Tuesday, November 6, 2012

'Tis the season! (for snowflakes)

My one claim to fame in this world is that I can cut paper snowflakes better than anyone I know. Please don't prove me wrong, I'd be devastated. Just kidding! Although I do owe some of this talent to my father, who perfected his skills while working nights in peds icu and then passed on the tradition on to his children. So, thanks dad!

Last year I made a little book of snowflake patterns, which you can find on my etsy. This year I also added printable PDF versions of them if you want to try your hand at these guys for cheap.

I know it's just about snowflake season because my snowflakes have made it into 2 pretty snowflake treasuries on etsy in the last 2 days. Aren't they lovely?

number one

number two

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


Exciting news from the studio (also known as my apartment) - I gained a new helper!

Meet Laszlo, a tiny ball of fur and crazy. This is kind of big deal, I may have been known to be a bit of a cat disliker in my past.

And he is never far away when I have work to do. I've got some super exciting new projects coming soon, and Laszlo is doing an excellent job of quality control. So be excited!


Being quality control apparently gets pretty boring. 

If you don't think cats belong on every blog, take that up with MelissaPeterson. Just look at that face! He's a keeper.

A Garden Wedding

Jon and Christine's wedding took place at the Garfield Park Conservatory, Chicago's semi secret botanical paradise. They were a really fun couple to work with, we had a lot of back forth with great suggestions from both sides. We collaborated on something that neither one of us would have come up with on our own, and ended up with beautiful invitations that everyone is super happy with!

Invite detail - hand drawn type


RSVP (super pretty Luxe Cream paper from PaperSource)

Expect to see these flowers again. And the vines - in a different project.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

A Farm Wedding

This was for a wedding at farm that housed (among other things) a kookaburra and a bobcat. They got a little shout out on the rsvp, because who else gets to claim that? I was super excited when the bride and groom asked me to design these, they were very open to ideas and we have similar styles so I got to go a little crazy and design a wedding invitation suite entirely with hand drawn custom type. LOVE.

How awesome are those vintage stamps??
 I can't take credit for that one, but i have the guy's name if you're interested!

Cannot get over this lovely combination of color and texture!

calendar card/rsvp info


dessert rsvp

type detail

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A Texas Wedding

It's time to get documenting that pile of wedding invites growing on my desk. The first one: Thomas and Katie's lovely rustic texas wedding on a budget. Simple, elegant typography and a few hand drawn details printed on Paper Source's chartreuse paper with paper bag envelopes. The RSVP was a website printed on the back. Total printing and trimming costs for 100 invites? $11. win!

I had a lot of fun with these, and I love that printing in gray scale makes printing costs so much cheaper. I strongly believe that you can have a beautiful, personal and well designed wedding for a lot less then average $25,000 that americans spend on weddings. It's a crazy industry, and I love that the DIY etsy crowd is helping make it affordable, way prettier, more personal, and helping independent crafters. seriously, what could be better!

ampersand and corner details drawn with my wacom tablet.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

my apologies. and hand drawn typography.

Hello friends!

It has been WAY too long since we last chatted. (Sorry Aunt Ruth!) Believe it or not, this has been a productive summer for me, and I do have things to show for it. I'll finally be sharing those with you over the next few posts. I have a few new projects that I'm really excited about too, so stay tuned!

To start, here is a save the date for a wedding coming up in december. They sent me the photobooth pictures and gave me free range in the design department. I had so much fun working on them! I'm in love with the pictures, the couple took them 10 years apart, and they look fantastic in both.

So here it is:


Everything (other than the photos) is hand drawn. It's a combination of wacom drawing, and paper and pencil drawing - scanned and cleaned up. I'm really happy with them, and I'm glad I had such great material to work with! Their invitations are up next on the to-do list, and I'm excited to see where they go!

A few more images before I head out- I like to make my friends pretty typography things for their birthdays, and then take pictures.

Thanks for your patience you guys, I'll be better at keeping you up to date on my making adventures in the coming months!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Objet Petit Ahh...

Pinata Show: Part 2!

A month ago I had the wonderful privilege of participating in the second incarnation of a pinata show curated by Dayton Castlemen and Matthew Dupont. The last show was September 2009, and Abby and I made a pretty sweet donkey for that one.

This year's show was a little less academic, and a little more more smashing things with baseball bats, and it was fantastic!

According to the event information:

Objet Petit Ahh… is a single-evening exhibition and smashing party of artist-created piñata-sculptures.

In what could be the most destructive art exhibition in the history of Chicago, all of the artwork in the show will be obliterated by the show’s closing that evening. Whatever various and sundry contents should spill forth from the piñata sculptures will immediately be considered public property.

It was a busy week, but I promised Dayton a mini pinata, and ended up with a tiny 20-pointed origami-inspired glitter-filled lovely piece of smashable paper mache. Not exactly the easiest thing to make, but it was fun. And the party (at Co-Prosperity Sphere) was even more fun!  30 (ish) pinatas, people swinging baseball bats, free prizes, fantastic people, a little poop throwing, what more could you ask for!?

The inside was coated with gold glitter
and the smashed wreckage looked like little geodes!

The Titanic, made by a Trinity freshmen, Kaleb Dean,
complete with an ice bat!

the aftermath.

And here's some nice video footage someone put together of the evening, check it out!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Steelcase Foundation 2011 Annual Report

Steelcase Foundation 2011 Annual Report: 
Sherrie Wilson, writer. Emily Van Hoff, cut paper art. Rachel Hyde, concept, art direction and design.

I am so excited to be able to share this finished project with all of you!  It was a 2 week whirlwind of x-actos, paper, and not sleeping that culminated in a day long amtrak trip to Michigan for a photo shoot.  It was exhausting, incredibly exciting, and exactly what I want to be doing with my life!

My cousin Rachel from Hyde Creative recently asked me to make some art for the Steelcase Foundation's annual report. The Steelcase Foundation has funded many community enriching organizations over it's 60 years, and this anniversary report looks at a handful of the recipients to see the unique ways they have each served their respective communities.

Here is the concept we came up with:

Each story starts with a single sheet of paper to represent the funding from Steelcase. A series of highly structured cuts and folds reveals an intricate design through shape and shadow to show the ways each organization has taken the funding and used it to make an impact on their communities.  The entire sheet of paper remains intact, leaving no waste just as every bit of the funding is used to it's fullest extent. Although the art is mostly abstract, I worked hard to make sure there was a connection to each story. For example, Nonprofit Central provided free office space and technology to NPOs in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, physically bringing them together and allowing for collaboration and partnerships betweens these nonprofits. That idea of many people coming together for a common goal of rebuilding the city is evident in the art I created for that project, while maintaining an elegance that doesn't hit you over the head with obviousness.

Nonprofit Central

But lets back up a little bit, I didn't get to that piece overnight... it took more like 3 nights!

Here is a sample of my initial 'sketches' that I sent to Rachel so she and the writer could have a better idea of what exactly I was thinking about. To give you an idea of timing, Rachel sent me the general theme on a monday night, we talked about a concept on tuesday morning, and I got these photos to her by 2:00 that afternoon! Not bad, not bad.

For each page, I drew a quarter inch grid on the reverse side and sketched in the design before cutting and scoring the folds. The design changes so much from the sketch phase to the folded phase, so each project required a lot of experimentation and starting over. I still have a giant pile of rejects that I can't bring myself throw out quite yet.

Our deadlines were super fast, we had just 2 weeks.  Those of who know how I work know that the level of detail and perfection I require doesn't come so quickly, it's a good thing I work well under pressure!

working shot, it's on the back cover of the report!

The list:
1 cover page
1 intro page
5 organization story pages
1 11x17 photo page
11 words
1 bar graph

Boys and Girls Club
Gilda's Club

The finished intro spread

Story spread: Degage

world's cutest bar graph.

I absolutely loved working on this project! Thanks so much to Rachel for trusting my skillz, and I hope to be able to continue collaborating on projects like this with many more talented designers in the years to come!

You can see the full report here and here.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Quilts are wonderful

A couple of weeks ago, my dear friend Jaclyn and her husband Matt had a beautiful baby boy, Liam Andrew.

I've never made an actual pieced quilt before, but I thought it would make a great baby gift, so I tried it out. Turns out, it was the worst/best idea ever. It was super fun, but now all I ever want to be doing is quilting. It's so satisfying! You can see your progress as you go and it's pretty every step of the way. It requires some serious perfection, and your perfection pays off in corners that meet perfectly and seams that lay flat. I'm not so much a fan of cutting out the pieces, but I think it might be easier if I had better tools than an x-acto knife, an 18" cork backed metal ruler and a 11"x17" cutting mat.

perfectly baby sized.

I have a decent stash of fabric, and was able to use only fabric I already had.  Maybe it's bigger than a decent sized stash...  I'm super happy with the color and pattern combo!  

Even though I've never quilted before, I decided to just make everything up. Following directions isn't always my favorite thing.  I went with a simple triangle pattern, and the quilting is just a straight machine stitched pattern following the lines of the triangles.  I think the whole process took me about 2 days.

So much fun. Hopefully I'll get to meet the little guy in a few months!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

NPR is my best friend.

When people ask me what my dream job is, my answer is something along the lines of 'cutting things with x-acto knives.'  That's what i've been doing for the last 2 weeks, and I still think it sounds like a great idea. Which is impressive considering that I pretty much haven't left the apartment for these 2 weeks, but npr has been doing a great job keeping me company! This is exactly where I've been, enjoying the unseasonably beautiful weather from the comfort of my studio/bedroom, x-acto-ing and designing like a crazy person:

I've been working on a project with Hyde Creative, and I can't wait to show you our finished results! For now, here's a little taste of the awesome that has been (happily) taking over my life:

I've also been working on 3 wedding invitations, which are all coming together really wonderfully. I'm super excited to see all of them printed, put together and ready to mail. Congrats to the 3 awesome couples!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Have I ever mentioned that I love making things?

And it's not just love, it's also a compulsion. If you've ever attempted to have a conversation with me for longer than like 5 minutes, you know that my hands don't stop moving. Lately I've been channeling that energy into making some really fun pieced fabric and leather necklaces. They involve a lot of tiny pieces and a lot of hand stitching I get to use a variety of tools. And they're pretty. 

The part that takes the longest is picking out and matching fabric. I have a bag full of vintage fabric scraps that I've been able to use, as well as the never ending drawer full of pretty cotton I bought when I worked at Fields Fabrics in high school. They probably look like I threw some random fabric together, but they take me a good 20 minutes, and then I change my mind and start over. I probably should just pick random fabric, the end result would be essentially the same!