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Archive for the ‘indie artist spotlights’ Category

While looking for handmade Christmas ornaments last Fall, I happily discovered Puffin Patchwork on Etsy and instantly fell in love.

Fifi the Poodle

Who could resist the beautifully crafted felt owls, kitties, Airedales and poodles (all with charming names)? Or the quaint little houses and layered hearts? I could tell by the meticulous attention to detail — the lovely embroidery and appliqué work — that everything was made with a lot of love and pride. I like Sylvia’s color sense and how she incorporates vintage fabric scraps and buttons in her pieces. And I like her endearingly neat stitches that give each item a distinctive handmade look.

In addition to felt ornaments, Sylvia makes wonderful wallhangings, coin purses and phone cases. She does all the designing, cutting, sewing, and decorating in her seaside home in South-west Ireland, and draws inspiration from the dramatic landscapes and colorful fishing towns. Sounds like an idyllic setting for an artist, don’t you think?

I’m so pleased to welcome Sylvia (a fellow Beatrix Potter fan!) to Alphabet Soup today. She’s been making and selling handmade for 30 years, and I know you’ll like hearing more about her inspirations and process. Thanks for visiting, Sylvia! :)

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Today I’m pleased to welcome Kansas City-based artist, illustrator, and hand letterer Sarah Walsh to Alphabet Soup!

Pictured above is a collage she created this past summer called “Aqua Daydreams.” I loved it the moment I saw it — mermaids, jellyfish, the different shapes, lines, colors, and overall composition of the piece with its touches of whimsy and playfulness. It feels childlike and sophisticated at the same time, definitely invites a closer look, and much like the rest of her work, elicits unabashed joy and happiness.

“Horsie Love”

A graphic design major, Sarah worked at Hallmark for 12 years, has also illustrated for other card lines, helped Crayola create a character-based tween girl brand (Pop Art Pixies), and has designed typefaces and surface patterns (client list includes Usborne, Peaceable Kingdom, Land of Nod, Perseus, Red Rooster Fabrics). She and her artist husband Colin (love that name!) share a basement studio in their home and sell prints and other goodies via their Etsy shop Petit Reve.

Artists and illustrators Colin and Sarah Walsh of Petit Reve

Most recently, Sarah published three awesome coloring books for Rockport’s Just Add Color Series: Day of the Dead, Carnival, and Circus. (Have you read the recent HuffPo article about how coloring books help adults combat stress? I think we should all order Sarah’s coloring books ASAP! ):)

I know you’ll enjoy learning more about Sarah and feasting your eyes on her charmingly quirky, fun and vibrant creations. She counts among her major influences 50’s and 60’s illustration, family, friends and love in general. It’s so easy to see the ♥ in her work. :)

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Not too long ago, I was innocently browsing online when a jar of Bonne Maman Strawberry Preserves spoke to me:

Don’t you love my beautiful lines and shading? Look at my luscious rosy watercolors, my checkered lid. Do I not stand out from the hundreds of food illustrations you see every day?

The jam was spreading it on thick, but it had a good point. There was something pure and serene about its singular beauty. Detailed and realistic, it had that charming handmade quality I always fall for.

“Bonne Maman” is by Boston-based artist, illustrator and graphic designer Kendyll Hillegas, whose work “focuses on capturing the emotional and narrative significance of food and everyday objects.” Using a combination of colored pencil, gouache, and ink, she creates a delectable world of ooey gooey cakes, cheery popsicles, tempting doughnuts, cupcakes, and reach-out-and-bite-me muffins, breads, and bagels.

She invites us to appreciate anew the pleasing design of a bottle of San Pellegrino or Heinz Ketchup, the rumpled comfort of a bag of King Arthur Unbleached Flour. A bowl of soup, a stack of pancakes, a double scoop ice cream cone — we all have emotional connections to these familiar foods and like to hear and share good stories about them.

 

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Emma modeling an Orla Kiely for Uniqlo floral t-shirt.

I can’t remember whether it was “La Petit Patisserie” or “The Flower Shop” that initially caught my eye, only that it was love at first sight and I wanted more.

I soon discovered that the artist behind these winsome and enchantingly feminine illustrations was none other than 20-something-year-old Emma Block of London, England.

Click to see the process behind “The Flower Shop”

Inspired by vintage clothing, 30’s jazz, 50’s illustrations, old photos, travel and people watching, Emma’s work is delightfully retro and thoroughly modern at the same time. Using paint, colored pencil, ink, cut-paper collage and Photoshop, she creates charming, spritely, a little bit quirky, always refreshing pictures in an inimitable style that has a distinctive handmade quality about it.

“La Petit Patisserie” is available as an archival print via Etsy.

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In a small corner of the second-hand bookshop she runs with her fiancé in Arad, Romania, Alina Bunaciu of hanaletters works her needle and felt magic to create her very own enchanted fairy tale world.

Inspired by her love of illustrated children’s books, vintage postcards, dolls, miniatures, and Korean pop culture, Alina has tapped into the very essence of “kawaii” cuteness with her sweet and whimsical doll characters and wee forest friends.

Nerdy Teddy

Ever since Cornelius first spotted Alina’s Nerdy Teddy a few months ago, we’ve been smitten with her handmade brooches and necklaces. We definitely have a thing for animals wearing glasses and adorable/slightly cheeky girls donning animal hats and mustaches.

Simple lines, bright colors, charming details, and a feeling of innocence define Alina’s creations. She named her business, “hanaletters,” after the Japanese word for flower. She designs, cuts and sews everything herself, and there’s a flower growing in a hidden place on each of her brooches. ✿

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