Thursday, February 26, 2009

Far East, but not so far away!

I have been working on a collection that started a few years back when I had the opportunity to develop a few goodies for all of my teacher friends. We were having a teacher appreciation luncheon with asian food and I made each staff member a little take out box with fortune cookie, a tea bag container and a menu-thank you card. The little tiki box that you see in the photo was for another project, I will explain that another time.

That little asian set developed into a theme that I have now been able to create into a collection that will debut this spring for one of my clients. I will also be using it as a collection for the Surtex Show in May. Here is a sneak peak at some of the patterns in the collection done in two different colorways.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Fabric of Our Lives

This year I wanted the valentine to represent a place so dear to my heart. I grew up in many places throughout my childhood, jumping back and forth from coast to coast with an occasional stop in the middle. However, there was one location in the Midwest which would become the most meaningful of them all. It never was my own home, and it never changed throughout the years. It was the family farm where we spent many summers and occasional holidays. I wanted this year’s valentine to depict that wonderful place where my best childhood memories were made. Here is the card and the meaning behind it.

Here are some additional images showing the assembly-clothes-line and the completed valentine for this year.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Top Ten Reasons to Be Mine, Valentine!

This is a collection of the last ten years of handmade valentines I have sent to my peeps. It took about ten years to develop my style into what you will see here. The first ten years were a little like wandering in the wilderness. Even the valentines from that era incorporated elements from the wilderness; handmade paper, twigs, dried flowers and grasses. Well, truth is, I'm just not an outdoor person and finally got myself out of that wilderness and into a pristine studio. This is where I know I belong! Take a look at the valentines starting back about ten years and ending with last year's design.

Friday, February 13, 2009

It takes a lot of Valen-time . . .

...but it's worth it all. For nearly twenty years I have been making valentines for my dear friends and family. This year marks the 19th in the series. In the beginning, I made them primarily from handmade paper and bits of ribbon, flowers and art or photos. As my style and technology progressed the cards became more detailed and complex.

Each year I look forward to the challenge of designing the next valentine and trying new processes that can make each one unique. I thought it would be fun to share the creative and production process that I work through each time Valentine's Day rolls around.

I have chosen the Valentine from 2004 as it is one of my favorite themes. I usually begin the concept stage anywhere from a year ahead to as close as one or two months before Valentine's Day. This begins with very basic and crude sketches that I then scan in and redraw in the Adobe Illustrator program. I also determine the card size, shape and format at this time. I make sure that the card will fit into an envelope properly and be able to mail without complications. It is at this time I figure out what all the little details and attached pieces will be. Of course that requires running all about to different stores, searching for just the right parts, and finding enough of each for the project.

After I get the whole card designed, I print out samples, cut and fold the card, attach the pieces and confirm that the valentine with work as an aesthetic and functional design. Once I get all the little details tweaked I start the assembly line process; printing, cutting, folding and attaching each little piece to the card. I also design the envelope at this stage.

I started nineteen years ago making about twenty-five cards and now send out about one hundred. Each card takes at least an hour to make, which does not include the conceptual and design stages. Obviously this is a labor of love and a love of labor. Love for the creative process, love for the freedom of making art without specifications and most of all, love for the recipient.

Here is the finished valentine showing the card from the front, back and inside. I also designed a little candy heart box to go with this card. Many times I will design additional pieces or be inspired to create a complete collection based on the valentine.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Forever Flowers

My studio will always have fresh flowers. This bouquet of flowers grew out of the fresh, new patterns developed for my Love Bird collection.

Don't forget your fine feathered friends this Valentine's Day!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Drawers Galore

There are a few pieces in the studio that are simply made to stuff the stuff in. They have drawers-a-plenty and are all nearly full with 'necessary' bits and pieces of the past, someone else's past, now come to live in the corner of my little world.

Need a tiny parasol? How about a Dr. Pepper bottle cap? Surely I have it organized in one of the fifty or so drawers, but which one? Oh, that's what those little label holders are for on the handles! Here are a few of the collections stashed away in these drawers.

The vintage valentines are pretty clearly the inspiration for the Valentiny collections I have been working on. Some are original to the family, from my mom, aunts, grandma and one or two from my own past. Many however, come from people I never knew, but I treasure them as well.

The white cabinet with lots of thin drawers has a little history of its own. It came from one of our church schools when it was time for them to update. I paid all of two dollars for it at the sale. The husband rolled his eyes to see yet another stray brought home. I promised him that this was a necessary one. And for the price, come on, we needed it!

It's original purpose was to house all the felts. Well, now it's been re-purposed. It comes with all the dings and scratches that anyone would after fifty years of children, but I'm happy to have it all the same. The wooden knobs were replaced with porcelain, which came about 50 in a bag from the local thrift store for another $2.50 and a little white paint was added to complete the look.

Next week we'll review the socks drawer. Who's excited now?

Monday, February 2, 2009

The Sheri Berry Studio is finally done!

It has been two years in the making, but worth it all. The studio is finally ready to move into. Here are a few snapshots of the little space where I will be spending much of my time creating.

These are some of the fabrics, colors and fixtures I have used for the decor.

My wonderful and ingenious husband turned my favorite fixtures into gorgeous lighting, using parts from Grand Brass. They really are a work of art.