The Baseball Back Then Collection
When I create a new collection, it is a process. It's one thing to create one piece of art and poof put it up for sale. It's another to try and create a mood, a setting or in better terms to imagine a space and build towards it. Having designed many, if not hundreds, of kids room since starting my studio, I can't help but envision the reveal. What will the client not just see but feel?
So, I've been working on designing more ingredients to add to a space. While there may seem to be some matchy, matchy going on when you first glance, realize the most people will pick a couple items from a collection and then build from there. Maybe they like a particular fabric for pillows that may go with one piece of art.
So the goal that I've set for myself is to give customers some options. Give them choices that they can incorporate into their existing space or create a whole new one. A piece from Aaron, a homemade craft, a piece from Home Goods, an antique thingy and that one gift from the mother-in-law (you have to display it...ha!). Put them together to create the vibe or feel that's desired for the space.
So, in this latest collection, I first decided on a general idea. I wanted something in my vintage vibe but refreshed with a little modernism or lean towards trend. The elements of the current trend-o-sphere I plucked for this collection are use of a limited color palette, boho vibe watercolor washes, stains, paints, heavier textures, handwritten type lettering, rustic finishes and to no surprise beads and tassels. They are concepts that could work within a modern farmhouse, that mid century minimal pad or a rustic converted warehouse condo.
While I'm excited for all the pieces, there is a concept I was stoked to bring to life. I wanted a piece of wall decor shaped like a baseball home plate. Well, that's not original you say. And of course you are right, it is not. But I wanted a piece that eluded to baseball without being so literal, emblazoned with red baseball stitches and painted white. I'd be one of a million with that old concept. I wanted something a little more wall decor less baseball. So has it, last year I bought the studio the equipment to do some fabric printing. Not screen printing, but actual infusion of ink into fabric. It's called sublimation. I can print out art and imagery and using heat I can transfer it by chemically fusing it with the fabric's fibers. Sounds cool? It is! The image doesn't sit on the fabric it literally becomes the fabric. It won't fade, it won't peel, it won't wash out. Even if you tore the fabric apart you would end up with fibers and thread with the image intact.
By fusing the inspirational phrase - It's always good to be home to the "inspired by trend" heavy texture, open weave linen look fabric, I have the perfect print to staple over my stretcher bar home plate shape. It took a little trial and error to figure out how to wrap and staple the fabric around that shape. To update it, I added some ever popular washed wooden beads, tassel and a burlap twine hanger. I hope you like it. While some little league outfielder may look at it and shrug, a mom, dad or interior designer who wants an updated look on the tried and true baseball room hopefully will enjoy it.
The studio introduced pennants a few years back to complement the wall art I create and they have been welcomed with open arms by our customers. So for this collection I gave a wink to the golden oldie days with a swoosh, a ribbon a non-text thingy ma-bob that acts as a tail off the end of a word. Such a classic Coke thing. Added to that is a handwritten style font that we use to personalize them.
Fabric is a huge part of room design. It often sets the tone for everything else. One builds a nursery or bedroom around the bedding, it's rarely the other way. So, to take the lead on the collection, I created 29 prints and variations for this collection. It explores the baseball theme with classic shapes and patterns but updates them with a limited color palette, modern use of "white space" and yet still has a vintage appeal. While I'm still on the hunt for someone to produce my bedding and home dec ideas directly for my site customers, I maintain a Spoonflower.com shop to vend my patterns and sell some of their finished goods with my designs. I'm a stickler for quality and the accuracy of the reproduction of my imagery. Spoonflower does a great job with the printing and offers a wide variety of fabrics. They offer finished goods like pillows, tablecloths, duvets and such with my designs on them. It's a win, win for now until I have my own produced. I can see so many combinations of the pieces that would make wonderful crib or boys room bedding.
Pushing myself out of the usual size ratio I work within on my paintings, I decided to go with a tall and skinny version of a baseball player. His popped collar, wooden bat and probably not very comfortable heavyweight fabric uniform are definitely vintage, but I made it more modern by keeping it painterly, in a limited color range and as minimalist as portraiture can be. I guess it's still portraiture sans face or is it torsotraiture ? Ha!
What would my baseball collections be without a new scoreboard? I realized the other day that it's been almost 18 years since Pottery Barn Kids launched a line with my very first scoreboard. As far as I was told, it was the first painted depiction of a scoreboard anyone had offered in the retail catalog industry. Now, years later with Pinterest, Etsy, DIY'ers and knock off bloggers, they're a little more common <eye roll>. I spot the occasional too close for common sense copycat who forgets to change the scores. What are the odds that our games had the very same scores...<double eye roll>. Ha! Well, flattery being what it's not, all's good. I'll just keep painting more until I don't. In this version, I wanted the charms of what a scoreboard might look like back in the early mid 1900's. I envisioned it painted on some old fence in a dirt field where rag tag leagues played on the big nights and broom handle and homemade ball wielding children filled in the gaps.
As I write this and think about baseball nostalgia, I would love a trip to yesteryear with a little box of Cracker Jack to indulge in. It used to be sold in little cardboard boxes that you immediately tore open to find a prize. Prize first, eat second. That sweet popped corn and caramel smell fills my mind. I wonder if I should ever include tasty treats or confections in a collection? Heck, a Cracker Jack scented candle would suffice, I'm hungry...ha!
In closing, I'd love to think that the market will continue to steer me. That I'll continue exploring new things, trying new techniques all for the sake of expressing my creativity. Please know that I couldn't do it without the fans of my work. Without you it would be a failed business venture obviously, but it's the comments, the sharing, the photos you provide that keep me inspired. Feel free to offer suggestions, critiques, comments and ideas. Please continue to share, post, Pin and tag with wild abandon, it truly does help my and other small businesses. Thanks for reading. - Aaron
I'm happy to announce that I'm a participant in Portland's Rebuilding Center's 2020 inaugural Salvage Showdown. My furniture piece is available for purchase by chance of raffle, with funds helping support the non-profits Constructing Hope and the RBC. Please consider voting for my piece by purchasing a raffle ticket. The project piece receiving the most raffle ticket purchases will be presented with their SCRAPPY award and bragging rights.
IFirst, THE BUILD:
During the Salvage Showdown, up to 8 individuals or teams will compete to build the most interesting/beautiful/creative/weird piece of furniture using only reclaimed materials from the ReBuilding Center. Builders work in their own spaces over the course of one month. Anything (really, anything) is possible!
Then, THE JUDGING:
Finished items will be on display in all their glory from October 17-22 at the ReBuilding Center and posted across our social feeds, where customers and supporters will vote for the winning salvage creation and purchase raffle tickets for a chance to win one of the finished pieces.
Finally, THE WINNERS:
On October 22, the ReBuilding Center will host a live Zoom event where all pieces will be raffled off to eight lucky winners, and the winning creation will be revealed! The winning team will receive The Scrappy, a custom, trophy hand-built by ReBuilding Center staff and guaranteed to be unique.
In recognizing the value of community partnerships, ReBuilding Center will donate 50% of the raffle proceeds to our friends at Constructing Hope to support their mission and participants!
The RBC accepted 7 builders, DIYers, artists, designers, and dreamers as Builders in the Salvage Showdown!
We had until October 16th to create a beautiful/weird/unique/unlikely piece of furniture that is at least three feet long in any dimension (three feet tall, wide, or deep).
The finished pieces will be showcased in the RBC store for one week and ranked by community vote. The builder of the winning piece will receive The Scrappy, a custom trophy hand-built by ReBuilding Center staff. Each piece will be raffled off to a lucky winner and the ReBuilding Center will donate half of the proceeds to our friends at Constructing Hope. Final pieces will be displayed in store and online for ticket purchasing starting October 17th.
Raffle Ticket Pricing
1 @ $15
2 @ $30
3 @ $40 (save $5!)
4 @ $55
5 @ $65 (save $10!)
6 @ $80
7 @ $95
8 @ $100 (save $20!)
THE OTHER ARTISAN'S ENTRIES
Please show my fellow builders some love for their kind donation of their time and skills. It's amazing how all of us came up with such different concepts all from the RBC's selection of reclaimed materials.
WOODEN TOP KITCHEN CART - Builder: Adam Zeek | Instagram | Website
HANGING SHELF - Builder: Ashley Krollenbrock | Instagram
LEANING DESK AND SHELF - Builder: Dana Luukko | Instagram
PLANT STAND WITH LIGHT - Builder: Daniel Goers | Instagram | Website
TABLE WITH VASES - Builders: Team Mayest | Instagram | Website
KITCHEN CART WITH DRAWERS - Builders: Team True North | Instagram | Website
For more information about the RBC please visit their website: RBC or drop by their retail location at 3625 N Mississippi Ave, Portland, OR 97227
Auction Update - I'm happy and delighted to announce that my piece won with the most votes. Thanks you RBC and my fellow artists for a great time in repurpose land!
We're happy to introduce the Bright Collection of felt pennants. We make them, here in the studio, using a combination of our print on felt technology and precision laser cutting techniques. The Bright series has three stock designs and one that you can customize.
The collection features- "HELLO SUNSHINE" which is made from raised cut felt letters on a cream felt background. The "GOLDEN" pennant is made using our print of fabric technology to feature a happy sunshine and cut felt letters. The "HELLO GORGEOUS" pennant is printed with a beachy skyline with palm trees and an overlay of printed felt that's precision cut. The "SUMMER" piece is available as show or you can visit our custom pennant page to create your own using the same curvy script font. Design your own CUSTOM PENNANT.
My client sheepishly made what she thought was a strange request. "Can we have animal heads for the store mannequins?", adding that she loved it when the big department stores did that for Christmas. Well, of course I said yes. That discussion lead to the idea of a Wonderland, minus Alice and all the trappings of red hearts, cards and royalty. It would be a Spring garden party.
Within the Spring soiree, I designed and created some "Drink Me" potion filled bottles, an "Eat Me" faux cake and arranged it all among a scattering of staked chairs. All of the chairs, including the upholstery were painted with a tried and true homemade chalk paint. One dry, a glaze of pastel color washed over the upholstery to give it a fresh Spring feel. Continued.....
As part of my new wall art and decor collection entitled Blitz, I thought I'd include a do-it-yourself tutorial and shopping list for my pipe goal post.
Print yourself off a shopping list and head to the hardware store. While I show it in black pipe, you can also hunt down galvanized and copper plated, if you prefer a different look. Download below.
Announcing the Blitz Collection! Color is king, in this new series for the football enthusiast. I wanted to create some pieces that wandered out of the traditional football color palette and introduced more color. Featuring varied colors of football balls and some colorful accessories, these pieces would be a great add to a more modern home and yet, with the rustic leanings, they would also be terrific in a farmhouse or more vintage styled space.
What is DMCA? Simply, internet retailers and sites that host products, posts and distributes information gleaned from the internet must provide a way to have the information removed if it is infringed upon. This process, if adhered to by the site keeps them safe from lawsuits for infringement. In most cases reporting means filling out a form that asks you to identify the material infringing and provide verification you have a right to report it. Again, as this buffers them from lawsuits, they are usually quick and efficient in removing the infringing material. This not only applies to sites, it applies to hosting companies that "host" sites that infringe. Meaning, if xyz retailer sells infringed goods, and you can not get them to stop, you may be able to file a DMCA takedown notice with their hosting company ie.. HostGator, GoDaddy, Ipage, Shopify etc. You can also report any links that Google provides in search results, image results or imagery within Youtube and have that taken down. Meaning, if xyz retailer shows up selling infringed goods in Google shopping and there's a photo on Google image of it, you can have those taken down too by reporting to Google.
Special note: If you are dealing with a foreign company infringement, many countries do not comply with US copyright law but you can work fairly effectively in tamping down their US sales by reporting the http links of which your property appears on social media, search platforms or sites that are located in countries that do comply with US copyright.
I am not a lawyer and this information is being shared purely from my experiences as an artist that has been infringed upon often.
More on DMCA-
I painted my first scoreboard back in 2004. It was picked up by Pottery Barn Kids shortly there after, as the first they ever offered. Since then, with the launch of Etsy in 2005 and Pinterest in 2010, the idea has been uh-hum copied, re-copied, butchered and even bettered. So every once in awhile I like to bust out a new one, just to stir up the mix and see what comes about. Instead of one, this year I decided to launch several.
If you would like to see all of my scoreboards you can see them HERE.
Who doesn't love a good tropical vibe? My latest installation for my client Willows, in Vancouver Wa. was a bohemian tropical trim.
My client and their customers enjoyed the live plants, making them well worth the trip. You see, Willows is in Vancouver, Washington just across the river from my home base Portland, Oregon. Neither of these cities can play host to tropical plants, it's far too cold in the winter. You don't really see great quality plants at the big box stores, so I needed to come up with some other option.
So I hit the nurseries in Phoenix, Arizona and Palm Springs, California with a U-haul. I partnered the trip up with some other business. I rented a truck and began my quest for tropical boho beauties.
I'm an avid gardener and a bit of a tropical denial plant enthusiast. I'm my Portland garden, I've gathered as many tropical looking plants as the garden could hold. Many of them are knocked back severely if we happen to have an extreme winter but otherwise bounce back from our more mild ones. Anyway, I've learned a lot about tropicals and selected varieties for the store that would endure the intense window light and the drier humidity of a store environment. I also incorporated timber bamboo into the displays. As a matter of fact, the timber bamboo is from my garden. After a decade plus of growing freely, there were some great 3 and 4 inch diameter pieces to harvest.
The addition of macrame added a bohemian charm to the displays. There are a ton of great macrame tutorials online. I found them easy enough to follow and I think I came up with some simple yet fun pieces. The lanterns were from different sources. They were originally table top lanterns with glass votives to hold candles. I tore out the inner workings and nailed in some plywood bases to hold a lamp socket. The 10 ft. wiring follows the weavings and turns them into hanging lanterns.
The tropicals were planted in various pots and planters. To accentuate the curated tropical theme and throw in a bit of on-trend garden love, I created various pot stands from a white oak and teak. They smelt so good when I made them. There's nothing better then the scent of wood shavings.
It was amazing how much the plants grew during the 3 month display. The store was looking so lush and event had the fragrance of the tropics. You see, I also dangled a real pineapple in a macrame hanger. The fruit gave off the perfect aroma.
In one of the displays I also included a baby pineapple. It was a great novelty to have a growing pineapple in a Northwest store. It continued to thrive but didn't grow to more than 3 inches wide or so before it started to ripen on the "vine".
The boho tropical themed summer display was a hit. My client loved it and the customers were surprised and delighted.
If your visuals need some help or you need some fresh ideas, I'm available for consultations and/or I can provide you information on my visual display services. Contact Info
You know how you can end up going down the Google rabbit hole? Well, I was doing research for client and somehow ended up looking at old abandoned buildings. One struck me, it was a Eastern European stadium. It was an old Olympic training site. Since its closure graffiti artists have taken up residence to cover the concrete with their art. The loose illustrative style and the bold images in monochrome inspired me. Announcing the Rough Game Series a collection of sports imagery layered upon chalky white, rendered in black, white and shades of gray.
The 13 image collection offers baseball, basketball, football, soccer, lacrosse, hockey and golf as subjects as well as a multi sport scoreboard, a trophy piece and some motivational posters. Presented in framed, poster and canvas options, they would make great statements in a gallery wall type presentation or showcased as individual nods to a sport. To round out the collection, I've also included some studio made decor such as the personalized acrylic name plaque and the black canvas pillow.
Riffing off of the art collection, I've created a fabric series as well. It is available from my Spoonflower.com fabric shop. With their array of fabric choices, the patterns would be a great coordinate to the art as bedding and pillows.
I hope you enjoy the collection. Your interest in my art is appreciated and so are all the likes, shares, pins and comments!
Rough Game Sports CollectionTHe Rough Game Sports collection
I have several of the branded blade cutters and haven't really got to used to using them. Their software is a bit clunky for me. I recently bought a Glowforge laser and decided to give it a go cutting paper. The verdict is in, it did a wonderful job. Not only did it cut the sheets with precision, I was able to stack and cut multiple sheets at a time. What a time saver! Anyway, this isn't a commercial for laser cutting, nor is this a sponsored post.
The laser uses SVG files just like the blade cutting machines. I did have to play with the settings to prevent too much scald on the papers edges. There's a little, but I don't mind it, it seems to help define the shapes.
The project was a window and store display. I wanted to do something a bit bolder as large florals are all the trend. Here I painted the backdrop with florals and featured one wreath. Down below I placed galvanized orbs that I made from scratch using 3/4 light duty galvanized strapping and a spot welder.
For the wreaths I chose clematis flowers. They're dimensional and easily to recognize.
In another window I created a backdrop by stapling ombre dyed coffee filters. You can use Rit dye in different dilutions to achieve the effect.
More coffee filters were hung from fish line to dangle from the store's rustic reclaimed wood tree.
Galvanized tubs become hanging planters filled with cut paper flowers. Galvanized orbs round out the display. (Pardon the photo bomber, I tried waiting until she turned away, but she was probably curious what I was doing...ha!)
Glowforge Referral Program
If you're intrigued by the Glowforge let me know. They have a referral program and I might be able to save you some $$$.
I love vintage ornaments and Christmas decor. The patina of time just adds something special to them whether its a bit of fading, tinge of tarnish or the flattening of colors into a mellowed palette. Sadly, the good stuff is expensive, fragile and gasp, you better not re-craft it into anything but its original purpose. So, using some techniques I've developed over the years, during my stints as a department store visual designer, I cheat and make my own "vintage" using less than the best. I'll use dollar store decorations.
To recreate the vintage look we have to either create the illusion of age or deconstruct the finish somehow. Here are some simple ways to do it.
1) mimic age using pigmented paste wax
Using a soft lint free rag rub on a coat of pigmented paste wax. The wax I use is Howard's in a dark oak color. The wax dulls the mylar like finish and alters the colors to more of an antique hue. Fake silver becomes more champagne and gold becomes more brassy. The snow like mylar glitter starts to resemble glass and Mica glitter which was used in the early 1900's. The paste wax can be buffed once it is dry and removed selectively with either steel wool or a scotch brite pad. Notice on the mylar plastic tinsel tree and wreath how the paste wax makes the tinsel look like the old silver and tin used in days gone by. I love it.
Paste wax is flammable and contains petroleum distillates. Keep away from children, flame and heat sources until cured and always wear protective gloves and provide for fresh air ventilation.
2) Distress the finishes using steel wool
3) Use Rub-n-buff to mimic glass or metal
4) distress using fingernail polish Remover
Fingernail polish remover is flammable and contains petroleum distillates. Keep away from children, flame and heat sources until cured and always wear protective gloves and provide for fresh air ventilation. It may also dissolve and soften some plastics. Please test an inconspicuous area first if you are experimenting.
Using a combination of the steps above, I distressed a bunch of ornaments in a variety of sizes. Most of them I bought from the Dollar Store, Target, Michaels and Wallyworld aka Walmart. Keep an eye out for heavy discounting as the season moves on and start working on next years big wreath or faux vintage assemblage. Using the ornaments from this post, here's what I created. Share with me your newly vintage ornaments over on Facebook or Instagram or drop a comment or questions below. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from me to you!
Halloween is probably my favorite holiday when it comes to decor. As an experienced prop maker, I want to give kudos to some outstanding haunters of Halloween. You can see these top 5 and all of my frightening picks in my Pinterest board "Embellished Halloween"
#1 Make up tutorials by madeyewlook
Seriously talented make-up FX artist Lex Fleming stuns with her library of tutorials.
#2 Deliciously deadly poison apples
Over on Wannabite Nate takes you through the steps to create these near black beauties.
#3 ghosts by christopher mckenney
Photographer turned Halloween illusionist Christopher McKenney captures the creepy. Learn more about McKenney here or visit his Flickr to dig (get it) deeper.
One of Martha Stewarts creative monsters offers up a DIY about casting hands. Having created cast props, I do warn you it's messy but worth it's weight in ghouls.
#5 creep the lights on for us
While the first photo is what captivated me, I couldn't find the source...broken link pinners, bad form! But, I did find a similar look DIY from House of Dewberry, I guess Dewberry do good.
For more haunted hits check out my Pinterest Board, it's to die for (get it)?
Please visit my Spoonflower shop and explore the latest fabric designs I've added. The latest are yardage that coordinates with my superhero line of wall art. The fabrics are perfect for bedding, upholstery and crafts. You can also buy finished good from Spoonflowers' sister site Roostery. There you will find sheet goods, pillows, accessories and home decor all available in the fabrics I've designed.
Faced with an awkward second story rooftop patio that had no practical purpose, my client hit me up with an idea. "Can you build a fairy garden for my daughter?" He asked. Then the cementitious siding, synthetic decking clad box mulled through my mind.
It was a winning idea once it merged with their young daughters wish for a fairy garden and a new dog house for her puppy.
Being a bit of a plant geek, I had fun incorporating some of my favorites and offering lots of texture and color play. For my fellow geeks you'll spot Aspidistra, Clerodendron, Echium, Persicaria Red Dragon, gigantic Ornamental Rhubarb and some annual Musque De Provence pumpkin. Most of the plantings are perennial and winter hardy, although I did mix in some annuals for instant color gratification.
Welcome to my Embellishments Journal, it's a new feature. I will be posting about some of our projects, sharing pictures and interesting things. Chime in, ask questions and keep your arms and hands inside the ride until it comes to a complete stop. -Aaron
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