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Wednesday
Jan222014

Block Printing with Kari Fisher

Beautiful fabrics tend to stop me in my tracks, particularly ones that translate an artist's unique, creative spirit.

These one of a kind pillows and fabrics have all been crafted by the hand of Kari Fisher, in a style I was not all that familiar with. Until now...

Last Monday on a visit to AmericasMart in Atlanta, I came upon a booth of colorful, eye catching fabrics. I asked the woman there how they were made and she replied, "this is hand block printing." I then asked (hoping the origin would be southern), "from where?" but she said, "India." So...I instagrammed a shot of this fabric I'm now obsessing over to ask who in the South does this? Lucky for me, I got a reply...

Turns out, Kari Fisher lives just a few miles away from me in the Virginia Highlands area of Atlanta. On a recent visit to her home, I learned how Kari was an interior designer for six years before starting her own business in crafting block prints for pillows and custom pieces. 

Block printing has been around for thousands of years with origins in India, China and Japan. The earliest surviving examples come via China, which date back to before the year 220. This art form became popular and lasting as the artist at hand was able to create vibrant, intricate designs without the need for multiple tools or arduous processing. Plus, the results were immediate and impressive. 

A lover of art history, Kari taught herself how to block print and when I asked what she loved about it, she shared that it's "causal, flexible and impefect." As each imprint is done by hand, there will always be variations in coloring, texture and alignment. That's what makes each piece uniquely beautiful. Plus, as Kari will attest, it's an inexpensive business (or hobby) to start as materials needed are minimal and the medium provides incredible flexibilty in playing with pattern, color and fabric.  

What's beautiful too is how Kari can take an ancient art and make it feel modern and accessible. The colors and designs she creates are very fresh and in demand, yet still feel timeless. These are well made textiles that are made to be passed on, generation to generation. 

Kari has bunches of cool wooden blocks that she has designed throughout her workshop. It just made me want to sit down with a block of wood and knife and start carving...


Kari made this incredible elephant pillow for One Kings Lane, which was recently featured in their shop. I'm a sucker for this Draper pattern too which is a geometric Greek key print. Plus, how can you say no to turquoise? 

It was certainly a thrill to take a sneak peek into the workspace of a block print artist and learn more about this amazing art form (that I hope to see more of). Kari doesn't know another artist in the state of Georgia that does what she does and believes there are currently very few hand block artists thoughout the US. 

All of Kari's creations are handmade using 100% linen fabric. As an Interior Designer by trade, Kari custom makes much of her work for designers throughout the state and beyond. So whatever your heart's desire- if you want a specific hand block print made in a particular color and size with this or that fabric and embellishment- she's your girl. Bookmark her site as she'll be expanding her line of wares this year to include napkins, tea towels and fabrics by the yard. And thank you Kari- not only for teaching yourself this lovely, ancient art form, but for answering my Instagram!

 

Photos: karifisherdesigns.com and Sweet Peach       Content: Sweet Peach


Tuesday
Jan212014

LIT Decor

In the South, mason jars are a bit ubitquitous so it's nice to see when an artist finds a way to reinvent them. Vanessa Cline of Cary, North Carolina has created some really beautiful and unique variations that are worth a look...

Inspired by Moroccan decor details and henna patterns, Vanessa crafts a myriad of candle holders, vessels and lanterns for the home. All of her creations, found in her LIT Decor Etsy shop, are perfect additions for a porch or favorite windowsill and can be hardwired for indoors too. 

Every lantern is made from upcycled jars and every design, done by hand, is one of a kind. They are also hand washable and able to withstand the wind and rain.

I especially like her hand painted vases and the playful, pretty creations listed under the category, New Designs. Vanessa's shop actually has well over 200 items to choose from so it's worth checking out. Can't hurt to add one more mason jar to the collection, right?

 

Photos: LIT Decor      Content: Sweet Peach

 

Monday
Jan202014

MLK Jr. Day 

I took this pic for Instagram a few months back as the sun was setting against the Atlanta skyline. Ebenezer Baptist Church lies just a couple miles from my home and is a wonderful church to experience. This is where the young MLK Jr. delivered his first sermon in 1948. He returned in 1960, serving as co-pastor along with his father, until his death in 1968. If you're in the Atlanta area today or sometime soon, it's well worth a visit to this historic site as well as the MLK museum and birth home, all within walking distance. Maybe I'm biased but I think everyone needs to visit at least once in their life. Just taking a moment to sit down in the church and listen to an MLK Jr. sermon (which plays on speakers) is a powerful, transformative experience.

Enjoy your holiday....

 

Friday
Jan172014

Produce Candles

When I saw a pic of these Produce Candles on Nan Myers' Instagram last week, I was quick to leave a comment. I knew I had to blog about them. Lucky for me, the creators, based in Charleston, South Carolina were in Atlanta this past weekend for the Gift Mart so I grabbed my camera and headed over to learn more... 

Sara Crosby and Beau Burdette are the hard working team behind this new brand. After Beau helped to build the home fragrance brand, Rewined, he took this knowledge and paired it with his love for locally grown food and organic farming. Produce Candles was founded upon strong ideals and deep passion...and it shows. 

Sara is working close with Beau on the entire project from the everyday production to marketing and branding. Their amazing booth at AmericasMart certainly stood out amongst the fray. I especially loved the white brick facade, vintage bike and mini colander pendants.

All of the Produce Candle scents are inspired by local farms, which Beau and Sarah visited countless times. Sarah, "When dealing with fruits and veggies, it's much easier to fall into an artificial fragrance pattern so we did a lot of back and forth tweaking. We really wanted to be as raw and organic as possible." They also wanted to promote and celebrate that Slow Food mentality of connecting with local growers, buying seasonally and truly experiencing the freshness and beauty of produce. 

They've created their base candles which will be available year round. These include Carrot, Honey, Kale, Melon, Peanut, Radish and Wildflower. Others will be added seasonally- like this spring you'll also find Rhubarb, Snap Pea and Cilantro and in the summer look for Tomato, Corn and Peach (above). 

I have to say, my personal favorite is Radish. I've always wanted to name my dog Radish- I love the name, I love the color, their fresh, crispy taste and of course, the smell. I took one of these candles home and its been burning in my kitchen ever since. I'm a fan, to say the least, and excited to try more. Sara's favorite was Rhubarb, then it was Honey, now it's Cilantro. As she shared, "I have found myself just holding the Cilantro in front of my nose." They're really addictive.

The incredibly talented Stitch Design Co. in Charleston designed all of their labels which are vibrant, charming and dare I say, adorable. They quickly do their job in making you want to pick one up and see what they're all about. 

Another thing to love about this company is how they and Rewined both support and hire employees from The South Carolina Vocational Rehab Center. This center helps Carolinians with disabilities prepare for and maintain employment. Learn more about Produce Candles here and please tell your local shop owners about them. I have a feeling these brilliantly conceived (and packaged) candles are about to strike it big...

**You can pre-order candles now on their site & they'll be ready to ship directly on February 24th. 

 

Photos and Content: Sweet Peach      Additional workshop photos: Produce Candles


Thursday
Jan162014

Asha Patel Designs

On Sweet Peach, I shy away from any type of women's fashion, including jewelry. It's not where I choose to focus and besides, I've never been all that inspired to do so. But when I met Asha Patel of Asha Patel Designs, I found myself in awe of her jewelry. I loved the stones she picked, the pretty simplicity, as well as the symbolism. The pieces also felt very unique. So, it's safe to say, I've been inspired...

 

Perhaps Asha's pieces feel so unique as her background is equally so. She was born in London to Indian parents and now resides in Marietta, Georgia. Her inspirations are many and her experiences vast, yet through following her passion, she has found a style all her own that blends both eastern and western influences. 

Asha's pieces are rooted in tradition yet have a modern feel. The stones and shapes she chooses all have a meaning- whether it's protection or wealth, peace or courage. This piece above is a hand knotted lapis lazuli mala. As shared on her site, "Lapis lazuli quickly releases stress, bringing deep peace and serenity. It encourages taking charge of life and allows self expression without holding back." 

 

One of my favorite pieces of Asha's is the Saraswati tusk pendant on a wire wrapped green onyx necklace. This is a good necklace to soothe fears and worry, providing positivity in times of stress. Top left you'll find the intertwined labradorite, which is a stone of magic and a crystal of shamans, diviners and healers, while the Moonstone Tusk is known as the lovers stone, providing hope, balance, love, fertility. 

As if her necklaces weren't enough to lust over, her line includes bracelets too. Each leather wrapped bracelet is adorned with stones that have a vitality and meaning all their own. Plus, they look amazing stacked together. 

Asha's work has gained impressive attention and has been featured in magazines like People, Redbook, Seventeen, Jezebel and Allure. See the entirety of her lovely collection, here. And I think you need to bookmark her site as they are pieces to aspire to and pieces that would make an amazing gift. If, the inspiration strikes...

 

Photos: Asha Patel Designs; Sing Photography     Content: Sweet Peach


Wednesday
Jan152014

Kentucky Kicks Ass

I'm always a fan of creative types who scoff at conformity- which is why Kentucky natives, Whit Hiler, Griffin VanMeter and Kent Carmichael are a trio after my own heart. They saw a need and decided to make a change, ignoring any standard do's and don'ts. Which is, afterall, the only way to forge a new path...

They first began this journey back in 2011 when trying to raise 3.5 million on Kickstarter for a Superbowl ad that would promote and celebrate the state of Kentucky. A valid effort, they came well short of the funding- but they did garner enough media attention nationwide to help them launch phase two of their plan. 

Whit, Griffin and Kent are proud of their Kentucky heritage. Only problem is, their current state tagline is "Unbridled Spirit." When one googled this phrase, a website offering horse riding lessons in Texas was the first search result. So, they decided to start their own rebranding campaign for the state to help "increase tourism, attract new business, foster pride, diminish stereotypes, unify the Commonwealth and distinguish Kentucky from any other place on the planet." 

Kentucky Kicks Ass became their new and improved state tagline (unofficially), and proud Kentuckians statewide were quick to respond with enthusiastic support. 

Like any good rebranding campaign, you gotta have good swag. With help from local artists, the boys quickly amassed an impressive shop of Kentucky apparel as well as art prints that pay homage to their homeland. 

It's the kind of promotional attire you'd wish all states would create- quality materials with an eye for great design, not that crappy stuff you always find at airports. 

 

The Kick Ass Kentucky campaign rightly includes things and people that make Kentucky great, including George Clooney, Johnny Depp, KFC, horses and Bourbon. 

The state tourism board does not officially support the new slogan of Whit, Griffin and Kent but they do so at their own peril. These three guys have garnered a hell of a lot more attention and fanfare for their home state with their bold, brilliant campaigns than in doing things the expected (boring) way. They've forged a new path and I look forward to seeing where else it leads. Support their continued efforts, here.  

 

Tuesday
Jan142014

Linda Tillman

Linda Tillman has a lot of talent. For the past 30 years, she has made a career as a textile, apparel and home products designer. Now, she paints. It's a hobby she started ten years ago but it has been more than able to generate interest (and income) through Ebay and her Etsy shop. 

As a longtime collector of Eames era furniture, Linda found inspiration through painting mid century decor and snapshots of modern living. 

Linda, "My style is Expressionist/Impressionist. I like to see the paint do its thing. Bold brush strokes and colors mixing right on the canvas characterize my work. I like exaggerated size and unusual cropping, frequently creating negative shapes and empty spaces that can be filled with color and imagination." 

After working for years in both NY and LA, Linda has settled happily in Greensboro, North Carolina with her two cats and two pups. Away from the noise and distractions that many big cities exude, Linda seems to have found a content space to live and paint- and reinvent herself. See all of her talented creations, here. 

 

Illustrations: Linda Tillman     Content: Sweet Peach


Monday
Jan132014

Manready Mercantile

Men's products with great packaging always have my complete, devout attention. So when I happened upon a shop over the Christmas break called Manready, based in Houston, Texas, and saw the wide array of quality, handcrafted products, I knew it had to be my first Manly Monday post of 2014. 

Travis Weaver began this shop back in 2012 inside his kitchen. It was there that he crafted candles in small batches using all natural ingredients. Sold under the name Manready Mercantile, the candles soon inspired more naturally made products to complement a man's lifestyle.  

As much as I love great packaging, men just want products that do their intended purpose without much fuss or fanfare. And that's what I like about Manready- Travis and his team put much care and thought into which ingredients they utilize, as they use very few. Their popular bars of soap are made on a goat farm just south of Houston and each bar takes three weeks to cure.  

A good tub soak is often necesary in a man's life, especially when it includes dead sea salts packaged in a whiskey bottle. This is an age old remedy used to relieve stress and tension and fatigue. I think I need to try this one for myself...

This set of four Gentlemen's Glassware is a bit fun. Each glass is hand dipped in a black polymer, which makes for a one of a kind conversation piece. 

Whiskey Soaked Campire Jerky sounds like a really good idea. All the beef is soaked in Bulleit Bourbon whiskey and slow smoked with Texas pecan wood. I think this is a no-brainer gift or perfect for your next road trip. Check out the entirety of the Manready collection here. 

 

Photos: Manready.com     Content: Sweet Peach


Friday
Jan102014

Soberdough

Over the holiday break, I spent as much time relaxing as I could, which included Instagramming, of course. One company that caught my eye in one of the pics was Soberdough of Nashville, Tennessee...

Veronica Hawbaker has loved to cook for as long as she can remember. As she shared, "I love experimenting and mixing flavors to find something that is totally unique and delicious." With an entrepreneurial spirit and a son who was eager to delve into the business world, the pair teamed up to create a unique product that has quite the universal appeal- beer bread. 

The best part is how simple it is. You take their beer bread mix, add a bottle of your favorite beer to it and bake it. That's it. As so many craft beers have unique flavors- from dark porters to pale ales, as well as specialty components like basil, blueberry or pecan, you can vary the bread taste to your liking. Sounds fun to me.

The beer breads are based on a family recipe of Veronica's. After lots of trial and error, she has taken that recipe and perfected six different breads, including a flavor of the month (this month is Cranberry Orange). 

Veronica and Jordan have also taken some time to share a few combination suggestions on their site. A pale ale goes well with the Rosemary bread, Cinnful Raisin is excellent with a dark porter or a Belgian ale, while their Pumpkin Spice bread pairs quite beautifully with any pumpkin or brown ale. Yum. I think I need to buy a sampler pack and try it all. Check it out for yourself, here. And Happy Weekend everyone...

 

Photos: Soberdough site    Content: Sweet Peach


Thursday
Jan092014

A Fireplace, warm and toasty

I'm cold. I feel warmer and happier around a fireplace. Which is ironic, as I just tore mine out of my living room while redoing my kitchen. It was big and clunky and the thinking goes- once I secure some fabulous new job this year, I'll be able to afford a gas stove in a better location that is also, much better looking. So I started to peruse the web and found some fireplace beauties to bookmark and share...

My living room is set up much like this but with a couch on one side and two chairs on the other. I'd like a gas stove right smack in the middle that faces my new kitchen. I shall believe it into existence...

Hope this inspires and invokes that warm and toasty feeling, if only for a moment. It's these moments, afterall, that help get us through the winter. I know, I'm a crybaby here in Atlanta where it's not half as cold as where my sister is in Boston or brothers in Connecticut or so many in the freezing midwest. But hey, I'm cold, and that feeling is universal, right? Let's all try to spend a little more time in front of the fireplace...making it fabulous and stylish while we're at it. 

 

Photos: Elle Decor; Apartment Therapy; Decor8; Dwell; Le Cordon Bleu, Atlanta; themarionhousebook.com; sabpa.com   Content: Sweet Peach