Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Creative Types #2- Laura Walczak

Welcome to the second installment of my interview series Creative Types! This is a bi-weekly series where I like to highlight my creative friends because it truly is amazing to have so many artistic friends in my life. Laura and I are long distance friends (Rochester and Chicago) who see each other at The Fest or when Laura is road tripping through Chicago, and keep in touch through all the various social medias and instant message sessions on gchat. Without further ado, here she is! 

What inspired you to start designing and selling your address stamps?
I always like stamps for return addresses, and decided to design one for myself at some point. Which I then, of course, used on EVERYTHING. Including the card to a bride-to-be, who at her shower make a big show of my personalized address stamp on the card to her. I offered to make one for the newlyweds, so they could use it on their thank you cards after the wedding. After a few pages of sketches, I started working on two, and ended up with what is now the Olson design and the Nelson design. I was torn between something really fun and elaborate (Olson) and something more practical yet still eye-catching (Nelson). I ended up making both for them, one as a self-inking, and the other as a regular rubber stamp. They LOVED both. Through the powers of social media, I started noticing people asking the Bride where she got her stamps, and decided to take the leap and list them to see if there was any interest from the general public. There was. At current, I’ve created 150+ stamps, and have added two additional design options to my shop. I’m planning on adding more, as well as expanding to include stationery options as well. It’s been hard work but also fun, and I LOVE to hear the stories -- whether the stamps are for wedding invitations, housewarming gifts, or a fun surprise stocking stuffer for a spouse! I hope to hear more stories and have my stamps and design be part of so many more life events going forward.

What drew you to Etsy?
I had created an account a few years ago, 2007 probably? I had talked with my roommate at the time somewhat extensively about starting some sort of crafting shop and what we’d sell. Nothing really came out of that, but I think some time in 2011 I decided I might as well try to sell some of my existing letterpress prints there, as I don’t really need 20 extra prints of a poster I’d made. To this day, I’ve sold one through my shop.
How do you manage working for your day job and working on your art/design work? Do you find anything helpful for managing your time?
I’m working on working on that balance. It got REALLY crazy for me in December, as I was working full time, teaching as an adjunct, and suddenly I was up to my eyeballs in orders for Christmas. I didn’t sleep much to be honest. It was a really rough month. But I’ve been working on strategies to keep myself sane since then, and my volume isn’t as high as the holiday rush. Namely, keeping a spreadsheet of all the orders is super-helpful. I also have tried to streamline when I design, when I send proofs, and when I’m planning to ship so I’m not scrambling every day of the week with all of those tasks. I try to do about two waves a week to keep on schedule.
I’m sure there are things I could be doing better, but I guess I’m figuring it out along the way. I’m open to suggestions or recommendations if anyone has any!
Where do you find inspiration?
It feels cliche, but Pinterest. I have a board for type and lettering, and am lucky to follow some folks that have similar aesthetic appreciations as me. I’ve always been a fan of letterforms and type, it’s nice to have a place so  image-focused. The internet amazes me daily.
I’m also a huge fan of Jessica Hische, though have not yet tried to directly channel her in my work, which I probably won’t ever, but seeing it is inspiring enough! She also makes me realize that I’m not too young to be awesome, as we’re just about the same age, and she is certainly awesome. Time to step up my game!
Type that I like to use often comes from Lost Type and You Work for Them.
What is your workspace like?
A mess. I’m a queen of clutter and piling. I’ve got a sewing table holding my iMac, nested next to book shelves, butted up against a letterpress cabinet, with an organ to my left. I leave things on top of all these things all the time. There’s an armchair behind me that the puppy like to snuggle up on, and I love having her there keeping me company. I recently bought an actual desk that I’m looking forward to assembling and setting up in the dining room for a little more space, and a better view of the TV. I’ve watched SO much Mad Men since starting this stamp business, I’m almost through all that is on netflix.
Lastly, what are your favorite things to do for fun?
Snuggling my puppy is definitely up there! I’ve always been one for going to shows, and when I can I still like to. Punk, indie, ska, chiptune, whatever. I quite enjoy cooking and baking, and have recently started up a dinner party event thing, which is one part social experiment, and one party tasty times. You can check it out at , we’re on facebook and twitter too!
I’m just starting a 5k training through a local organization, I’m excited to start running, and to do this with a large group. The 5k is in April!
Sometimes I can be a beer/wine snob, I really enjoy trying different craft brews and visiting nearby Finger Lakes wineries.

Here's where to find Laura:

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Learning to Love Myself

Warning! Long personal post. 

I stumbled across this drawing on Tumblr and it really speaks to what I've been trying to do lately. I used to  have this "go go go" mentality and loved to be busy and often disliked being at home because I was afraid of becoming a hermit, thought a night at home alone was lame, and often I was trying to avoid being alone with my thoughts. Lately though I'm realizing it's ok to turn down a night out at a bar to be at home and do whatever the hell I want to do. It's ok to lay in bed on a Friday night with a cup of tea and a book. It's ok to spend all day Sunday puttering around in my studio. It's ok to do whatever the hell I want. 

A few months ago I broke up with my boyfriend (who I am still friends with) and typically my post break up activity is to go out drinking as much as possible, re-activate my online dating profile and try to get back in the game asap. I learned a lot from this break up and the relationship about what I want and it lead to me thinking about what I wanted from life in general. I have big dreams but keep realistic goals in mind. I had no desire to start dating again after I went on some dates a bit too soon after the break up (let's be real, dating is exhausting); so now I have a lot of time to focus on myself and it is awesome. I'm being selfish and not being guilty about it and it feels so damn good. These last fews months have really taught me a lot and I just wanted to write a personal post to share how happy I have been overall lately. Trust me, I still have crazy ups and downs sometimes, but thinking about where I'm coming from, I couldn't be happier. 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Bedroom Sneak Peek

Sorry I haven't been blogging much lately, I've been sick pretty much since Saturday and not doing much besides laying in bed, drinking tea, and trying to get some cleaning done since they've finished painting my apartment. I finally took a sick day from work yesterday hoping some rest would help.

I've re-done my room (still in progress) and am so excited about how it's coming together! Here's some sneak peeks filtered through Instagram and Pixlr-o-matic. Once the room is done I'll take some photos with my real camera and share them here. 


Thursday, February 14, 2013


I can't help being a bit bitter on today's holiday (I mean, the name Heartless Arts had to come from somewhere), but I am celebrating by wearing a heart necklace that my friend Sarah made for me. Hope you're all having a lovely day and are smooching someone special!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Creative Types #1- Interview Series

Welcome to the first interview in a new bi-weekly series I am doing called Creative Types. This idea came about when I was thinking about all the amazingly talented people in my life and the people and their work that I am a fan of and constantly find inspiration from. First up is my friend Rosie Peri, who I came to know through some mutual friends in Chicago about 4 or 5 years ago (man, time flies!). Without further ado, here it is!

What inspired you to start pursuing the arts?
There was no singular moment. I grew up in a creatively charged household, where I was given the freedom and encouragement to be weird from the start, so it felt like a pretty natural progression. Funny enough, I didn’t direct this energy toward painting until college. Once I picked up that brush, though, there was no going back- I was in love.

You use people and food as the subjects of your work often, what draws you to this?
I suppose it has to do a little bit with convenience, but the main reason is I’m a nostalgic sap. The food and people I paint are usually images I associate with home (New Orleans), and a gateway to memories of a past life. Always chasing whimsy.

How do you manage working for your day job and working on your art/design work? Do you find anything helpful for managing your time?
I don’t! Kidding... kind of. Balance is an elusive beast.
For years, my own projects operated on a completely manic schedule. Meaning, I’d get tunnel vision on a project, to the exclusion of all else for a month. But be so burned out at the end that I wouldn’t make anything for 6 months afterward.
These days, I’m shooting for more consistency by treating my art as a second job and scheduling time into my calendar (which, if I remember correctly, you suggested I do- Thanks!). Sounds like a buzzkill, but it’s actually gone a long way toward evening out my productivity swings and keeping me on track.

Where do you find inspiration?
Everywhere, really. Conversations I overhear on the bus, things I see while walking to work, music, dreary mornings, strangers on the street, memories, daydreams, friends, art by other people, you name it. I used to just open the dictionary and point to words as a way of spurring something.

What is your workspace like?
A controlled chaos.

Lastly, what are your favorite things to do for fun?
Well, aside from the art, I captain a skeeball team (not to be confused with “I’m good at skeeball”), experiment with food (as in, for eatin’), drag friends to potentially terrible open mic comedy nights, as well as explore all the other bizarre outings Chicago has to offer.
I’m mostly just a bookworm with crayons, though.

You can find Rosie on these corners of the Internet:

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Coming Soon!

I'm starting a bi-weekly interview series, keep your eyes peeled here this week.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Craftistas Kit

I've blogged about Craftistas before when I got a test kit and I was lucky enough recently to win a free three month subscription for me and a friend!

The last one I got was to make fleece ear warmers and some gloves to embellish. The kit came with more than enough materials and was a super easy project. I messed it up and didn't measure my head properly so I'll have to give the ear warmers to a friend with a smaller head than I do. Whoops! 

Anyways, here are some pictures of what I made!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Button Collection

I post about buttons on here waaaay too much, but I can't help it! Every so often I like to share some some extra special ones that I come across in my collection. 


I made this one into a pendant, it's so odd looking but I like it

Monday, February 4, 2013

The Nearsighted Owl

I'm very happy to be sponsoring the Nearsighted Owl this month! I stumbled across her blog last year and it immediately went into my google reader. She has lots of fun posts about thrifting, crochet, and fat acceptance and I love it so make sure to pop on over and check it out! 

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Bedroom Painting Ideas

So here I am on a Sunday night looking at paint samples and trying to decide what color to paint my room. This has led to me saving some ideas when I come across them (I love Evernote!) and also thinking about what else I can do to refresh my room. I use to move around a lot and it took me awhile of living in Chicago to realize I don't HAVE to move every year or less than a year. I like to make an apartment cozy and I love to nest but there is always a part of me that doesn't go all out because I'm not sure when I'll be taking it down again but I want to do a few new things to my room where I live now. 

I've taped some paint samples up on my wall so I can look at them for a few days to decide what color I like best. I'm leaning towards a muted green/mint color, something relaxing for sure. Once I choose a paint color I want to pick out some fabric to make curtains...and oh, I guess I should learn how to sew curtains too! 

Anyone working on any fun house/apartment decorating projects? I would love to hear about it!