MATS Bootcamp for May: Crustaceans!

I've been back in MATS Bootcamp this month and this time it was all about crustaceans! Our home decor assignment was to create a design suitable for plates with a "Marine Mashup" theme, using crustaceans paired with colorful patterns. Lila gave us some examples of this trend that she's seen in shops and I noticed these examples at Anthropologie and Sur la Table: Anthropologie: Clambake Canape


Anthropologie: Under the Sea Serveware

Sur la Table: Americana Coastal Collection

Of course nautical themes and seafood icons always seem to come back around leading into summer. They make me think of summer picnics, lobster boils on the beach, and butter dripping off my chin. I live right in the middle of the country so I naturally love lobster and crab legs . . . mmmm. . . It must be because I was born in Rhode Island. Crustaceans were surprisingly fun to draw, with all their fun shapes and little legs.


I didn't have a lot of time to dedicate to Bootcamp this month because I've been working a part-time gig for about three weeks this month to make some extra cash. I think it worked to my advantage this time because I had to work fast and that meant I couldn't really spare the time to overthink what I was doing and spend too much time changing things over and over and over again. I actually like to work fast because it jives with my short attention span. I love to sit down and finish (or nearly finish) things in one sitting.


After some pencil sketches and watercolor painting I brought everything into Illustrator and Photoshop to make my mash up. I started working in blues and turquoise but then added some coral/red on the computer because I like that really classic summer color combination, without it getting too "stars & stripes." I added some additional textures and patterns and then mocked them up onto a plate and platter.


I also made a simple napkin print and then worked my designs into a surface pattern print just for fun.


There you have it: my Marine Mashup! June is the last month of Bootcamp and the first month of summer, so bring on the butter!

MATS A | Week 5: The finale!

This past week was the fifth and final week of MATS A and it was a really fun market: the gift market.  I would love to get work in this area. I'm a compulsive gift-giver and I love to browse gift stores and sift through the tote bags and pouches, stationery, magnets, it's all so colorful and fun and gives people the opportunity to express their personality in a subtle little way. I wish I had a little more time to spend on my project this week but it was spring break here so the kids were off from school, I had some family visiting, it was my birthday (!), not to mention Holy Week and Easter, so there was A LOT going on. I did manage to carve out some time for MATS and even with the time crunch I'm really happy with my final piece. Our assignment was to design a "hyper-lush" zipper pouch (something that could be used as a pencil bag or makeup bag - or if you're me you keep it in your purse filled with band-aids, hand sanitizer, and a few crayons). To get some inspiration Lilla asked us to explore our own personal collections.

I don't really consider myself a collector. As a kid I collected clowns for a time . . . I know - clowns! It wasn't too long ago that I had to figure out what to do with all of that in my basement storage. I often over-worry about getting bogged down with too much "stuff" (my husband and family are probably doubled-over with laughter at that statement) and I do try to control the amount of unneccessary things that come into our home. That being said, I'm still one of those people who just like "things." I hear of people selling all their possessions and moving to the woods and I have a small panic attack. I will SO never do that. Without any obvious collections I tried to look more at the things that I'm really drawn to right now, things I have a hard time passing up when I see them in a shop. Some of my small "collections" are below and ultimately I designed around small paper tags, postcards, and typographic elements, along with some fun florals.

I really enjoyed the assignment and I think I might take some elements of it and put them into a repeat pattern for fabric. It will be fun going forward to think about the gift market as another possible avenue for my work.

And that's it for MATS A! Thanks for following along. I had a great time and feel like I've got a few strong pieces for my portfolio. It was challenging at times, inspiring, supportive, and it armed me with some great information on how to get my work "market ready." Now in the meantime it's back to MATS Bootcamp and I'll be looking forward to MATS B in October!