Hallmark Union Hill Studio photo stylist Erin M. gets crafty with our new Hallmark Gold Crown store bags. We love her clever repurposing! Luminaries are such a great way to add charm both indoors and out.
Video by Kevin Sisemore.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, so we’re honoring everyone affected by this disease (and their family and friends) with October’s digital wallpapers. All pretty in pink, these mark-making images were made during an in-house workshop with artist Ashley Goldberg, one of our creative heroes. Download one (or all) of them to remind you of the heroes in your own life.
Download ABSTRACT I desktop wallpaper by Hallmark designer Ashlee S.
Download ABSTRACT II desktop wallpaper by Hallmark illustrator Jeanne R.
Download ABSTRACT III desktop wallpaper by Hallmark illustrator Craig L.
Download ABSTRACT IV desktop wallpaper by Hallmark designer Heather V.
Andy has been behind so many of our most charming posts here at Think.Make.Share. The talented photo stylist has taught us how to make affordable floral arrangements and have let us into his gorgeous home. Today, he’s talking about the (currently very hip) art of macramé.
I was a really weird kid for a lot of reasons, but perhaps my strangest attribute was I loved macramé. Not with a love like you might love rainbows and kitten, but with a passionate, all-consuming, crazy love for the ancient knot-tying art form favored by art-student stoners, Birkenstock and flannel clad sisters, and decoupage drop outs who wanted to find another way to express their wild side.
This love affair began when I was in the sixth grade. The year was 1970. My parents were good friends with a woman who was the head of the textiles department at the Kansas City Art Institute; her name was Joy. One day Joy came over to our house to watch a football game with my parents, and she brought some jute with her. I sat by Joy on our black naugahyde and chrome couch during the game, and she patiently showed me how to tie a half-hitch and a square knot and how to create variations of those basic macramé knots.
That night after Joy left, after the crock-pot with Velveta-Rotel dip had been cleaned up, and after my parents turned off the television, I carefully took my macramé sampler to my room and hung my masterpiece on my bulletin board. I laid in my bottom bunk twin bed that night and sleep would not come; I was filled with a passion. I had fallen in love with the craft that dare not speak its name…
Months later, to fine-tune my knotting skills, I enrolled in a macramé class at a local library. It was late summer, a few weeks before I was to start the 8th grade. As was usually the case, whenever I went to any macramé event it was all women. This class was no different. I spent the afternoon knotting and chatting with my newly formed adult female friends. We exchanged recipes for Jello 123 and Kraft Shake n’ Bake. We then moved to discussing the latest shenanigans of the soap opera As the World Turns. It was a grand afternoon, and I was on a macramé and lady-gossip high as I skipped out of my macramé safe haven. But as I turned the corner, I literally ran straight into the meanest bully in my junior high. What in the world was the meanest kid in school doing in a library, in the summer? Is nothing sacred?
I was about to be pummeled in the non-fiction section of the Oak Park public library.
I picked up my tangled ball of jute, beads and dowel rods, and, in the butchest way I could, ran out of the library, all the way home. (I hope I wasn’t screaming; I’ve blocked that part out.) When I got home, I slammed the front door behind me and leaned against the door trying to catch my breath… as my mom announced with great sobriety and concern that we would be moving in a few weeks and that we would have to attend new schools.
She hoped the news wouldn’t be too devastating for me. Having a flair for the dramatic, I fell to the floor, clasped my hands and yelled, “Thank you Jesus!” My brother rolled his eyes and walked away, my mom backed out of the room, slowly went back to her Tuna Helper and tried to figure out what had just happened.
From that point on, my days and evenings were filled with my chubby little fingers knotting anything I could get my hands on—even my dad’s extension cords were not safe. I started selling macramé belts to friends in my new Jr. High school, I started selling wall hangings in local shops and galleries, and I started entering juried shows. As I entered high school, I was even approached by an artist rep who wanted to take my work to galleries in other cities, and I started a relationship with a big architectural firm in Kansas City. I was on macramé fire!
You may be thinking that at this point I would get big-head from my macramé notoriety and fame. Now, mind you, I was going to a small rural school in a farming community where driving a Camaro or a Chevy pickup was about the fastest way to be cool. I rode the bus.
My creative, non-judgmental, unconditionally loving parents not only entertained this passion of mine, they celebrated it, encouraged it and made me feel like a macramé rock star. My dad made business cards for me and helped me lug these giant wall hangings from art show to art show. My mom drove me over 30 miles a week to take weaving lessons in a neighboring town. They would do anything to support this passion of mine, even though it was decidedly different than my dad’s all-American jock endeavors in high school and my mom’s studious pursuits.
Then the 1980s rolled around, and macramé died. I don’t mean a slow painful, dramatic death. I mean the clock hit midnight on New Years Eve of 1979, and macramé was dead. There was a silent agreement that everyone would put down their macramé mid-knot as the ’70s ended. Macramé was dropped like you drop a cheating boyfriend or girlfriend, never to acknowledge them again. It seemed my crafty lady friends had all moved on to hot-gluing yards of lace to straw hats that became decorative elements for suburban front doors across the country.
I only tell you all of this because there is something miraculous happening: Macramé is coming back! People are actually interested in it again…
…for real! My old flame and I are being reunited! Who says you can’t go back? The old square knot and half-hitch fly from my fingers just like they did, gulp, 40 years ago.
Every kid has natural interests and abilities, and they are all of value, even if that interest is something as seemingly goofy as macramé. Thank you to the adults who give kids freedom to find those skills, nurture them and honor them.
We are all better for it.
Several Hallmark creative folk joined me the other day for a macramé workshop. I smiled the entire day, knowing that these co-workers were interested in this ’70s art form. Justin Timberlake may have brought sexy back, but I brought macramé back (at least to a few Hallmarkers)!
The morning was spent learning the basic knots, and then after lunch, the workshop participants started working on their own macramé bracelets, plant hangers and wall hangings.
Minimal supplies are required. Scissors, rubber bands, beads, the material you choose to knot with, mounting rods and creativity are the only things you need.
Basic two macramé knots are the square knot and the half hitch. Once you have those down, you can do anything!
Lindsay, Tobe and Nicole learn how to tie the basic knots.
Betsy, who is a Hallmark photo stylist extraordinaire, gathered beautiful objects to incorporate into her two wall hangings.
Frayed and knotted ends added distinct personality to Betsy’s macramé pieces.
Something as simple as a half square knot repeated over and over can make a simple but beautiful bracelet.
Hannah was a real macramé show-off by incorporating a complete half-hitch circle and color in her wall hanging.
Nicole updated the classic ’70s plant hanger by incorporating a graphic white pot for her plant and a glass orb for decoration. Nicole also took the time to hand-paint beads so they would have a lustrous look. What a freak! (I mean that in the greatest way!)
Lindsay created a really sophisticated and beautiful macramé wall hanging that consisted entirely of the half hitch knot. Lindsay incorporated copper tubing into her piece as well. Trés elegante!
And, finally there was Jen, Trends guru at Hallmark. I now refer to her as the macramé whisperer. The baton has been passed. Watch the video in Instagram at @think.make.share, and you will see what I mean. Jen used a large-sized paper cord that is often used in upholstery work. You can order most of this type of material through Amazon.
So get your fingers limbered up and find some jute, welt cord, baling twine or any other kind of string and start knotting.
And the next time someone asks you what you’re into these days, stand tall, stand proud and say it loud…
I’m into macramé!!!
Photography by Kevin Cozad.
Ashley T. organizes all the talent coming in and out of Hallmark’s Union Hill Studios…and that’s not all she puts in awesome order. She’s on the blog today to give us a tour of her home and show us how to structure a small space with big style.
When my husband and I moved from our spacious loft in downtown Kansas City to a smaller home, we downsized quite a bit. Well, a lot bit. It felt good to have a smaller footprint, but we challenged ourselves to find space for everything. Luckily organizing is my jam, so I armed myself with my label maker and dove in!
In a small space, mirrors are your best friends because they reflect light and open up a room. I like to place a large mirror opposite a beautiful light fixture. Other best friends? Large furniture and décor items. It may seem counterintuitive, but using large pieces in a small home can make it feel bigger. We have a 6×10-foot painting above our sofa. It helps extend the height of a room, and because it’s in neutral colors, it doesn’t overwhelm. (The Star Wars painting is called “Ice Ice, Baby” by artist Jamie Boling.) I would also recommend acrylic furniture pieces. It doesn’t take up visual space and keeps a home from feeling too cluttered. We love the low profile of our counter stools in the kitchen.
Sometimes functionality trumps beauty in a small house. For example, my husband has two vintage chairs that he bought before we got married. They are royal blue, not my favorite color for home decor. But they are super comfortable, and they swivel so we can look out our front window. They can’t be reupholstered, but I decided to keep them rather than buy more stuff. I picked an accent color to play off the blue: fuchsia. We now have fuchsia in our rug, pillows and gallery wall. If you can’t beat ’em, coordinate stuff to go with ’em!
There are two words every small-space dweller should know: decorative containers. If you lack closet space, a basement or a catch-all room, you should embrace the idea of storing your things out in the open. I know that sounds scary, but open storage doesn’t have to scream, “I’m a hoarder!” There are all kinds of cool boxes, totes and baskets that can hide your clutter while giving it a unified look. And when in doubt, don’t be afraid to pile! Display books in artful stacks amidst other curiosities and decorative objects. Color coordinate them for an added punch.
We’ve also learned to keep window treatments light and airy – heavy drapery can overwhelm in a small home. Sheers let in much-needed natural light.
You can also go vertical with photos. We don’t have room to display all of our family and vacation pictures on surfaces, but they look great in cohesive white frames on a bright pink wall! Have open shelves in the kitchen? Take advantage of the added opportunity to show off your favorite art!
You can also get creative with your storage by giving new purpose to an ordinary object. On my dresser, I used a vintage punch bowl to corral my bangles and a glove mold to hold some of my favorite jewelry. That antique china grandma gave you that you never use? Get that soup bowl out and put some pretties in it! I also love to use small planters to hold everything from makeup brushes in my bathroom to the TV remotes in the living room.
We all have things we love to look at. Don’t hesitate to put them on display so you can enjoy them! I love sparkly stuff and color, so I store my costume earrings in a glass box and my nail polish in an apothecary jar on my nightstand. Display sentimental items in a creative way rather than storing them in a drawer. For example, during the move I rediscovered some old letters from my grandpa. They are now under a glass cloche in our dining room (above). A sweet note from my husband hangs out with my jewelry in a pencil tray.
With a small house come small closets. I try to use every inch of mine, including the wall behind the closet door. I paid a friend to frame some pegboard and install it for me. I now have use of what was formerly an empty wall to keep my jewelry and accessories. I use plastic storage bins for my shoes, so I can see what I’ve got at a glance. That also keeps me from buying more shoes than I need…sort of. When organizing your small space, remember to look up! There is plenty of unused space above a door or window, and it can be easy to install a shelf there.
If you are fortunate enough to have outdoor space, use it as an extension of your home. We’ve added some comfy furniture, pillows and plants to ours, and it helps make our home feel bigger. Consider unifying your space by carrying a single color throughout. We chose white to keep things fresh and bright.
Photography by Jane Kortright.
Live in a small space? Show us your big style by tagging us on Instagram, @think.make.share.
Ok, ok. This is our last Hallmarket post. Probably. We are just so proud of the artists we get to work with every day and the amazing things they create in their off-hours. If you’re in the KC area—or are up for a road trip—make sure to stop by Crown Center Square tomorrow from 10-5 to see these makers in person!
Name: Elissa D.
Role at Hallmark: Artist
What you’ll be selling at Hallmarket: Illustrated and hand-lettered prints
Instagram handle for a sneak peek of the goods: @elissa_draws
Tell us about your craft. How did you first get into it? How long have you been doing it? Has it evolved since you first started creating? I have been doodling since I could hold a crayon. I love creating happy prints to brighten people’s favorite spaces. My artwork is fueled by iced coffee and dark chocolate.
Name: Lisa H.
Role at Hallmark: Senior Designer
What you’ll be selling at Hallmarket: Plush Friends
Instagram handle for a sneak peek of the goods: @friendsofhadley
Tell us about your craft. How did you first get into it? How long have you been doing it? Has it evolved since you first started creating? I started teaching myself to sew along side my friend Allyson L. roughly two years ago. I had always wanted to make plush, and it seemed like the perfect timing to learn. I had a lot of friends getting ready to have babies, and I wanted to be able to give them handmade, heartfelt gifts. Once I got started, I couldn’t stop, and it really has just grown from there!
Any other fun facts we should know? While learning to sew, Allyson and I founded Plush Club! Anyone is welcome to join! It’s an encouraging community of makers and we occasionally have plush challenges to participate in.
Name: Mike S.
Role at Hallmark: T&BE Senior Technical Analyst (Our “Technology & Business Enablement” is “I/T” to the outside-Hallmark world.)
What you’ll be selling at Hallmarket: Photography
Tell us about your craft. How did you first get into it? How long have you been doing it? Has it evolved since you first started creating? I’ve been taking pictures for what seems like forever. I got my first “real” camera as a confirmation present when I was about 15 years old. But several years ago, I took some pictures of the great Town Topic diner sign at 20th & Broadway and a (since-demolished) motel sign in Pittsburg, Kansas. I applied some newly-learned Photoshop tweaks to them and thought, “Hey…I might have something here.”
I love breathing life into vintage signs that have been neglected, at best, if not fully abandoned. In some cases, I’ve captured them just before they’ve been torn down for good, so there is a tinge of historical preservation to some of my photographs as well. And while those signs started out as my primary focus, I’ve found ways to apply my photography style to other types of architecture and landscapes as well, which have proven equally fun for me.
Any other fun facts we should know? I’ve had a great “right brain/left brain” career at Hallmark, spending about half of my career in creative roles and half in technology roles. All of those experiences have had a hand, one way or another, in shaping my photography direction.
Name: Michael B.
What you’ll be selling at Hallmarket: I’ll be selling my comic book 60 Ways To Leave Your Mother (Alone) and some art prints selected from the book.
Instagram handle for a sneak peek of the goods: @toilandtoil
Tell us about your craft. How did you first get into it? How long have you been doing it? Has it evolved since you first started creating? About 15 years ago, after reading the graphic novel Maus and then hearing Art Spiegelman speak at UMKC, I decided I wanted to make comics. I’ve gotten faster at some things, like inking, and slower at other things, like scripting.
Any other fun facts we should know? My kids have started to make their own comics, and it’s pretty fun to see their individual personalities expressed in art and comics.
Name: Mary F.
Role at Hallmark: Designer
What you’ll be selling at Hallmarket: Crocheted scarves, wraps, purses, flower pins and jewelry made from beads, semi-precious stones, wire and leather.
Tell us about your craft. How did you first get into it? How long have you been doing it? Has it evolved since you first started creating? I’ve been making jewelry off and on for friends and family for years and moved into using more wire in my later work. I started crocheting about five years ago when a friend taught us at a “crafty lunch” at work. I was soon “hooked,” enjoying the tactile qualities and colors of the yarns. And it’s very meditative, so it’s also a great way to end the day!
Any other fun facts we should know? I studied sculpture in school and enjoy bringing dimensional aspects to my work at Hallmark as well as my jewelry and crochet pieces.
Name: Flora C.
Role at Hallmark: Senior Designer on the Kids Team
What you’ll be selling at Hallmarket: Art prints, wooden doodle bowls, interchangeable necklaces, a few original drawings/artworks and other little stuff
Instagram handle for a sneak peek of the goods: @HappyDoodleLand
Tell us about your craft. How did you first get into it? How long have you been doing it? Has it evolved since you first started creating? I love to doodle! I first started a blog called Happy Doodle Land in 2007 to share my personal drawings. After a while, my readers started to ask me if I sell prints of my artwork, so I opened an Etsy shop. That went on for a little bit, then the maker inside of me wanted to create stuff other than just art prints, so I started to make little items like hand-drawn doodle brooches and rings.
And then one day, I wanted to make necklaces. The story behind the necklace went like this: I wanted to make a necklace that featured my drawings, but at the same time, I wanted to offer my customers a better deal. So I went through lots of experiments and finally figured out a way to make it possible for the customer to interchange the center part of the pendent, and the first generation of my interchangeable necklace was born. I offered my necklace at the very first Hallmarket, and it was a hit! Throughout the years, the hardware parts have been refined and improved, and I’ve added a lot more designs to the pendent collection.
I am always trying to add something different to my product line. A few years ago, I started to offer wooden doodle bowls at Hallmarket. I went around antique shops to rescue vintage wooden bowls. I painted the surface of the bowl, distressed the paint and doodled on them, then applied a few layers of varnish and a final layer of beeswax to finish the piece. Giving a fresh new life to an old bowl and turning it into a piece of art has been so much fun!
Any other fun facts we should know? I am a super night owl. I draw too much and don’t get enough sleep. Bad bad bad!
That’s a wrap! We’ve featured only a handful of the 100 Hallmark artists, photographers, sculptors and designers who will display and offer their work for sale this Saturday, so be sure to come on down and see what else our artists create outside of their jobs at Hallmark. Purchases may be made by cash or check only, directly to the artist. Will you be shopping Hallmarket this year? We’d love to see your favorite finds on Instagram @think.make.share!