Tuesday, June 28, 2011

"You can't do this work if you can't be alone" -Lourdes Sanchez

I had a long chat with Lourdes tonight - in part to ask her a bunch more questions for her upcoming feature in uppercase magazine. She explained that when she decided to leave the fashion industry and go out on her own she rented a tiny studio in the East Village and worked steadily for 2 years until she had created her own collection. It brought me right back to my days years ago when I squirreled myself away in the OCAD library many late nights in order to build up my first portfolio. In connection with this... when I asked her what advice she would give an aspiring textile designer she said "You better be ok with solitude-- because you can't do this work if you can't be alone".

I acutely agree.

Some thoughts on good Bios

The top 20 twitter post got me thinking about writing bios in general.
I have collected great bios for a while now. Here are two faves:

Simon Collison: Author + Web designer: kept alive by tea and roll ups.
Mr. Fogey: Black sheep, Bon vivant, Failed mercenary in Africa

Have noticed some connecting threads:
1. All are funny
2. All don't take themselves too seriously
ie. none contain the words Innovative, Creative, Strategic, Extensive experience or claim to Push the envelope or Supersede your expectations - Barf!

Put another way... these bios follow the age old writing advice to Show don't Tell.

ps. This ability to be more self deprecating + a bit opaque seems to come most easily to the Brits. It's a skill I hope more writers + art directors in North American will adopt as I'm getting a bit weary of unimaginative + "Trying too hard" company descriptions.
I'll get off my soapbox now.

20 of the Best Twitter bios

Found this fun post today by Mark Schaefer.

I love Clay Shirky's!! So clever.

You can read the whole list here.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Operation Tea towel!

Food quotations Linen Tea towel

Some process shots:

Inking the screen

and Ta - da!

I also printed the image on large 24 X 36 paper.
I like the combo of very dense writing contrasted with lots of white space on all 4 sides.

Please note: The tea towel is just a protype - not yet available!
The prints are artist's proofs. I will have a full edition + pricing by next week.
Please email me at alanna(dot)cavanagh(at)gmail(dot)com if interested in either item.

ps. Must be mentioned... The linen tea towel samples were sewn by Alexis DaSilva - Powell and she did an amazing job.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Carol's FLOR

Here's my friend Carol's FLOR carpet that she recently ordered from NEAT on Queen St. I love the gutsy combo of greys + oranges which she choose. I think FLOR is one of the best companies going. Making the carpet tiles from scraps left over from larger carpet jobs = very green. ps. That is Dudley at the top of the photo.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

New Project

My food quote piece inspired by many good meals
I liked the combo of high + low quotes: Brillat Savarin mixed with Woody Allen

Blank screen picked up at G+S Dye on Dundas.

After coating the screen with emulsion + shooting the image Dave Murray washes out the screen.

Tada! Screen ready to go.

Coming home.
Screens are notoriously difficult travelling partners
= large taxi bills for printmakers :-(

Two years ago when I was in Berlin I was inspired by many good meals + beautiful murals to paint a series of food quotes in my sketch book. I am now finally getting around to making something with it! Today I got a screen made of the image and in the next two weeks I will be making both tea towels + silk screen prints with this image. Stay tuned for the final results.

Monday, June 20, 2011

So funny, so smart: Christoph Niemann

What a cutie.

Christoh discusses how he divides up his 9 hour work day.
(Love the second guessing and 'Inspiration' sections!)

Christoph explains the balance he requires in order to limit stress:
1 wildly creative job with no limitations for every 3 dull ones!
His feelings during the creative process

Today I watched the Creative Morning video from April with Berlin based Illustrator + Designer Christoph Niemann.
Insightful + hilarious and filled with great metaphorical drawings to illustrate his points.
My favourite point: His belief that assignments with 100% creative freedom can be very stressful. As a big fan of limitations I agree!

*Highly recommended for anyone working in a creative field.*
Do yourself a favour and watch this.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Dinner at Delux

Delux 92 Ossington Ave.

Love this personalized honeycomb tile that Delux had made for their exterior step.
A beautiful custom touch that made me want to come for dinner here -
because YES - I choose restaurants based on the interior design - not the menu.
Are we surprised?

Inside warm + woody interiors with great lighting.

Delicious dinner topped off with the house specialty: Homemade donuts with chantilly cream. Kinda to die for.
Photos via Jonathon Yule.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

New work: Ad for Trend fabrics

Here is an ad I did recently for Trend fabrics.
I love assignments where my illustration is combined with photography.
The room with panelling and books reminds me a little of the library drawing in the Clue Game which was a huge inspiration as a kid.

For a peek behind the process here is one of the first sketches. As you can see we went in a much cleaner direction. Art director Denise Espinosa.

Inspiration: Tina Fey's talk with Google CEO Eric Schmidt

Just found this gem.
In April Tina Fey talked to Google CEO Eric Schmidt.
The hour long talk is full of fun + chunks of wisdom.

One nugget below on the rules of improv (and life):

“When you create something out of nothing, the first rule is to agree.”
-Tina Fey

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

What I've been up to: Lots of Limey Green

Choosing colour for my kitchen + part of studio
Beautitone's F 130 Cactus: A great limey green - also known as chartreuse!

Starting the job
The green works really well as a zingy complement to the subdued chelsea grey in the space.

Alas this is not my kitchen but it was the inspiration for the colour.

I couldn't spend 10,000.oo on new cabinetry so decided to bring this hue + quirky vibe to my space with a 26.00 litre of paint. :-)

After pics coming soon!
ps. am very happy with this green however if you'd like something more yellowy I've also used Ben Moore Eve Green + Citron. Both great too.

Design Agency Arcade

Arcade's signage for The Room at the Bay

Tshirts for The Bay

Through the website of a neighbourhood restaurant Delux I just discovered Arcade: a very fresh + gutsy looking Toronto based design agency. Love their work for The Bay and The Room - in particular their lettering. Definitely filed under People I'd love to work with.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Beautiful peonies

Kim brought me these peonies on Thursday.
So beautiful. That juicy pink is unbelievable.
ps. currently reading Tibor Kalman: Perverse Optimist. Really good + very inspirational.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Thanks for the Tweet Trish

Yesterday chef/author/+ food & lifestyle consultant Trish Magwood tweeted a nice plug for my blog so today am inspired to return the favour! Trish's first book Dish Entertains was fantastic and won the James Beard Award in 2008. (In cookbook land this is a big damn deal) Her second book In my Mother's kitchen has just been released and is full of more delicious + simple (!) recipes.
I think you should buy it this wknd. How's that for subtle?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

New work: Patterned Hen + Rooster

A while ago I created the patterned hen illustration above. I made it by first hand drawing the image with a black marker and importing it into Photohop. I then scanned in a piece of checked fabric and incorporated it into the illustration.
This week I made Ms. Hen a mate: Mr. Rooster using the same technique.

Franny goes to the Cottage

My friend Sasha sent along this pic of my Franny print hanging in the doorway of her parent's cottage. I think she looks quite at home there. I love to see how my prints live in your home so don't hesitate to send along photos!

Little sketch: Dexter

This is a sketch I did years ago of my friend Nadya's dog Dexter.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Now that's neighbourly!

Owner of Blacksmith Cycle Mike with espresso + fresh banana bread
(I know.. he looks way too young to be the owner of anything!)

The gorgeous Gazelle "Tour populair" that Mike carries in the shop.
What a beauty.

Today I popped into Blacksmith cycle (which is now open!) to continue my bicycle search.
After giving me the low down on his beeyooteeful Gazelle bikes - owner Mike offered me not only an excellent americano from the shop's espresso bar but also a scrumptious piece of banana bread to go with it. Now that's neighbourly.
I wanted to say " Where am I? In an 19th century Amish town?"

ps. The bad news is: there are too beautiful bikes to choose from.
The good news is: I can't buy them all but I can draw them all. :-)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

3 more reasons to love Toronto

1. Craigleigh Gardens

Plaque at Craigleigh Gardens

2. Chippy's on Queen West!

Humble receipt representing a stellar meal.

Tastes even better when eaten on the grass in Trinity Bellwoods Park (That's the 3rd reason)

Today I took the afternoon off and soaked in three of the best things Toronto has to offer:
Craigleigh Gardens, Chippy's fish + chips, and Trinity Bellwoods Park.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Thinking about Slogans

Great episode on Age of Persuasion today on Slogans.

The always insightful Terry O'Reilly traces slogans back to the battle cries from medieval times. (The word comes from the Gaelic "Slaugh Gairn" which means "cry of the host.")

If you run a business it's a good idea to spend some time thinking "What would my slogan be?" It's an excellent way to help further define + refine your company.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Happy to be Home

Best steak dinner Ehva*.
*that's "Ever" spoken with thick Brooklyn accent.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

NYC Day 9: Packing up

Hmm.. Maybe too many books.