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

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!

flip the page - new editorial work

IMG_3169 illumine back page

the best part about being a freelancer/small business owner of a creative studio is flexibility in the kind of work i can take on. you'd be surprised, and then actually not surprised at all, at how many venues there can be for hand-lettered text. With tattoo design and wedding envelopes under my belt, not to mention a few wall design branding gigs and some fine art commissions, it's been incredibly fun and exciting to dream up and wonder at where the next piece of work will come from.

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imagine how thrilled i was, then, to receive a call from lourdes paredes, the publisher of a brand spanking new chicago-based yoga magazine. she'd seen my work on the michigan ave lululemon chalkboards, and thought i'd be a good fit for some editorial artwork in the premier issue of illumine. of course of course! not only have i taken her class at exhale spa, but sitting down and chatting with her about the yoga community, bringing people together from all over the city, cross-promoting different businesses, i was instantly inspired and wanted to be a part of something that seemed to speak to a lot of my own personal beliefs. add to that her general inquisitive and authentic demeanor, and the connection was unmistakeable.

illumine sanskrit-namaste

illumine sanskrit-brahma

illumine sanskrit-aum

illumine sanskrit-asana

 

for the premier issue, i was asked to design the inside back cover, as a sort of 'inspiration page'. readers can tear it out, put it on their walls, share it with other people, etc. after having painted a chalkboard wall in my shared studio space at both sides gallery, i knew it needed to be put to good use for this venue. i was also asked if i might take a stab at writing some sanskrit for one of the internal articles. i won't lie, i was a bit nervous about putting my hand to work on such an ancient and intricate language. it took a lot of practice, and a different approach to the written word as more symbol-focused, rather than letter, or meaning-focused, but after a short while, i got the hang of it. the lovely illumine intern, ashley, even came by the gallery to photograph the work and do a mini interview with me about jilly ink, and my apparent obsession with handwriting.

illumine fall inside credit

i'm currently working on the next issue, set to launch this winter, and i'm even more excited for the design in this one. whether or not you're currently a chicagoan, i'd greatly recommend subscribing to this gorgeous magazine. whether you're a devout yogi, or someone who's active in other ways, it's an incredible resource for living a more fulfilled life and taking advantage of some of the yogic principles in less obvious ways. seriously, read it. or at least go over to illuminechicago.com and scope it out first. (and check out my very own page!)

 

here's to more, and different, and crazy, and cool, and interesting work ahead!

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}

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:

 

 

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}

reference

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.

sonnets upon sonnets

 

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.

this is why i love j.k. rowling

not only did she skillfully, masterfully, creatively, thoughtfully and, yes, magically produce perhaps the world's most celebrated and cherished, influential and insightful work of art, but ms. rowling herself continues to be an inspiration for all young women and girls who seek a world built on valuing their individualism and self-worth, not their outward aesthetic: 'Maybe all this seems funny, or trivial, but it’s really not. It’s about what girls want to be, what they’re told they should be, and how they feel about who they are. I’ve got two daughters who will have to make their way in this skinny-obsessed world, and it worries me, because I don’t want them to be empty-headed, self-obsessed, emaciated clones; I’d rather they were independent, interesting, idealistic, kind, opinionated, original, funny – a thousand things, before ‘thin’. And frankly, I’d rather they didn’t give a gust of stinking chihuahua flatulence whether the woman standing next to them has fleshier knees than they do. Let my girls be Hermiones, rather than Pansy Parkinsons. Let them never be Stupid Girls. Rant over.' 

-j.k. rowling official site (found via malfoyy)

ps. you're coming to see this with me as soon as mugglely possible, right?