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New studio! FINALLY!

June 14, 2012

After months of looking… we’ve finally found it! Our very own light-filled art studio, with beautiful old windows, funky yellow linoleum floor, big columns, lots of rooftop and the whole city spreading under our eyes… Just perfect for us. Of course there are some minor issues too, no space is ever completely perfect, but we are pretty much in love. It’s big, it’s old, and there’s so much room to grow and play and make all of our projects come true.

We’ve spent the last week building walls for Ariele’s wood shop and moving our stuff in one car load at a time. We still have so much to do, but we’re making good progress every day! Lo and behold, a few Instagrams from this past week… Go here for more!

The raw space, day one:

Ready to kick ass.

Home Depoting.

Ariele’s crap load of wood, soon to become beautiful tables and headboards!

Everybody knows, black is the new black. SHIZZLES!

Best part of the day? When the sun finally comes down and sets the whole city ablaze, starting with Woodhull Hospital and spreading west over the river to Jersey City.

I mean, this is pretty ridiculous.

I almost can’t take it. It’s almost too much. Almost. But mainly just amazeballs!

Can’t wait to BBQ on that roof!

NSS rookie: a long, long, looooong recap.

June 5, 2012

So I was really nervous about doing the Stationery Show for the first time because I had no idea what to expect. I had been to the New York Gift Fair last year, but as a visitor and not a potential exhibitor and I didn’t pay attention to how booths were built, or what materials people were using, or how much lighting was needed, or even what the floors looked like. The Javits Center is a huge building that feels totally dehumanized and about to swallow you whole, and it’s pretty hard to tame it down to human scale. Their exhibitor manual was intimidating and incredibly austere, and absolutely unhelpful, or at least that’s how it felt to me. The two points that specifically freaked me out were: One, everything has to be flameproof and treated with fire-retardant. Two, exhibitors are not allowed to use power tools, climb on ladders or install lights. Really??

After an initial moment of complete disbelief, followed by absolute despair, I did some research online and asked a couple of folks I know who regularly attend trade shows, and it seemed like those rules are just there as legal protection for the Center in case there is a problem and someone decides to sue them. In reality, the rules are: Don’t be dumb. So no, don’t bring in baskets of hay, or lit candles, or paper lanterns, and don’t use a chop saw precariously set on a folding chair – actually, don’t use a chop saw at all – but it’s totally fine to use a power drill to install some shelves or to climb on a step ladder to set up a clamp lamp. The Javits Center staff were really nice, and the set-up of the booth went really well. The real problem was unloading/loading our truck, because there is no parking around the Center. On installing day we were told the hand-carry area was for cars or vans only and that we had to register our truck to the drayage entrance in the back, which meant that we were not allowed to unload anything ourselves but had to let their union guys do it for us. Which can take forever because there are a lot of exhibitors, and trucks, and freight crates, to take care of so bring a book. Luckily they weren’t too busy when we got there, so we only had to wait an hour or so. On the last day we found out that we could also use the hand carry entrance even though we had a truck, so we just went for it and it was much, much better. Don’t know why they told us we couldn’t the first time.

So here it is: the making of the booth!

First we loaded up Ariele‘s old faithful station wagon with two-by-fours and sheets of 1/4″ plywood.

We started by framing out the three panels of the booth. I had an 8′ by 10′ booth, but we decided to make it a little bit smaller to make sure it would fit. That was a good call on our part. Also, I was really lucky that a friend of mine let us use her garage. Thanks Merida!

Then we screwed on the sheets of plywood.

We had to trim the ply down to size, and this is how Ariele ended up losing all of her toes. Just kidding. Only the big toes.

When doing any kind of construction work, make sure you have the proper fuel to power you. Namely, chips and iced tea. Realize at 4pm that you’re starving and have a giant disgusting burrito. Go home at night and enjoy a good stomach ache. You’re welcome.

We wallpapered the finished panels with butcher block paper, because I only use the finest material. By which I mean cheapest. It also happens to look fantastic. Ariele made her famous home cooked wheat paste, because that how she rolls.

Then I started chalking out some sort of neo-classical old-ballparkey columns and arcades, and I painted it with acrylic paint. It was pretty fast and absolutely painless, and it made me very happy, especially because I got to use my chalk line. A good snap on a chalk line always makes my day.

The next day I met Ariele at the local salvage yard where we picked two big pieces of wood to use as shelves. The guy who helped us there was super awesome and impressed us with his chainsaw skills.

That night I made some pennant signs. It was really fun and I want to make more… Who wants a pennant??

The next day was set-up day. This is what the booth looked like when we got there. Pretty sad. I mean, look at that sorry sign there. Can’t even hold its chin up!

We started by setting up the panels, which were held together with screws and clamps.

Next we installed the shelves, screwed in from behind…

And our super cheapo lights from Ikea…

Then I taped the cards on to the right wall…

… and hung the framed ones on to the left wall, as well as a vintage bat and glove and of course my pennant on to the back wall, and voila!

Things I will do differently next time: everything. Hard walls look fantastic, but it is a lot of work and not exactly cheap. I had to rent a big truck, and ended up taking the panels apart completely at the end of the show because I had nowhere to store them. I reused the two-by-fours but the ply sadly went to the trash. Next time I’ll try to design a booth that is easy to transport, to build, to store and still looks awesome! Live and learn.

Was it all worth it in the end? Absolutely. I met tons of super sweet people, fellow designers, bloggers and store owners, and I’m really proud to add over fifteen new stores to Left Field Cards’s list of retailers. I made some new friends, and best of all I feel inspired and excited about the work that awaits me this year. Too many ideas and too little time! As always.

Paper heaven.

May 21, 2012

The National Stationery Show started yesterday at the Javits Center and boy, what a day! Met some really lovely folks, got to walk around a bit and look at some really cool paper products, and chatted baseball, letterpress and linocuts all day.

Special mentions to Katharine and her linocut awesomeness, Nole from Oh so beautiful paper whose blog I’ve been admiring for a while and who was kind enough to mention me on it this morning, Donatella from Tellapress who is a fellow The Arm printer, and the very sweet Tilney from Man vs. George who got me coffee when I needed it the most.

Thanks guys,

Amelie

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Busy busy busy.

May 15, 2012

The National Stationery Show is only a few days away, which means that I’ve been running around in a state of perpetual nervousness/panic/excitement/panic/PANIC trying to get everything done before Sunday. Thank goodness graciousness builder-extraordinaire/super-hero Ariele is helping me build the booth and not lose my head entirely.

I would say I’m 95 percent ready, 5 percent representing BUILDING AN ENTIRE BOOTH FROM SCRATCH. I know, I’m a little behind schedule. But things have been complicated because, you see, I’ve officially filled up every cubic inch of my studio and there is no room at all to do anything in there anymore. I’ve even converted my living-room into a work area, but I seem to devour space like one of these ever-expanding nuclear clouds. There is no containment possible. The only option is more space! Of course this is a problem New Yorkers encounter on a daily basis, and though for the past two months I’ve been desperately looking for a bigger studio (that Ariele and I plan on sharing!), no dice so far.

So short of other options, we’re building the booth in a friend’s wood shop. Time and space are limited, but Ariele and I are good, fast, hard workers. Also, we might not get too much sleep in the next three days. But everything will work out in the end.

THERE IS NO OTHER CHOICE.

 

(Oh and I still have to write about the last leg of my West Coast road trip (San Francisco and the Giants), I’ll get to it after the NSS. You can read about the first stop, San Diego, here, and the second stop, Joshua Tree and Los Angeles, there.)

Lady-ticklers.

May 3, 2012

After two months of hard work, and a crazy two weeks spent making plates, mixing inks, printing, trimming, sewing and entirely redesigning the website, I am so very proud to announce the release of my new series of cards, Marvelous Moustaches. Ten baseball players with exceptional lady-ticklers!

Mustaches can be incredibly manly, or downright gross, and I tried to get a good selection that would show the many faces of mustaches. Don Mattingly’s beautiful Magnum, Keith Hernandez’s dandy Painter’s Brush, Bill Buckner’s no-nonsense Walrus, or Rod Beck’s unfanciful Trucker are just a few.

Check out the entire series right here, and if you’re in New York come to the opening tonight! We’re having a release party at the BerginoClubhouse, a baseball store and art gallery just a few blocks south of Union Square. There will be Brooklyn Brewery Pennant Ale, there will be homemade cracker jacks and pretzels by the amazing Yossy of Apt2bbakingco, and there will be me in a fancy dress. And maybe heels. No promises!

See you there,

Amelie

 

Art party for Moustaches at the Bergino Clubhouse.

67 East 11th Street, NYC

Thursday, May 3rd from 6 to 9pm.

Second stop: Los Angeles (by way of Joshua Tree).

April 29, 2012

We left San Diego after that beautiful sunset and drove through the desert and the night to Palm Springs, CA. After checking in to our modest one-star motel, we decided to get some dinner at the Ace Hotel. I’d been curious to see it after hearing so much about it, and also it was the only place still open that late. Well, believe the hype: the Ace Hotel is pretty damn cool. The food was delicious, the drinks fabulous, the waiters very accommodating, and the hot tub… Ah, the hot tub. There are no words.

Or actually, the words would be: hot tub, steam, night, desert, stars, HOT TUB.

And who wouldn’t like waking up to this?

The next day found us heading East to Joshua Tree. We spent a few hours driving through the desert, climbing rocks and looking at desert things, but I have to be honest here: I already missed the hot tub and I kinda wished we were back at the Ace hotel, slinging fancy cocktails by the pool. I know. I’m a horrible person. Because, come on, look at these awesome Joshua trees:

But the pool!

But the rock-climbing!

Palm Springs, Joshua Tree, I like you guys. We’ll be back.

As the afternoon stretched into evening, we made it back to LA, but not without experiencing wonderful bumper-to-bumper traffic for the last hour and a half of our trip. Oh, LA. You’re so silly.

So in San Diego we’d seen the Padres take on the Diamondbacks, and now we couldn’t wait to see the Dodgers take on the… Padres? Apparently they too had travelled up the coast, though we didn’t see them anywhere in that hot tub.

The worst part about Dodger Stadium? Getting there in LA traffic (though I quite enjoy the views). Spending $15 on parking.

The best part? Everything else. I love Dodger Stadium! It’s old school, it has palm trees and pastel blue and yellow seats. I later found out the same architect designed Shea Stadium, and I loved Shea. I know Shea wasn’t very popular, and yes it looked pretty ugly, but it felt right. Citi Field? Has no soul. Too fancy, too many tvs, too many food options. The new Yankee Stadium is even worse. It feels more like a mall than a stadium.

Once again, we got pretty good seats for cheap, and were able to move down to even better seats after a few innings. It had rained earlier that day and it was unusually cold, and so the stadium wasn’t too crowded.

The Dodgers beat the Padres, maybe not unexpectedly, but not without a good fight on the Padres part.

Fireworks after the game, as the Dodgers are celebrating the 5oth anniversary of their ballpark this year.

All in all, a pretty good night at Dodger Stadium! Hot tub or not.

Next up: San Francisco and the Giants.

First stop: San Diego

April 23, 2012

We spent the first couple of days in LA with R.’s family, eating, chatting, playing with the kiddies, and even squeezing in some gallery hopping and a movie. We trendy like that. Then on the road we got, down the Pacific Coast Highway to sunny San Diego. A friend met us for some excellent tacos, we checked out the beach, the marina, downtown, and finally (finally!) it was time for the game. Padres vs. Diamondbacks. Not really an exciting match up (sorry Padres fans! Sorry D-Backs fans!) given that both teams suck haven’t really been at their best in recent years and that we had no emotional connection with either, but we cheered the home team enthusiastically nonetheless. Padres fans are a committed and loyal bunch, and they deserved praise. Also, they had the best uniforms for a short while back in the 70s. Such a tragedy they got rid of them. Come on, that brown! And the monks! The monks!

Attendance was low, and after a few innings we sneaked down to seats right next to the Diamondbacks dug out. So cool to be so close to the field! The game was tied 2-2 and went into extra innings, until one of the San Diego guys (the one posing with his dog in the program) crushed one over the fence. CRUSHED it. We heard a huge smack, and we all got on our feet and yelled and screamed as the guy with the dog photo jogged around the bases. He made it back to home plate, his fellow Padres piled on him, and the home team won.

The next day we went to the zoo.

I spotted this really beautiful house somewhere near Old City that reminded me so much of my friend Ariele and her beautiful tables. That door! These four windows on the front were the only windows of the entire house. So curious what it looked like inside! Now I wish I’d had the balls to ring the bell and beg them to let me in. Weird? Inappropriate? Meh.

San Diego really is lovely, even made me forget that I’m a New Yorker and that I love bricks, grime, soot, rust and cast iron. And? They have seals! So cute! (and vicious, or so, at least, claims Arrested Development).

We played paddle ball on the beach and witnessed a magnificent sunset with palm trees and all. In France the sun sets over the Atlantic ocean, and this is one thing I’ve missed living on the East Coast. In New York, the sun sets over Jersey, which is a different kind of beautiful. Looking at the sun setting over the Pacific ocean, I had a thought for my grandmother, who taught me everything I know about art and who has a thing for sunsets. She’s now a very old lady who is increasingly losing touch with reality, but whenever the sky turns gold, she looks up, her eyes grow wide, her face warms up, and she studies the sunset with a focus, delight and artistic appraisal that I will never forget. “C’est beau”, she whispers.

C’est beau.

Next up: an evening at Dodger Stadium.

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