Thursday, April 9, 2015

Upcycle Me!

It's time. My original NokHoo development samples have been hiding away in a pile of boxes for a while now.  Whenever I run across them I think, "I should get rid of those".  But they stay in the box, cluttering my home and my mind.  I hate sending them to the landfill because: 1) they represent blood, sweat and tears that went into NokHoo's beginnings 2) they have useful bits and 3) landfills suck.  But today, in a creative/organizational/I've-had-it-with-all-this-junk fury, I whipped out the scissors and began cutting.  Step one in my upcycling experiment. Above is the BEFORE photo. Below are the results (thus far)…

Mid-cutting. It's interesting to see the bones of the bags.

The good stuff.

I'll just pat myself on the back (or the backpack, ha ha) for starting out but… what's next?  I figure I'll sew them into carrying cases of some sort.  Any suggestions?  Special orders?  Help me bring these bags a new life!  I'll blog my progress and hopefully have something to sell on Etsy at the end of the day.  (That was a figure of speech, not the end of THIS day because it's late and I'm tired.  A different day.)

Monday, March 23, 2015

Why Not?

Hi, my name is Nicole and I'm terrible at social media. I was sharing my Twitter account with a friend and said to her, "it's been forever — like four months — since I last posted". She looked up my account and informed me that it had been well over a year. Right. Which helps explain why my blog has become a wasteland. My primary excuse is that I entertain a toddler most of the time. I still get credit for that but it's time to focus a little more on my business. My presence, that is. I've chosen to be a solo entrepreneur which, in this day and age, means one must be consistently present online. So in the spirit of doing just that, I'm giving my online self a makeover (maybe, if I can keep it up, I'll give my real self a makeover as a reward… good idea!). I shall blog more, sort out this Instagram and Twitter business, and do as much Facebook posting as I can stand. I'm going to tell you, online friends, more about myself and what I'm about. If you don't already know, I am an illustrator, textile and product designer and here is how my career unfolded…

I've always loved to create art but I never imagined it could become a career until some thoughtful college art professors asked, "why not?". This led me (after getting a degree in Geography) to say, "why not try art school?" which, when I finished, led to "why not apply to EVERY art job?". I landed in the world of fashion, creating artwork for kids' clothes and, eventually, to all sorts of surface and product design.

Initially I expected to do editorial or book illustration, probably subsidized by a barrista career, so it came as a surprise to be paid regularly for my work. I also discovered the wonderful world of product development and the joy of reaching a large audience. My right-brain loves to create images from the spinning mess of ideas in my head. My left-brain gets excited about putting those ideas into an orderly format and communicating the look and feel to people who will be constructing real, live products. The whole process is very much an act of creation and it thrills me: from the kernel of an idea to collaboration, trial and error, the birth of a product and then sharing that creation with the world.

My NokHoo bag designs came about after my (not yet) husband asked, "why not quit your job and move to Thailand for a while?" so I made the nail-biting decision to say "yes" to adventure and uncertainty. Of course I needed a bag to use during those adventures so "why not" design my own? And here I am, years later, navigating the adventure of design and the uncertainty of wearing all the hats in my own business. 

It's only as I write this that I realize most of my big (and most interesting) choices came from that question, "why not?". As I embark on my next phase (the aforementioned online makeover) I'm responding to this question again. Honestly, I'm not crazy about putting myself out there. Letting the unknown world interact with my online self is just strange to me. (That must make me sound old.) But if I choose to continue running my own business I've got to get with the times. So "why not?". Maybe because it makes me uncomfortable is precisely why I should do it. Or maybe I'll hate it and change my mind later. Either way, welcome to my world. Feel free to leave encouraging comments!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

NokHoo on Etsy (plus a coupon code!)

My bags are now listed on Etsy! I need to get the ball rolling with sales and reviews so I'm offering 25% off for the month of March, but only if you buy on Etsy. The coupon code is "HiEtsy". If you've been waiting on a bag, now is the time!

Monday, October 27, 2014

A Full Life

Beautiful, layered, dreamy artwork by Evaline Ness. It's worth reading about her personal life. She was married to Eliot Ness, the leader of "The Untouchables", who enforced prohibition in Chicago. She was also a student all her life, constantly learning and experimenting with her artwork, even after she became a commercial success.

Friday, October 24, 2014

The Frog Drama

It seems like all I'm posting lately are mid-(20th)-century children's book Illustrators. Well, here's another one: Alexander Lindberg. I especially love this frog because it closely resembles the giant frog in one of the bizarre made-up stories I tell my toddler. We have a story repertoire that has devolved, over time, into complete nonsense — but she loves it. I wish I could report more about Lindberg but it was difficult to find info.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Kind of Fishy

Does this fish have a moustache? Is it eating a squid? I do not know, but I like it. By Maria Szymańska, another favorite from Poland.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

More from Poland...

Since I'm sharing my obsession with Polish illustrators, today I've got Irena Przewlocka for you. Lovely, lovely work.