Can I tell you how excited I am for the holidays?! I can. not. wait. to disembark from the Ethan Allen tomorrow evening into my families' arms - if I can find them in the 2 feet of snow blanketing the mighty Green Mountain State... Hello?! Parents? Brother? Arms?!!! My husband Craig and I decided to Amtrak-it to my northern home instead of slushing through the highway havok; all we ask for are two seats relatively close together and a tidy spot for our baggage. [ fingers crossed ! ]. My brother is home for his first Christmas from college, and my mom is hosting dinner Christmas Day. Perhaps I can entreat my dad to make us latkes, the infamous fried potatoe pancake, for the fourth night of Hanukkah... I love my mixed traditions, but let's look at the facts, folks. Exhibit A, above : a glorious panetonne in a box worthy of stylish posterity. And Exhibit B, below : a mishmash of oily starchiness.... Ah, holidays !!!
Craig has just offered up a new tradition : Let's bring the inflatable mattress to Killlington ! Instead of skiing down the mountain, we can recline down the mountain... ! And maybe we can bring fleecey blankets and I can smoke a pipe and you can read a book and and and ....
My only comment, once again is : Ah, holidays !


Eco Emporium

It is my great pleasure to share with you these images from the incredible EcoEmporium in Atlanta, Georgia. The sweet and stylish Carol Held and her husband, Bruce launched this 3200 sq.ft. lifestyle store in October, which they describe as 'A place where there is a sense of community, balance, and serenity.' The glittering lighting and warm, muted palette is such a soothing background to the lush collection of eco products. As they note on their website, prices range from $5 to $6000; so while lucky residents of the Atlanta area are stopping by for organic food events, creative classes and children's events, they can discover fabulous furnishing, linens, baby gear, paper goods and other unique, recycled, fairly traded, sustainable, and non-toxic goodies.
Congratulations, Carol and Bruce !
Located at the intersection of Howell Mill Road and Marietta Street in the BricksWorks commercial center.
Store Hours : Tuesday - Friday 1o:30am - 6:30pm Saturday 10am - 4pm


just my type

The corner desk I work from is growing increasingly cold as the winter winds wrap the drafty brick walls on both sides. I have a constant supply of warm beverages to bolster my spirits as I check off items on my to-do list... genma-cha roasted green tea, yogi peach detox tea, strong french press coffee with lots of cream and the occasional cocoa to name a few of my overtime companions .... So when I saw this fine coaster from ACD on Supermarket, I thought we'd be fast friends. ACD is an undergrad in NYC whose products 'bring interest to otherwise ordinary objects'. ACD's coaster, rendered in Baskerville semibold and produced from mature bamboo stock in Canada, is also available at veer.com.


Great Green Gifts from Inhabitat

Unlike most of the riotious public, I actually tried not to shop during the Black Friday and Cyber Monday madness... If you're like me, than the posting of Inhabitat's Green Gift Guide comes at a perfect time. Brew a cuppa something tasty [ cocoa, coffee, tea, nips included or not .... ] and peruse the wonderful selections in a variety of well-organized sections. If I may suggest, the Gifts Under $50 have a great note card set you might recognize... ; )

Eye-catchers and other click-worthy gifts include :

you're so fedorable !

I LOVE this hat from Terry Graziano, and not only because it has the perfect name... Well, maybe it has a lot to do with the name, but still - look how cute and adaptable it is ! As soon as I get over my fear of hat-hair, this is the first purchase I'll make. Visit Terry's store on etsy and check out the other great styles, like the Moxie, Gemini, Confidante + Capricious - or amble through her blog.


loop happenings !

With the holidays quickly approaching, we are happy to offer two great new promotions! The first is a December sale-- 15% off note card sets for mixed Paintings, mixed Line, mixed Drawings, Doodlespark Explore, and Holiday. Our second promotion offers a free surprise set with purchase of any three note card sets!
Loop is also happy to be one of 15 artists participating in Scoutie Girl's Indie Goodness Giveaway! Not only does every entry get you one step closer to winning fabulous handmade items, but she is also donating 5 cents to the winner's charity of choice for each entry. Visit her blog to learn how you can enter and see all of the great products!


papercuts that feel great

The stellar images above were created by artist Nikki McClure. Based in Olympia, Washington, Nikki carves these vibrant graphics from a single sheet of paper using only an Exact-o knife. Once I learned about their genesis, my appreciation for their detail only delighted me further - what an amazing undertaking...

A friend of mine sent me a note card with the 'Return' papercut last year and it has been on my desk ever since [ thanks, Jean ! ].... The series above is sold as a set of 6 posters, each 14" x 18", for only $24.95 at buyolympia.com.

Cinders Gallery wrote the bio on her website :
"Her work depicts the virtues of hard labor and patience, which is inherent in her process as well as in the images themselves: weathered hands washing dishes, people sweeping, mothers caring for their babies, and farmers working the land. But there is also a large element of celebration, of taking the time to roll around in the grass and get wet from the early morning dew. The need for all of us to lay down on the ground, grab hold of the earth, look at the stars and dream. She magnifies the importance of simple things, like the change of seasons, slowing down the world for a moment so we can actually taste it. "


Shelly Steffee

While New York's Meatpacking District assembles glitterati designers like Louboutin, McQueen + McCartney, one of its more down-to-earth shining stars is the very talented Shelly Steffee. I can hardly describe her work better than she does on her glimmering site... in fact, the Flash greeting sums it up quite nicely, as illustrated above... Steffee's appreciation of line, balanced with hue and keen proportion come alive in corporal form in her timeless fashion collection. Born, raised + studied in Philadelphia [ yay, philly ladies ! ], Steffee's boutique at 34 Gansevoort Street has been a design destination since 2001.

Loop is honored to be part of her studio store's diverse repertoire, which includes J Schatz Egg Banks, Cromono slippers, Siebensachen Mozart Musical Boxes, Melissa Plastic Dreams footwear, and Marcus Huemer, along with her own eponymous Home and Jewelry lines [ shown below ].

Learn more about Shelly's philosophy in this video interview :


When I think of woodblock prints, my mind instantly floods with the canonical image of Hokusai's wave, shown above. [ The Great Wave Off Kanagawa, from Thirty Six Views of Mount Fuji, 1823 - 1829 ].

Lately, however, I've been reading up about traditional printing techniques and came across some other artists and prints that are extraordinary - and some that are almost contemporary... The print below is from Takeji Asano [ 1900 - 1999 - what a lifetime !!! ]. Moonlight at Wakanoura, Wakayama, was created in 1953, but not likely printed until the 1960's or '70's. I love the way the lights are portrayed here - the cutout shape the moonlight forms in the sky and the directional beacons the lanterns etch from the water.

[ courtesey hanga gallery, www.hanga.com, $250.00 for 10" x 15" oban print ]

[ courtesey hanga gallery, http://www.hanga.com/ , $850.00 for 9.5" x 10" shikishiban print ]

Kawase Hasui, Himeji Castle, 1930, from limited edition of 200 printed by Kato


ich ein Berliner

While I am very disheartened to learn that Moleskine notebooks are Made In China . . .[ always have been !!! ], I have to admit I am thrilled by what's happening to them in Germany at the moment. Dropboxes have been set up on various street corners in Berlin to receive creative notebook essays on the German city submitted by a range of creative people. This program, Detour, launched its annual exhibits in London in 2006, followed by New York '07 and Paris '08.

As the mission statement describes, entrants are invited "to invent an itinerary for an expedition, a map of a tour, a daily adventure, the discovery of something to look forward to, the beginning of a trip, the signs of well known or unknown visionary places, the exploration or the conquest of a region never visited before, as well as something in the city constantly seen and beloved. "

The chosen books from Berlin will be showed in Istanbul in the spring of 2009. Exhibitions are staged so that attendees may don white gloves and turn the pages of each notebook on display.

I highly recommend watching a few of the videos of artists turning the pages of their books. From the London archives I enjoyed this from Birgit Brenner :

The inked New York from London Illustrator Chris Dent is fantastic :

Stefano Faravelli's watercolor journey is worth taking :

Proceeds from Detour support letter27, a non-profit that supports literacy, education + access to information in parts of the world most in need. Some of their projects in Africa include WikiAfrica and WikiAfrica Art. Send a literary e-card while you're learning more about their amazing work, like this one from South African writer, editor + poet, Karen Press.


wonder weather

Philadelphia is being swept by gusty water-soaked winds and it's putting me in a very wistful mood. I have always been very influenced by the weather; growing up in rural Vermont, watching rain begin to pour out of the sky, changing the hue and depth of colors all around, classified as an 'activity'. [ don't laugh ! ]

So today, as I try to find some time in the studio to put together some new wrapping paper designs, I was drawn to the work of Arthur Rackham, beloved English Illustrator from the early part of the 20th century. Rackhams' prints accompanied works from the Brothers' Grimm, Edgar Allen Poe + Washington Irving [ of Rip Van Winkle fame ].

As described here by Jim Vadeboncoeur, Jr., publisher of Images, a magazine devoted to classic illustration : "He never lost the joy and sense of wonderment and he never gave in to the baser styles that fell in and out of favor over the years. From Queen Victoria's death in 1901 to the start of World War I, Rackham's illustrations preserved a lifestyle and a sensibility that kept the frighteningly modern future at bay. His beautiful drawings were the antithesis of the industrial advances that allowed them to be printed at affordable prices. Even into the twenties and thirties, his art was a constant reminder of those aspects of innocence that had been left behind. He always kept his gentle humor. . . "

TOP IMAGE : Hanging the Moon and Stars from Rip Van Winkle, by Arthur Rackham, 1905 : via ArtsyCraftsy.com

BOTTOM IMAGE : Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens: Fallen Leaf, Arthur Rackham : via ArtsyCraftsy.com


lost in uniqlo

Usually, I find surfing the web a rather static affair. I hop from image to image, reading a bit here and there, tracing my way through a string of things that are loosely, abeit but compellingly, connected. This evening, however, was tangled in a web of video that captivated me like a kitten with a ball of string. Streaming images from Japanese clothing house Uniqlo blur the lines between performance art and shopping cart, between visual essay and wow, that would look great on me in purple...

An alluring interplay of fabric, color, and form is presented in 5-second movement essays in Heat Tech Edition, Season Four.

Fly over Merino landscapes to sweet Japanese-colored jazz in Color is Comfort.

I was connected to these flights of fancy while reading the Archinect newletter that finds its way into my inbox every week. I was intrigued by their post about 'Giant Human Vending Machines'.

This brought me to the root article in New York Magazine, where a simple mouse-over on the main image told me that "Uniqlo [was] To Stage The Best Promotion Ever in Times Square."... So boogie on over there and find out why those young men are wearing silver suits and why you need to get your chilly little tush to Military Island on November 18th at 1pm.



Royally Ready for the Holidays

Take a heaping spoonful of upheaval in the financial markets, mix well with the change of seasons, cut in the cacaphony of the political scene and sprinkle with a dash of ' time flies ! ' and voila - ! No wonder my nostalgia is springing warm from the oven of my memory.
How I long to be at my parents' house this winter, nestled in the bosom of my green Vermont home cuddled white with snow... with my husband, my brother home from college, the sounds and smells and hugs of the holiday season all wrapping themselves in layers around me.
As I was losing myself in pages of Italian travel magazines this evening, I found these great illustrations from a Harpers' Weekly Christmas Edition from 1895. As the Rare Posters site describes, "Very scarce and early Maxfield Parrish front and back covers . . . The front is decorative and shows a baker, the back advertises Royal Baking Powder. ". I adore Maxfield Parish, and was delighted by the happy smile of the baker and the buoyant dough steaming with tasty goodness - not to mention the ornate yet balanced detail of rolling hils and quaint towns through the leaded windows in the background.
I don't know what I'm longing for more - the confection or the countryside . . .

Bon Vonage, Imaginary Me !

There is something about the Fall season that fills me with wanderlust. My mind can't quite focus, my feet carry me down streets I don't usually tread, and I find myself suddenly lost in my imagination.

This afternoon, instead of doing work for Loop, I turned down a couple of e-passageways and took a stroll online to find some images to soothe my yen for a voyage.

I found a fantastic collection of travel publications from the '30s, the covers of which beckoned the footloose to be fancy-free in a different region of Italy every month. Oh ! To be in lulled in Lido, romanced in Rome, treasure-hunting in Venice. . .

Please visit David Levine's amazing online repository of these images, and others from all over Europe . . .

FIRST : Travel Brochure for Venice, published in 1933 by the Ente Nazionale Industrie Turistische (ENIT - Italian State Tourist Department). Signed "Treves - Treccani - Tumminelli."
SECOND : Rome, 1933. Published by the Ente Nazionale Industrie Turistische (ENIT - Italian State Tourist Department) and the Ferrovia dello Stato (Italian State Railway). Unsigned, designed by "Novissima - Roma.
THIRD : Travel in Italy, 1934. Signed "Retrosl," designed by Pizzi & Pizio - Milano-Roma. From the Ente Nazionale Industrie Turistische (ENIT - Italian State Tourist Department).
FOURTH : Travel brochure for Venice Lido, 1934. Published by the City of Venice. Signed "Tanozzi," designed by "Tridentum - Trento," published by "Soc. Acc. Stamperia Zanetti - Venice."


hey loop ladies !

A quick note to let everyone know that Loop has a new intern, Brenna Stevens, from my alma mater, the University of Pennsylvania. I am so excited to welcome Brenna into our office [ okay, I'll come clean .... my living room ! ]. Brenna is a sophomore majoring in Communications and she'll be helping me research fabrics and manufacturers for our upcoming eco-fabric collection. Her first post is below, so look out for more updates from her on various findings.

Holly, Loop's Girl Friday, just completed the amazing 60-mile walk for Breast Cancer Awareness with her mom. While she was buffered by gorgeous Fall weather, let's review... She walked 60 MILES !!!
[ And she has the blisters to prove it ! ]
I am so proud of you, Hols !

Fabric Findings!

One of my favorite fabric designers is Amy Butler. I discovered her clean, colorful designs while shopping in Philadelphia's own Spool. Not only does she create gorgeous home decor weight fabric, but she also writes easy to follow sewing patterns.

For those who choose to use organic fabrics, I came across Rubie Green. Though each yard will set you back $90, it's nice to know the fabric is printed in the most eco-friendly method available!


Sprig-tacular !

A warm 'thank you' to sprig.com for the wonderful write-up about Loop Wrap posted to their homepage this weekend ! Sprig is an excellent e-repository of great green products, happenings + news. With menu tabs 'fashion', 'home', 'beauty', and 'celebrity', Sprig offers a stylish spin on the eco-lifestyle. Loop is tickled 'green' to be mentioned here !
Also featured on Sprig :

I have been wanting one of these recycled sail bags from Sea Bags all summer ! I love the story behind this Maine-based woman-owned company, and how their bags embody the graphic simplicity of their nautical origins.

As an urbanite with rustic roots, I also love this folding bike from STRiDA. Folding down to a mere 45” x 20” x 9” package, it is inspiring me to run the cross-town errands I have been putting off. Not sure how comfortable it is ... but in alluring colorways like orange, neon green and classic cream, I'm sure I could make it work !



Not only is this magazine gorgeous, but it's so well-presented with issuu. with zoomable photos, it's so easy to get lost in the pages. and with a name like 'polliwog' - well, I couldn't resist !

Damn Scientists

Every now and then I actually click on the Threadless e-mail that glumps up my Gmail account, and this morning I was delighted to see something other than t-shirts. I remembered this woeful ode from a year or so ago, and now designer John Slabyk is offering it as an 18" x 24" screen print. Yay !
Seriously, mon amis who were born in the 70's - what happened to our cartoon promises ?! Why are we not jetting around in personal electric hover krafts and being instantly dressed in the morning by a vaccuum-like whoosh of air ?


the eggs from ipanema

Supermarket is a trove of wonderful design sold straight from designers - I often meander through random categories for inspiration. I was impressed by the News post on the Supermarket blog from this particular designer declaring that she was essentially taking the month of August off, [ I am living vicariously through her starting now ! ] and immediately clicked to see her work.

The hand-painted porcelain collection from Baily Doesn't Bark is gorgeous, spare, playful and unique. The Eggs From Ipanema series caught my eye - amid the birds, ants, flies, and spiders that adorn crisp white forms, what was this odd shape ? Here is the delightful answer :

"hand painted eggs with the famous ipanema beach (brazil!!!) sidewalk pattern.
i was inspired by my constant cravings for fried egg over toast and the always present in my heart: wonderful brazil, my home. weird combination…. "