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?

a thankful holiday season

    thanksgiving table setting

thanksgiving name cards

 

tis the season for wonder and splendor and beautiful tables and warm meals and blues and greens and reds and silver and gold all around. here's wishing you and yours a beautiful start to a love-filled holiday season. cheers!

thank you message

 

holiday! holiday! gifts! gifts!

IMG_4021 i'm thinking about holiday season much differently this year. yes, for the past few seasons, i've tried hard as i could to buy local, handmade, artist-created wares, goods, artwork. i've even tried making things for loved ones. this year, i'm going to focus on simple. very simple. well-chosen words, photographs, pictures, drawings, paper. ordinary things made more beautiful by a new, vibrant approach. maybe an intriguing postcard acutely placed in a gorgeous frame. or a set of vintage silverware with the handles dipped in paint.

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along these same lines, in the etsy shop, i'm currently offering simple, hand-lettered quotes on 8x10 paper. whatever quote, saying, words you can think of will be transposed in my calligraphy and sent to you, ready to be gifted, (or framed, and then gifted. or wrapped around something else, and then gifted. or kept for yourself). i figured this was a lovely, cost-effective way to gift my love of lettering to holiday celebrants everywhere.

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it's early, yes, but think how much more you'll be able to enjoy your egg nog and ugly sweater parties knowing your holiday shopping is all done (and looking pretty beautiful, if i say so)? cheers!

 

- find the listing for custom hand lettered quotes here!

words and anchors - tattoo design

drawing and designing tattoos for people near and far has been such a cool and strange and unexpected part of my career. i love love getting to know a little bit (or a lotta bit) about people that i otherwise wouldn't have met had it not been for the great reach of the internet. even more, however, i love being able to create something meaningful for someone i've had the great pleasure of spending some person-to-person time with. it might be faux pas to do work for friends and family, but in my case, having the ability to work with care on something as intimate as a tattoo design has only ever been a joy. it allows me another opening into this person's life - a perspective i might not have been afforded the opportunity to view. if i could, i'd draw all over my friends and family members' arms/legs/backs/necks/etc! IMG_3189

this one is for a special and incredible bostonian - marisa, i can't wait to see how it turns out!

the september issue

sept second fridays it may not involve 900 pages of glossy advertisements, and annie leibovitz-esque couture photographs of kiera knightly or cate blanchett, but the september issue (read: show) of artwork at both sides gallery in pilsen, chicago is, in my opinion, pretty spectacular. working in the same space as artist meg frazier has been nothing short of a dream. there are days when we both get nothing done, and spend the day talking about the situation of the artist, how to monitor our finances, what we'd like to be when we grow up, how we pretty much are what we'd like to be when we grow up... and then there are days when the music's playing (or not, if we forgot to turn it on, and we're in the zone) and she's painting and i'm drawing and we're laying down finished pieces like they're cookies coming out of the oven. and so, after all that baking.. err, making.. here's what we recently framed and put up on the walls of both sides gallery, just in time for the september edition of the chicago arts district's second fridays art walk.

 

tighter

 

{'tighter' | '10”x12” | $150 w frame }

 

stronger

{'stronger' | 8”x10” | $100 w frame }

softer

{'softer' | 18.5”x8” | $150 w frame }

smaller

{'smaller' | 3.5”x4.5” | $25 w frame}

sharper

{'sharper' | 5”x 6.25” | $50 w frame}

clearer

{'clearer' | 5.5”x16.5” | $125 w frame}

deeper

{'deeper' | 19.5”x17” | $200 w frame}

longer

 

{'longer' | 10.5”x16” | $150 w frame}

these lovely pieces are on display at both sides gallery - 1840 s halsted st. chicago, il 60608 - and will also be available for purchase in my shop next week, so send me an inquiry at jilly.ink@gmail.com if you want a stab at them first!

a whole bunch of bones

2nd fridays wallribcage illustration{'bigger is better' 11x14 original illustraion - $175 w/frame}

Phew! August is already more than halfway over, and it seems crazy to me that so much has happened in the first 19 days of this summery month. Renovating and revamping a gallery space in Pilsen, frantically making work for the Chicago Arts District 2nd Fridays Art Walk, hanging the show, frantically making more work for the Pilsen Unisono Festival, designing a mini jilly ink booth, teaching painting classes, planning for the next three months at the gallery, putting together some exciting editorial work for magazines, commercial work for clients, and plugging away at the upcoming designs from the jilly ink wedding stationery line - this has been one crazy month, to say the least.

pelvis illustration{'so tight' 8x10 original illustration - $120 w/frame SOLD}

finger illustration{'long and hard' 8x10 original illustration - $120 w/frame SOLD}

cheekbone illustration{'nice cheeks' 8x10 original illustration - $120 w/frame}

 

The thing is, though, I'm realizing I wouldn't have it any other way. Ok, maybe with a little less pressure, but honestly, the deadlines, the excitement, the collaboration, planning, productive daydreaming, painting - living fully in everything I'm passionate about is so incredibly exhilarating. I'm so pleased to share with you the work that made it into the gallery for the month of August.

 

rockin curves{'rockin' curves' 11x14 original illustration - $175 w/frame}

 

 

And! Look for some pretty/strange/pretty strange skull prints to be popping up in the jilly ink Etsy shop this week as well!

 

unisono fest table{skulls & script 11x14 prints - $15 each - coming soon to the jilly ink shop}

 

 

(* if you're interested in purchasing any of the original art work from the 2nd Fridays Art Show, please feel free to email me at jilly.ink@gmail.com or call Both Sides Gallery at 419-543-2248)

terrariums terrariums!

20130806_BA_JS_ABC-3 what a lovely night it was, last week, at the gorgeous both sides space, making little terrariums (although, at the time, it was still a bit in shambles before we'd hung the second fridays art show).

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i spent the morning and afternoon at sprout home, picking through their newest shipment of tiny, adorable succulents and cacti, choosing soil, lava rocks, charcoal, sand and rocks. i must say, they are incredibly  wonderful, helpful people, and the store itself is lovely and full of so many plants that i wanted desperately to adopt as my own.

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from there i traveled to blumgarten, a new florist shop that just opened up on halsted and 18th, across from the gallery, in the chicago arts district. they have such a wide array of glassware; it was such fun picking out little vessels for the succulents. with delicious veggie and port pasties from bridgeport pasty, and handmade plant-inspired jilly ink cards, the tables looked inviting and well laid out.

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the workshop was a success, and culminated in the cutest little terrariums that everyone took with them at the end of the night. special thanks to alexis buryk of lexi b photography for taking these perfectly lit photos.

 

i loved sharing this newfound love, and look forward to holding the next one in september! stay tuned, and if you're in the chicago area, i'd love to have you at the next workshop!

little tiny ecosystem workshop

little tiny ecosystem workshop

i am so pleased and thrilled and excited to be leading a terrarium-making workshop at the both sides gallery space on tuesday evening, august 6th from 7-9pm. i'm envisioning little work stations, the materials clearly marked with calligraphy signs, beautiful glass vessels in which students will be planting vibrant succulents. not to mention some delicious neighborhood snacks, candlelight, and good company.

if you're a chicago resident (or know you'll be in chicago that day), and you'd like to reserve a spot in the class (only 20 spots open), send me an email at jilly.ink@gmail.com. class is $45 and includes all materials. what a beautiful way to bring some easily-managed life into your home or office!

handwritten invitations - still a thing of the present

IMG_2781 last monday, i had the pleasure of visiting the ladies and gents of zapwater communications, sit in their sunlit , exposed brick office, and pen out 18 handwritten invitations to a sneak preview of one of their client's new restaurant ventures. it always amazes me how much longer it takes to complete work like this than i'd originally thought. after just 6 short hours, i finished all 18 invitations and envelopes, to be hand-delivered that afternoon. that, and a delicious lemon chocolate chip scone from little goat down the street made my day pretty awesome.

 

 

 

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a stationer's dream anniversary

you always remember your first... anniversary. it's special, memorable, fresh in the mind. but the traditional gift isn't necessarily something that most people get all excited about. paper. it's not quite as shiny or sparkly as the jewel years, or the precious metal years. but, as a self-proclaimed paper lover myself, i can't help but think that this one might actually be the best. sure, a lot of people most likely go the traditional book route, but there's so much room for creativity with this one, that it's almost a shame to waste it with something typical. i've had the pleasure to work with two very creative ladies on their first anniversary gifts to their husbands, and while they're both very different takes on the traditional gift, i think they're both incredibly special pieces that will eventually travel with each couple as they move forward beyond this first year of matrimony.

photo (2)for meredith, she wanted her and her husband's vows written out as 'something beautiful, in a romantic script'. they both wrote their own vows - and he even paused in the middle to play the guitar, a gesture that surely brought tears to more than just her eyes - and cherished those words so much that having them hung on their walls was a no-brainer.

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we decided on gray ink (a prevalent color in their wedding decor) and slanted script. i'm so pleased at how thrilled she is with the final result, and i'm sure the prints look even more beautiful framed, and on the walls of their home.

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IMG_3721danielle, my dear wonderful cousin, contacted me with a super unique idea for her first anniversary gift. her husband bobby has a side passion for dj-ing, so her thought was to have the lyrics of their first dance song- songbird - written out to look like a vinyl record. this was so much fun to create, and i'm in love with the progression of the script around the outside of the record. they just celebrated this past weekend, so congratulations danielle and bobby!

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i'm currently working on a super different wedding guest 'book' for a special bride, and i can't wait to see what other interesting and lovely and personal commissions come my way!

 

gaga for gatsby

recently i was asked (by the lovely ladies of soiree weddings & events) to contribute to a 20s themed wedding vendor spotlight in honor of the highly anticipated dicaprio and mulligan great gatsby premier. i couldn't have been more excited. if i could pick any other era to live in, it would definitely have been the golden, roaring, fringe and feather, pearl and diamond clad 1920s (new york or paris, that's the real question). in preparation for the chalkboard lettering, i started doing some research on art deco fonts, and discovered a few that i immediately fell in love with. herewith - the ones i drew inspiration from, along with some deco-esque lines and accoutrements:

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seriously - isn't pinterest the best? so many resources to draw from. after three hours in the zapwater communications meeting room, here's what i came up with:

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i'm now thoroughly obsessed with art deco lettering. i'm sure you'll see more inspiration and influences on here in the future. until then, go get yourselves some tickets to the great gatsby (opening tomorrow!) - it was simply splendid, gorgeous, and full of life.

{other vendors that contributed to the lovely evening: soiree weddings & events, be u weddings & brides, mignonette, pure kitchen catering, goose island catering, cage & aquarium, fig media, pistil & vine}