Sunday, 30 March 2014

Sweet Paul Makerie Day 1

Greetings All You Wonderful People

It's been a while since our last post, I know, these 3
girls have been so busy! 

I want to tell you all about the amazing experience Claire and I had in New York a few weeks ago. We posted a few pictures while we were there,  but now you'll get an in depth look! A first hand account from myself and Claire, along with more photos! I will tell you all about our Day One fun and Claire will follow up with Day Two next week. So, without further ado, I present to you Day One at the Sweet Paul* Makerie NYC:

 Waking up bright eyed and bushy tailed Saturday morning in NYC was thrilling. I couldn't help but be excited about all the wonders that were in store for me in the coming hours.  The one statement we kept seeing in all our pre-Makerie emails was: Come with no expectations! I'm not sure that even if I had any expectations, they would have been blown out of the water.

 Our entourage (shout out to Claire, Joanna, Adie, and Erika) arrived at the location greeted by smiles and warmth from the ladies from the Makerie**, asking us to step into an elevator that would take us up to the top. Arriving at Studio 450, a beautiful penthouse duplex, with windows for days. As soon as the elevator opened, there was Sweet Paul himself to greet us! I couldn't believe it. In the flesh, Sweet Paul! Warm hugs and sweet kisses as he thanked us for coming and steered us towards registration and breakfast. 

Upon receiving our swag bag (check out all the loot!), we had a breakfast of herb infused eggs and homemade pop-tarts. They were delish! I've got to figure out how to make them...

 The sunlight was slowly creeping into the loft as Sweet Paul gathered us around for a quick welcoming pow-wow. He spoke of how much fun we will have and introduced the workshop instructors. He poured his heart out with love and appreciation for us and the wonderful magic that would transpire over the next two days. It was just what I needed to fill my cup of excitement. I was ready to craft! Today I was taking the owl making and printmaking workshops. Time to get started...

Cuddly Night Owl with Mimi Kirchner

 This was the class I was most excited about! Anyone who knows me
knows my love for owls. In fact this week as I was hand sewing an owl in class, one of my students said to me "Miss, I think you're obsessed with owls!". Agreed. We could have been sewing owl elbows in this class and I would have been thrilled.
 Mimi Kirchner is a fantastic lady. She creates many stuffed figures from owls to tattooed men and bearded ladies. You can find her blog here. Mimi taught us how to hand sew reclaimed sweaters to make these adorable stuffed cuddly night owls. I was in love! Now, I am not the master sewer by any means, so learning new techniques for hand sewing was fantastic. Little tips and and tricks to hiding the stitches and how to use stitches for decoration, brought my owl to life. I also got to sit and chat with some incredible ladies at our table. Erika and I had both come Cayman, but had never met before. What a gem she is! We chatted about life in Cayman, her kids, my students and how cute these darn owls were! Sitting across from us were two friends from Milwaukee, Wendy and Susan. Wendy is a set designer for photography and Susan is a photographer (contributing to Sweet Paul) at times. I was sincerely fascinated by their amazing occupations. I think I asked them both a million questions! As the class wrapped up, and we put the finishing touches on our owls, these little guys really did come to life. I had created a hooded owl named Harold and Erika's little guy was a snow owl for her daughter. I just couldn't wait to get home and start scouring the local thrift stores for sweaters! (Note: this is quite hard to do in Cayman). You can check out the parliament we have started on our Facebook page.

 After our morning class, we took a break to enjoy a lovely lunch of sandwiches and salad. All food for at the Sweet Paul Makerie was provided by Fig and Pig catering. Amazing stuff! I looked forward to every meal we had. There were also afternoon snacks provided such as cookies, doughnuts and Slingshot Coffee. Excellecnt cold pressed coffee, totally rocks. Added on my list of ways to make living on an island awesomer (just made that word up), import Slingshot Coffee!

Simple Printing with Patterns and Motifs with Lotta Jansdotter

 To be honest, I had no idea who Lotta Jansdotter was before I met her this weekend. But how could I not?!  How did I miss this?!This lady is making some pretty sweet things in the world. Lotta is a Swedish designer who incorporates simple yet beautiful pattern and motifs. Her dinnerware is now available at Bed, Bath and Beyond. Please peep her homepage here. Lotta's goal for this workshop was to introduce simple block carving/printing and stencil making/printing for fabrics. As an art major at university, I had taken many hours of printmaking, but Lotta's approach is fresh and clean.  I think it was a great introduction to those crafters that have never dipped their toes into the print pond, and I learned a few ticks for stencil making. This workshop reminded me how much I love carving and sparked a new interest on howI can to incorporated block printing into my ceramics. 
 Check out those sweet coral prints! I used a rubber stamp block to 
quickly carve out the my signature coral motif and had loads of fun 
printing it on paper and linen fabric.  The blues were so vibrant in the window sill of the loft, with the warm winter sun coming in. I then gave it a whirl on the stencil making/printing.
  I have used stencils in the past, but never created my own. Today was the day. I will admit, it was a little tougher than I would have liked it to be. The plastic material is fragile and must be worked with a delicate hand, especially when cutting out small circles and shapes. I believe my first design was a little too ambitious for the time restraints of a workshop, so I moved on to a simple dandelion flower design. I was much happier with the out come. Using fabric ink, I applied the black color to the canvas bag using Lotta's brush stroke technique, very similar to a jack hammer pounding the concrete. Very effective, I might add. After pulling the print, the bag looked a little empty so I took the biggest, stiffest brush available and started splattering the bag with black ink. The result was fantastic! As if someone had blown on the dandelion and the wishes were scattering everywhere. Beautiful.
 I know Claire took this class later in the day and was happy exploring new ideas and ways to incorporate prints into her work as well. Thank you to both of my workshop teachers today for great insight and spawning creativity!

 As the last of the afternoon classes came to an end, cocktail and appetizer hour began. We were served a delicious cocktail concoction of grapefruit, tequila and lime juice, rimmed with a spicy salt and garnished with a blood orange wedge. So tasty! Appetizers featuring  honey with ricotta on toast and Fig and Pig's take on miniature fish and chips. It was a nice way to wind down from an afternoon of crafting, and to recap with the Cayman group on what they had learned in their workshops. Jo and Adie took the cookie decorating class (I have that on the agenda for Day Two!), Claire was making living wreaths, and Erika made woven bracelets. What a productive day we all had!

  Mingling with other participants continued. Many of them were
shocked to find out we came all the way from Cayman and further taken back when I wanted to hear all about them over taking about Cayman. Come on people, I live on an island int he middle of the ocean, I am culturing myself! Ha ha ha. A good time was had by all.

At last we were finally able to take the glass staircase up to the terrace (previous kept closed, as a surprise) and man let me tell you something! Entering the terrace to candle lit tables filled with beautiful succulent arrangements on crisp white tablecloths, sponsored by Rit Dye Studio. Each place was set with a card from Rit Dye with instructions on how to create the dipped cloth napkins which were sitting in front of us. Awesome. I will be giving that a try in a future blog for sure. The color of the season? Radiant Orchid, stay tuned for that. You can check out the dinner menu in a photo below. I just couldn't way to dive in.
 But first, the pre-dining entertainment! A Q&A was set up between Sweet Paul and no other than the radiant Grace Bonney. Grace is the founder of Design Sponge Online. If you have not visited this site before, be warned, it is addictive. I will let Claire go into more details about Grace Bonney and the amazing dinner we had in the Day Two blog featured next week. So for me, I am famished about recapping this amazing experience!

 What a great weekend we had. This is a moment in my life that will stay with me for forever. I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to meet with other members of the crafting community. Special thanks to  Sweet Paul and Paul Vitale (savory Paul?), along with the ladies of the Makerie (Ali and her mom). They created a  sweet, loving, warm and inviting environment. I can't wait 'til the next one!


* Sweet Paul Magazine is a quarterly publication of the finest things in life, made in the simplest of ways. Created from the brilliance of Paul Lowe, Sweet Paul invites readers to create extraordinary from the ordinary. The pages are filled with artisans making beautiful things, recipes that will ignite your passion to cook, and home goods
you will want to run out and buy (or make!) to put in your living space.
Please visit their website for more information and how to get
Sweet Paul delivered straight to your door.

** The Makerie is…….. Well, you just have to experience it. Once described as "A pop-up community of creators", Ali DeJohn's idea of bring like-minded people together for a weekend of making is extra-ordinary to say the least. A must do for those that want to expand their creative brains and meet people who can do amazing things. See for yourself at

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