Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Happy Tuesday

Happy Tuesday, 

I'm sure you are here to read another fantastic interview with an amazing creative woman, as you should be! It's been a fantastic to learn more about these ladies.





I'll be bringing you even more interviews in the coming weeks, but for now I'm taking some time off through the end of November. This will give me time to wrap up some new patterns and designs I'm working on as well as planning the next Eva Blake's Makery Make & Mingle Event


If you are interested in being part of the next round of Art of Being You interviews I'd love to talk to you! Please email me at ebmakery{at}gmail.com


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Art of Being You: Interview with Katy Skelton



Katy Skelton Acuff has been working in the furniture industry for over eight years.  After graduating from the University of Texas, she remained in Austin to work at one of the industry’s top wholesalers.  She held the position of product designer and traveled the world to visit factories and inspect samples of her designs. Katy returned to graduate school in 2009 to pursue a Master of Fine Art in Furniture Design from Savannah College of Art and Design. During research for her graduate thesis, she focused on the benefits of manufacturing with factories that are committed to social responsibility.  She worked with fair trade factories in India to produce a small line of wooden furnishings for her thesis, which greatly influenced the style of her first independent collection.  After completing her MFA, Katy relocated to Brooklyn, New York and opened Katy Skelton LLC. 


When did you first start designing furniture?
I started designing in 2007, while working for a major furniture wholesaler. I started my own independent line in 2013. 

Where did you grow up? How do you think this influenced your creativity?
I grew up in South Texas. My dad is an engineer, and is always building something. I think I was inspired by his ability to make anything he wanted. 

Would you say that you have “found yourself” creatively?
I think so. I am always learning, and my style is always evolving, but I think I have learned my aesthetic and know what works for me and what I am drawn to. 




What kind of a path did you take to get to where you are now?
I started out as an assistant in a product development department at a furniture company after college (I got an undergrad degree from The University of Texas in Austin). I moved up to become the product designer at that company before leaving to get an MFA in Furniture Design from Savannah College of Art and Design. After that I moved to Brooklyn and started my own company. 

How would you describe your process?
It is always different. Sometimes I think of a design and take months to develop it and figure out the best way to make it, and other days I think of an idea and create a prototype on the same day. But I am always reading design blogs and magazine, and looking at what my peers are doing.  


What is your favorite medium? 
Wood! I have a great factory that produces my wooden pieces, and I feel that they can make anything I design. 

Where do you find your inspiration?
Everywhere! Traveling, reading watching movies.  

What do you do for fun?
I like to be outside when I am not working. We live close to Prospect Park in Brooklyn, so that makes it easy to get into nature without leaving the city.  

Can you describe the moment when you felt you had made it?
I will tell you when it happens! 



How do you balance your creative self with the rest of your life?
I am still figuring that out. Some days it is easy, but other days I find it a struggle to make time for myself. 

What is the most difficult part of Being You?
Right now, the most difficult part is that I am running the company by myself. I have one part-time employee, but I usually only use her for specific projects. Trying to balance design, marketing, accounting and customer service can be overwhelming at times. 

What is the most rewarding part of your day?
Anytime I make a sale or connect with a customer. That is great validation for me. 

What do you have in the works?
I have several new additions to my collection that I am launching this week at High Point market. They are all tabletop items.  

Who do you admire?
Lindsay Adelman, Emerson Fry and Everlane. I think they all make beautiful products and I admire Emerson Fry and Everlane's business models. 

You can follow Katy Skelton at:


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Art of Being You with Eden Hensley



I'm a food and wine enthusiast who believes the best place to swap stories is over a shared meal and regularly hosts a Family Dinners at The Station supper club from my railroad flat. I regularly contribute recipes to the La Crema Wines Blog and currently teach an online introduction class to Thai Flavors. I've ghost written a Thai cookbook and had my food photography published in The National Culinary Review.

When I'm not cooking, I'm a marketing creative, a technophile, and the founder and editor-in-chief of the lifestyle blog The Road to The Good Life, a blog about appreciating and enhancing your life by being grateful for the "haves" instead of lingering on the "wants."
Why did you first start cooking?
I think I first started cooking because I saw my mom doing it. I was incredibly competitive with her growing up, anything she did I’d want to do better. She was a mixed media fiber artist and actually stopped making because her work was more accomplished than what I could do starting out. I’d pick up a brush and then toss it away in disgust. With cooking, she baked and I experimented. I liked the chemistry of it, seeing emulsions come together. I also liked the rawness of it, the connection to the earth, going out into the garden and harvesting fruit or vegetables that I’d grown from seed. I’ve been creating “recipes” ever since I could hop up onto the counters to get spices and other ingredients out of the cabinets (usually when my mom was still asleep). I started taking actual technique classes when I was eight. My breakthrough with recipe creation though came in the late 1990s when I worked with a Thai chef. He helped me put everything together.
Where did you grow up? How do you think this influenced your creativity?
I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. And I think growing up here absolutely influenced my creativity. My parents were members of the De Young Museum and The Academy of Sciences and both offered classes taught by practicing creatives. I made ceramic masks modeled after those I saw in Oceania exhibits, etchings of stone carvings, abstracts of primitive furniture. I created digital animations. I recreated facsimiles of Pacific Northwest Indian cuisine. My grandfather ran a Pan-Pacific travel agency and was always introducing me to new cuisines and music. I sampled so many different spices and preparations. The cultural diversity of San Francisco allowed me to experience combinations of flavors other than just salt and pepper.

Would you say that you have “found yourself” creatively?
“Finding myself” seems so pretentious, but I’d say yes, and more recently than you might assume. I think as creatives we sometimes take being creative for granted, but fueling creativity takes work. For me, I had to have creativity restricted before I “found myself.” When time and resources weren’t boundless, I began prioritizing what I truly loved to do and started dissecting what about it I needed. A mission statement for my soul naturally flowed from that work and then everything I did just clicked.
What kind of a path did you take to get to where you are now?
I’m often asked “how can I do what you’re doing,” “what classes did you take,” and so on. And I don’t have a good answer, not because I’m trying to be obtuse, but because my path wasn’t obvious or even direct. In hindsight, I can tell people what not to do if you want to do something similar to what I’m doing now. For example, when you’re looking at Culinary School, a Viticulture Masters, or an MBA, and what you love is feeding people, the least direct/obvious path would be to pursue an MBA, which is what I did. It might even have been a more direct route had economics in the wine industry not changed with the introduction of Two Buck Chuck. I had wanted to work for a winery or a brewery and interviewed at Beringer Vineyards for a supply chain internship, but grape yields drove wine prices down and they halted the program. So I after my MBA I went back to working for software companies and throwing elaborate dinner parties for friends. Iso Rabins of forageSF pointed out the folly with that plan, maintaining a day job to earn money to follow my passions and give away my creations. Now I’m pursuing my passions and finding opportunities where I get paid for those passions.

How would you describe your process?
My process might be a lot more analytical than most. I’ll find myself attracted to a seasonal fruit or vegetable (color primarily) and then I’ll spread out color wheels and my culinary references looking for color and taste combination ideas. I’ll list out ingredients in lists, circling and highlighting matches and then head out to the market. When I get home I’ll start sampling different combinations and amounts of herbs, spices, fruits, and vegetables until I have a flavor profile that I like. Then I’ll figure out layering and cooking techniques, for example what should go in my base broth, what needs to be stewed, what should be steamed, etc. If I’m lucky I get a dish that’s right the first time. Most times the first attempt is good, but the second attempt is the one that’s out of this world.
What is your favorite medium?
Food is definitely my favorite medium, followed closely by photography and prose, of and about food.
Where do you find your inspiration?
It might be easier to answer where don’t I find inspiration. Farmer’s markets. Culinary references like The Flavor Bible, Flavor Thesaurus, and Taste. Reality TV shows where chefs compete. Street food vendors. Restaurants.
What do you do for fun?
Binge watch TV shows on Netflix, House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, Continuum, and on iTunes, Top Chef, Treme (when it was still in production), True Blood, Homeland, Boardwalk Empire, and Hell on Wheels.

Can you describe the moment when you felt you had made it?
For a creative, “making it” isn’t as clear as it is for a runner breaking through a finish line. It’s a series of moments reaffirming you’re on the right track. If I had to pick one moment, it would be last year. 2013 was a big year for me; I once again started teaching Thai cooking and creating recipes. Standing in my kitchen, being center stage, sharing knowledge and food, knowing who I am, was a moment I’ll never forget.
How do you balance your creative self with the rest of your life?
There’s no such thing as balance. Some days my creative self is selfish and my husband and daughter suffer. Other days I hastily scrawl down notes about a new recipe, close the door to the dining room, and focus on my family. When your day job fuels your creative self it’s easier to stop and be present elsewhere in your life. If you’re only feeding your creative self in your free time, everything suffers whether you want to admit it or not. You have to align as much of the rest of your life with your creative self to have healthy family relationships and a social life.
What is the most difficult part of Being You?
Focus. Once I start creating, ideas just keep flowing. I have to resist the temptation to do everything at once. 
What is the most rewarding part of your day?
The end of a photo shoot or a meal. There’s a sense of accomplishment that comes from bringing an idea to life. I’m always in awe when a project comes together the way I envisioned or better.

What do you have in the works?
I’m getting ready to launch Family Dinners at The Station, an intimate supper club hosted in our dining room. I love entertaining and bringing people together to swap stories over a shared meal. I’m also working on relaunching my online Thai cooking class; the next version will have video instruction.
Who do you admire?
I’ve always admired Thomas Keller. And after hearing Rene Redzepi speak last year, I admire him as well. Both Keller and Redzepi start with their local ingredients and look to create dishes that showcase those ingredients. Even though successful neither has stopped innovating, they’re both constantly challenging themselves within self imposed limits. I think limiting yourself forces you to stay creative because you have to find a new way to use something.





Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Art of Being You: Interview with Strawberry Moth





Strawberry Moth is the brain child of illustrator and screenprint artist Jessica Duthu. 

Jessica was born in 1985 in Cincinnati, Ohio. She was raised in the suburban outskirts, never made Prom Queen and college-educated at Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, where she earned a BFA in Production Design in 2007.

Jessica has been a character artist in a theme park, a couch surfer in California, a pizza waitress in Georgia, a painter's model in San Francisco, and a makeup artist in Toronto. These days she is happy to be an illustrator and screenprinter in Savannah, providing art and products for children. Additionally, she dreams of illustrating books, and selling her work worldwide. 

Jessica lives in Savannah with her husband Terry, and dog children Wicket and Moro.


When did you first start Strawberry Moth?
I officially started my company Strawberry Moth a little over a year ago but it has been something I have been working towards for quite some time. It has been a long road and as many creatives will tell you, there has been quite a few pauses to chase butterflies, but I currently feel grounded and overwhelmingly passionate about where I have landed. 
Where did you grow up? How do you think this influenced your creativity?
I was born in Cincinnati, Ohio and spent my entire childhood there. My parents still live in the same house I grew up in. I come from a family of DIY-ers, my parents renovated a turn of the century barn into our family home and continue to take on new projects. I was always encouraged to create and nurture my artist personality. My family's endless support has really become the roots that ground me and has given me the confidence to push forward and tackle a creative career. 

Would you say that you have “found yourself” creatively?
I think as artists we are always "finding ourselves", our minds are fluid and ever changing as the world around us changes. I do feel for the first time I have learned how to  strip away the fear that comes with putting yourself out there creatively and I feel like I have found my true voice in the things I currently create. 
What kind of a path did you take to get to where you are now?
I studied at The Savannah College of Art and Design and earned my BFA in Production Design. When I was younger I had a huge dream of being an art director in film but as time passes I realized that that sort of life style is not where I flourish. I love simple living and value my relationships above everything. Life on the road, away from family and friends is just not for me, but the thing about being creative is that you're adaptable. I learned so many skills while at SCAD, and drawing has always been a passion of mine since I was little. Illustration just clicked for me and a fellow illustrator and friend of mine really pushed me to pursue my passion. 

How would you describe your process?
Ideas for illustrations or products seem to come at the strangest times. I keep a notebook with me always to catch these unexpected bursts of inspiration. Everything usually starts with a sketch and then is moved into Illustrator for fine tweaking. If its a screen printed item then there are a few more steps involved, but seeing my illustrations transformed on different products is really when they come to life for me. 
What is your favorite medium?
Right now I am really into screen printing and have experimented some with block printing. I am fascinated with different printing methods. You can have a single illustration and with each form of printing it can take on a new life all together. I mainly print my images on children's clothing, which I sell in my online shop as well as wool felt and paper. I also love to sew and incorporate it into my work when I can. 

Where do you find your inspiration?
I am fortunate to live in one of the most beautiful cities, Savannah Georgia. The history, culture, architecture, and lifestyle are constantly inspiring. I also find a lot of inspiration in folk art , old world mediums, and my 8 year old self.
What do you do for fun?
I have two dog children with big personalities who I love spending time with. Taking them on walks around our mid-century neighbor with my husband is one of my favorite things to do. I also have a very tight knit group of creative friends and we love getting together, talking about upcoming projects, drinking craft beer and just laughing till our faces hurt. 

Can you describe the moment when you felt you had made it?
I think I'm still waiting for that big ah-ha moment and to be truthful it may never click for me because I always strive to create more, work harder, and be bigger but in the end that's not really what matters. I have learned to find joy in every order I get, every customer I meet, every new shop I add to my stockist list, and I take mental snapshots of my small victories to remind myself that this is where true greatness lies. Every day I get to wake up and do what I love, to me that is what success is all about.
How do you balance your creative self with the rest of your life?
I think balance has been thrown out the window. My creative self is constantly running the show and its more of a juggle to make sure everything else gets attention too. I have had to learn to make sure I keep somewhat set studio hours and take breaks. I struggle with wanting to work all the time because I am so passionate about what I do and work/play have become fused together. Life has a way of telling you if something is falling to the wayside and needs a little TLC. It continues to be a constant struggle to keep a healthy balance of creative business life and personal life.

What is the most difficult part of Being You?
I often choose to take on too much without really admitting my own humanity and it has its way of becoming an explosive mess. My constant struggle is to slow down and plan out the amount of projects I want to take on. Realizing I can't do everything at once is hard for me and patience is something that doesn't come easy. 
What is the most rewarding part of your day?
Every day is so different in the studio and little victories come in many different forms but the most rewarding part overall is seeing a concept in its physical finished form. I love the first time I screen print a new design and see it on a t-shirt, or finish a pennant that was a originally a sketch. Every time I get goosebumps when my ideas become reality and it is the best feeling in the world.


What do you have in the works?
I currently have two huge upcoming craft markets on the calendar in December that I will be traveling to to showcase my work. I love the craft fair scene and have taken on several this year. Savannah doesn't currently have a place where makers can sell their work so additionally I have buddied up with another Savannah artist and we are planning on creating one in the next year. As my business grows I am finding the desire to begin helping other makers grow their businesses and become more involved in the creative community. I do also have a few new product releases scheduled for the holiday season including a line of festive themed paper goods and screen printed banners.

Who do you admire?
I admire other creatives and women in business who are making it "work". The creative community is an incredible one and I am so honored to be able to be a part of it every day. 

Jessica is offering Free Shipping off at her shop and Etsy store! Use the code mrpostman

You can follow Jessica and Strawberry Moth at: