Things We Love: Uppercase Magazine

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As you might imagine, we like pretty things here at Renegade. So you can guess how much we enjoy Uppercase Magazine, which is basically a hundred pages of pretty every month. We find constant inspiration in their great designer profiles, pop culture roundups, and just general awesomeness. And good news! We now carry Uppercase at Renegade Handmade! Find it in store or online here. Not gonna lie, I’m totally picking up a copy of each issue today. Hooray!

Craft Crush: Mariko of Calico

This week, we’re crushing on Calico, a sweet line of bags & pouches made from vintage fabrics. Mariko, the brains behind Calico, kindly gave us a little glimpse into her world, and discusses the inspiring qualities of friendship bracelets, feed sacks, and Bon Jovi.

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When did you first start crafting?

I always loved art classes in school, and my mom used to do flower arranging, so I often went to the craft store with her. I remember that I liked making stuffed animals from “handmade stuffed animal kits” and I sure made a decent looking Mickey and Minnie Mouse. I was probably about 10 years old at the time.

I also think back to those times (early 90’s!!!) and remember making braided bracelets and learning to knit. I never liked sewing back then, but somehow I ended up going to fashion design college in Tokyo and making a line of hand sewn accessories!

What is the story behind your business name?

Simply, I have a “calico” cat which I really love and “calico” is also a type of unbleached woven cotton fabric, originating in India. It was often printed with many different colors, and that is why the name became used for the cats, as well.

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What is your creative process?

My inspiration comes from the antique feed sacks that I find. My initial idea was to make tote bags with feed sacks, so that each one would be totally unique and special, but I soon found that many of the feed sacks were damaged or stained, so only some parts would be useable. This forced me to look at the bags as source material for many different products, and sometimes a sack that is mostly destroyed will have one little corner that is perfect for a coin purse. Making these products takes time to source the material, and then find the best way to use the material in a way that has good design qualities, and still has the character of the original print. I also use vintage inspired new fabrics for some products, and with those it is a matter of choosing patterns and color combinations that fit with my vintage aesthetic.

Do you have a best seller?

I think the best seller is the small Japanese coin purses. They are small, affordable, and available in both vintage and new fabrics.

Are you working on anything new that you’re particularly excited about?

Yes, I am working on key fobs and silkscreened totes right now. The key fobs are fun because I have to stamp the leather by hand and that means I have to do a lot of hammering into a piece of wood to get the stamp looking right! The silk screened totes are cool because it is an opportunity for me to let the influence of so many wonderful feedsack designs come out in an original design, and it will be a fun and simple product.

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Who are your favorite artists and designers?

Samantha Hahn – Illustrator
Freitag
Tim Burton
Bauhaus

What’s a typical working day for you?

After having breakfast with my husband, he goes to his recording studio by vespa, and I start cleaning our house, taking care of our cats and my fire escape garden and all other chores. I usually have an early lunch around 11:30 (my metabolism is fast!), and then start working from around noon till 8-ish.

Can you tell us something silly about yourself?

I like listening to classic rock radio while sewing, and sometime sing along to “You Give Love a Bad Name” and that gives me more energy to keep sewing!

(Photos by Yuki Wakamaki)
Thanks, Mariko! See more beautiful Calico goodies here & here.

Roadtrip to Renegade: I-5 With the Berkleys.

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(Another in our series following some of our favorite crafters as they make the trek to the West Coast Fairs. Today, Ryan and Lucy Berkley of Berkley Illustration share their experiences making the journey from Portland to SoCal and explore what is perhaps the greatest roadside restaurant on I-5… or the world. Go see the Berkley at Renegade Los Angeles RIGHT THIS VERY MINUTE! And next weekend you can see their smiling faces at the San Fransisco fair.)

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Portland to Los Angeles: Just under 1000 miles of road.

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We have driven the I-5 many times up and back but for some reason we’d never stopped at Anderson’s Pea Soup before. I’m happy to say that today we mended that gaping hole in our roadside repertoire.

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I think we can all agree that any roadside attraction worth its salt has some kind of board you can put your head through.

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I love how Andersons hasn’t tried to modernize too much. Look at the awesome combo of typefaces!

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Oops. I guess they’re a little modern inside. They have these nice trendy mugs adjacent to their adorable collection of Dutch Fairytale knick-knacks.

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I don’t know if this is legal, but here is the recipe for their pea soup. Please note, as we did, it’s vegan friendly!

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Why is this upside down???? Well, if you turn your computer around you can see the sweet loot we scored. It was too early for soup eating so we grabbed a can to go. Maybe we can share it at Renegade? Bring a spoon! Also, you don’t even realize how cool those cups are. They have a light show inside them!  We’re hoping to feature those after dark later in our adventures.

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We also picked up this very special postcard. We’re going to mail it to the first person who emails us at lucyandryan@gmail.com and tells us their favorite song with “California” in the title. See you again soon!

UPDATE: We have a winner! Thanks for playing!

Roadtrip to Renegade: Sweetie Pie Press in the Heartland

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(Another in our series following some of our favorite crafters as they take to the road headed for the West Coast Fairs. Today, Becky from Sweetie Pie Press explores the finer points of diner cuisine & sidewalk sales right smack dab in the middle of the country.)

woke up in a favourite kansas city motel (we have actually stayed here on almost every tour). the people are nice, but the menu is limited at the adjacent diner. (just kidding; they have more selections of homemade pies than you can shake a stick at.)

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Kansas City, MO

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Kansas City, MO

taken in by the amazing young men at a gallery/shoppe called wonder fair, we made our first foray into the prairie oasis of lawrence, kansas. this is the sweetie pie press’ first ever stop in kansas and i was tickled pink to join the boys for a day-long sidewalk sale. brick buildings, big skies, and like-minded people always put me in good sorts, sleep or no.

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The view over Massachussetts Street. Sidewalk Sale Wonder Fair Lawrence, KS

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Sidewalk Sale Wonder Fair Lawrence, KS

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Sidewalk Sale Wonder Fair Lawrence, KS

Roadtrip to Renegade: Sweetie Pie Press Discovers Giant Condiment Bottle

(From our series following crafters as they roadtrip out to the West Coast fairs. In this installment, Becky of Sweetie Pie Press explores the world of novelty condiment bottles.)

we are staying just outside of st. louis, missouri, in southern illinois. while exploring, we happened upon the world’s largest catsup bottle in collinsville, illinois. it made me wonder if there might be a slightly larger ketchup bottle somewhere else.

World’s Largest Bottle of Catsup Collinsville, IL July 14, 2010

St. Louis, MO July 14, 2010 Photo by Reverend Aitor

Roadtrip to Renegade: Misanthrope Specialty Co. Explores the Classier Side of Truck Stops

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Hooray hooray, another installment of our series documenting some of our favorite crafters’ treks to the Los Angeles and San Francisco craft fairs. Today we check back in with Misanthrope Specialty Co. as he regales us with more tales from the road.

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(photo by Cottonwood Fields)

Storm blows in at dusk. We watched the rain on the mountains across the plains, an hour away. Monsoon season is gearing up.

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(photo by Cottonwood Fields)

Truck stop restroom. Oh what a night a fistful of quarters can buy you!

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Ink Explosion. Most of the company’s pens exploded in the heat of their un-airconditioned cars.

Craft Crush: Jessie of Cakespy

This week’s Craft Crush is the always amusing work of Cakespy. Head Spy Jessie sat down to answer our burning questions about what makes her pastry-loving mind tick, and the connection between Diet Coke, bacon and cupcakes. Read on!

When did you first start crafting?

Though I have always been artistic, I actually didn’t start crafting until 2007, when I started my website, CakeSpy.com — which started out as a food blog supported by my art, but the artwork soon became its own thing and the basis of my income!

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What is the story behind your business name?

I wanted to start a new project that combined my three greatest loves: writing, illustration, and baked goods. At the same time that I was pondering what this project would be, I was also about to get married, and was running around town sampling all of the wedding cake possibilities, feeling like an undercover spy trying to sleuth out the best. It was then that it hit me: this idea could guide my project–a dessert detective agency! And CakeSpy was born. Though I write and illustrate more than just cakes, “Cake” seemed like a good catch all phrase for all things sweet.


What is your creative process?

Generally everything starts with an illustration for me–so I will do a pencil sketch, then ink it in with Micron, and then watercolor it in to color–and from there, I decide what I am going to do with the finished illustration–either sell it framed, or adapt the design to work on other products (notecards, card holders, mugs, etc). I also work on several paintings at the same time most of the time!

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Do you have a best seller?

Two designs stand out in my mind, and the humor of their extremes does not escape me: Cupcake drinking Diet Coke, and Cupcake having Cocktails with bacon. Those are probably my two most popular ones.

Are you working on anything new that you’re particularly excited about?

I’ve started doing murals at bakeries (my first one was at Cake Eater bakery–I actually met the owners at Renegade Craft Fair in Chicago last year!) and would love to do more of those.

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Who are your favorite artists and designers?

As for favorite artists, I love the ones who I think have wonderful line quality: Saul Steinberg, William Steig, Luis Bemelmans; and I also love certain artists for their big ideas and fearlessness, including Andy Warhol and Keith Haring. As for people who are more on my peer level, I love Bored, Inc, Loyal Army, Julie West, and I simply cannot get enough of AbbeyChristine‘s felt work.

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What’s a typical working day for you?

I usually bake at home in the morning and take pictures of my finished sweets; then I will walk with my pugs and sweet treats over to my retail store/my studio, CakeSpy Shop, where I will work on writing/blogging and artwork all day (between customers!). I put the sweets I’ve made outside as a lure for passers-by, and, as I call it, to keep Capitol Hill (the neighborhood my store is in) “fat and cute”.

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Can you tell us something silly about yourself?

I’ve seen Weird Al four times in concert. Yup. And I played the accordion in my high school marching band.

Thanks, Jessie! See more of cupcake-inspired goodness from Cakespy here and here!

Roadtrip to Renegade: Sweetie Pie Press in Ypsilanti + Indianapolis

The second in our series of dispatches from the road by some of our favorite crafters making their way to the LA and San Fransisco Craft Fairs. Becky from Sweetie Pie Press sent us these observations from deep in the Midwest:

our road to renegade begins close to home in ypsialnti, michigan. i did not get as many pictures as i wanted because my stomach went haywire and i had not slept enough, but here is a funny ‘rive n’ that really only boasts root beer. los angeles, there are 2500 miles between us as you, but here we come.

The next night, we stayed with friends in indianapolis, indiana. they tipped us off to the heildelberg haus, a german-themed cafe, bakery and gift shop. there was nothing to eat but meat and pretzels, but i didn’t care. it was like the german population of the midwest had turned itself into a cartoon. while i ate my soft pretzel with mustard, we listened to german versions of day-o and the theme from bonanza.


Roadtrip to Renegade: Misanthrope Specialty Co. on the Prairie

In anticipation of the upcoming Renegade Craft domination of all things awesome on the West Coast for the next two weekends (Um, yeah, did we mention Renegade Craft Fair LA and San Fran are almost here?!) we’ll be posting dispatches over the next few days from some of our fav crafters as they  make their way across this great country to do the California fairs. Check back all week for updates from the best eats, drinks, tourist traps and roadside attractions our crafty friends come across (we hear somebody’s got a Dinosaur Park stop planned, so prepare yourselves for that!) First up, though, we’ve got a post from the Reverand Aitor of Misanthrope Speciality Company (who just visited Renegade Handmade last month) as he and his companions make their way across the wide open Midwestern prairie, heading west on I-70 out of Indiana.

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After two months of zigzagging between Eastern and Central Time, the Company convoy has finally set out earnestly on the road to Renegade Los Angeles.

The open road seems that much more romantically open once we begin crossing the Midwest.  The skies are bigger on the prairies, allowing room for so many more shades of blue, white and grey.  The highway stretches all the way into the horizon, and we can watch it raining several kilometres away.

Between Indianapolis and St. Louis (photo by Linda Culpepper)

Rain on the prairies (Photo by Reverand Aitor)

Big skies.

Craft Crush: Sarah + Joseph of iamhome

This week’s Craft Crush features the awesome Sarah and Joseph Belknap of iamhome. We are always so excited when they drop off a batch of their forest paintings and tree tiles, so we asked them to give us a little glimpse into their world o’ craft.

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Tell us a little bit about iamhome.

When we first started dating six years ago, we were always helping each other with projects and then a month after our marriage we began our collaboration in art making. We started iamhome a little less than a year ago so we could spend more time working together while being creative and having fun together.

What is the story behind your business name?

The entire time we have been together, we have shuffled around from apartment to apartment and never really felt like it was ours. A year ago, we moved into the house of Sarah’s late grandmother and began restoring it. It was the first time we have felt at home in a long time.

What is your creative process?

We have a process that usually includes fighting and blurting out absurd ideas.

Do you have a best seller?

The forest paintings. They are all hand painted and the frames are made from repurposed barn siding and discarded wood. They hold a special place in our collective heart because they stem from one of our performance pieces.

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Are you working on anything new that you’re particularly excited about?

Right now we are making a series of photographs and performances about swimming pools. We are excited to have two upcoming residencies in August that are giving us a space to explore this new work.

Who are your favorite artists and designers?

We are a little in love with Francis Alys and Simon Starling. We teach in an Early College Program for high school art students, and they probably inspire us the most because they are full of energy and have the craziest ideas.

What’s a typical working day for you?

There is no such thing. Our work is always changing; from teaching to museum exhibition work to painting people’s houses. Every day we come home, garden, cook a nice meal and then head to studio to work until we are so tired we are afraid we’ll cut our fingers off.

Can you tell us something silly about yourself?

Recently we have had a very bad obsession with watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer right before bed.

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Thanks, Sarah & Joseph! You can see more of their great work here and here.

Psst…Stay tuned for something VERY EXCITING from iamhome + the Renegade blog coming up soon. You won’t want to miss it!