In Michelle’s own words:
I first came across JHill Design on a blog back in 2010. I loved her “Places I’ve Never Been” series, and was immediately drawn to her Bangkok print because I had studied abroad there, and then lived there for a year after college. While poking around the website, I noticed the “Personalize” section with examples using different city patterns to memorialize engagements, weddings, births, etc., and I thought that one of these pieces would make such a nice wedding gift! I love to give personal gifts when I can, especially to commemorate special occasions like weddings. I gave my first print to a couple in 2010, and since then I would say my now husband and I have given at least 10 prints as wedding gifts. I love choosing a pattern based on where the wedding is being held, the wedding colors, or something that is special and meaningful to the couple. And then I try to personalize the text to match the couple as well. The husband-to-be of one couple even said that the thing he was most excited for about his wedding (besides marrying his fiancé of course) was getting a print from me and my husband! He couldn’t wait to see what we picked out for them. This same couple had all their belongings in storage for a few months while house hunting, and their JHill print was the only piece of art they brought to hang in their temporary house.
I continue to give JHill prints as wedding gifts (three weddings this year!) and hope to be able to continue the tradition as our friends start to have babies, anniversaries, and special trips. It’s so fun for me to choose something personal for the recipients, which is easy thanks to the variety of prints Jennifer has created. And I know our friends appreciate the time and thought that went into choosing something unique just for them that no one else will have. Then each time they look at it, they can remember the special day and the celebration with all their loved ones. The only downside is that no one has given one to me and my husband! Maybe I’ll get him one as an anniversary gift one year. :o)
In Michelle’s own words:
Our studio is just a couple miles from the Boston Marathon finish line, it’s one of the things I look forward to every year. Especially this year when there will be more fans cheering on the runners than ever, (this year I’d hug every single runner if I could).
We have been asked for a few years to add a Boston Marathon Map Print to our Boston Sports Map collection, and we are finally doing it. The cool thing is that we are personalizing our Boston Marathon Map Print for the runners. For the month of April we are offering free personalization on the Boston Marathon Map Print to runners (and those who want to give them a gift) with the code “RUN2014″.
The idea came after my friend Holly had us do a series of Personalized Map Prints for her Marathon-running sister-in-law. It was really fun to do and the story the prints tell of travel and athleticism is really inspiring. We loved making the above prints for Tenely, here is a little about her running life:
“I’m Tenley Ludewig, 39, and I’ve been running since I started track in middle school. I ran my first marathon at 28 when I learned a number of my friends had run them and I wanted to see if I could do one as well. My first was the Marine Corps Marathon in my hometown of DC and it was memorable not only because it was my first but because my family all came out to cheer me on. In the last five years, I have trained with Capital Area Runners, a group with a very established coach. I have completed three more marathons during this time. I hate training in the winter, so I have not raced Boston yet, but I will one day when I get a thick skin. I enjoyed the last six miles of Boston helping my friend come in back in 2012 and that was exhilarating.”
For the month of April we are offering free personalization on the Boston Marathon Map Print to runners (and those who want to give them a gift) with the code “RUN2014″. There is also a unpersonalized version of the Map for those who love the Marathon as much as I do to add to their collection.
I’m so excited that we finally did this! We took a little video of how we make the maps for our City Maps series. First we draw the neighborhood map (not shown because it takes for-ever), the we make the drawings into clipping paths. Next we import jpgs of our patterns until the whole map is bursting with bright JHill pattern. Here you can see how Juliana made our new map for The Bronx.
Here is a look at the final The Bronx Map Print. We also just finished maps for St Louis, Washington DC, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh. Coming up next… Austin and Dallas! Which city would you want a neighborhood map print for?
This year my husband surprised me with a trip to California for our 5 year wedding anniversary. The best part… our sister-in-laws offered to watch our three year old for a night so we could getaway. We decided to drive about an hour and a half north of San Francisco to Mankas in Inverness. After calling and having the rooms described to me (which I LOVED having done) we decided to splurge and stay in the Boatsman Quarters and it didn’t disappoint. We also had dinner at their sister restaurant Sir and Star in Marin, which was delicious.
I’ve seen this “You have the same amount of hours in a day as Beyonce” mug everywhere and I love it. It is created by Sweaty Wisdom, (witty remarks from the yoga mat), visit their Etsy shop where there are more treasures to be had. I need to remember that “Oprah Wasn’t Built in a Day” and I would like someone to whisper “Your Fear is Full of Shit” in my ear on repeat as I am flying (and TERRIFIED) home from San Francisco today . *ps… still listening to ‘Yonce’s visual album on repeat. current favs: Mine and Flawless.
One ways I’ve been breaking free from my creative block is stepping away from computer illustration. I love my vectors, but it is time to incorporate more into them. My goal is to take some of my favorite existing patterns / places and recreate them using different methods such as watercolor, paper marbling, and printmaking.
I started with watercolor. Here is what I learned:
1. It’s hard
2. I’m a massive control freak
3.There is no controlling watercolor (for the beginner at least). It’s basically the opposite of working in illustrator for me.
As fate would have it my new studio mate is illustrator extraordinare Julia Denos. We have spent afternoons painting together, with her teaching me painting tricks and I educating her on InDesign and going to a spa. I have loved every minute of it. I’ve scanned these watercolor paintings and work will them into a totally new design for the Fairbanks, Alaska pattern – an imagined vacation to see the aurora borealis. And I’ll keep on painting, because I’ve barely scratched this surface.
One night, while laying in bed perusing graphic design on Pinterest, (a favorite pre-bedtime activity), I came across the work of graphic designer Kellyn Walker. I was so inspired! I’ve been killing my creative block by incorporating more handmade elements, scanned objects and collage-ness to my patterns and designs. She does it so very well. Check out her very inspiring Pinterest boards.
Last month I had some surgery, (deviated septum, an adnoidectomy – life changing, email me if you have any questions about having it done), and spent about a week and a half sleeping off pain killers and watching movies. I have been going through a bit of a creativity crisis and watching so many great process movies and biopics has really helped (God bless my Netflix, HuluPlus and Amazon Prime accounts). Here are some of my favorites that I watched while convalescing.
1. BILL CUNNINGHAM’S NEW YORK // I’ve watched this multiple times and never tire of it. “Fashion is the armor to survive the everyday life”. (netflix)
2. BASQUIAT // The story of Basuait’s rapid rise to fame. Plus David Bowie puts in an amazing performance as Andy Warhol. (netflix)
3. SCATTER MY ASHES AT BERGDORF’S // The history of the store and the making of their holiday windows peppered with interview from fashion’s frontrunners. (netflix)
4. GREGORY CREWDSON, BRIEF ENCOUNTERS // The process behind the making of Crewdson’s elaborate movie-esque photos. (netflix)
5. MARC JACOBS + LOUIS VUITTON // My favorite all time process movie. Watch Marc design multiple collections and throw a killer halloween party. I’ve watched this a billion times. (youtube)
6. THE RACHEL ZOE PROJECT // I am SO SAD that this show was cancelled. I love how honest Zoe is, especially in the last season as she becomes a working mom, insecure in her work and trying to balance everything. I totally relate. Plus she is quite funny and the fashion is to die for. (amazon)
Any creative documentaries that I missed that I need to see? let me know!
I love complex infographics, layered pieces beautifully showing lots of information. We interview a lot of Massachusetts College of Art + Design students at JHill, many have a project of making an infographic of a Girl Talk song. These are always my favorite projects to review.
UNIVERSO DE EMOCIONES // Designers Victor Palau and Ana Gea (PalauGea) created along with writer and scientist Eduard Punset, an infographic of the world of emotions and feelings with which we live.
LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE // Vladimir Gukulak summarized the yearly range of colors of plant species in a circular infographic.
THE COLOR PRINTER // Beautiful plates of color theory via Present and Correct, you can see the entire book here.
3 MONTHS OF CROCHETING // Lana Bragina recorded all her knitting and selling activity since January 1, 2009, and incorporated it into this infographic. The graphic shows how long she knitted every day on each piece; how long each piece was posted on Etsy until it sold; and where the items was sent to.
I love that this little greenhouse built in St Louis, Missouri’s Forest Park is named the Jewel Box. I imagine opening the art deco doors and being met with a wave of heat and sparkling, bejeweled flowers. It was designed by architect William C. E. Becker and built in 1936. The Jewel Box consists of over 4,000 panes of glass framed by patina-ed copper. A frequent, (and lovely), spot for St Louis weddings.
CREDITS: Jewel Box sketch by moi, Jennifer Hill (I wanted a drawing for the post and then thought… wait I CAN DO THE DRAWING. A new leaf is turning here. // Bejeweled flowers a la Pinterest // love this moody instagram photo by Maureen Breena via STL Mag // beautiful straight-on photo by Mark Scott Alben // This HD photo by The Barbarian. Unreal.
YOU CAN’T SIT WITH US T-SHIRT // If I wear this now I’m kind of reclaiming it from those bullies, right?
All black and a statement necklace
MICHAEL KORS JEMMA SHADES // i don’t know… i just love them
ALEXANDER WANG SWEATPANTS // i can’t spend $195 on sweatpants, but i can dream about them
NIKE SUPREMO SNEAKERS // love the florals
Judy Garland was a star from such a young age, (can you get a “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” with more yearning than hers?), and was told that she wasn’t enough much too often. From the time she was a wee one up until the (too young) age of her death she was such a strong beauty – despite whatever those studio execs thought. The “Meet Me in St Louis” star’s look is my favorite and personal go to: A strong, red lip (my favorite is Sephora’s Cream Lip Stain in Always Red), a dark brow and lots of mascara, (throw in a pair of falsies for special occasions).