elsa mora’s stunning cut-paper art

for Self Magazine

Are you familiar with the gorgeous cut-paper creations of New York-based multi-media artist Elsa Mora?

Although she is a multi-disciplinary artist — photography, ceramics, jewelry design, painting, illustration, bookmaking — it was her stunning papercuts that first caught my eye about five or six years ago.

for Oprah Magazine

Originally from Holguín, Cuba, Elsa grew up poor, the fifth of eight children. Though she was exposed to many of life’s harsh realities at an early age, her MO for survival has always been the ability to envision her own reality, using the resources at hand.

Elsa with her Winter Wonderland display at the MoMA Design Store in Soho (2014)

When she was 16, she learned her birthday was actually May 9 instead of May 8. Apparently her mother preferred the 8th because that year it was Mother’s Day. This discovery changed Elsa’s thinking — she decided she could be whoever she wanted to be.

Growing up poor taught me a series of important lessons that I will always treasure. I learned that the most precious possession that you have is your mind. I also learned that creativity and imagination could solve any problem, whether it’s a material problem or an emotional one.

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9 cool things on a tuesday

1. Been enamored of Phoebe Wahl’s art ever since reading her debut picture book Sonya’s Chickens (2015). Love the timeless, old-fashioned, folk art feel of her watercolor, collage and colored pencil illustrations. There’s a good reason she won the 2016 Ezra Jack Keats Award for New Illustrators. 🙂

Besides her picture book illustrations, I like her 2017 Slow Food Calendar. The four color letterpress prints are gorgeous and distinctive. Can’t get enough of the intimate scenes of people working together in the kitchen or enjoying the outdoors. Though the 2017 calendar is sold out, Phoebe will be making one for 2018 — can’t wait!

She’s also done some wonderful pieces for Taproot Magazine and the Taproot Calendar.

Can’t beat that delightful handmade look. And don’t you love seeing men working in the kitchen? 🙂

See more of Phoebe’s work at her official website, that contains a link to her online shop which features prints, cards, t-shirts and accessories. She just started taking pre-orders for these new Fruit and Flower enamel mugs yesterday (love!).

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2. Have you been to the Post Office lately? Love these new Delicioso Forever Stamps, just released on April 20. These spicy beauties were designed by none other than children’s book author/illustrator John Parra!

You may remember we featured John as a hotTEA of Children’s Literature not too long ago. Pretty cool to think of him whenever I send a piece of snail mail out into the world.

John at the dedication ceremony ( National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico)

He’s got a new book coming out on September 5: Frida Kahlo and Her Animalitos, written by Monica Brown (NorthSouth Books, 2017). While we’re waiting for that, we can enjoy a little Delicioso every day. Congrats to John!

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3. It’s been awhile since we’ve checked on Christopher Boffoli, the ingenious Big Appetites photographer known for his scenes featuring tiny people posed in captivating food environments.

I always wish I could shrink myself and enter his world of giant macarons, cupcakes, and pies. Check out his website for prints and notecard sets.

Macaron Notecard Set

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4. Speaking of checking up on people, I recently visited Handmade by Mia’s Etsy Shop and she’s having a Spring Sale on some of her wool felted items (up to 40% off).

Look for her trademark big-eyed birdies as well as elephants, flowers and foxes. If you’re a Moomin fan, you’ll like her Moomin pouches, buntings and key fobs. 🙂

Mia was one of the first people I interviewed for my Indie Artist Spotlight series. She’s one of the nicest Etsy sellers I’ve encountered — great, personalized service and I like how she recycles vintage materials (100% Finnish wool) for her bags and pouches.

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5. Remember last time when I mentioned ashley wolff’s cool Resistance to the Regime of 45 prints? Lucky for us, she’s also offering her complete collection of resistance posters as free downloadable high resolution PDFs at her blog! She’s encouraging everyone to download, share, and enjoy. Thank you, ashley!!

Love them!

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6. New Book Alert! Excited to hear that Aussie Poetry Friday friend Kathryn Apel just published her third verse novel for younger readers, Too Many Friends (University of Queensland Press, 2017)!!

Tahnee wants everyone in her Year 2 class to get along and be happy. But what happens when all of Tahnee’s friends want her attention at the same time? And how can Tahnee be friends with Lucy, when Lucy doesn’t seem to want any friends?

A novel about friendship and school life, and the balance we all need to find to be the best friend we can be.

Sounds delightful. 🙂 I do enjoy reading Kathryn’s posts at Kat’s Whiskers — they’re cheery, upbeat, and fun, and display her fondness for wordplay and flexing her poetry muscles. Too Many Friends follows her two other verse novels, Bully on the Bus (2014) and On Track (2015). Order any or all three via the publisher. Congratulations, Kat!

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7. Part of being a diehard Bob Dylan fan is not only keeping up with his musical projects, but with his painting career as well. He’s had several solo exhibitions in England over the years, the most recent of which was “The Beaten Path” at the Halcyon Gallery in London.

This collection features scenes from the American landscape; we get to see parts of the country through Dylan’s eyes — what does he notice, what does he consider worthy of interpretation? It did not escape me that he chose to paint a Donut Shop (even more reason to love him). 🙂

Vanity Fair recently featured an explanation in his own words about what he hoped to accomplish with this project:

For this series of paintings, the idea was to create pictures that would not be misinterpreted or misunderstood by me or anybody else. When the Halcyon Gallery brought the idea of me doing American landscapes for an exhibition, all they had to do was say it once. And after a bit of clarification, I took it to heart and ran with it. The common theme of these works having something to do with the American landscape—how you see it while crisscrossing the land and seeing it for what it’s worth. Staying out of the mainstream and traveling the back roads, free-born style. I believe that the key to the future is in the remnants of the past. That you have to master the idioms of your own time before you can have any identity in the present tense. Your past begins the day you were born and to disregard it is cheating yourself of who you really are.

The entire article is worth a read, as it provides a nice insight into his creative process.

It’s interesting to learn about people who became famous for one particular art form, but who also excel in others (E.E. Cummings, Joni Mitchell, Paul McCartney, Red Skelton, and Tony Bennett were/are also painters). With multi-talented individuals, I imagine there’s a lot of valuable cross-fertilization of inspiration and ideas.

Signed limited edition giclée prints from “The Beaten Path” are available online via Castle Galleries.

Enjoy this short EuroNews video:

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8. You’ve no doubt seen Molly Hatch’s work while you’ve been out and about, here, there or everywhere, maybe sometimes not realizing who the artist was behind that cool mug, kitchen accessory or tote bag.

I first noticed Molly’s ceramic pieces at Anthropologie. While I’m partial to her tableware, I’m just as happy to enjoy her wonderful, quirky drawings on stationery and notecards.

There’s something about her work that’s old fashioned but fresh and contemporary at the same time. In addition to highly collectible merchandise, she’s done some cool museum installations. How much do I love that she creates wall paintings with ceramic plates? I appreciate the intersection of functional and fine art and will devote more time to researching Molly’s many creative avenues.

Covet Project, 2012 (inspired by historic imagery found in the collections at the MFA Boston and the Met in NYC)
An 11-piece painting consisting of hand-thrown and hand-painted ceramic plates inspired by the historic textile collections at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.
“Deconstructed Lace” (2015), inspired by historic patterns of Royal Copenhagen Porcelain.

Read this short article about how Molly started working with Anthropologie. Visit Molly’s online shop to purchase kitchen goods, stationery, etc.

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9. Finally, I’ve been following the very cool Heads Together Campaign spearheaded by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry to help end the stigma around mental health.

In this video, they discuss the importance of initiating conversation as a first step in healing. Prince William and Prince Harry speak candidly about trying to cope with the death of their mother Princess Diana. I also appreciated Prince Harry’s mention of how social media can distort one’s perception of well being. Heads Together is doing good work!

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Alright chickies, I wish you a Happy Tuesday and a Good Week.

Be Kind.

Eat Good Food.

Smile.

Resist.

Persist.


Copyright © 2017 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

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love at first sight: emily sutton’s charming watercolors

Several years ago, this lovely pen-and-ink and watercolor painting caught my eye as I was intently browsing the web for art that is beautiful, handmade, and strikingly original.

And there was more:

*swoons*

You know what a fool I am for fine china and crockery, especially pieces that are decidedly British. Let’s just say there was a lot of sighing, a quickened pulse, and an immediate desire to learn more about the artist.

Emily Sutton! She hails from North Yorkshire, is a graduate of the Edinburgh College of Art (2008), and she also studied at York College and the Rhode Island School of Design.

The more I saw of her work, the more I fell in love. Not only do I like the pattern and intricate detail, her choice of subjects is definitely after my own heart — old-time shop windows and high streets, historic buildings, antiques, ephemera, vintage tins, Victorian transferware, curious found objects, dollhouses, the alphabet!

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ten cool things on a tuesday

1. Is it lunch yet? “Let’s taco bout how cute this lunch tote is.” Yep, cute cute cute. I wonder, do you have to be a kid to actually use this thing? 🙂

Well, let me just say that if I did take my lunch to work every day, I wouldn’t hesitate for one second. Of course, this makes an adorable gift for the munchkin(s) in your life. I’m sure it would make anything you pack extra yummy. The tote is insulated and hard-walled on the inside to keep edibles fresh and protected. Available now for pre-order from the Foodiggity shop, ships April 14.

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2. Heads up, poets! Terrapin Books is now accepting submissions for a new Donut Anthology to be published this Fall! Yes, I said DONUTS.

Guidelines:

We will consider up to five published or unpublished poems about any kind of donut, e.g., jelly donut, sugar, powdered, glazed, Boston cream, donut holes, cruller, long john, fritter, pączki, oliebollen, ponchik, fánk. 

Send us your poems about making donuts, eating donuts, donuts and family rituals or traditions, your love or fear of donuts, your first donut, a memory associated with donuts, cops and donuts, a fight over donuts, a dream or a nightmare about donuts.

We will consider previously published poems provided the author is able to grant permission for Terrapin Books to republish the poems. 

I imagine if you plan to write about donuts, you’ll need to eat one, three, or fifty-five for optimum inspiration. 🙂 Deadline for submissions is May 31, 2017. Visit the TB site for all the lipsmacking details. What are you waiting for?

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nine cool things on a tuesday

1. It’s Spring and time to revel in bright colors, animal friends, and the beauty of the natural world. Why not treat yourself or a friend to a charming archival giclée print by author/illustrator Elisa Kleven?

You can choose from a lovely selection of illustrations from some of her wonderful picture books. Do you recognize the above image from the cover of  Sun Bread? One of my fave foodie books! Wouldn’t it be a perfect print to hang in a nursery? I feel happy every time I look at it. 🙂

Bird and Sunrise

 

Glasswings

 

Spider Monkey and Mama

All prints are produced on 100% cotton acid free paper and Elisa will sign and inscribe them for you. These come in various sizes and are available via her website. Check out all the choices and add some gorgeousness to your life! In case you missed it, click here for my interview with Elisa about her newest picture book, The Horribly Hungry Gingerbread Boy.

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