Decoding contemporary art and hand-crafting matters.

Archive for the tag “design”

Vintage Dolls Are So Inspiring!

Vintage Dolls Are So Inspiring!

What a charming painted face…

Photo by Stephanie Garrison.


Airy Elegance

Airy Elegance

I enjoy taking photos that capture the texture of an object.

Photo by Stephanie Garrison. Image taken during CHA2013 in Anaheim, CA.

Stitching Sisters Are Live!

Stitching Sisters Are Live!

Eileen Roche, Editor of Designs in Machine Embroidery Magazine (, and sister Marie Zinno, author of Machine Embroidery for Babies & Tots, photographed today in San Marcos, CA.

They appeared courtesy of Sewing Machine Plus ( for a two-day machine embroidery hands-on education event.

Photo by Stephanie Garrison.

Sucess! (In Small Measures…)

So, only because it’s still fresh in my mind, I’d like to note how happy I am that an online crafting article can pick up steam (while being surrounded by “sexier” content like references to currently-hot pop culture TV shows, Fashion Week and viral cat memes).

My BuzzFeed article, “21 Things You’ll Find At An Enormous Craft Fair” – not my headline but there you go – ( hasn’t done too badly at all for a writer that is currently unknown to the BuzzFeed core readership, about a topic that only about 50% of Americans are stated to pursue. (And shouldn’t crafting have a much higher percentage than that?)

I did reach out via e-mail and Twitter to the companies covered in this article. I also did reach out to the local indie craft stores that I’m a customer at, industry professionals that I personally know (and some that I personally don’t!), as well as other creative and business luminaries in the field.

The result? Encouragement, positive vibes, page hits reactions, re-tweets, re-pins, and a bit of a moment on Facebook. So yay – crafting got some mainstream love. I also got a couple of nice thank-yous from some of the firms I featured. As a freelance journalist (I am also a designer myself, educator and a few other hyphenates – but I had no personal stake in this piece and no professional relationship to anyone in it), it’s great when the feedback is 99.9% positive. One person did put a BuzzFeed “fail” button on my post, but there’s always gonna be haters!

So, lessons learned? When you have a legitimate reason to contact others in a way that can help them too (without spending money, I’m talking more about the exchange of information here), be bold and do it. They might stop and take note.

Next step: putting a personality to my activated yet dormant Facebook company profile; also, join Pinterest and LinkedIn (don’t judge; I need to be writing more than I need to be doing stuff online, ideally!). Woot!

Article In BuzzFeed Today!

Article In BuzzFeed Today!

Hey! My photo essay (with captions) covering the 2013 Craft & Hobby Association Winter Conference & Trade Show dropped in today’s BuzzFeed Shift section. Woot! It was fun to do – time-consuming, but fun.

Photo by Stephanie Garrison. Image taken at the Pebbles Inc. booth during CHA2013 in Anaheim, CA.

Paper Cutting Artistry.

Paper Cutting Artistry.

This was hanging down from the ceiling at some store waaay back in 2007 (I think it was Target, but I can’t remember). I love paper cutting artistry.

Photo by Stephanie Garrison.

ISS Long Beach

US Blanks: products made in the USA.

US Blanks: products made in the USA.

The made-in-the-USA brand US Blanks at ISS Long Beach

The made-in-the-USA brand US Blanks at ISS Long Beach

Headed to Long Beach today to run the floor of the last day of ISS. The Imprinted Sportswear Show ( is where firms can find the latest machines and clothing/accessory blanks for their print and embroidery business. There are four more shows this year in Atlantic City, Orlando, Las Vegas and Forth Worth. Fridays have the most free sample giveaways, if you ever plan on going. I prefer Sundays because I can actually talk to vendors.

Think about what you want to do whenever you’re at a trade show: if you want the goodies, show up early. If you want information and connections, show up when times are less hectic. You’ll get a better ROI on your time.

Vintage & Antique Buttons Rock

Today I went to the bi-annual artist shindig Glitterfest in Santa Ana, California, where I often purchase vintage buttons – among other artsy materials. In honor of my new stash, I penned a somewhat poorly-conceived and rule-challenged Haiku:

Vintage button rack

Charming samples I shall buy and

Craft new finery.

Let’s hear it for artistic gatherings, fests, retreats and other creatively-bent events. They allow us to source unique and personally meaningful materials for our own projects!

When Buying Your Fave Mag @ the Store…

…don’t forget to check out their web-site! So many specialty magazines have an online presence with different, related content that couldn’t fit in the publication’s page allotment. Often, this information is more newsy or timely in nature, features free projects/demos/tutorials, and usually posts comments from readers. I always love to read these posts, because they are opinionated (“I tried this out and it didn’t work!”), analytical (“It won’t work if you don’t do this first!”) and time-saving (“Don’t bother with this – here’s a link to a better option for you!”).

Adding to Your Craft Stash

Independent craft retailers and chain stores aren’t the only game in town when fortifying your creative studio. Don’t forget about dollar shops, off-price and discount outlets, charity boutiques – even hardware stores – along with garage sales, estate liquidations and on-line searches. These source will often turn up unexpected, interesting tools and materials for your artful projects.

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