We are all about Boston as we release our new Boston Neighborhood Map Print, we asked our friend (and studiomate) Erin Gates who writes Elements of Style to tell us what she loves about Boston’s neighborhoods. Erin moved to Boston in the summer of 2011 after graduating from college and her favorite neighborhoods are Beacon Hill, Fort Point and the South End. Erin is spot on about Fort Point, our Studio neighborhood is quickly becoming the home of many great new restaurants (Blue Dragon, Tavern Road, Bee’s Knees, Trillium Brewery and soon a Mario Batali pizza place!). The South End is home to one of my favorites weekend haunts, SoWa and all those dogs at Peter’s Park are super cute. Beacon Hill is totally a postcard, especially around the holidays when snow dusts the cobblestones. Thanks Erin!
About a month ago I was excited to send out an email blast telling everyone about the new Neighborhood Map Print series, how we were kicking it all off with a Fab sale. But the Boston Marathon bombings happened the day before we were set to launch them, (we also had a Fab sale the weekend of Hurricane Sandy…) and after that I didn’t really care about promoting new prints (even though they took over 6 months to finish). Because we love our city of Boston, for the rest of May we are giving 50% of the sales from all our Boston prints to the One Fund. You can read more about that here.
I moved to Boston in 1997 to attend MassArt and I have lived here ever since. I have always loved Patriots Day, it is a MA-only holiday and has always had a “skipping class” feel to it. You can watch the Boston Marathon, see a sox game or hang outside with friends and family. And it is always sunny (ok not always but in my mind it is). I’ve never watched the Boston Marathon from the finish line, but I have many times on Beacon Street. I love that no matter if you are rich or poor you can watch the race anywhere along the route and cheer on those amazing runners. I love when, months later, I’m on Boylston going to the library and I cross over the faded finish line. It seems to linger there forever.
We heard about the bombs a few minutes after they went off. Our studio is about 2 miles from the Back Bay. We were so scared for our family and friends. It’s impossible to track down everyone one you love in a city so large. So many people I know have friends that were harmed in the bombings, they’ve endured terrible wounds from shrapnel and some have lost their legs.
In the past we’ve done fundraisers selling prints and giving the money to charities that support those affected by natural disasters, but I couldn’t bring myself to do this right after the bombings. The manhunt, the lockdown, hearing the victims stories, listening to a neighbor who went to high school with the youngest bomber, my husband having his train searched by armed police minutes after they killed a police officer outside… it was all too much. But a few weeks later I am morphing all that sadness, anxiety and anger into something positive. So for the rest of May we will give 50% of the sale of all Boston Map Prints and Boston Sports Map Prints to the One Fund (the charity set up by Mayor Menino and Governor Patrick to aid the bombing victims). Who knows, if it goes well we may do it longer.
Many of the victims have their own donation pages. I wanted to share the pages of those connected to us through friends, incase anyone wants to make a direct donation.
Marc Fucarile, is the father of one of my mom’s students. She has spoken very kindly of him, he held the door for her before he headed out to the marathon. He was critically injured in the blast. I can’t imagine what his family has gone through and I’m glad that his 5 year old son has my mom in his life right now. Besides medical bills and lost wages there must be a myriad of expenses a family incurs when a member loses a limb. You can donate directly to Marc via a website that his sister has set up for him at www.gofundme.com/marcfucarile
An hour or so after the bombings I saw an uncropped photo of Jeff Bauman online, his legs in tatters. It is one of the worst things I’ve ever seen. It turned out that he is the good friend of one of our son’s (lovely) babysitters. Jeff lost both his legs, and his friends he was there with also had serious injuries. There have been many stories in the news about Jeff, he seems to be making a miraculous recovery and has a very positive attitude. You can donate to Jeff at www.gofundme.com/BucksforBauman
I think of these victims everyday and they have helped me to curb any complaining I may be doing and to be grateful and thankful each day. I hope that we can raise some more funds for them this month!
xo – jHill
Besides doing our pattern/print line, JHill still does a little website and branding design – though we are picky about our clients. We’ve been working with Simons Shoes in Brookline’s Coolidge Corner for about 10 years doing design for their store and website. This year they said they wanted to start talking more about travel and I thought YES! So we designed a campaign all about imaginary travel for one of their new shoe brands, Chocolat Blu. It was so fun and (obviously) so easy – armchair travel being one of my specialties. With the help of our awesome designer Lizzie we expanded the email blast campaign into a series of blog posts. See how we’d wear these shoes to Barcelona, Marrakech, Nantucket and Crete!
I love stencils, I think it comes from spending our honeymoon in Maryam’s BEAUTIFUL Peacock Pavilions in Marrakech. The stencils at Peacock Pavilions were done by Royal Design Studio. In our last apartment I was inspired by our Moroccan room to do a black and gold pattern on a wall in our old apartment. Last summer we bought a victorian house and I’m really excited to do another stencil piece somewhere. I’m thinking maybe the wall in either our living room or dining room in one of these African patterns from Royal Design Studio. See all of Melanie of Royal Design Studio’s amazing posts on Morocco here.
This fall JHill Design will turn 10 years old. 10 years of drawing patterns and working with color. The fact that I haven’t gone bankrupt is… amazing. The Andalucia pattern is the first one I did for the Places I Have Never Been collection and is still one of my favorites. After this past holiday season I was feeling burned out in a way that I have never been before. I was sick of designing, sick of pattern, didn’t really care about color… it was sad.
I despised some colorways and patterns. I didn’t want to look at a scary percentage of my work. Two things have helped me begin the journey out of this slump. Julia Cameron’s “Finding Water” and my husband’s motto of “It’s your company and your work, you make the rules and you can do whatever you want”. I started thinking about what I could do…
I came up with these big revisions for JHill Design.
1. We are Reworking the Website. New product pages that show you more photos of the prints, more information on options like framing ect… We’ve started the process of converting the pages, but it has to be done product by product so it’s slow going (but worth it – check out the Animal Alphabet pages here). Hopefully it will all look spectacular by the end of the summer.
2. A Cohesive Palette One (crazy) day I made a color chart of every color used in a JHill print. There were almost 300 different colors – over 40 reds alone. We picked a palette of about 80 colors and are working to change each print over to this palette. I’m almost sure most people won’t notice the change. But now if you were to buy a series of JHill prints all the colors will go together perfectly instead of the reds being a little bit off.
3. Text Changes. We are removing the “speak english” line from the US city prints. 10 years ago I did this because we put the language on the international prints. But just because you are in Albuquerque doesn’t mean you are going to speak english. It’s something I’ve heard feedback on over the last year or two from people about it over the last year.
3. Design Changes. There are some patterns I don’t love anymore so we are going to mix up the design and refresh them and a few are being retired.
4. New Colorways. Some patterns I love but do not love the colors… like Beijing! It was too agressive before, now it reminds me of the pottery at the Chinese restaurant my dad took me to when I was little.
5. Big Inventory Sale. So this is why we are selling off the printed inventory of our prints on our Etsy site. The small prints are $8 and the medium prints are $12 – $16. There are only 1 or 2 available of each print and they’ve been going pretty quickly. If you miss out, don’t worry the revised print is available (full price) at jhilldesign.com
Making these changes has been frustratingly slow while still working and leaving in the afternoon to take care of our toddler. But I’m excited to see where the prints go over the next year!
Thanks for sticking with us for 10 years!
I’ve done over 100 patterns for different places over the course of the last 9 years. I decided to take the next year (or two) to revisit some that I like but am no longer in love with. I’m going to rework the patterns of some designs, others will get a new color way, all will get revised text and a few that I despise will go to the trash bin. This is why we are having our big inventory sale on our etsy site. This all cumulates with a website redesign that is on going with new photos and product pages for the revised prints (it is going MUCH slower than I hoped – but I’m notorious for taking on gigantic projects…).
Anyways… I’m rethinking the Death Valley print and I’d love YOUR feedback. The whole idea of this print was that a shadowy snake was slithering across a vibrant desert sunset. It was one of the first patterns that I ever did. I like how simple it is (the original is on the right) and i’m not sure it needs any work. But I’d love to hear which pattern above you like the most.
So it has been snowing here EVERY weekend. 2 weeks ago it looked like this outside our house. Did you know that in Boston you can shovel a spot, put a piece of household refuse and hold your spot forever?
I fell in love with these paintings
Prepping our animals print files for a new line of home goods for the summer!
We are cleaning out inventory by having a BIG City Print sale on Etsy. Each 5″ x 7″ print is only $8 and only 1 or 2 are available for each design. We are adding new prints daily, if there is one you are looking for email us!
We are finishing up a new pattern for Atlanta and Berlin!
Loving this necklace.
I’m struggling to find a new AWESOME duvet cover. Help me, leave me a comment with your favs.
Excited to see the new newsletter from Design*Sponge. I’m always trying to think of a way to do something more interesting with our email blasts.
I was researching Charleston, South Carolina last night (trying to come up with a new color scheme for our print and I’m really stuck on it) and I stumbled on to the paintings of Lulie Wallace through pinterest. I love her use of color, pattern and of course the flowers. The paintings are quite affordable, but she does offer prints as well. She also has a line of textiles that she uses in her very sweet bag line. I love the idea of having her paint your bridal bouquet. Now which painting for the many empty walls in my house….
When I originally worked on the Chicago pattern years ago, I was totally inspired by a fashion show where the designer (long forgotten by me) used a fantastic cobalt blue, black and white palette. A little look around pinterest shows that combination is still a winner. Clockwise from the top…
Erdem Fall 2012 via Vouge.com Photo by Olivier Claisse/firstVIEW Oscar de la Renta via Vouge.com Photo by Olivier Claisse/firstVIEW Paco Rabanne FW 2013 JP Gaultier Haute Couture SS 2012 via Style.com Photo by Gianni Pucci / GoRunway.com H&M Winter 2012 Chanel SS13 via Vouge.com Photo by Gianni Pucci/GoRunway.com Stella McCartney Fall 2012 via Vouge.com JCrew.com shoes Photo by Tommy Ton at Honestly WTF blue mix via lifestyled.com
What happened this week… See the thing is, I have a non-sleeping 2 year old at home and I sometimes still need to pat my legs to make sure I have pants on (mother’s of newborns will know what I’m talking about), so these lists are somewhat helpful.
- We are waiting for a massive blizzard to hit us in Boston. It just started snowing out the studio window. I’m not looking forward to 2ft of snow, but I am looking foward to staying indoors during the storm, drinking Negronis and eating short ribs. I’m thinking we should do an impromptu sale. Enter BLIZZARD at checkout at you will get 15% off your order.
- I’m watching House of Cards with Kevin Spacey. I love him, he is such a good, southern devil. I’m only 3 episodes in but it is promising.
- Oh, I also watched “The Queen of Versailles”. When you go through economic turmoil, it really doesn’t matter if it you are middle-class or part of the 1%, the fall is sad and terrible. (Even though I’m not a fan of David Siegel, it was all really sad).
- We are doing a BIG project in the studio, which makes me feel like I’m prepping my work in case of sudden death. We are recoloring some of our patterns so that there is a cohesive (although large) JHill color palette. You will also notice that some of the product pages on the website are kind of off, that’s because we are in the middle of a BIG web update, the new product pics and layout that we are slowly rolling out are awesome. Also, a few patterns are saying Adios… so if you’ve been waiting to buy a City Print… the time is now!
- We are posting our windy Chicago pattern inspiration on the blog this month. Fitting because it is quite cold and windy here in Boston.
- I bought this for our master bathroom. So pretty.
- Loving Lauren Kilberg’s new Wear / Where post series.
- I worked at Fresh back in the day as a designer. That employee discount… I was so beautified. I’m currenlty addicted to their sugar lip treatments in all these pretty colors.
- Beyonce killed it.
have a good weekend and be safe in the snow! xo – jhill
Dear Chicago, your food is so delicious. From the high to the low… I’m always excited to visit and always return to Boston 5lbs heavier. Thankfully I have in-laws and dear friends who live in Chicago, and at least once a year I get to put on a few Windy City pounds. Thank you to my Chicagoan sister + brother-in-law, Adriane and Anthony for putting this round up together. ~ JHill
1. TACOS With the sizable hispanic community in Chicago comes a plethora of delicious South American cuisines. Rick Bayless has made Mexican famous, as has the ultra-hipster Big Star in Wicker Park, but we prefer the corner places such as the El Milagro Tortilleria.
2. GIARDINIERA …because that’s what an Italian Beef is really all about. At least, it better not be for the cooked to death beef and soggy bun. Ew. Maybe that’s the East Coast talking. Like to pickle? Here’s a great recipe from the NYT.
3. GARRETT POPCORN Out here, popcorn is sold everywhere. The classic cheese and caramel combo is equal parts so – so Midwest and so, so delicious. Garrettpopcorn.com
4. PACZKIS (Pronounced, loosely, ‘punch-kee’). Basically the best jelly doughnut you’ve ever had. This was one of the first truly Chicagoan (by way of Poland) items we ate in the city.
5. DEEP DISH PIZZA Pequods. That’s it. Forget Unos. This is it– super fresh, oozy, slightly burnt crust at a no frills joint near Lincoln Park/DePaul Campus. Many will disagree. They are wrong. Pequodspizza.com
6. HALF ACRE DAISY CUTTER PALE ALE The darling of Chicago… A perennial from brewers located smack dab in Lincoln Square on the North Side. halfacrebeer.com
The Chicago, Illinois pattern is one of the first patterns I ever did. I love how simple it is, the idea of the windy city in swirls and layers. The colors were inspired by a runway show (designer now forgotten) that showed bright cobalt blue and black dresses. I decided to do the pattern about the wind because my friend JJ was visiting us in Boston in February. I was complaining about it being cold and windy here and he said… “you know nothing ’til you’ve been to Chicago in the winter.” Stay tuned to our Chicago posts about food, fun and music from the Windy City.
So last year our studio mate Ichiko (who meticulously paints the pottery for our other studio mate Jill Rosenwald) gave one of our calendars to her aunt in Japan. This year her aunt gave Ichiko a pencil cup that she decopauged with the calendar pages. So cool, I love seeing what people do with the calendar when the year is over. If you have a JHill DIY send it over to email@example.com – we’d love to post it on the blog!