Author Interview: Matthew Porter

foxontheloose!Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m a Seattle children’s book author and illustrator. I have nine books published and have one in the works for release this summer. I love radio programs, big cups of tea, old worn books that I can flip through to find inspiration. I feel many of my books and illustrations stem from things that are iconic or archetypal. The scenes and stories feel familiar but I put my own twist on them.

I will be selling my newest board book Fox on the Loose! at Urban Craft Uprising. It’s a poem that threads throughout the book about a sly fox that sneaks into a barnyard. It’s aimed at younger children but I feel the poem lends a level of sophistication to the book that you don’t see in most board books. It’s a slight departure from my other board books so I am excited to see if my fans enjoy it!

You can find me here: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Tell us about your creative process.

I think of the stories first. I write many drafts of a story before ever getting started on the illustrations. When I have my story relatively where I want it I start next on my sketches. I create my sketches on paper and then I create a final illustration on tracing paper which then gets transferred to wood. All my completed pieces are done on wood. I love the distressed and worn feeling that come through the grain.

How did you get into making children’s books?

I grew up painting and drawing in a small village on the South coast of England. In 1998 while at art art school in Edinburgh Scotland I met my future wife, Andrea. We married and moved to Seattle and opened an art gallery. In the second year of the gallery I created an animal alphabet series of wide eyed critters which was featured on the back wall of the gallery. As fate would have it a childrens book publisher popped into the gallery and mentioned that the series would make a lovely childrens book. I leapt at the opportunity and my book career began!

What’s next?
The next addition of Monkey World picture books will be released this summer. In the Thunderbolt Express you get to meet Oscar the Magician. In my next book The Rise and Fall of Oscar the Magician you get to read about how Oscar got into the situation he did in the Thunderbolt story. This book is it’s own separate story but there is much more depth to the story if you have read the Thunderbolt Express first. I love the idea of stand alone books but if you really get into the series you will find all sorts of interesting tie ins between the books.

Where can we find your books?
You can find my books online on my websiteIndie Bound and Amazon.  Indie Bound is great too as you can type in your zip code and find where you can find my titles at an Indie Book Store near you. Mockingbird Books, Third Place Books and Secret Garden Bookstore always have a great selection of my books.

 

Pacific Fabrics & Crafts Giveaway

ucu-giveaway

$75 Gift Card!

Pacific Fabrics

A big shout out to Pacific Fabrics for providing UCU fans with a chance to win a $75 gift card. Pacific Fabrics is a northwest owned family of five stores that specializing in quality products, great selection and personalized service. They also have an online store and will ship anywhere in the US.

To enter this drawing, let us know what you would create with $75 gift card in the comments section by December 4 @ Midnight PST. Be sure to include your first name and email address so we can let our winners know where to pick up prizes at the UCU Winter Show.

THIS GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED.

Meet the Vendor: Madge and Company

DSC00730

Who are you and what do you do?
Madge and Company are Patrick Dudley and Katrina Lakey. We are a small furniture and woodworking business based out of Portland, Oregon. We are blessed to have an abundance of beautiful, sustainably-harvested hardwoods here and our main focus is to showcase that beauty. We have a range of products from small household items to large custom furniture.
Our aim is to blend the beauty and timelessness of traditional hardwood furniture with a fun modern aesthetic.

What’s the latest thing you’ve been working on?
The Latest Thing we have been working on is our Hi-Fi Console Table. We recently started collecting a ton of vintage LP’s and wanted to come up with a cool way to showcase our record player and our records themselves. This table was our solution to always having a messy stack of records sitting out as a “playlist”. We integrated a vegetable-tanned sling into the table top to hold our current stack that were going to be listened to. It created a cool focal point that broke up the symmetry of the table while also conveniently adding some organization. Next up in the console family will be a full cabinet-style credenza. We should have our first prototype done shortly!

What do you love most about craft show vending?
We absolutely LOVE all the people we meet! Its so great getting to meet and develop relationships with our clients and customers at our shows. It has provided a great platform to promote our products and also to hear feedback.

How did you get started in your business?
It got started when moving into a new house several years ago. I needed a dining table badly and couldn’t find anything that I liked that didn’t break the bank. Luckily, there was a warehouse full of reclaimed materials a few blocks from the house. I built the table with a friend on the front porch in the rain and fell in love with the wood working. The entire process from drawing an idea, drafting, and making it into something tangible was amazing. From that point on, my focus shifted to figuring out a way to be able to do it every day. A few years later, Madge and Company was born.

What’s your favorite item that you sell?
Our Favorite Item that we sell is our Weave Stool, our nod to traditional danish crafted furniture. It is a powder coated steel stool with a seat we hand weave from danish cord. It takes the most time and attention to detail of any of our products to make, but has such a beautiful finished look.

photo-1_900

Author Interview: Kim Werker + Giveaway

KimWerker_Headshots2013-0023webTell us a little bit about yourself.
I work as a freelance editor and writer from my home in Vancouver, BC. I’ve worked in the crafts industry for over a decade. In 2010, I started doing a project called Mighty Ugly, which is the foundation of my newest book, Make It Mighty Ugly (more on that, below!). I knit, crochet, and make soap, and am an avid reader of fiction and non-fiction, and I host a podcast called Compulsory, featuring conversations about the things people simply can’t help but make.  You can find me here:  Website | Twitter | Mighty Ugly

Where can we find your book?
I will be at Urban Craft Uprising on Saturday, December 6th, where I’ll be signing copies. But if you miss it, you can find it anywhere and everywhere books can be found!
Amazon | Chapters/Indigo | Barnes & Noble | Powells | Indiebound

Tell us about Mighty Ugly, what inspired you to write this book?
So, right. In 2010 I started Mighty Ugly leading workshops that walk people through making a creature that’s very, very ugly. On purpose. We usually avoid making ugly things at all costs, and sometimes those costs involve our freedom, imagination, and enjoyment of making. I want everyone to get those things back, and I think the way to do it is to start to really value ugliness. Not that we should try to make ugly things all the time, but that we should recognize and appreciate that occasionally making something ugly isn’t the end of the world, and in fact it usually means we’re experimenting and learning and trying things we’ve never done before. Those are all things we should do a lot of! So through Mighty Ugly, we embrace ugliness as an integral part of being creative, no matter what we make. And when we learn that making ugly things doesn’t kill us, we can go forth and make stuff with a little less pressure and a lot more fun.

You have a lot of creative endeavors (blog, write, edit, workshop, podcast) what is your guilty pleasure?
I have no guilty pleasures. For real. Why should I feel guilt about something that gives me pleasure? That’s the opposite of pleasure! Nope. I read great literature and I read novels many literature snobs would scoff at – I enjoy them (or hate them, sometimes) equally. I’ve been knitting for nearly twelve years, but I prefer to make very simple projects even though I have the skills to make complicated ones; I just derive way more pleasure from making the simple ones. Guilt has no place in my creative life.

You’ve been at this for a quite a while. How has social media and the web informed your business?
I got into this business because I started a website (CrochetMe.com) back in 2004. I wouldn’t be in this business at all if it weren’t for online social media. After I left crochet in 2008 (after starting that website, I ended up writing a half dozen crochet books and becoming the editor of Interweave Crochet magazine), I’ve gotten almost all of my freelance work through people I’ve met and gotten to know online. All hail Twitter and Instagram these days for being the foundation of my business network!

What productivity hacks to you recommend to all of the creatives that are reading this? What do you do to balance it all?
At the beginning of 2014, I started keeping a Bullet Journal, and it’s become my constant companion. I’m so happy to be regularly making notes all the time, and just generally keeping track of, well, pretty much everything.

What’s next for you? Anything you’d like to share with our readers?
I’m working on fleshing out some ideas for some workshop/teaching projects I’d like to pursue, and I’m really excited to have started my podcast I’m so fascinated by the drive to create; I’m looking forward to talking to lots and lots of people about the things they just have to make.

ucu-giveaway

A Copy of Make It Mighty Ugly!

IMG_7517

To enter this drawing, tell us about the ugliest thing you’ve made (and why you love it) in the comments below by December 3rd. Be sure to include your first name and email address so we can let our winners know where to pick up prizes at the UCU Winter Show.

THIS GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED.

Meet the Vendor: Sahlia Jewelry + Giveaway

Sahlia-Studio3

Who are you and what do you do?
I’m Sahlia! I make jewelry and art on many different levels. I’m an artist, a designer and a lover of nature. The jewelry I create is sustainable and modern and handmade in my studio.

What’s the latest thing you’ve been working on?
My partner and I have been working on a Sahlia Jewelry Home line that includes wall art with found costal wood, leather and naturally shed feathers.

What was your first memory of making something?
My mom was an art teacher, so as far back as I can remember I’ve been making things. My mom was pumping me full of art projects all my childhood. There was this wall of clay near where we lived on the Oregon Coast, and we’d get buckets of it and bring up to the beach and create entire landscapes full of villages, castles and people. I remember the feeling of: There is a city here that wasn’t before.

What do you love most about craft show vending?
I really enjoy having a direct connection with customers and getting that on-the-spot personal feedback. It is fun for me to promote the line in a way that’s outside the studio and be creative in different ways beyond making jewelry. I spend so much time in my Portland studio designing and creating jewelry, that to get together with my team and concept the booth and orient the line for each show is really rewarding.

How did you get started in your business?
I have always loved fashion, and I made that my focus in my fine arts and business studies at the University of Oregon. After graduation I worked as a design assistant at a leather goods company and had the incredible opportunity to start their women’s line. The fashion world seemed so intimidating, but after working there I realized there are so many ways to approach fashion. I found my passion in accessories–less driven by season and gives me the freedom to spend energy on tiny details. To me, details are everything. Jewelry just makes sense to me.

Is this a full-time business for you?
I think I live in my studio ;)

Who’s your biggest fan?
Shams and Goby.

What’s your favorite item that you sell?
My favorite piece rain or shine, day after day is the long Molten Moon necklace. It’s my love.

 

ucu-giveaway

Saturn’s Ring Necklace by Sahlia Jewelry Design

Saturns-Ring

To enter this drawing, tell us about your favorite piece of jewelry in the comments below by December 3rd. Be sure to include your first name and email address so we can let our winners know where to pick up prizes at the UCU Winter Show.

THIS GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED.

Meet the Vendor: Yarnia + Giveaway

Yarnia10

Who are you and what do you do?
I’m Lindsey Ross, and I own Yarnia — the only yarn store where you can design your very own custom yarn blend, and buy it by the pound. You choose the fiber, color, thickness, and amount, and we’ll wind up your custom cone of yarn for you right on the spot — perfect for knitting, crocheting, or weaving! Not only that, but the yarn here is sold not by the skein, nor the hank, but by the pound. Don’t know how much yarn you’ll need for a project? Or maybe you know how many skeins or yards you tend to use for a given project, but don’t know how to translate that to ounces? We’ve got lots of tools to help. Bring in your patterns, your inspirations, and ideas and we’ll help you come up with the right yarn for your project.

Any new exciting news you’d like to share with our readers?
This past June, we moved our shop to a brand new location on Belmont Street — bigger, better, and waaaaay more room for fun house blends, and ingredients that customers can use to design their own yarn. We are loving the new space and feel so lucky to have joined the Belmont neighborhood!

What is your favorite new product for 2014?
We just started making these fantastic new lotion bars for knitters, to help soothe dry and chapped hands from the cold, and from the dryness that can come after hours of working with wool (which many of us are doing around this time of the season).

They’re made from all organic ingredients, and small-batch crafted locally here in Portland, Oregon, and we’ll be bringing a bunch to UCU!

Is this a full-time business for you?
Yes indeed! I have two wonderful employees who help out by running the shop for me 5 days a week (and they’re the ones who you can thank for dreaming up most of the “house blends” we have on hand for you to choose from), so most of my days are spent working on the behind-the-scenes stuff. We’ve been open 7 days a week since this spring and it now feels like a well-oiled machine!

What do your customers love most about your product(s)?
The fact that, by designing your own yarn the way we do it in our shop, they can control every element of their yarn: color, fiber content, weight, amount…there are so many times when you can find that perfect color, but it’s the wrong weight for your project, or vice-versa. At Yarnia, you can dictate all of those elements and come up with exactly what you’re looking for, whether you have a project in mind or just want to go home with some beautiful yarn to inspire you!

ucu-giveaway

Knitted Fingerless Glove Kit

Yarnia4

To enter this drawing, share your favorite place to go in Portland in the comments field below (by December 3rd). Be sure to include your first name and email address so we can let our winners know where to pick up prizes at the UCU Winter Show.

THIS GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED.

Meet the Vendor: Wise Craft Handmade + Giveaway

Leatherrocks

Who are you and what do you do?
I am Blair Stocker, head hand maker of Wise Craft Handmade. I am a quiltmaker, a painter, a quilt pattern creator, and fearless DIY’er of all things that decorate our home. I also published my first book this year, Wise Craft: Turning Thrift Store Finds, Fabric Scraps, and Natural Objects into Stuff You Love (Running Press).

Wise Craft Handmade uses reclaimed materials whenever possible, flawless craftsmanship, and beautiful pieces. I live in Seattle, and work from an all-white studio in our home’s basement. It’s my favorite place to be. You can find me here.

What’s the latest thing you’ve been working on?
I just finished up two new sewing patterns, the Hammerhead Quilt pattern, and the Faux Bois stitched pillow pattern. I am also currently working with a large stack of wool swatches, turning them into pillows and quilts. All this while binge-watching Girls, trying to clean my studio, and drinking coffee.

Any new exciting news you’d like to share with our readers?
I am working on a new book, similar to my first book in the way that I up cycle materials and reclaimed textiles, but this one is focused only on quilts. More details on that soon!

What was your first memory of making something?
My grandmother taught me to knit when I was 4. I only knew one stitch, but it was exhilarating to be able to make things with my hands. I’ve never lost that need to create, or the joy I get from it.

What is your favorite new product for 2014?
Hard to pick one, I’m loving all things made of natural materials this year. Wooden cutting boards, terrariums, indigo dyed textiles,

How far will you be traveling to come to UCU?
From North Seattle, so not far! How lucky am I?

What do you love most about craft show vending?
This is my first year, but I am looking forward to meeting the public and talking with them, getting feedback. As an attendee of UCU every year, I love the buzz in the venue, it’s very inspiring to me!

How did you get started in your business?
My business started as an offshoot of the blog I’ve been writing since 2005, Wise Craft. I began to find my aesthetic and style, and grew from there.

Is this a full-time business for you?
Yes.

Where do you see your business in 3 years?
I would like to be selling more products, have another book published (and hopefully working on another one), and continuing to teach my craft to others in all sorts of ways.

Who’s your biggest fan?
I think it’s my family. My husband and kids have been front row center to all the hustling I’ve been doing over the past few years. They know its hard work, and they know that I’m doing what I love.

What’s something you’ve learned through running your business in the past 12 months?
I set personal deadlines for myself and stick to them. Working for myself, I realize there isn’t always somebody pushing me to get something done, or waiting for what I’m working on, so it’s up to me to keep my own momentum and hold myself accountable.

What’s your favorite item that you sell?
I will be offering leather covered rocks at UCU (above pic). I’ve made these for years and I adore them! They are useful (paperweights, desk objects…), tactile (they develop a beautiful patina with age and handling), beautiful. Both men and women love them.

What do your customers love most about your product(s)?
They seem to respond to my quirky color combinations and bright color palette. I want my products to feel happy and inspiring, and I think they feel exactly that.

What’s the best experience you’ve ever had with one of your customers?
One customer was purchasing my book and said “Whenever I’m feeling creatively stuck and look at your Instagram feed”. I thought that was such a nice thing to say! I’ve also had first time quilters purchase a quilt pattern from me and told me it was the tipping point for them, that they finally made their first quilt with my pattern. These kind of comments make it all worth it!

ucu-giveaway

A copy of Blair’s new book!

Wise-Craft-front-panel

To enter this drawing, share your favorite thrift store find or most beloved repurposed item in the comments below by December 3rd. Be sure to include your first name and email address so we can let our winners know where to pick up prizes at the UCU Winter Show.

THIS GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED.

Meet the Vendor: Frankie & Coco PDX

MG_4125Who are you and what do you do?
Hello! My name is Maya Mori and I am the owner of Frankie & Coco PDX, a design studio in Portland, Oregon. I make modern, beautiful and functional bags, accessories & housewares. I love color, pattern, texture and vintage elements.

What’s the latest thing you’ve been working on?
I am buried in pillows right now! I love creating interesting color combinations and using vintage & modern textiles to create unique pieces for the home.

What do you love most about craft show vending?
I love connecting with my customers, hearing their feedback and seeing their reactions in person. Each and every item is handmade by me and it is truly special to actually meet the person who chooses it.

Is this a full-time business for you?
Yes, and then some. The business has grown so quickly and I am excited for what the future holds.

Who’s your biggest fan?
My biggest fans are my family. They are always so proud of me and inspire me daily to live my dreams. Lucky me!

What do your customers love most about your product(s)?
I think our customers really love my creative use of color & pattern, mixed with functionality. As a parent, I want to make beautiful products that reflect a simple, easy life.

P1140265

Meet the Vendor: Irene Akio + Giveaway

photo-2-8

Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Irene and I make greeting cards and prints from my artwork.  You can find me here.

What is your favorite new product for 2014?
My corn card! I absolutely love painting animals, but wanted to try branching out a bit more so worked on a couple different styles this last summer. It was fun to look at something I’ve eaten my whole life in a new light – seeing how each kernel has a slightly different shape and the various textures of the husk and silk of the corn. This year I’d love to give away a set of six corn cards. See giveaway below.

How far will you be traveling to come to UCU?
I’ll only be traveling 15 minutes. I’ve lived in Seattle for over 10 years and felt at home the first time I set foot in the city.

How did you get started in your business?
I had an incredible art teacher in high school, but stopped drawing for over a decade. When I picked up the brush again, a friend saw my artwork and asked me if I’d be interested in illustrating a kid’s book about Tokyo. I didn’t have a lot of confidence that I could pull the project off, but gave it a shot. The book was published back in 2010 and once it was done I didn’t want to stop painting. I have always been a big fan of greeting cards, so thought I’d give this a try. Now I can’t imagine not having drawing and painting as a part of my regular life.

Is this a full-time business for you?
This has always been a part-time gig for me, but just this last summer I have been making a push to grow the business a bit. I’ve recently added my cards to stores in Texas, Wyoming, Michigan and several in the northwest and hope to keep growing in the next year!

What’s something you’ve learned through running your business in the past 12 months?
Sometimes you should push yourself to a higher standard, and sometimes you need to accept less than perfect if you want to keep moving forward.

ucu-giveaway

 A Set of Six Irene Akio Cord Cards

photo-1-7

To enter this drawing, share your why you love sending or receiving handwritten cards by December 3rd. Be sure to include your first name and email address so we can let our winners know where to pick up prizes at the UCU Winter Show.

THIS GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED.

Meet the Vendor: Three Bad Seed + Giveaway

ucu-giveaway

Three Bad Seed Raccoon Pillow

Processed with VSCOcam with t1 preset

Three Bad Seeds was founded in 2009 by Amanda Weiss with the help of her husband Joshua and Marley, their daughter. Marley became interested in creating her own animals and the family began small projects based on original drawings created by each family member. Amanda’s doodles became more prolific and her handiwork began to garner attention. While living in South Carolina, Amanda took advantage of an opportunity to work with amazing wool fibers cast off to the thrift store dollar rack. She created a small collection to display at local markets and Three Bad Seeds was born.

The family currently resides in the Pacific Northwest where Amanda keeps a studio in downtown Olympia, Washington. She is able to source THE most amazing wool from a nearby Pendleton Woolen Mill to incorporate quality, US made woolens into her work.

To enter a drawing for a TBS Raccoon pillow, share your favorite UCU memory in the comments below by December 3rd. Be sure to include your first name and email address so we can let our winners know where to pick up prizes at the UCU Winter Show.

THIS GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED.

1 2 3 15