News / illustration

In the Studio: Q & A with Michael McConnell

In the Studio: Q & A with Bay Area artist Michael McConnell
kerri johnson
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For the Dreamers Out There... The Nonplanner Datebook!

We thought we'd take a moment to spotlight a product that's been super popular in the shop – the Nonplanner Datebook! Keri Smith, an illustrator and author for Little Otsu in Portland, got the idea to create a datebook for people who prefer unstructured thinking, and the outcome is sheer brilliance.

Turn to any one of its pages, and you'll find non-traditional lists, whimsical journal entries, empty thought bubbles, idea maps, monthly calendars, and more.

This is not your average datebook! It's much more free form.

Doesn't this planner make you want to just throw your boring to-do list out the door, dust off your big ideas, and get brainstorming?

It's a great gift idea for all of the artists, dreamers, creatives, big picture thinkers, zen meditators, innovators, and freedom lovers in your life. Come on down and pick one up at the shop! Or, if you're too busy to stop by, you can purchase it in our online shop as well. 

Nicole Grant Kriege
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Tea Towels from The Heated: A Q&A with Artist Cristina Espinosa

If you haven't checked out our tea towels from The Heated yet, you're in for a treat! The Heated is a local screen printing venture by artist Cristina Espinosa – a super talented lady with a sweet side and a wicked sense of humor to boot. She was one of our first vendors in the shop, and her dish towels just get more popular as she comes up with more fun illustrations. Right now we've got her Get Awesome, Sutro Tower, and Owls dish towels in stock, and are planning on ordering her new Golden Gate Bridge design for the Fall. Here's a Q&A with Cristina:
How did you get into screen printing, and what's your arts background?
Years ago, I worked for a company that screen printed t-shirts for punk rock bands. My position was in sales so I never actually printed anything but it definitely got me interested. When my own band needed merchandise, I took the plunge and learned how to screen print. As far as my arts background goes, I had no professional training when I started The Heated. I'd always kept a notebook of my little drawings but never thought to study it in school. I've since taken a basic drawing course at CCSF so now I'm totally legit. 

You make so many cute towels. Which are your current faves?
My favorites right now are Sutro Tower and Cedar. I love how the current wave of San Francisco residents have made Sutro Tower their own, especially since the tower was so contentious when it was first built. Cedar is making me happy because of the detail I was able to get from using a small branch of cedar as my stencil to burn the screen instead of my usual computer print-outs. Nature is clearly a superior designer!
How do you create the illustrations on your towels?
These days, I start with a pencil sketch that eventually becomes a pen drawing (I like black Pilot Precise V5 pens). Often times, I clean it up on the computer, upping the contrast and fine-tuning to make sure that it will be a good, clear stencil. In screen printing, there are no shades of gray so making a crisp, clear black and white image is my goal. 
We love that The Heated is also a band! How can we have a listen, and what's the band up to these days?
You can listen to our music online and both of my (completely home-recorded) albums are also available on iTunes. Music has really taken a back seat to screen printing these days. I'd much rather be home printing than in a bar, waiting around for a show to finish before I can load out my gear and go to sleep. 

We keep seeing your stuff around town at all sorts of indie fairs. Do you have any events in your calendar for this fall?
I definitely get my craft show hustle on all over! I'll be at the Urban Air Market in San Francisco's Hayes Valley on September 15th. I'll also be at the Mission Community Market every third Thursday through October and the Bluxome Winery's Meet Market this Saturday, August 31st. I'm pretty good about keeping my website up to date so you can go to my events page for the latest information on where I'll be selling next.
Nicole Grant Kriege
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Early Fall Arrivals... A Sneak Peek!

There's a slight breeze blowing through Old Oakland today, and while it's still warm and sunny out, there are some leaves on the ground and Fall is in the air. And you know what the coming of Fall means... new goodies in the shop! Some new merch is already starting to roll in, and we want you to be the first to hear about them. Here are a few of the things that have come in that we're especially excited about:


Earrings from Amano Studio! We first spied these charming adornments at a hip little boutique in Silver Lake, and had to have them for our shop. Turns out they're made right nearby in Sonoma. Our faves are the cast metal crystals.

Beautiful new bear prints from Michael McConnell. Michael really put his BFA in printmaking to good use with these prints, and drew on his love of watercolors as well.

Cards, wall art, and calendars from printmaker and illustrator Rigel Stuhmiller. Don't let your desk be calendar-less in 2014.

Letterpress maps by the hubby and wife team at Quail Lane Press. These beauties are pressed and watercolored by hand in the Sierra Nevada mountains.

So many lovely things! Come and see us at the shop and we'll show you around.



Nicole Grant Kriege
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