december love it...nikki mcclure!

the day has come....nikki mcclure is our "love it" featured artist for december!!!!! how happy does this make me? let's just say there is a silly jig happening somewhere north of charlottesville.

quick recount, it went down like this: speaking to jessica, i said: "you know, the best christmas present i could wish for is for nikki to be our december feature" (insert sigh here)..... a few days later, literally, jessica writes me an email, and i quote: "are you still at home? if so, can you check the blog, started a post, see if you think it's good." so....i checked it asap and lo and behold, there it was, this interview and these pics!!!!!!! she was being very sneaky as we often are this time of year. i will not go on and on, suffice to say nikki's amazing inspirations and creations hang in almost every room in my home. not to mention that we also carry every possible nikki-related product that we can in o'suz . come see it all in person -- the calendar, journals, posters, and books make great gifts!!! and thank you, nikki, for taking the time to answer our questions!

the 2010 revive calendar!

a new collection of 15 different postcards.

our most favorite baby book ever -- the perfect gift for new parents.

for journaling notes about future projects.

what was your first job and how did you end up creating paper cuts?

My first job was at Taco Mamas in Kirkland. I was filling in for my older sister while she was in Germany. I was only 14. I learned how to cut tomatoes and make tortilla chips. It was so satisfying slicing a stack of round tortillas into sixths. Cleaning the grill was my least favorite part.

It's interesting to note that cutting was my favorite part. At first, I thought that this question should have been two as they seemed so unrelated.

Next came college. Library. Recycling center. Bird field work. Wetland education. Environmental education. Drawing cattails and ducks. Full-time art. Papercuts came from wanting black and white images that were easy to reproduce (pre-scanning days). I had been making linocuts and scratchboard illustrations but wasn't satisfied with either. "Try cutting it out of paper," my friend Tae Won Yu suggested. I did. And it was great!

what is your favorite piece/group/series in your work?

The last one that I made. The next one too, hopefully. I have many others. Pieces of some. The solutions to problems that are noticed only by me.

who or what inspires you?

My family and the work they do. Moss and micro ecosystems that go unobserved. Cooking. Gardening and making an edible yard. Farmers. Teachers. Parents. Persimmons. Crows' disregard for relentless rain. Nut trees. Seasons. Slippers and tea. Sharing. Mushrooms.

what three websites do you visit daily?

I sometimes read the New York Times and visit Olyblog, my local news ranting site. I am startled by the amount of time that I do spend at this machine.

making grape juice!

describe your ideal sunday.

Yesterday was Sunday. We slept in a bit, playing foxes with Finn in bed. Jay T. made blueberry pancakes (as he does every morning) and they were especially good. He made a fire. The house got cozy. I read some of Arthur Ransome's "Pigeon Post" to Finn and then we started cleaning up, taking care of messes made. It wasn't until 1 that we finally got out of pajamas and out into the world. We went to the Market and sat cuddled up eating tamales. It was windy and cold and sometimes rainy. We got a box of apples, chantrelles, salmon and traded for some greens. Back home we built a little fort in the back corner of our yard, combing the alley for wind blown fir branches to weave thru the fence and make a wind break. I spent an hour kneeling on the wet earth weaving branches, in and out, in and out. Finn found long boards and made a roof. Jay T. chopped wood and pruned fruit trees. I made some hot cocoa. A warm tummy really does the trick. We did more weaving and some baseball playing. "We want a catcher, not Margaret Thatcher!" is our favorite chant. Back inside. Dry pants put on and then off to friend's for dinner. I made brussel sprouts and kale salad. Everyone ate up the b. sprouts and were surprised that they could be so good. Then home. No bath for Finn as he chopped his finger Friday with his hatchet and he is still ignoring the gruesome wound. More "Pigeon Post" instead. Then finally a long, very hot bath reading "Crow Planet" and then sleep and strange delightful dreams.

what do you see outside your studio windows?

Two birch trees that I planted 10 years ago. Chickadees and juncos and finches and an occasional nuthatch and siskin feed from the birdfeeders that hang from the birch branches. My garden that grows kale and mint is full of maple leaves 2 feet thick. The kale stands tall above (lacinato). My studio shadows the garden so I really only can grow kale and mint. Sometimes peas and stray sunflowers. I see Finn's dirt pile and garden and toppled over Tonka trucks. I can look thru my house and see someone at my front door, but there is no one there right now, so I can't really see that.

november love it...pearl & marmalade!

hey there, peeps. remember a few weeks ago when i said to stay tuned for the october love it post? well somehow october turned into november, and here we are, november 1. we hope the juiciness of this post makes up for our tardiness!

pearl & marmalade is an amazing design studio out of chicago, comprised of dani and lee, two of the wittiest and nicest ladies around. we found them online a couple of years ago, and we've been obsessed ever since. their cards are offbeat and super, super sweet. i mean, who doesn't want to receive a note in the mail that reads: "like a shepherd and its rawhide chew i am rather fond of you." here are just a few of our favorite cards, and let me tell you, it was hard to narrow it down. enjoy, and thanks so much to dani and lee for answering our questions and giving us a peek into the world of pearl & marmalade!

well hello, little hedgie dirigible!

this is quite possibly the best "sorry" card ever made in the history of paper goods.
click on the image to read the text.

an ever-popular engagement/wedding card for the jane austen lovers out there.

and finally, one of aaron's personal favorites. i've actually never seen her look at this
card without cracking up.

what were your first jobs and how did you end up working in stationery and design?

Dani: In middle school I would babysit my cousins. Most of my hard earned money was spent on clothing and accessories from the local mall.

Lee: My first job was picking berries at a local fruit farm the summer I turned 13. I ate a lot of strawberries & spent most of my earnings on a very chic pair of hot pink Reebok high-tops!

We never formally studied graphic design (Lee went to school for writing & Dani's studies concentrated on textiles & fiber arts). But in Chicago we stumbled upon jobs at the same company creating & typesetting wedding invitations and became fast friends! From the beginning we were both at wit's end with the mainstream design-work, and bored with a greeting card market saturated with mean cards, hip catch-phrases & lazy typesetting. We took some spare change & a month of morning coffee money (we started P&M with about hundred dollars each), bought a ream of card stock and got to work. The early days were challenging- learning the ins and out of the mysterious world of business management, pricing & printers was a labyrinth (we are sometimes still in it!). We worked full time which demanded our weekends and nights belong entirely to P&M. But looking back it was the best motivator. Since we didn't have financial support from loans or investors our only option was to turn our ideas and that initial spare change into something more, or simply fail. The past 4 years has been a magnificent adventure. Getting to know other card-makers, being a part of the finest stationery shops (one such favorite called O'Suzannah comes to mind), and connecting with admirers of our cards is such an honor.

this is a recent letterpress print. i have it hanging in my
house, and it makes me smile everyday. yes, those
are raindrop hearts.

what are your favorite pieces/groups/series in your work?

Dani: I'm most proud of our limited edition letterpress prints. As a card designer I fear that my cards will eventually get discarded. The hope with the prints is that they will be framed, put on display and cherished for a long time. Our first print Amidst Routes was designed by Lee. It features botanical imagery, lace details and diamond shapes. It has a sophisticated color palette of warm grey and mustard yellow. I immediately fell in love with the design when Lee showed it to me. It reminds me of an old botanical print, but with a modern edge. It's just gorgeous! I'm a proud owner of the print, and it's on prominent display in my living room. We also offer two prints named Numbers, Numbers, one version in blue and grey and the other in pink and grey. I designed these prints with a baby nursery in mind. I think of these prints as my way of introducing children to design at an early age.

caught in the tentacles of love!

Lee: Of our letterpress cards I have a perma-crush on the Octo Love card that Dani designed this year- it's my favorite for a valentine/love card! And I have a fondness for our roots & vegetables cards 'cause each was designed with a special someone in mind (Mushroomy Compliments was for my husband, Fiercely Rooted for my childhood best friend, & Turnip Times was for Dani).

an o'suz favorite...there are no words to describe how much i love this card.

who or what inspires you?

There are piles of visual things that inspire us (antique valentines & wallpaper, 60's & 70's children's books, vernacular photography, vintage Vera scarves, old-time illustrations, strong fonts). But, plenty of our inspiration is also born in our fascination & longing for the curious manners of "olden days". We're all for a bit of sass and sarcasm here and there, but with our greeting cards we focus on an attempt to be a part of a community of folks wanting to send and receive sentiments of a kinder, more heartfelt & quirkier nature.

pearl & marmalade inspiration wall

what three websites do you visit daily?

style me pretty
oh so beautiful paper
oh joy

creature comforts
uppercase gallery

describe your ideal sunday.

Dani: My ideal Sunday is waking up late, treating myself to a homemade latte (I'm an espressoholic) and reading fashion magazines. If the weather is nice I love taking walks with my husband through our neighborhood and admiring the beautiful architecture. We live in the Chicago neighborhood of Wicker Park, which is known for its beautiful Victorian era homes. If the weather is crummy my husband and I love curling up on our sofa with our three cats and watching movies.

Lee: Mine would involve getting up early, taking the pooch for an extra long stroll & a few thrift stores. I also try to catch up on my letter writing & the week's news. On Sundays my husband usually makes fresh sorbets in the summer, or really simple delightful soups in the winter (in my book, this is ideal!).

pearl & marmalade cards EVERYWHERE!!!

studio vignette...hmm, owls and mushrooms, two of our favorite things.

Our studio space is tucked away in the Logan Square 'hood of Chicago. Our walkway & backyard is plumed with wild grasses, Queen Anne's Lace, giant hosta leaves and a gang of surly "garden cats" that shyly spy on. It's a perfect fit for us- quiet, a little dusty and off the beaten path. And as we grow, it's been large enough to comfortably fit all our production & stock, but small enough to remind us to keep things in tune to our initial mission of independent, honest and personal designs.

september love it...polli!

we discovered australian jewelry designers polli about two years ago, and we continue to be charmed by their amazingly intricate necklaces and earrings. the body of each piece is laser cut in stainless steel, which means it's strong, lightweight, and also stays nice and shiny no matter how much you wear it! (fyi, the hooks and chains are sterling silver.) we were first drawn to the line by their iconic elm necklace, pictured below, and in the past few seasons, they've introduced some more playful designs, like the cute little hoot owl. (you know how we feel about owls!) we love polli products, and not surprisingly, tess and maja are super awesome ladies -- they've increased our australian vocabulary significantly and also send painfully yummy chocolate candies in their shipments.

one of our best sellers, the succulents; new terrace earrings with two different houses, one of which is modeled on the house in which polli was born (see if you can find the tiny dog, alfie); new feather earrings (all en route as we speak!)

this was my first piece of polli, the canopy necklace, which you must come visit in order to see all the detail. after i'd had it for a few weeks i realized there were tiny birds! and what i thought was a curly-tailed monkey! i was later informed by tess that my 'monkey' was actually an australian possum, which as far as i'm concerned, makes this even more awesome. that's one of our favorite things about the designs, that they are so firmly rooted in the visual world around them, and that tess and maja are able to incorporate these tiny details of their environment into the works. speaking of the environment, polli was recently awarded the low CO2 rating by the carbon reduction institute, and they are working hard to be no CO2 by 2010. yay! maja and tess, who will be a new mama very, very soon, agreed to answer our usual questions. enjoy, and see you soon!

interior of polli studio

what were your first jobs and how did you end up working in jewelry design?

Maja and I both worked at Dinosaur Designs at various stages through school and university. It was an inspiring experience as we were exposed to many different facets of a design company who manufactured locally and exported worldwide. We met at university in 1999 studying Industrial Design. After graduating we started working for competing design consultancies and were faced with strict confidentiality on our work. Product design is a slow process with some products taking years in R&D. We yearned to design together again and to design something with a fast turnaround that we would use ourselves. So we started Polli, initially as a hobby, by designing and die cutting polypropylene baskets and bags. We soon recognised regular off cuts from this process and use these plastic discs to make simple jewellery. The jewellery took off and the bags discontinued. Soon we started to work with other materials like stainless steel and aluminium and Polli has grown from a weekend markets stall to an international business with distribution through Australasia, North America, the UK and Scandinavia.

what are your favorite pieces/groups/series in your work?

Everything new is exciting but we’re both big fans of the original mobiles made from Stainless Steel – they’re like a giant necklace hanging in your room and cast beautiful shadows when lit. We’re also thrilled with our new hand stitched collection of jewellery which allow us to add colour and texture to our classic stainless steel jewellery. Being able to experiment with different colour-ways is something that we don’t often get to do and it’s been surprisingly challenging.

polli mood boards

who or what inspires you?

Life, Travel and Nature are our main inspirations. We’ve been fortunate enough to travel to interesting places and to get to travel regularly with our work. The new woven range has drawn inspiration from a tapestry carpet with spans three generations from Maja’s family. This carpet was designed, the wool hand dyed and hand stitched in Denmark by Maja’s grandfather. The final stitch was done in Australia by Maja and her mum, Pia, and the piece hangs proudly in Maja’s Sydney apartment.

maja's three-generation family carpet

what three websites do you visit daily?

describe your ideal sunday.

Tess - Sleeping in, waking to warm Sydney weather, walking my two dogs by the water, enjoying a home cooked meal with friends.

Maja – Start with a good espresso coffee, followed by a bike ride in the sunshine, a long lunch with friends and finish it off with an early night.

what do you see outside your studio windows?

Our studio is part of a converted ginger beer factory (this is a kind of natural soda, I actually think it’s an Australian thing, it was originally made in ceramic bottles). It uses a lot of recycled timber and each studio faces an internal courtyard. The doors / windows are so grand they’re as wide as a our studio and nearly two stories high so you can literarily open the front of the studio! At the rear of the studio we look onto leafy gum trees.

thank you, tess and maja!

july love it...amy noel!

this month we're excited to feature one of our local artists, amy noel, who makes the hands-down cutest cashmere critters you've ever seen. it's always a pleasure when amy visits the store (usually with her equally adorable younger daughter in tow) with a new bag of animals for the shop. she has made bunnies, elephants, pigs, owls, chickens, mice, and other forms of fauna, all from reclaimed cashmere. they're even stuffed with cashmere scraps! whenever someone comes in in search of a one of a kind (literally) baby gift that will be both functional and a keepsake, i always show them amy's work. who wouldn't want a locally and lovingly made little creature, perfect for little ones of all ages. i love telling our customers that amy's older daughter often contributes to the "art direction" by telling her mama where to put certain parts or her signature stitched heart. of course, the appeal of amy's work extends beyond wee ones, and many a critter have been purchased for a slightly older demographic. here's o'suz regular nicole's masked buddy in her home, photographed by good pal melissa (check out her blog!):

when we were thinking about how to best feature amy, we knew the best way to convey the appeal of her work was to show it with its ideal audience, and who better to complement critter cuteness than red fisher himself. i spent a day with red while suzannah rocked it out in the shop, and it was good times all around when i handed over the bag of goodies:

pulling them out, one by one...

decisions, decisions.

calling attention to monsieur elephant.

maybe this one?

hmmm, this rooster is rather nice.

red and rooster have some face time.

how are you today, rooster-roo?

yup, he's the one. for sure.

many of amy's creations are visible in these photos, but you really have to feel these little softies to understand how amazing they are. so come check out the menagerie in person at the shop! amy was kind enough to answer our usual questions, so please scroll down for her responses. thank you, amy!

what was your first job and how did you end up making your adorable creatures?

At eleven, I took on the hardest job that I can think of...babysitting. I took on not only one, but three children under the age of five, and was attempting with the best of intentions to replace their mother for four to six hours every day in the summer. Wow, have the times changed. I am a mother of two now and can only hope that I am doing the best that I can. In a way, I feel honored, for my babysitting went on for years and sometimes over weekends as I got older..these parents trusted that I was a good replacement for them while they were away and I did the best that i could. I feel now that this was a good basis for owning my own business and raising two children without the stress of a 9-5 job.

As far as how these creatures came to life, I feel this could be a long and drinking wine kind of story, so I will keep it "simple." I was a traveler before I gave birth to my first daughter five years ago, and I found metal objects on the XX tracks and began making mobiles, rather large and clumsy, but with a raw beauty nonetheless. Then the leather came to me free to recycle from a local boot/saddle maker, from which I began and continue to create books, bags,and baby moccasins...If I want to make it, I will give it a whirl. This giving of leather reminded me of my childhood and all the "hand me downs" I had received and altered to fit my tastes at the time, thus pushing me toward this desire to create things that had little or no waste to them and a bit more function than metal trash mobiles (my heart still loves thee). Granted, one cannot realistically keep every thread that comes from something before, but I can try to impact this world without crushing her with my feet. So, these creatures, with the help of the babe inside, gave thought to all the cashmere sweaters I had found at a frequented thrift store...reinvented and stuffed with the leftover cashmere and just a bit of choking hazard and pretty edible if so inclined.

what is your favorite piece/group/series in your work?

So far, I have a hard time with a favorite choice of the animals I have made... maybe the green rooster, the pink bunny, the black owls, I can't make choices like that.. [ed. note: you can see a black owl in one of the above photos.]

who or what inspires you?

They are inspired by children. My children, five years and six months, the man and father of my children, who I am crazy about..they are my greatest inspiration. Not only to be a better woman and mother, but also to love and follow the beautiful things I see and find in life. For children see the world with this indescribable beauty and honesty that for us over time becomes a bit jaded if we let it, and they do not discriminate unless taught or told to be so. I find myself learning more acceptance daily just by watching my babes see people and things uninterrupted by the daily obstacles. I also find myself inspired by life itself, but music, dancing, and timeless textures are my other inspirations.

this is a new lavender rabbit. (or a jumbo mouse if you prefer)

closer examination reveals extreme cuteness.

what three websites do you visit daily?

The three websites I frequent often, besides google for my need for information DAILY, are etsy and an informative blog on nature's child (written by a friend and mother ). Being a new cyber space gal, I am still finding my way around...or stumbling, but it's fun no less.

describe your ideal sunday.

The day of sun is my most cherished day, an end and a beginning in one day. To start fresh again and remember the week previous. My ideal sunday is spent with my family, for it is hard to get us all together in one moment. So, as we get to know each other, these times are often spent at sugar hollow (a close and beautiful river hike waterfall berry picking paradise) in the summer or lying blissfully around the woodstove in the winter. The day of sun is really set aside for recuperation in my house, even if that means exerting tons of energy and having fun.

critters inspire hugs all around.

what do you see outside your studio windows?

Outside my studio windows, which is my sunroom, are these two giant quince bushes that bloom twice in the year..once in Janurary (even through ice storms) to remind me that spring is on its way, and then again in early May. And then there is my garden of strawberry, tomato, yellow squash, melon, basil, thyme, mint, and rosemary plants and the occasional cardinal or finch roosting in the rose of sharon. This rain that we have been getting has cast an almost luminescent green quality to my country living. In reading this, it almost sounds a bit surreal, but I feel that my life is just a bit enchanted. I don't have much for possessions, but I sure love making something out of nothing. Enjoy this life for all that it is. Thanks for viewing.

life is pretty sweet.

june love it...fluffyco!

this month we're so excited to feature fluffyco on the blog as our june love it! we've been carrying san francisco-based fluffy for a few years now, and it's been neato to watch the line expand and branch out in new directions. the fluffyco booth is always one of my favorites at the new york gift show because i know there will be awesome new goodies to scoop up! we started out featuring their range of screenprinted naugahyde wallets, checkbooks, and ipod cases. we love all of their animals and nature-inspired designs, and they're made even better by fluffyco's commitment to keeping their production as local as possible and using earth-friendly materials. here are a few of our favorite mini wallets, perfect for guys or girls. all of us o'suz girls have at least one.

since we moved to our new space in august, we also started carrying fluffyco's tshirts for the ladies. we can't keep this snazzy owlie shirt in the shop:

and these are two new ones we got in april:

also back in april we ordered a few of these amazing belts. they are handmade in oklahoma city, and each one is distressed differently. since we are lovers of all things owl, we snagged the owls and another one with a forest silhouette.

last but not least, we love us some little fluffy for little ones. we're waiting for red to grow into his already substantial collection of little fluffy tshirts, stay tuned for future cuteness on that front. and who doesn't want to sport the teddybear picnic? we have it in yellow and gray in the shop -- i only wish it came in my size!

now, onto the good stuff. fluffyco founder paulina berczynski answered our probing questions and sent us lots of awesome photos, including the portrait below, which was titled 'evil twin'! thanks, paulina, for giving us this sneak peek into the world of fluffyco!

what was your first job and how did you end up working in design for accessories and home goodies?

My first job was working at Sbarro pizza as a cashier when I was 14. Actually I was 12 and they fired me because I was underage. At 14 I got a very similar job at Sizzler.

I had always loved drawing and the visual arts, and discovered Andy Warhol in high school, when I was a total art nerd and would spend lunch checking out different art and artists in the library every day. I am one of those lucky people who always pretty much knew what I was into. I applied to this super hardcore university on the East Coast (Carnegie Mellon) for both Fine Art and Design. My mom, who has always been totally comfortable opening my mail, let me know I got into both and asked which direction I wanted to go, and I decided right then to go for design so I could make a living.

I realized at school that A. I never wanted a corporate job and B. that I had a serious problem with being told what to do- which basically means, start your own business. I did freelance design work for over 7 years, interspersed with stints in advertising. I worked on some amazing projects (Puma, Thrasher Magazine, and Lucky Strike were highlights), but I always burned out- I knew I wanted to do my own designs, on my terms.

So I ended up moving to Seattle where my best friend was living, to start a housewares business together, called TruckStop Ink. We both put in $50 to start and began by making wooden magnets and wall art using transfer printing, selling them at craft fairs, then in local stores. We taught ourselves how to screen-print in the kitchen and the business was pretty steady, but we both kept our day jobs. The first time we came back from a fair with $300 we were flipping out. When we brought home $1000, we could barely believe it.

Long story short, about a year into it I decided to go out on my own. I was working in advertising at the time, and managed to save up close to $60K to start my own gig. I moved back to San Francisco, where I had lived years before and always knew I would come back to forever, and started FluffyCo in late 2004.

trees billfold from fluffyco's new(ish) eco canvas group

what is your favorite piece/group/series in your work?

I think each new season is the best, so my favorites are always changing. Right now, I am seriously loving the Premium Tee line (especially the Gators), and the eco wallets. I have a wood one and it’s pretty great. I’m also cooking up a ton of new housewares stuff for Fall 09 and Spring 10, so I’m pretty preoccupied with all those ideas. (ed. note: egad, we can't wait to see!)

who or what inspires you?

I am inspired by San Francisco’s vibrant youth and music culture, street art from all over the world, and what other indie designers are doing most of all. That and the urge to run the business with a sustainable, low-key approach– FluffyCo uses American manufacturing whenever possible, to keep our local communities strong. That’s a big one over here.

one of paulina's new poster designs, which she plans to post guerrilla style in europe

what three websites do you visit daily?

Right now I’m doing some more art-nerd stuff in Poland, so I can’t live without my Facebook. Other than that, I do an insane amount of train-of-thought web searches. Today I was checking out sustainable messenger bags at Reload and Freitag, sourcing US makers of truck tarp scraps and recycled vinyl, clicking around different screen printers’ poster sites, and trying to find vintage European toy posters like the Moomins, Babar the elephant and Barbapapa all over the place. Yesterday it was mirrors, organic fabrics, fashion designers and cold rolled steel.

describe your ideal sunday.

Wake up really late, brush teeth and get back into bed. Daydream in bed with my husband for like an hour, eventually convince him to make me an omelet. Do something active outside (ideally with or near plants), spend time relaxing with friends, eat something delicious for dinner and watch a movie at home or go out to a show.

a view into the fluffyco studio

what do you see outside your studio windows?

A cool old brick building, a leafy tree, the SF landmark Twin Peaks, plus (extra bonus) some sky.

april"love it" boy girl party, starring susie ghahremani!

if you don't already know who susie ghahremani is, this is your lucky day. if you do know susie, and or her amazing website:, maybe you will learn a tidbit you did not know because...drumroll.... she accepted our invite to be our "love it" artist for april!!!!! interview to follow, but not before we shower her with some april showers of adoration (and well wishes, she broke her shoulder last week!) no shortage of props here. she is a superstar in our eyes, plain and simple. before we were selling her goods, we were buying them on her retail site. we still do actually, when we can't get our piggy little hands on them at o'suz. her prints are my weakness lately as i am obsessed with collecting art. i have 2 prints in red's bathroom

and 2 in his room.

let me tell you, i am not alone in my love of susie's talent. jessica, who works at o'suz and does at least half the blog tending, may need an intervention, ha. i'll let her tell you in her own words.

jessica here to share my boygirlparty obsession. as suzannah suggested, an intervention might be appropriate right about now. as i was collecting all of my boygirlparty goods to photograph, i realized that i have something in every single room of my house, from an owlie necklace to magnets to notepads to stationery to prints. it's just that it's all so painfully adorable, and i mean that in the best possible way. i love susie's subject matter, which is predominantly various kinds of animals, including my two favorite animals: hedgehogs and dogs. i love her style as well, that her little creatures are often depicted in various forms of human activity, like cooking, getting down with some tunes, or talking on the telephone. i hope one day i will be able to own one of her original paintings, or at least get to see one of her shows, which always seem to be amazingly installed. here are two of my favorite boygirlparty possessions:

that's right, it's boston terrier time. on the left is a print of one of susie's paintings, and on the right is my beloved one of a kind pouch. the pouch has its own little story. a few years ago i came across a boston terrier boygirlparty pouch on flickr and, um, kind of flipped out, because i couldn't imagine a more perfect combination of two great loves: boston terriers AND boygirlparty. i immediately emailed susie to see if there was any way i could get one because i knew i NEEDED this little delight, and she told me that she didn't have any at the time but she might make more in the future, which led to my stalking of her shop. then, in december 2007, one went up for sale, and i missed it. it was devastation station. i emailed her again, and told everyone at o'suz how sad i was to have missed out again. unbeknownst to me, suzannah had already commissioned a boston pouch from susie for christmas, and everyone but me was in on the scheming. i almost died of excitement when i opened it at our party -- it was all too perfect! so now i have my pouch, and i love it so much because it reminds me of this dude, mick aka mister puppy (1994-2008), whose lovely countenance you see here being held up on my fridge with boygirlparty ipop magnets that we sell in the shop:

we have tons of magnets in the shop, including a new series of cats, dogs, forest animals, and hedgies. i am trying to resist, really. but these few things really only scratch the surface of my boygirlparty collection. here is my assortment of notepads and recipe cards from susie (and yes, i do use them):

yes, that's a squirrel playing the guitar. these come straight from susie herself, and they always go quickly whenever we get them. in the past couple of years, susie has been partnering with companies like chronicle books and madison park greetings, which brings her work to an even larger audience. here are a few of the goodies we have in the shop, some of which are brand new:

the owl journal is so snazzy, it's also illustrated on the inside! aaron and i love love love the mini notes, because, yes, that is a kitty napping while all wound up in the telephone cord on a card that says "call me!" a lot of susie's work features not only her imagery but her handwriting as well, which is just amazing, simple and sweet. we also just got a whole new series of cards like the ones on the right, for various occasions from birthdays to anniversaries to new babies.

susie also does a lot of book illustration, and one of our favorites is this baby book for adoptive families for chronicle. isn't that the sweetest cover ever?

while we aren't able to carry the prints in the shop, that doesn't stop suzannah and me from being cuckoo about them. here are a few of mine:

hedgehog playing piano. nothing more need be said. now that we've gushed about our love for boygirlparty and susie herself, please keep reading to learn about how she ended up working as an artist and what inspires her to keep keeping on. thanks so much, susie, for taking the time to answer our questions!

what was your first job and how did you end up painting and creating paper goods?

My first longterm job was at a mom&pop art supply and framing shop outside Chicago, IL. I took the job for the employee discount, of course! The second question is a little harder for me to answer, I've always painted - as far back as I can remember, and I also have some pretty early memories of making paper goods. "Susie Cards and Gifts" circa 1985 was alarmingly on par with what I do these days... I guess I took painting & paper professionally around graduating from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2002 as a natural progression of what I had been working on the time, which was album artwork and t-shirt designs for my band, and making zines.

what is your favorite piece/group/series in your work?

The musical animals series is my favorite to work on, but I'm most proud of my polka dot owls paintings that appeared on the covers of various Chronicle Books projects -- I just know I put every ounce of my energy into those. I was very proud of my installation and exhibition "The Wild Life" from the fall as well..

who or what inspires you?

I love to mix colors and often rely on memory and nostalgia for inspiration...I'll be mixing paint and unsure of what to make next and suddenly a certain blue will remind me of something I've known... a pair of socks or a plastic swing.. it could become the basis for new work.
Also, animals and nature consistently amaze me and influence my work. Any hike, climb, swim or David Attenborough series does the trick. And my pets, I love my cat and finches.

what three websites do you visit daily?

90% of the time I'm usually wikipedia'ing or googling something like Tiny Tim or the grammar rules for "addictive/addicting". I recently joined
Twitter and like to check in on there, especially when I feel confined! (Working at home can make you pretty unsocialized.) I love Flickr, too.

describe your ideal sunday.

Sleeping in, tofu scramble for breakfast - my most coveted breakfast favorite, but sadly rarely available here in San Diego! Then, a bike ride with my fiance where no cars go (cars are scary to me when on bike) Possibly stumbling upon a garage sale with incredible mid century finds. a picnic in the shade with plenty of opportunities to birdwatch and/or see wildlife, a nap, a crossword puzzle, a funny movie. Simple, cozy. I'm lucky to say this accurately describes most of my Sundays!

what do you see outside your studio windows?

Bougainvillea, a bamboo fence, and a lemon tree that refuses to cooperate. A perfectly clear typically San Diego sunny day.

march love it...alena hennessy

here we are in march, and that makes me think of brisk, sunny days and freshening up for spring. alena hennessy has just the thing for the changing of the seasons, from new art for your walls, soft cotton scarves, and beautiful printed tshirts. best of all, we recently got a nice big box of new goodies from our favorite asheville peep!

about a year and a half ago i kept seeing alena's work on various websites, and i was completely smitten with her scarves and the imagery printed on them. eventually i ordered a couple with the intention of only keeping one (haha), and there was no turning back after that. then i was lucky enough to meet alena at the new york gift fair last february, and we placed our first order for the store. since then alena's work has been flying out the door!

alena creates beautiful paintings whose imagery centers around flora and fauna. she then transforms the paintings into prints, and we have this lovely owl in the shop right now. (you know how we love our owlies -- look at his little feet!)

alena also uses many motifs from her work on various textiles: scarves, tshirts, and bags. the scarf above is suzannah's new favorite, she snagged it right away. it has a little bit of a thicker rib than the others and is super soft and cozy. it's the perfect weight for spring and is also a great way to add a little flair to your daily ensemble. they're super long, so you can wrap away in all sorts of ways. also exciting is the fact that alena works really hard to make sure her production is eco-friendly. nearly all of her fabric goods are printed locally with earth friendly inks on organic materials - yay!

we also love alena's tshirts -- this is a new purple burnout tee that is beyond soft. the bright colors make me so excited for spring tshirt weather!

one last thing, and then i promise i'll let alena tell you the rest! at this past gift show alena introduced a new series of eco tote bags, and we got this sweet tree bag in the shop. great for everyday use or for shopping!

we're so excited to have more alena in the shop, and we're thrilled to have her here on the blog as well. still, the computer screen does not do justice to the yummy softness of her textiles or the vibrancy of her prints, so come visit her goodies soon! thanks, alena! xoxo, jessica

what was your first job and how did you end up painting? by extension, what attracted you to using textiles in your work?

my first job was working as an after school arts teacher in a small private school down the road from my house. as far as painting, that is something i have always done, since i was little. well i guess it was drawing at first, and then i got into painting once i was older. i love art and design that can also be functional, and i love the feeling of soft fabrics, and the idea of adding just a simple motif to that piece, so that is what initially inspired my attraction to textiles.

what is your favorite piece/group/series in your work?

oh that's hard! it changes monthly probably. i usually am most attracted to what i am working on currently. right now i am working on a new series of paintings inspired by my trip to india (so think long tail feathers, bold colors, elephants, sleeping cows!) but i like my most recent organic scarves i came up with. i like the baby rib cotton that's so thick, along with the designs.

who or what inspires you?

nature and animals inspire me. simple lines and classic narratives, like zen mythologies, and color color color. my sweet little town of asheville and all the dear people that live here also inspire me very much. i love having four seasons.

what three websites do you visit daily?

my own to fill orders, facebook (its so addictive, i hate to admit it!), and well nothing else daily really because time is a limited resource these days it seems.

describe your ideal sunday.

sleeping in as much as i can stand it, going out to eat to sunny point cafe for some huevos rancheros, going to the park and spending some time with friends.

what do you see outside your studio windows?

trees and blue sky!

february love it...jenna rose

so we love, love, love jenna rose. she is one of the newest artists to find a home in o'suzannah, hailing all the way from hamilton, ontario. jenna greenberg, designer and creator of jenna rose, was kind enough to answer our humble interview questions ages ago when we first brought her in the shop. unfortunately we have taken an uncharacteristically long time in getting the interview up here, but let it be known, this is no reflection on her goods! sometimes life just grants many of us full plates, and that is our excuse. please check out her site and look for new spring stuff down the road.

when the big box of jenna rose goodies arrived in the store we were all a little googley-eyed by its awesomeness. it is always exciting when something is EVEN COOLER than you anticipated, and that's the experience we had with jenna rose. all of jenna's wares are carefully crafted and hand printed in her studio. we all wanted one of everything, but thus far i've managed to save some for y'all and have only snagged a hat.

i have a bit of a testimonial to offer about the hats, which we have in brown wool with the basswood print and black wool with the granville print. i do not wear hats, um, ever. i often forgo warmth because i am so against seeing myself in a hat, but i *love* this baby. it's a great shape and flatters the most hat-phobic of heads, and it's lined with cozy flannel to keep you snug.

i'm going to let you in on a little secret about suzannah -- she is one sneaky lady, that one. she is always finding ways to get us extra special treats from our artists, things that we don't have in the store and often send us into literal fits of excitement. this christmas aaron and i were gifted our own jenna rose organic cotton blankies. these are so, so soft and are hand printed with jenna's designs along the bottom. we have a few of these in the shop now, as well, and i think they'd make amazing wedding or housewarming gifts.

we have a few other items from jenna rose, including belts and the storage baskets suzannah mentioned in her holiday faves. for now i'll leave you with jenna's glimpse into her world, but please come check out these goodies in the shop! (and thanks to jenna for her patience as we got back into the blogging groove!)

what was your first job and how did you end up working with textiles?

The first job I had that really affected my career choice was working in my mom's quilt shop my last year of high school. Sewing and art was always a prominent part of my life growing up. Working in the quilt shop and being surrounded by patterned textiles helped me make the decision that I wanted to study textiles. I went to the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design for four years and studied Textiles and Fashion. I started
Jenna Rose only few months after graduating in the Spring of 2006.

what is your favorite piece/group/series in your work?

My collection changes every season and each time I seem to like the newest one more than the last. For example, right now I am loving the cuckoo clocks print and the organic cotton blankets.

who or what inspires you?

I never know when I will be inspired or by what. I'm drawn to old objects and unique environments within my everyday surroundings. I often find inspiration for my prints while walking my dog, whether we're in the city or out in the woods. As for people, my mom has inspired me the most. She was the one who introduced me to textiles and sewing, and having started her own business, gave me confidence to start my own.

what three websites do you visit daily?

Although not daily, I weekly visit Design Sponge, Decor8, and Etsy.

describe your ideal sunday.

My ideal Sunday would be spent with my fiance and dog. We would lounge in the morning with coffee and a fire. We would walk to Locke Street for breakfast and pop into the antique shops on our way home. Depending on the season, we would either go for a long hike or cross-country ski in the afternoon. The day would finish with a nice meal and a good movie.

what do you see outside your studio windows?

I overlook a row of shops and restaurants, including my weekly falafel lunch place and the best dim sum in the city.

november love it...jill bliss!

the first time i walked into o'suzannah, i knew immediately that it would become my favorite store, in part because, holy moly, there were so many handmade goods by artists whose work i'd only ever seen in my online travels. among those represented, it was all the lovely jill bliss merch that sent me over the edge -- the cloth wallets, the paper products, the bags that i had previously only been able to imagine were there before me. it was a little slice of jill bliss heaven.

when i think of jill's work, my mind divides it into two categories which often merge and overlap. the first is the fabric goods, and in particular the wallets and checkbooks she creates out of what must be an AMAZING stash of vintage sheets. she gives these linens a new life by sewing them into carefully crafted credit card and change pockets. my mom's been rocking her mini pocket wallet for nearly two years now!

and then there's jill's stunning illustration and design, which focuses on the natural world around her, whether it be undersea specimens or the native flora of the west coast (and even the occasional californian banana slug). there is an incredible amount of detail in jill's work, and it seems to almost vibrate with color.

not only are we thrilled to always have jill bliss originals in the shop, but we also carry many of the products produced through her collaborations with my favorite mirror, ipop, and chronicle books. most recently we received a nice big box direct from jill containing her 2009 gathered together wall calendar and the floral leaves datebook. come check them out, and i hope you enjoy reading jill's interview below! xoxo, jessica

what was your first job and how did you end up making all of your amazing goods?

my first job was helping my mom make christmas crafts to sell when i was a kid. we lived on a farm then, and got paid once a year, in january, for the summer prune and fall walnut harvests. by october we'd be low on funds, so i'd help my mom make raggedy anne and andy's, quilts, pom pom tree decorations, and, my fave, spice ropes!

most of the things i make these days are a result of something needed by either myself, my friends, or my customers. i love paper, i love fabric, trims, notions, beads, small things, and i love organizing things, and i love pockets.

what is your favorite piece/group/series in your work?

i love them all equally like children! but i secretly love the newest things a little bit more than the rest. right now my mom is teaching me how to crochet. you'll see the results late this year!

who or what inspires you?

i'm inspired by little natural or colorful elements i see when traveling, hiking or walking. i like to challenge myself to recreate these elements in drawn form or with various pre-made items or fabric in my studio.

what three websites do you visit daily?

uh, i must confess i'm not good at keeping up with the blogs or news online. i prefer to talk in person or email and text my friends. and i like to watch news on tv. i do visit google, google maps, and pretty much every day though. oh, and now i can watch tv shows and movies on my laptop while i sew!

we don't have this piece, redwood sorrel, in the shop, but i couldn't
resist showing it to you! it's an original drawing available on jill's site.

describe your ideal sunday.

it's overcast and misty raining in the morning so me and my dog sleep in. we get up, have breakfast, water, weed and harvest in the garden. by then the rain has stopped, so we get on the bus and the light rail and go to forest park for a hike. we get back home in the early evening. lucy [my dog] has dinner, and i leave her home and ride my bike to meet a friend for dinner at one of my favorite restaurants, navarre. i meet up with other friends for after-dinner drinks at a bar somewhere, and ride my bike slowly home about 11 pm.

what do you see outside your studio windows?

my vegetable garden!

october love it...moontea artwork

moontea artwork has been a favorite of all the o'suzannah ladies and our customers ever since we first found it at the stationery show in may 2007. as everyone who's visited the store knows, we love all manner of stationery, but when we spotted oregonian kristin loganbill's bold images and patterns, printed on both paper and fabric, we knew we had found something special. as i was thinking about this post and pondering what it is about moontea that really drew us in, i was (rather nerdily) reminded of a statement made by an art historian (i wasn't kidding about the nerdy) in the wake of the increasing industrialization of our existence. i'll spare you the quotation, but i think it is the incredibly personal and handmade character of moontea that we find so compelling. i love that kristin designs the images and patterns, block prints or screen prints on a soft hemp/cotton blend fabric, and then sews this same fabric into bags, pouches, and petite sachets. it makes me feel like i know something about the past life of the treat i'm holding in my hand, which is a rare thing these days! kristin was kind enough to answer some questions as our october love it feature, so please enjoy this window into her art and life!

pocket book purse with eucalyptus print

What was your first job, and how did you end up printmaking?

I can't say that my first jobs (babysitting and cleaning house) led me to printmaking! I have worked a lot of retail, and I worked as a massage therapist for some time. Working in retail probably led me to want to have my own business. I also loved massage, but at some point I knew I had to try to do my own art- I figured it was better to try and fail then to wonder what would have happened if I had tried! I've always done some sort of art- but printmaking just resonated with me- I just love seeing the method in the art form- it just begs to be touched, if you know what I mean. Plus I like the quality of hand printed items- they just look so perfectly imperfect!

What is your favorite piece/group/series among your own work?

At the moment I am particularly fond of the Stones cloth. I also printed Stones on paper with silvery metallic ink, and love how it turned out. (see photo) It may seem egotistical, but I really do love all my prints- it makes me happy when I am surrounded by them.

Who, past or present, most inspires you?

My favorite artist is Rufino Tamayo, he was a Mexican artist from Oaxaca. The colors he used are earthy and rich, and to me show where he was from and what he loved. Also his subject matter often had a bit of humor in it.

What 3 websites do you visit daily?

Maybe not daily... but I do like to keep up on the blogs "How about Orange?" and "Cicada Daydream." I also like to see what is going on on Flickr. (In addition to your lovely blog, of course!!)
(ed. note: kristin has a blog, too, where i learned she has seven llamas!)

Describe your perfect Sunday morning.

Lots of scenarios would work for this one, but a few perfect elements would be: 1. cup of chai tea 2. being caught up with work (so the mind feels free) 3. going on a hike on the coast, or walk by the creek 4. making some little drawings for future prints.

What do you see outside your studio windows?

I am lucky to have lots of windows in my studio, so I see lots of trees and hay and llamas (eating my garden) and cats, birds and our barn. Here have a look for yourself!

Thank you all for taking the time to share my life with me!

we're so glad to have kristin and moontea on the blog this month, and just a few weeks ago we received a new box teeming with new bags and pouches! come check them out at the shop -- see you soon!

"love it" for september: AARON WINE of sew seamless

aaron, holding red, at my house

so we were racking our brains for an artist to feature in september, when all along she was right under our noses: our very own, aaron wine, artist extraordinaire and lovely lady. aaron has been creative since i met her years ago when she came to work for me at the elliewood store. she loves textiles and paper and she LOVES color. she is, in one word, amazing. you should have seen the look on my face and tears in my eyes when i opened her baby gift to red at my shower. he loves it and will have it for as long as i can preserve it.

it was by far the most incredible gift i have ever received. i was gobsmacked, and still am, at the talent aaron has. she is also very resourceful with what she makes. she never wastes a thing. she often uses the scraps of bigger projects to make the quilts she has become famous for.

then, there are her latest creations, colored pencil rolls, which we are carrying at o'suz.
here is one that made it's debut in the window of the new shop when we opened with a back to school theme. bubbles makes good use of it after hours when we aren't watching.

the ones shown are just a few examples of the rolls we have in the shop now. they range from $60 to $100, depending on size and they are incredible. if you're not in the market, at least catch a glimpse of them in person. they are so beautiful, like aaron, the girl who made them.

here is an interview with miss aaron:

What was your first job and how did you end up making goods?

My first job was teaching dance at the studio where I grew up dancing. I taught ballet, kinder dance and jazz classes to young ones and have been dancing ever since. I have a degree in dance and I feel so lucky to be dancing and performing in the rich arts community here in Charlottesville.

My mom made me beautiful dresses growing up and I learned to sew through osmosis. My dad bought me my first sewing machine in college and I started making quilts for friends and the fam. I have made some crazy costumes for dance shows too, including a dress made out of pink bubble wrap (that i collected from the store) and a leather costume for fire dancing. I am quite fond of collecting fabrics and Sew Seamless came out of a love of putting fabrics and color together.

What is your favorite piece/group/series among your work?

I am really thrilled with my pencil rolls. It is so nice to make something functional that can inspire some creative expression! I love color and it is so fun to match the colored pencil to a perfect piece of fabric. I especially enjoy making a pencil roll or quilt with someone special in mind!

Who, past or present, most inspires you?

Andy Goldsworthy... his open air sculpture is stunning
Mary Oliver.....her poems are my mantras
Feist......her voice fuels me

Which 3 websites do you visit daily?

NPR All Songs Considered
How about Orange?
Describe your perfect Sunday.

Sleeping in... having tea and eggs with toast with my man, Moriah. Some reading, some sewing, and a nice walk in the woods. In the evening out to my friends Korina and Ethan's for an outside steam bath and a sit around a fire. And oh yes, chocolate cake, I love chocolate cake!
What do you see out your studio windows?

When I gaze out my windows I see a huge oak tree up on a hill. My garden that grows herbs, kale, lettuce, arugula and tomatoes. I like nothing more than to go outside and eat right from my garden. I also see my new pergola (it's a cousin of an arbor) that my man built over our deck that has cucumbers, clematis and morning glories winding all around. I can't wait for it to be completely covered with flowers and veggies!

"love it" for AUGUST

brooklyn based, screech owl design, is perhaps my favorite card line to date. not sure why it struck such a cord with me, but sometimes, you just know. i love them to pieces.  they have an ever so subtle zodiac collection:

and a postcard collection and then their original collection. here 
is an interview with half the husband and wife team, jaqueline schmidt: 

what was your first job and how did you end up making paper goods?
My first job was as a counselor in training in a sleep away camp which I had attended since I was 8 years old. My first assignment was to help the counselors with the four year olds during group activities. I love children and remember having a blast making arts and crafts with them, playing kickball, swimming in the lake with the muskrats and going to our farm. Perhaps the most exotic animal we had was a goat, but hey, we had a goat! When I think back to this first job and subsequent jobs thereafter, there is definitely a theme that emerges - children and/or whimsical play, arts and crafts and nature.

When I think about how Screech Owl Design came about, I definitely lead back to my mother’s words, “follow your heart.” She rarely helped me make decisions through life, but rather guided me with that phrase. Either I learned that early on or I am just learning it now, regardless, it may be the most important lesson yet.

What is your favorite piece/group/series among your own work?
Impossible question. I tend to be very critical of my own work. Perhaps my favorite piece is from a series called the “swimmers”. They came about after a long recovery process from an intense surgery I had a few years ago. I think making the swimmers series felt refreshing and free to me which was symbolic of the time.

Who, past or present, most inspires you?
Is it too cliche to say my grandparents? I hope not, because they truly are my biggest inspiration. My grandparents are survivors of the holocaust and came to this country with my mother in the 60’s. They landed in the Bronx and began creating and building their new lives there. Considering all the atrocities that they experienced and witnessed during the war, I was always amazed at how graceful, patient, kind and generous they were with others. My grandmother in particular was extraordinarily nurturing and willing to accept and give everyone the benefit of the doubt. I have always admired them and are inspired their willingness to look on the bright side of things, & their ability to forgive. They
were truly remarkable.
What 3 web sites do you visit daily?

The New York Times

Describe your perfect Sunday morning.

A perfect Sunday morning is an extra hour or two of sleep before rising (my inner-clock typically wakes me at 6 am daily somehow), a half hour of laps at the pool or lake, 20 minutes
for meditation and stretching and then home to read the Sunday New York Times on my couch where there is always beautiful soft light pouring through in the morning. Of course it
would be most perfect if my cats were nestled cozily on my lap while I read.

What do you see outside your studio windows?

In my studio space I have four large windows which provide tons of light and very different views. There is a beautiful old building outside my favorite window to the west with a
crenelated cornice that looks very much like a building in an Edward Hopper painting. This window is always inspiring and pleasing to my eye. I often turn to this window for peace of
mind and reflection. From another window I see this sad (in a good way) little house whose roof appears to be sagging and neglected overall. It’s got this massive tree out front which is a
hotbed of neighborhood bird activity. From another window I see a row of treetops which block a parking lot for eighteen wheelers in the spring. Thankfully in the winter, when the trees
are bare, I get a perfect view of the east river and the manhattan sky line. I love looking out the window, but I love watching my cat hangout in the catnip more!

"love it" for july: FLOWIE

so flowie is one of our newest and favorite textile designers. she uses cotton and linen, or a blend of the 2, on which she screenprints by hand, her own designs.  she keeps work done on these textiles, on a local level, in the bay area where she lives. if you want to know MORE about yaling, go to like we did. she is super talented and we just love her! not sure who found who but it is a match made! thanks yaling xo
interview with yaling of FLOWIE:

what was your first job and how did you end up designing textiles and creating bags and accessories?

I worked as an in-house graphic/web designer for a company in Taiwan. Then, I got married and moved back to the US. I love fashion and I love graphic design as well. So, I decided to go back to school to study textile design, which combines my both interests. While I was in school, I made myself many bags to carry my school supplies, and I received many compliments on my bags. After school, I decided to give it a try and launched Flowie.

what is your favorite piece/group/series in your work?

I love everything I designed and created. If I really have to pick one, it would be the one of new series I’m working on right now. It will be available by the end July. Hope you will love them, too!

who or what inspires you?

Most of my designs are inspired by people around me or a special event in my life. That’s why I named many of my prints after my friends. Movies are my other source of inspiration.

what three websites do you visit daily?

Design*Sponge, Dooce, Decor8

describe your ideal sunday.

Wake up and drink my morning coffee that my husband  has prepared for me. Take our dog out for a walk. Think about which color to paint our rooms (we just move into our first house). Drive to HomeDepot to buy paint supplies. Paint the wall. Take a break to watch Law and Order rerun on TV. Continue painting and decorating the house. Let our dog run in the backyard while I water the plants.
Cook a nice dinner. Go to bed early.

what do you see outside your studio windows?

Lots of trees and flowers.

love it...susan fleming!

it's no surprise that one of the most exciting parts of daily life at o'suzannah is a visit from ups, and one of the smallest yet sweetest parcels that arrives is the work of jewelry artist susan fleming. susan makes two collections at the moment, one called the paper collection, which is full of lovely necklaces and earrings that are sterling silver with carefully chosen details of japanese chiyogami paper. her other collection, called "semi-precious," is a series of organic shapes in delicately hammered silver and gold, often accented by tiny diamonds inlaid in the metal. all of us o'suz girls own a piece (or two) of susan's work, and we were excited to get a peak into her creative process and life in bozeman, montana. check out susan's interview below!

triple circle chiyogami choker

what was your first job and how did you end up making jewelry?

i first fell in love with jewelry making in high school. i took the three courses that they offered and then completed an independent study in my fourth year. after attending a small private liberal arts college and majoring in political and environmental science, i headed to mt. desert island off the coast of maine. it was there that i realized my love for jewelry making had not dissipated, and i apprenticed with nationally recognized jeweler sam shaw in his beautiful studio/gallery space. while there i honed my jewelry making skills, and i remained with him for seven years, gaining much metalsmithing and gallery experience.

single teardrop chiyogami earrings

what is your favorite piece/group/series in your work?

because it was the chiyogami paper that inspired the paper collection, i think i am drawn to some of the larger pieces because you can see more of the patterns. the chiyogami papers are so beautiful and often so intricately patterned which is why i am so drawn to them. i also like the pieces that integrate multiple papers as i enjoy playing around with the colors and patterns to make interesting combinations. as far as the semi precious collection goes, i really like the mixed silver and gold pieces that are layered as i think they take on a sculptural look. i also like the subtlety of the pieces with small diamonds.

triple teardrop drop necklace in silver and gold

who or what inspires you?

i think ray and charles eames most inspire me. the scope and range of their work amazes me - their architecture, furniture, films, textiles, etc. their talent was as endless as their projects.

describe your ideal sunday.

there are many perfect mornings to be had, but i do have a few favorites. one would be waking up to my husband doug's famous buttermilk pancakes with warm maple syrup and fresh squeezed o.j. followed by a hike in the bridger mountains with our golden retriever, pema.

triple disc silver earrings...light as a feather!

what do you see outside your studio windows?

our studio is located in a renovated multi-use new deal era brick school building. we are on the second floor and look out onto the tree lined streets of bozeman's historical district.

the only thing that makes us sad about this post is that our photos just can't do these delicate little jewels justice -- you'll just have to come see susan's work in person!

"love it" launch! with beth mueller

our first featured artist that we love is beth mueller. i have been carrying beth's ceramic works for what seems like a coon's age though i do remember being agog standing outside her booth at the new york gift fair for the first time. her work was so different and sweet. it spoke to me and i just had to have it. since then we have carried so many of her pieces and with much success, including cards and baby items that she introduced a few years back. she has also made me some special goods that i have gifted to my staff and husband over the years and an outfit for red (below) with an icon well suited for him. she is our first featured artist in our "love it" monthly post and has honored us by giving us a glimpse into her world by answering some questions.

#1 what was your first job and how did you end up making ceramics?

my first job, other than the obligatory babysitting was working in a fabric store cutting fabric. this was through high school. hmmmmmm. i didn't really take any art during high school, and i think all the pent up ideas just came rushing out once i was in college. i loved working with clay, but pretty much equally loved printmaking. went with clay after i graduated, doing an apprenticeship and eventually found a way to combine my love of surface narrative and pottery.

#2 what is your favorite piece/group/series of your work?

currently i really like these mugs that we are making. they are just a very pleasant shape and size and really nice to draw on.

#3 who or what inspires you?

inspiration. there is so much. spring. anyone who works with passion or devotion. athletes. have been reading about the eames, so them. wendell berry. john edwards.
wislawa szymborska.

#4 describe your ideal sunday.

up. go for a run. church, and having the kids in sunday school get what i am trying to teach. big lunch. nap. garden or ski depending on the time of year. cook fun dinner. movie. no house cleaning at all.

#5 what do you see outside your studio windows?

right now, lots of flowers and my next door neighbors.

"love it" post to begin in may

we decided to feature an artist or product line we love every month. we will rotate who chooses among the 4 of us and most definitely rotate those featured as we all have our own favorites. of course we love all of the amazing peeps and lines we represent in o'suz, so stay posted and most likely many will surface here in the coming months. we may even share interviews with artists, which will be super special, but, at the very least, we will reveal things and peeps we are most fond of and why. stay tuned for may's "love it" launch! it will be one of suz's favs.