calligraphy prints

this time around, i showed an edited version of that piece, along with some screenprints made while at saic, and a few cheeky custom illustration and calligraphy prints.

framed pelvis illustration

framed femur bone illustration

framed calligraphy prints

making these was so much fun. so much fun, that i think i'll prop open my massive gray's anatomy book (bought for $2 at the brown elephant in chicago), and start scouring for some more bones to to pair with suggestive phrases..

 

movin on over

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.

spooky address stamp

i had so much fun designing this return address stamp. a dear friend of mine wanted to give a gift that spoke to this couple's love of all things halloween and 'day of the dead'. is it a coincidence that their last name also fits into this theme? i'm not sure, but i sure love how this all came together! happy stamping!

manifesto - lululemon style

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!

bleed heart bleed: design cloud chicago

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.

all those other words

 

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!

 

the books:

 

 

during installation:

 

 

all up on the wall:

 

 

just get through tomorrow

eeeeeeeesh i haven't been here in a while.  i'm so sorry!  what with getting writing pieces ready for the saic grad critique week and finishing final screenprinting projects, running the mothers' day 5k (i came in 255 out of nearly 2,000 runners!) in grant park and work, i've been up to my ears in busyness.. and business. some good news!  i've recently had two (two!) new purchases from my etsy shop, which i am incredibly excited about.  one of my lovely clients initially decided to purchase a custom initial stamp, however she's since chosen to go the return address stamp route, but i'd still like to show you my designs for the first:

it gives me incredibly joy to have make connections with wonderful people via the online handmade community, and i look forward to continue 'meeting' new people (and hopefully more people) as the summer approaches!

canopy

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.

follow the lines

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!

and a cut here, and a cut there

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!

so you'd like to be added to my library, would you?

in case you're not as obsessed as i am with chronicle books (and being from the world of publishing, believe me, this obsession has been spanning years at this point), brace yourself, because you are about to be.  ok ok, i realize that not everyone is super interested in paper, or crafting, or learning how to make out-of-this-world landscapes using only a blank sheet of printer paper and an x-acto knife, but after looking, peeking into these two books, i believe that even the biggest skeptic can be converted.

both paper + craft (out now!) and paper cutting (available for pre-order only) are gorgeously designed books, with inspirational art (high art, mind you - expensive materials be damned), templates and helpful how-tos.  you too can become a paper artist!  or, at least, find some justification in all those little piles of randomly folded or cut or doodled on pieces of notebook paper slowly taking up space on your kitchen counter.  or, even further, have something to hold out as proof to your parents that perhaps art school wasn't such a flippant idea after all!

 

regardless, they're both gorgeous.  with gorgeous collaborators behind each of them.  designed by gorgeous people.  at a gorgeous publishing house.  in gorgeous san francisco.  did i mention it snowed in chicago yesterday?  well, with these two shiny and new bundles of bound paper to look at in the meantime, i'm sure spring will pull its head from the sand and show its face soon enough.

also i just wanted to put it out there that my own bookcase is at this current moment sorely lacking in these two specific titles, and it could really use some help in filling those gaps.

 

{images found via gorgeous papercut artist elsita and chronicle books}