Artist of the Month: Emily Landsman, EHL Creations

The following post is by Emily Landsman, Owner of EHL Creations, the Herban Lifestyle June 2014 Artist of the Month.

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I have been a photographer for more than twenty years and enjoy finding new ways to look at ordinary objects. I love taking kooky pictures with my many different Polaroid cameras and using the images to make greeting cards, belt buckles, tiles, magnets and more. Polaroid transfer prints are made by under developing Polaroid pull-apart films and transferring the images to non-photographic surfaces. The resulting images have an antique or ethereal quality. Polaroid image lifts are made by developing Polaroid pull-apart films as normal, soaking the image to remove it from the paper backing, and transferring the emulsion to non-photographic surfaces. Each print is different and has its own characteristics.

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You may have heard that Polaroid is no longer producing instant film. I collected dozens of packs of several different types of film for my artistic usage before they became unavailable. Once all existing film is used, this transfer process will no longer be possible, making these images all the more unique.

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You can find more about Emily’s pieces on her Etsy Store and Website 

Artist of the Month: Steven J. Magner, Designer

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Into the Woods Soap label designed by Steven J. Magner

The following post is by Steven James Magner, Herban Lifestyle’s February 2014 Artist of the Month. He designed a label for our limited edition Into the Woods Soap, available exclusively at the Herban Lifestyle store.

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At first I wanted to be a professional Baseball player. That never materialized so I decided the University of San Francisco was the next best choice. Nineteen and fully immersed in the Bay Area as a Marketing Student I started focusing on the creative. One thing led to another — including a move to Los Angeles — and now I am designing to my heart’s content. My inspiration is drawn from Wolfgang Weingart, Josef Muller-Brockmann and many other Swiss Style designers. I have been branding professionally for over four years and continue to love every minute of it! magner_printouts_1 2014_web My belief is that good design creates connections. These connections are developed by communicating your style in a relevant, accessible way. Your logo, business card and website say something about your brand and tell your customers something about you. As an artist, I spend time working closely with clients on their projects, as well as collaborate with other creatives in the field. magner_printouts_1 2014_web3 magner_printouts_1 2014_web2 You can see more examples of Steven’s work in his online portfolio.

Hello Again, DC: Everything Old is New Again

The 1922 Lincoln Model 117 Seven-passenger Sedan

The 1922 Lincoln Model 117 Seven-passenger Sedan

My great-grandfather bought one of the first Ford motor vehicles available for the mass market in the U.S., and my grandfather was brand loyal, owning nothing but Fords throughout his long lifetime.

Named after President Lincoln, the Lincoln automotive company was founded in 1917. Their rival Ford Motor Company purchased Lincoln in 1922. Fast-forward to December 2012, when Ford changed the name of the Lincoln division to the Lincoln Motor Company, granting it its own design, product development and sales teams. And now they are celebrating this new era in their 90-year history of making cars by re-introducing the Lincoln Motor Company, and unveiling their new take on the luxury automobile.

Through the “Hello, Again” tour, Lincoln is introducing a series of projects with artists who share their vision of re-imagining the past to create something new and innovative. Herban Lifestyle has been invited, along with other select local artisans, to be part of the Hello Again, DC event from June 6-16. Tours are available Wednesday through Sunday from 11:00am – 4:00pm and 6:00pm – 10:00pm. You can sign up for this event, including a test drive and interactive tour of DC, by visiting the Hello Again website.

During your tour, you’ll be given behind-the-scenes access to the Pleasant Pops mixing rooms to exercise your imagination and blend unique flavors. You will experience a private art drive as you cruise through an 18th-century alley curated by local artists. You will have a chance to touch and smell various herbs, spices and other ingredients Herban Lifestyle uses in our products. And you will have the opportunity to vote for your favorite flavor combination to be used in our new products to be launched later this year!

An assortment of Pleasant Pops

An assortment of Pleasant Pops | Image ©Pleasant Pops

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Hello Again, DC

Besides our shared respect for history, design, and innovation, I applaud Ford and the Lincoln Motor Company for making great strides in building environmental sustainability into their business models and their vehicles.

The 2013 MKZ Hybrid operates up to 62 miles per hour on electric power alone, using no fuel and has an EPA-estimated 45 city/hwy combined mpg. And here is a website that outlines some of the sustainability efforts that Ford, Lincoln Motor Company’s parent company is undertaking. This website lists Ford’s Top 10 green initiatives of 2008, including their Dearborn Truck Plant, which has the World’s Largest Living Roof (10.4-acres) according to Guinness World Records, and their leadership in being the first U.S. auto company to use 100% recycled fabric seating surfaces. And this website lists their Top 10 for 2011.

Lincoln 2013 MKZ Hybrid

Lincoln 2013 MKZ Hybrid

You can sign up to be a part of the fun and innovative Hello Again, DC event at the Hello Again website.

George Nakashima: The Art of Gaman and Beyond

Office showroom at Nakashima Woodworker, New Hope, PA. Image copyright George Nakashima Woodworker, SA

In February, my in-laws took us to see an incredible museum and woodworking shop in New Hope, PA. Among the large, wooded residential plots of land sits the homestead of George Nakashima (1905-1990), who is considered to be one of the world’s greatest woodworkers. During his lifetime, Nakashima came to be known as the “Elder Statesman of the American Craft Movement.”

During our visit, we had the great pleasure of speaking with Kevin Nakashima, George’s son, about his father’s work. We found that not only was George Nakashima a master woodworker, he had started out as an architect and was sought after for his talent in integrating building design into the aesthetics of the natural surroundings. Kevin showed us photographs of the construction of a Benedictine Abbey, called Christ in the Desert, for which his father was the original architect in the 1960s. Last month, I had an opportunity to visit the abbey while on a trip to Santa Fe. More on that in another post…

Image copyright Christ in Desert Abbey

We were given tours of most of the buildings on the homestead. Nakashima’s love for nature was evident in the structures, which were all built to take advantage of natural light and passive heating and cooling. And his furniture is all built from fallen wood – no trees are cut to make his pieces. I found out that George Nakashima Woodworker, SA is a member of the Sustainable Furnishings Council (SFC). Members of the SFC pledge to: eliminate unrecyclable content and primary materials from unsustainable sources; endorse Life Cycle Assessment as the best method for analyzing the environmental impact of their products, and a verifiable chain of custody as the only acceptable method for tracking wood flow; and support the trip bottom line of People-Planet-Profits and promote awareness of best practices throughout supply chains.

Inside the Nakashima Showroom. Image copyright Apartment Therapy.

What Kevin didn’t tell us was that his father had learned the art of traditional Japanese woodworking and the use of found materials while interned at Camp Minidoka in Hunt, Idaho during World War II. It was not surprising that Kevin did not want to talk about this painful period in his father’s life. It was also not surprising that Nakashima had developed a new level of artistic skill while in the camp. In 2010, I was able to view an exhibit at the Renwich Gallery entitled The Art of Gaman.

Gaman means to bear the seemingly unbearable with patience and dignity,” “to grin and bear it,” accoriding to Delphine Hirasuna who curated the exhibit. (Actor George Takei defines gaman as, “To endure with fortitude and dignity,” and he is currently working on creating a Broadway musical, Allegiance, based on his experience in an interment camp as a child). It was during this time that Nakashima perfected the discipline of patiently working with the natural grain and contours of the materials to achieve perfection in form.

While in the camp, Nakashima learned woodworking from Gentaro Hikogawa using found materials (since they were not allowed to bring anything with them, the detainees used materials that came from garbage found in the camps as well as from the natural environment). Hikogawa taught him how to use traditional Japanese hand tools and joinery techniques.

In 1943, Antonin Raymond, an American architect who had collaborated with Frank Lloyd Wright on the Imperial Hotel (and with whom Nakashima had worked before his internment) sponsored Nakashima’s release from the internment camp and invited him to stay at his farm in New Hope, Pennsylvania. In 1973, Nelson Rockefeller commissioned Nakashima to design and build 200 pieces for his house in Pocantico Hills, New York. Nakashima went on to build a reputation as one of the best 20th century American Art furniture designers.

Image copyright George Nakashima Woodworker, SA

He also went on to become a dedicated advocate for peace. As part of his Foundation for Peace, Nakashima’s magnificent Peace Tables, made from huge slabs of wood, reside in Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City, Russian Academy of Art in Moscow, Unity Pavilion in India, and one is being created for the Desmond Tutu Peace Centre in Capetown. On June 3, at 3:00pm, they are holding a concert, “Mostly Motets for Peace” to benefit the Nakashima Peace Foundation.

Nakashima peace table in India, image copyright PhillyBurbs.com

George Nakashima Woodworker, SA is open to the public on Saturdays from 1:00p to 4:30pm, and is located at 1847 Aquetong Road, New Hope, PA 18938.

And for an album of gorgeous photos of George Nakashima Woodworker, SA as well as several of his signature pieces, I highly recommend this wonderful feature article on  his daughter, Mira Nakashima-Yarnall, in Apartment Therapy.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Art Alley, Rapid Falls, SD

I came across this street art sculpture in Art Alley, in Rapid City, SD. Every inch of the alley is filled with paintings, drawings, and sculptures. Anyway, because I view art as creation, and creation as an expression of love, I wanted to share this image with you.

I’d also like to share my recipe for heart-shaped onigiri (Japanese rice balls). It’s perfect if you are looking for a simple, not-your-typical Valentine idea.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Wordless Wednesday: Artsy Pittsburgh

[Well, Less Wordy Wednesday, anyway]. Back in April, I had the good fortune of participating as a vendor in the Handmade Arcade in Pittsburgh, PA. I had never visited this city before, and was delighted to find that there was a thriving arts community there. With the little bit of spare time I had that weekend, I had a chance to visit the Warhol Museum, which contained some amazing art and art history.

Across the street, I was impressed to see a building fully adorned with the artwork of Shepard Fairey.

After surrounding myself with so much art, I felt inspired to create something. I was super happy that the museum had a DIY room, where I had a chance to use my silkscreening and collage talents.

Wordless Wednesday: Found Art in Brooklyn

While in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn a couple of weekends ago for the wonderful Renegrade Craft Show, I happened across several interesting pieces of street art, including one sighting of Shepard Faiery’s “OBEY.” Here are a few photos of my favorites that I wanted to share with you. They were all taken with my phone, so I apologize that they aren’t crisper…




Found Art in NYC


I spent the weekend in SoHo. I was there for the BUST Magazine Craftacular and Food Fair, which was held on May 21st. I spent most my Saturday surrounded by awesome artists and crafters, taking in their amazingly creative works. On Sunday, my husband and I walked around checking out the various boutiques. I took note of the use of fabrics, shapes and textures displayed throughout the neighborhood, inspired with ideas for new designs and packaging for my products.

But what surprised and delighted me the most was the art I found on the streets. My favorite was the discovery of a bicycle that had been ambushed overnight with a cover of pastel crochet in a camouflage pattern. I marveled at the beauty and awesomeness of the work, while also sympathizing with the owner who would have to do quite a bit of snipping to be able to actually use it.

On one wall, I saw a magnificent graffiti mural, which I didn’t photograph (I didn’t think I could do it justice with my iPhone). But I did capture this sweet piece that I found on a door. I love the simplicity of the lines, and it sparked my imagination to think of things the girl and her rabbit might be looking at.

Later in the afternoon, we headed up to Central Park to check out Japan Day. There were several things to see, but what caught my eye was this collection of origami cranes that people were folding and donating, with the goal of sending 1000 paper cranes to Japan to show solidarity with the victims of the earthquake/tsunami.

Adams Morgan Very Cherry Pop Up Shop

From March 27 to April 16, you can visit the temporary art and retail spot, the Adams Morgan Very Cherry Popup Shop, featuring the work of several DC-area artisans, including Herban Lifestyle and my new alter ego brand, Snarkyama. Located at 2421 18th Street in the very fun and funky Adams Morgan neighborhood, the store will also have a variety of music, demos and other events.

image copyright Adams Morgan Main Street

The opening of the store was scheduled to coincide with the start of the National Cherry Blossom Festival.  As a community event Cherry Blossom partner, the Pop Up Shop brings together a diversity of artistic styles including original art, photography, ‘green’ artisans, jewelry, sculpture, pottery and accessories.

The Pop Up Shop is open Sunday through Thursday, from noon to 9:00pm, and Friday and Saturday, 11:00am to 10:00pm.

Please Join Us at Squidfire’s 2010 Winter Art Mart!

Once again, it is time for Squidfire’s Winter Art Mart in downtown Baltimore! This year’s Art Mart will be held on December 11 at the First Unitarian Church in Mt Vernon. As always, the art mart will feature some of the best diy/indie crafters from all over the East Coast. Whether you’re looking for handmade soap, freshly baked dog treats, unique paper goods, or even locally roasted coffee beans, they will have it there. So, come on out and support local artists and get unique, handmade crafts for everyone on your holiday shopping list! I hope you can join us on December 11, from 11am-6pm, at the First Unitarian Church, 501 North Charles Street Baltimore, MD 21201.