Today I’m especially delighted to welcome back author, poet, artist and dear online friend Robyn Hood Black. You may remember her last visit as a Poetry Potluck guest several years ago, when she shared a spooky poem and one of her gorgeous relief prints.
That was an especially noteworthy visit, because she also brought along a batch of her favorite Jam Bars, which she aptly renamed “Oatmeal Jama Bars.” Naturally Mr. Cornelius and I decided on the spot that they should become the “Official Alphabet Soup Cookie.”
In the years since, we’ve not only continued to marvel at Robyn’s literary achievements (her work has been published in several more anthologies, prominent haiku journals, and most recently in Lee Bennett Hopkins’s Lullaby and Kisses Sweet), but also her artistic ones.
If you like letters, words, books, and reading (all of us, yes?), then you’ll love Robyn’s Etsy shop artsyletters. There, she sells wonderful prints, cards, typewriter key jewelry, mixed media collages and other gift items with a cool vintage vibe.
A girl after my own heart, she has a keen eye for found objects (scrabble tiles, skeleton keys, metal letters, watch parts, text from antique books), and beautifully accentuates them with her pen-and-ink drawings, calligraphy, and relief prints.
Recently, while I was innocently browsing online, this adorable crocheted teddy bear winked at me.
Never one to ignore a mischievous ursine smart enough to get my attention, I knew I had to investigate.
I discovered he was created by plush artist Dawn Treacher of York, England, who designs and makes other Amigurumi animals like the bear, in addition to a wide range of sock animals, fleece plushies, and soft sculptures. Some of Dawn’s creatures are inspired by real animals (foxes, bunnies, giraffes, elephants, badgers, birds), while others represent wild flights of the imagination — brightly colored alien one-eyed monsters in odd shapes with elongated ears and limbs.
Clearly this is an artist with a kid’s heart who loves to play.
All of Dawn’s Treacher Creatures are lovingly hand-sewn and one-of-a-kind. Each has a distinct personality. Whether sweet, comical, serene, endearing, cunning or coy, they’re bound to make you smile and wonder what they’ve been up to. Not surprisingly, Dawn is also an aspiring children’s book author and illustrator (in addition to being a fine landscape painter) — so maybe someday soon some of her creatures will have their own books!
I’m happy she agreed to join us today to tell us more. You’ll never look at your socks the same way again. Enjoy!
While looking for handmade Christmas ornaments last Fall, I happily discovered Puffin Patchworkon Etsy and instantly fell in love.
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!
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.
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.
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.