I’ve known artist Lisa Congdon for a million years, well not really but because internet years are like dog years, my knowing her since 2005 feels like forever. I first met her when she was still working as a Director of Program Development at a San Francisco non-profit education consulting organization and not yet a full-time artist as she is now. Back then, she was blogging under the name A Bird in the Hand to share her creative process and thoughts about everyday life, the work she created after work and on the weekends (pillows, collages, paintings, etc.) and to connect with other creative women (read an interview that I had with Lisa in 2006 here). Like most of us who took a leap of faith to leave our comfortable careers behind, I was cheering on Lisa as I watched her make that big leap and I’ve been cheering ever since.
I’ve always liked Lisa and have enjoyed watching her career blossom and grow throughout the years. She became a full-time artist and is involved in so many projects these days that I can’t keep up with her and I love seeing her talent being appreciated and well, seen everywhere. I’m so happy that she now has a book that has been published my Canadian independent publisher Janine Vangool of UPPERCASE called A Collection a Day. I was wondering when someone was going to be smart enough to approach her to do a book!
Why collections? For those of you unfamiliar with Lisa’s obsession with collections, she has been crazy for collecting random objects for years now – since childhood really, and she even started a blog dedicated to them with photos that span one full year where she shared her collections one by one in many interesting compositions. Her goal was to give herself a creative challenge by photographing all of them for the 2010 calendar year and her passion resulted in many online fans who grew to love her bloggy project. Very cool, right? I think so… Each page in her book shows the collections that she shared on this 12 month long blog project and I love seeing it as a book because her collections really shine so much more in print, plus I can flip through it over and over again for inspiration and well, the sheer pleasure that book flipping brings. :)
I love seeing talented people like Lisa who are online connecting with their readers, forming a tribe, and then being recognized by others including publishers who then take their work and publish it in print. So much of what we blog gets lost in the archives — I’m so happy that Lisa’s project didn’t.
I’m proud of you Lisa and congratulations on the new lovely book! xo
You can purchase Lisa’s book here.
(images: holly becker for decor8)
Hello everyone! How are you doing today? I’m going to gush a bit first but then I want to talk to the dreamers out there who want to write a book. But first, this week has been awesome for me because I’m working with Chronicle Books on the Decorate Book Tour for the US and it’s all coming together now! I can’t believe they are sending me on a tour around the states so I’m going to visit as many places as I can in 10 days to meet lots of you! I’m traveling alone and feeling a bit shaky kneed about it but how many times in life does your publisher send you on a book tour!? So I’m going for it with a huge smile, my camera to record the entire adventure, and I can’t wait to meet you guys because it’s going to be so rad to hug so many that I’ve only tweeted and emailed up until now. I also plan to adopt some of you as dinner and lunch pals so I hope you don’t mind. After the official US book tour, I’ll return to the states to be a keynote speaker along with Oprah’s own Cristina Ferrare at The Creative Connection in St. Paul on September 15th (come if you can!) and I’ll be doing a book signing there on the 16th as well so if you can’t catch me on my little book tour this summer then I’ll be back in September in St. Paul!
Once Chronicle has everything carved in stone (we’ve been working on this for months so it feels good to be nearly finished) I will announce the dates on decor8 and also on the Decorate Facebook fan page. And a huge by the way… I’d like to thank all of you for supporting Decorate, making it a Wall Street Journal Bestseller at #2, and for keeping it in the #1 spot since it pre-ordered back in early March on both Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk. I mean, hello! This is some kind of wonderful. I know my publishers are still shaking their heads as I think they knew the book would do well but not “sell-out” well, because it sold out in the US online and the reprints won’t arrive until the beginning of June. It’s also being reprinted in the UK. Insane, right?!?
Decorate – A Wall Street Journal Bestseller at #2 – because of YOU.
So now for the dreamers in the house who want to write… Well first, you have been so supportive of me and as a result, I feel invigorated and so positive — you guys have shown the world that a blogger can go from “just” a blogger to a best selling author thanks to readers who truly care to make that possible. I was told by a friend once that a publisher told her that the readership a blog has wouldn’t translate to book sales. I’ve been told that bloggers who write books can fail miserably and that people who blog may not have the skill to author a book because blogging is so much different from “real” writing. While all of that can be true, I refused to believe it. After all, I’m the girl back in 2005 who was pitching story ideas to shelter magazines about blogging and had them turn me down flat saying, “Blogs will never amount to anything, don’t bother.”
Well it looks like all of us who are blogging, the little engines who could, are the big engines who DID. And that sorta rocks when you think about it. We as the blogging community are out there voicing our opinions, planning events, being invited to big time events, being seen in major publications and on television, getting book deals… I guess the saying is true that, “if you build it they will come.” It’s wonderful to have so much faith in something and to stick through it (in good and in bad times) only to see that the something you invested so much of your energy in actually paid off – and for me and so many of you who are blogging, all of the time and energy we’re spending building so many important connections has paid off – immensely.
I’ve heard some publishers and so many others say discouraging things about bloggers who want to write a “real” book and about the collapsing publishing market in general, that it would have been easy to not bother pursuing my dream to be a published author. Despite the negativity I decided that I would do it anyway because brick walls aren’t always there to stop us but to see how badly we truly want something, right? Plus, I had this feeling in my heart that it was the right direction for me to take and that if I jumped, the net would appear – and that net was you, so my new saying is,
“Jump and then the interNET will appear.”
I believe that like never before. I want you to believe it too.
And the result of going for it… Well, I wrote a book – yes that’s true – but YOU did the most important part, you bought it, are still buying it, and are showing so much support that I wake up each day feeling luckier than the day before. love you guys, thank you for making this whole book thing so worthwhile for me. I’ve had hundreds of blogs write about the book (see here) and 5 star reviews online at various stores, Decorate is being talked about in huge publications from InStyle, Canadian House & Home, Good Housekeeping to Livingetc and and 8 page spread in Red magazine (shown above).
Another unexpected perk, since the end of last year my daily readership has swelled to over 45,000 unique visitors each day. I cannot believe how many people are finding me through word-of-mouth online thanks to all of you in addition to the help of my fabulous publishers Jacqui Small/Aurum Press, Chronicle Books and Murdoch Books for sharing my book in advance at the big fairs and book events in New York and London. I’m so happy to welcome new readers to decor8.
Decorate is the most exciting thing I’ve ever done in my life, outside of getting married, so thank you all for giving me some pretty amazing moments and for accepting my gift to you who follow decor8 as loyally as you despite the billions of other things you have to see and do online these days. Decorate is a gift from me that you can hold and enjoy for years to come and since you’ve accepted it with such enthusiasm and support then I’m ready to not only go out there and meet you guys but I think I’ll continue to write and blog and think of even new things to get involved in to inspire and encourage you — because I love knowing that something I’ve done is out there making a difference, making you feel inspired and making you feel part of this community of design blogging because you are – we are all a part of it and it’s so, so special. I will forever remember this “blog era” as some of the best days of my life.
So in the end, I want you to believe in your dreams because sometimes good stuff can and does happen and you often have to just believe in your dream and act on it and see what results. Sure, it’s a risk but I believe that the greater risk is to not try at all and to never know if your dream could have come true.
What do you think?
I’ll be back in a moment with a gorgeous home with a country modern touch, so stay tuned..
[images: holly becker (top), wsj (middle), red magazine (bottom).]
Hello and happy Friday! Earlier today I posted a book review on Real Simple for Pulled, A Catalog of Screen Printing by Mike Perry so feel free to hop over there and read it… but this post isn’t a repeat of that, rather it’s to meant to share 5 of the 40+ artists in Perry’s book that I really liked. We each have our own definition of what beauty is so something I love may not be your personal favorite but at least check these creative folks out below and see what you think. In fact, I’d love to really see what you think – so if any of these artists click with you, let me know and tell me why. Okay, let’s get started! :)
First up is Ashkahn Shahparnia – his work is bold, colorful and awesome and I love his shop. And yes, that is an illustration of blogger Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan who founded the web’s first, largest and most popular design blog, Apartment Therapy that all other design bloggers sorta laud as the god of blogging. That snazzy illustration appeared in ReadyMade magazine who just so happens to always have the best illustrations, don’t you think?
Next is Brooklyn’s own Jim Datz, I love his city posters. Great stuff. The London one is funny, spiffy, and I like the colors. I also love the little black cab with the man riding in the back reading his newspaper (an actual newspaper, remember those?) with his giant mustache. I’m happy to see the mouth of the cab driver completely shut because most cabbies I’ve had in the past several months wouldn’t stop talking about god, politics, religion and terrorism. Yeah, I always seem to get the best cab drivers (not). At least this little guy with the fancy stache can read his paper in peace.
Next up is Andrew Holder and really, what’s not to love about his work? So strong and clean. Peacocks, bear, deer, raindrops, pine trees. He does them all so very well and his color mixes are phenomenal. Swoon.
And last, but not least because Perry’s book has tons more artists to browse, is Hannah Waldron. She has a bigcartel store too. I like her work because it’s intricate while feeling casual and that’s hard to pull off. I can’t explain what it is but I love the Rain Day poster. It’s sweet but I’m not really sure what it’s all about. When I first saw it I thought it was like another way to say Sick Day, like a Rain Day would be a day when you are just blue and not really ill, sorta depressed and sad and needing a warm bed, a hug and a vodka martini. :) I really don’t know what a Rain Day is, do you? But I like the swirly letters, the color, the spacing and just the vibe those two little words put off.
Also in this book is the work of Steven Harrington (not shown above) who I think is pretty darn special. I own a limited edition print of his, two actually, and really like the colors and shapes he uses. I love the work he did for Target – I’m so inspired by this video. Can you imagine being an artist and seeing your work displayed like that?
Do you have any favorites from the PULLED book?
(images: linked to their sources above.)
When Anke and Sanne, two stylists and a photographers from The Netherlands, wrote to me about StyleCookie I knew I had to share their new e-zine with you. They launched StyleCookie (yes it is also one word, it is considered trendy in the Netherlands and Germany to combine two English words into one it seems) as an inspiring space online in the form of an e-zine and a blog about decoration and inspiring products for the home that changes biweekly.
Their latest theme is Paper, in Dutch it’s called “Papier en Vliegwerk”. Since mother’s day is coming up, they created a delightful mother and daughter theme woven into their 8 pages to inspire women everywhere. They have lots of products made from paper and also some DIY decoration ideas to make at home. Here are some images that Anke and Sanne sent to me to share on decor8, I hope that you feel inspired after seeing them and that you check out their site for more beautiful things to feast on.
Don’t you just love the Dutch! I do, I’m such a fan of everything they do with interiors – products, displays, books, magazines, all of it is amazing. I’m constantly in awe by their eye and talent for thinking out of the box. I remember when I attended Dutch Design Week in 2006 on assignment for Domino magazine, it was my first time at the Design Academy Eindhoven and I was completely blown away by the talent. I remember walking through the exhibit halls looking at the products each student designed feeling absolutely stunned by everything. I remember talking to a student who said that the current goal of young Dutch designers was to reinterpret “grandmother’s things” into modern wares for modern times without losing their sense of place and culture. You really can see this as a theme in many designs coming out of The Netherlands and I love it. The nod to history is respectful, but the need to update is vital.
I’ll be back on Monday, so have a lovely weekend friends and meet me back here then for another week of decor8ing fun!
Also, a big thanks to InStyle magazine (US) for the very special mention about me and my new book. I really appreciate the huge press love! :)