Arts + Crafts, Interviews

Meet Melissa Contreras (Axel Honey)

August 17, 2007

So many inspiring, creative women out there! I’m constantly reminded that blogging is the only way I’d know about so many of them. It is via all this web digging that I found out about Melissa Anderson Contreras, also known as Axel Honey, an artist based in Los Angeles. Her work is so colorful, full of whimsy, and very detailed, I felt like I had to get to know her better. She received her BA in Fine Art from UCLA and made a living as a graphic designer for quite some time before pursuing her dream: painting. Yeah Melissa!

Meet Melissa Contreras (Axel Honey) Self portrait, Melissa A. Contreras.

I can see her illustrating children’s books, greeting cards, product packaging, she’s super talented. And it’s clear to me that she found her visual voice, her unique style, because her work is authentic, you can see the passion in her lines and colors. Here’s a little q + a I had with her recently that I think you’ll enjoy, and she exposed me to a few new links, so click around. I kept it short since it’s Friday and I don’t know about you, but I’m in weekend mode!

Meet Melissa Contreras (Axel Honey)
First Melissa, can you tell us what you do for a living? And where do you live?

Melissa: I’m an artist, currently not making much of a living but I have done: catalog layout, product packaging, tee-shirt graphics. I live in Fresno, as of August 1, quite a change from Los Angeles, but it is my hometown and I am near my family and more affordable real estate.

Where do you sell your work?

Melissa: Currently I have a little show up at The Kids Are Alright, a store in Echo Park (Los Angeles). I also have a piece hanging at Thinkspace Gallery (Los Angeles) and The Hive Gallery (Los Angeles). I have work for sale online at Rising Artist Series as well as a few other places. I have my art on products at My Favorite Mirror and I am on of the artists available for web design at Aeolidia Web Design.

Meet Melissa Contreras (Axel Honey)
I guess I should have asked this first, what do you sell? :)

Melissa: Paintings, mooshees and cooshees (small hand painted sculptures) and other
crafty things.

Meet Melissa Contreras (Axel Honey)
What inspires your designs?

Melissa: Everything. I love folk art, nature, good design and beauty in unexpected places.

I notice lots of American Indians and nature in your work, why?

Melissa: They embody a lot of things I embrace: rich culture, relationship with the environment, an appreciation of nature, geometric patterns, feathers. A romantic view in a world that is becoming homogenized and man made. Also, I grew up in Central California. It is probably the closest to a true American culture that I have been
exposed to.

Describe the type of client that shops with you?

Melissa: People who appreciate handmade and enjoy whimsy.

Meet Melissa Contreras (Axel Honey)
What are the store display photos all about over on your Flickr page, did you design the window? Or? I love seeing artists commissioned to do window displays!

Melissa: I created the window display for my solo show, Sickly Sweet, at Black
on Sawtelle in June. The characters are modeled after these little sculpted ornaments I make, that are about 4″ tall. I tried to make it look like one of my paintings in 3D. The people that ran the series are using it again at Atmosphere Boutique on Vermont in Los Angeles. I installed it a little differently to fit their windows better. Here is the original setup (below).

Meet Melissa Contreras (Axel Honey)
Thank you Melissa, so nice to meet you and view your work! And if you have time and would like to learn more about Melissa, click on over to im right your wrong.

(images from melissa contreras)

Arts + Crafts, Etsy Faves, Inspiration, Small Business

Etsy Poster Swoon

August 17, 2007

Annie from Curbside Treasure told me about this fun contest that Etsy had, she said that they asked etsy members to create posters featuring items found on the website. I had no clue! I missed the boat on this one… Anyway, they selected 60 winners and will use them as large posters and as hand outs at craft fairs. I loved looking at the entries, the color combinations. graphics, some of these entries really sing to me.Here are a few that I like, but feel free to browse them all here. It’s really fun, so prepare to spend a lot of time clicking around. :)

Etsy Poster Swoon Created by: Emma Lynne
Etsy Poster Swoon Created by: Curbside Treasure
Etsy Poster Swoon Created by Five Forty
Etsy Poster Swoon Created by SkullKnockers

Thank you Annie for telling me about this contest, it was really fun to see this!

(images from etsy)

Fashion + Accessories, Objects

Alabama Chanin

August 17, 2007

Mary Jo wrote in to tell me about her blog, Trust Your Style (thanks Mary Jo!) and it was there that I discovered the beautiful Alabama Chanin.

Alabama ChaninI hadn’t heard of this designer before, despite that her company launched in 2006, which surprises me because I’d think with a collection like hers, she would be on all the blogs. Natalie “Alabama” Chanin covers a wide area of disciplines, from limited-edition jewelry, to sustainable clothing and home accessories and furniture. She also runs her flagship store out of Florence, Alabama.

Alabama ChaninThis lady is a creative dynamo! I really enjoy the natural beauty of her collection, the appliqu?d work on pillows, the embroidery, organic materials, it’s not only a smart way to design, but with such beautiful results. Here are some gorgeous images to enjoy, I can picture Alabama Chanin appearing in Selvedge magazine, can’t you?

Alabama ChaninAlabama ChaninAlabama Chanin
Thanks Mary Jo for leading me to this talented lady!

Psst: Alabama even has a few good old-fashioned southern recipes on her site. For her chocolate pie recipe, I’d add pecans or walnuts to the recipe, as that’s how we use to make ours growing up. Then you heat it, topping with vanilla ice cream. :)

(images from alabama chanin)


Liquid Sky Arts

August 15, 2007

I found a beautiful blog today written by Kathleen Rossi-Howell called Senseless Acts of Beauty, she also runs Liquid Sky Arts (what a gorgeous shop this is!). Remember the Papaya stationery that I blogged earlier? Some of their designs are from the very talented Kathleen. I am in love with the fish design with their adorable swishy tails. So now I’m off to read her blog and learn more about her process. Want to come along with me?

Liquid Sky ArtsLiquid Sky ArtsPsst: She has another blog with some of her favorite photos and she’s on flickr too. Wow, what a talented lady!

(image from liquid sky arts)


Shabby Chic Continued…

August 15, 2007

To continue my earlier post on the new Shabby Chic collections, I thought I’d share some news that came to me via Rachel’s in-house PR person (Renee). I was on a call with her yesterday so I have the scoop straight from the source for all you RA fans!

Shabby Chic Continued...
Their goal is to open 50 new Shabby Chic stores by 2010, with a few opening soon, Shabby Chic in Natick, MA (at the Natick Collection 9/7), and another in Lenox Square, Atlanta (during the second week of October). Rachel is working on another book and her website is soon to re-launch, too. And remember those episodes I told you about when she had her own show? They’ll soon be available on DVD in stores. Looks like we’ll be seeing a lot more of Rachel Ashwell. Here are a few more images that Renee sent over for you to enjoy.

Shabby Chic Continued...Shabby Chic Continued...Shabby Chic Continued...
Renee is working with Rachel to see if I can interview her for decor8, so if you have any questions that you’d like for me to ask, please let me know. It will not be a podcast, but a telephone interview that I’ll turn into a blog post. All questions will be considered, so fire away!

(images from shabby chic)

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