Recently I read a post that shared the creative work spaces of some of the most talented individuals of my lifetime. Authors like Virgina Woolf and Roald Dahl, as well as artists such as Pablo Picasso and Georgia O’Keefe. It was wonderful to get a peek into their private creative sanctuaries. It also made me take a closer look into own creative sanctum and observe my own rituals and habits.
I am very fortunate to work my design business from home and after many years of floating around the house from room to room and desk to dining room table, I wanted a more stable space. So when a few children had left home and my daughter moved into her brother’s bigger room, I have landed in my own room. A space that puts a smile on my face just by walking through the door, it helps me realize how grateful I am after many years, to do what I love, and now I get to do that in a place with all its little quirks, makes me giddy with creative delight.
Here’s my special place, I like to give you the grand tour. Our home is a very old stone farmhouse, built in 1796, so she has a lot of charm and special features. From the pumpkin pine floor boards, deep windowsills and fireplaces. She has an energy of her own and as I recently said to a friend I often hug her and thank her for all she bestows upon my family and myself. You’ll notice the mosaic in the old fireplace, as I said this was once my daughter’s room and she and I created a fun piece of sea life artwork in the closed up hearth. My collection of snow globes and family photos grace the mantle.
I love hand me downs and I was able to re-purpose much of the furniture she had outgrown. I have a bookshelf that’s composed of simple target cubbies that I screwed together and added crown molding to. A vintage dresser whose drawers work perfectly for storage and flat files. I use her discarded ikea desk as my work table. Vintage shelves with a new coat of paint hold my inspirations.
What are the things that spark your creativity? Do you have any rituals that you do before you begin? What are the things that you like to surround yourself with? My husband thinks that I hoard too many “things”, but what creative can say that those things that light your imagination are products of some deep seated hoarding. I love to have images of the my friends and my children’s creativity, wherever I look. You’ll spy my daughter’s early fashion drawings or pieces gifted to me by my friends at Moore College of Art and design. I love to pause before I begin my work day, light some incense and acknowledge the blessings in my life and ask for inspiration.
If you look around my creative space you’ll notice things I enjoy collecting, things of beauty and things that help to ground me.
My daughter’s tea set and my Grandmother’s powder boxes.
A quiet little nook holds pillows from one of my Society 6 collections and the old window sill holds my collection of cobalt glass and my little altar. But I think the thing that truly helps me throughout the day are my furry little four legged companions, Allie and Sydney. They can be usually found curled up by my feet, chewing on a bone or snoozing on the dog bed.
So what do your creative spaces look like? What inspires you? What are your rituals and who are your companions? I’d love to hear and see them. Maybe together we’ll inspire others by allowing a glimpse into our think tanks. If you’d like to take a look at the post that inspired me, here’s the link. http://www.thinkinghumanity.com/2014/06/workspaces-of-some-of-the-greatest-artists-of-the-world . So now go great something beautiful.
A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to unveil my senior thesis show, the culmination of many years of study and growth, a journey that has taken me almost 30 years to complete. We had our opening reception for Moore’s Emerging Artists and Designers to over 400 people in the industry and I must say all of the work was warmly accepted. For those of you who aren’t familiar with what my senior thesis project was I’ll give you a quick synopsis. As my final hurrah I wanted to push myself a bit further and take my illustrations more digital and learn the art of surface pattern design, so that after graduation I could step into the world of licensing. I think my final show says it all.
The full display of my collection’s real world application
As apart of my show I wanted to exhibit how the collection I created could be used in the real world. I chose to display the patterns on pillows, mugs, tote bags, rugs, book covers and prints. It was so exciting to see the sketches that I had begun back in January, come to life before my eyes in living color. It was also humbling to receive the compliments and see how warmly the collection was accepted. It was my baby and I was unveiling to the world. Oh and to top it all off I was honored with the Fred Acker Achievement Award in Graphic Design. Overall I’d say it was a great night.
Fred Acker Achievement Award in Graphic Design
The next step on this journey will take place a few weeks from now in NYC, when I attend the annual Surtex show at Jacob Javitis Center. I will go armed with enthusiasm, a willingness to learn, business cards and a mini collection portfolio in hopes of networking with other artist, agents and people in the industry. I attended the show last year to get my feet wet and to learn what I could, this year I will do the more of the same but with a bit more clarity in the direction I want to take my career.
Book jackets incorporating the collection’s patterns and illustrations
Pillows, mugs and rugs
The 2014 Moore College of Art Graphic Design class
But for now I am counting down the days till my long awaited graduation at Moore College of Art and Design, on the journey I began in 1980. I will proudly walk with a group of young women whom I have grown to love and admire. All are amazingly talented artists but most importantly, pure of heart. I thank them all for accepting me as one of their own and for the lessons they have all bestowed upon me. To my wonderful teachers, Gigi McGee, Dorothy Funderwhite, Kerry Polite, Geoff Beatty, John Burns, Dom Saponaro, Tim Ogline, E Bond and Joe Kulka, I thank you from the bottom of my heart and will be forever in your debt for the knowledge, wisdom and support you have shared with me.
Until next time when we chat via my blog try and be a little creative in your own life, I know I will continue to be in mine. To find out more about the items seen on this page please visit my society6 page at http://society6.com/GracefullArtsbyPamHamilton or to learn more about Moore College of Art & Design’s programs go here http://moore.edu
New mug from Society6
It’s been a long journey but the destination is finally within sight. As some of you know I went to art school in the early 80s, receiving my Associates Degree in Fine Art from Bucks County Community College. Then I took a short stop at Tyler School of Art before life had some other ideas. Four children and a long career in the business world found me missing my passion, which was my love of art. So in 2011 I decided to head back to school attending Moore College of Art and Design in Philadelphia, to complete the degree I had started many years ago. The last three years have been a lot of work and at times stressful balancing family, school and work, but I can honestly say that I have loved every minute of this part of the journey.
This month my fellow classmates and I will unveil our senior thesis’ at Moore’s annual Emerging Artist and Designers Show. It begins with an opening night for those in the industry. On April 23rd we get to network and rub shoulders with potential partners and employers while we lay ourselves and our hard won work, out for all to see.
Geometric patterned cell phone cover available at Society6
When asked the question at the beginning of this semester of what we wished to do as our senior thesis project, I had to think long and hard. I asked myself a few questions; 1. What did I still want to learn before I left this great art institution? 2. What did I want to pursue once graduation had commenced in May?, and finally, 3. What did I want to present to the world as my emerging exhibit?
I knew I wanted to merge my love and major of graphic design and illustration. I also wanted to pursue something that has interested me for awhile, licensing and surface pattern design. So with the input of my professors I came up with the idea to create a few collections that I could present their applications of, easily in a show. This would allow me to tweak my design and illustration skills as well as push me to learn something else before I left.
Floral patterned pillow from Society6
I am just about done and ready to “present” myself to the world as a designer and begin on my next path of my creative journey. I hope the world is as happy with my senior collection as I am proud of it. I can look back on this journey and see the growth and changes in me, not just in my creative abilities, but in the person I’ve become. So If you’re in the city and get a chance to pop into the school and see the show you will rewarded by seeing a group of very talented women as they are unveiled to the world as the next great artist and designer. The show information and hours can be seen on the school’s website at, http://www.moore.edu. In the meantime if you want to see more of my collection, pop on over to Society6, where you can see it displayed and available for purchase on many fun products. http://society6.com/GracefullArtsbyPamHamilton Until graduation,Happy shopping!
Keith & I circa 1983- who was crazy enough to let two 21 year olds deliver a brand new rolls royce to florida?
Back in 1983 I met the man I’ve proudly called my husband for the last 25 years. We met on St.Paddy’s Day, yep you guessed it, at a bar. What can I say we both have Irish in our bloods. That was over 29 years ago and I wouldn’t change a thing. We’ve managed to raise four beautiful kids,beautiful on the inside and the outside. We’ve had our struggles and challenges just as any marriage or family does. Many times those challenges were met head on using the talents God had granted us.
This past July after many months of trying to figure out why Keith hadn’t been feeling well, he was diagnosed with stage three color-rectal cancer. We were blessed to have the right doctors put on our team from both University of Penn in Philly and St. Mary’s Hospital in Newtown. After a months rest from his six weeks of daily chemo and radiation treatments, we head to the city tomorrow to tackle step two on this journey, surgery.
Keith and one of our beautiful children, Kayla at her prom.
To say that this journey has been filled with its challenges is putting it mildly, but I think that one of the biggest has been the financial cost. Even though we are fortunate to be able to have good health insurance, like many others it comes with a cost in very expensive co-pays and deductibles. To add a little more humor, our insurance runs August through July, not the January to December like most plans, so you guessed it, all the fees paid up until the final diagnoses in July were wiped out once we began treatment.
Not being one to cry and whine about the hand we were dealt, I began to try and figure out how to deal with the circumstances. Enter Nuero-Sonic’s bottle design contest. A representative from the company came into the graphic design department at the college I am attending, Moore College of Art and Design in Philly. Turns out the were looking to redesign one of their bottles and we would have a shot at it. The best part was that besides a years supply of Sonic water, they were also offering a $10,000 cash prize, enough to cover our growing medical bills. I quickly got to designing my bottle and promoting it to obtain enough votes to make it into the top 10 and be considered for the final prize.
Social media is magical. How quickly can something travel. How quickly can we find out where someone is in need and how we can help. I’ve diligently be promoting my design on all my social networking outlets, twitter, facebook, instagram, you name it. So I thought today as we get down to the end to the end of the contest, why not write my blog around it.
My bottle design for Nuero-Sonic
Here is my design and here is the link to vote http://www.myneurosonic.com/v/810 . The beauty is you can share my message and vote everyday. Investing about 10 seconds of your time to make a huge difference in a family’s future. Although I am behind in the vote count I still believe in miracles and win or lose, I know that God has given me incredible talents. I am daily I am reminded that with those talents my family and I will be ok. Tomorrow as we head into the city for Keith’s surgery, I will carry with me all the support, prayers and love shown to us by our family, friends and even strangers. And in my heart in know everything will be alright.
Who wouldn’t want to work with someone who is surrounded by so much fun
Recently I attended the annual Surtex show in New York City, a place where creatives gather to sell, promote and network their art. I went hoping to see the trends, get inspired and hopefully network my own art and business. After a very tiring and inspiring day I headed home from the city with a bag full of catalogs, brochures and magazines. Over the next few days I poured over all the info I lugged home on the bus and started to see the same name pop up over and over again. I have long learned that when this happens I need to pay attention. With the universe’s prompting I began to search out the woman named Lilla Rogers. Wow what a creative, inspiring, powerhouse of a woman she turned out to be. Lilla an artist herself is one of the most renowned international talent agents. Representing people like Helen Dardik, Lisa DeJohn and Jenn Ski while working with companies like Paperchase, Blue Q and Crate & Barrel.
Lilla’s new book
Lilla has been an artist forever, but it’s her passion for teaching and helping other artists achieve success that really makes her special. She has an e-course called “Make Art That Sells” that she recently incorporated into a book titled “I Just Like to Make Things”. Determined to grow my business over this summer break as my #1 goal, it made sense to seek out this book. I have to admit I read it in one sitting, engrossed in all of her tips and encouragement. I’ve since reread it a few more times with my highlighter and sticky notes near by.
The universe whispered in my ear again when I came across an announcement that Lilla Rogers Studios would be holding an global talent search to find her next great artist. The winner at the end would be given the opportunity to be represented with her agency for two years. A life changing opportunity. For me it was a no-brainer and I quickly did what was needed to throw my hat into the ring. Just the other day I received my first assignment. Although I am not allowed to say much, I can tell you that I was “briefed to create a playground themed journal cover as if Paperchase were my client”. Oooh, how exciting this was going to be.
Some sketches to get the creative juices flowing
So here’s where you can help me out a bit. When I say the word playground what comes to mind? Is it children laughing, swings and slides or maybe kickball. Let me know what your memories are. In the meantime while I work on my ideas I’ll share a page from my sketchbook as a little teaser. I will share my completed piece with you all after it has been entered. For now if you would like to know more about Ms Rogers and what she does feel free to visit her website at http://lillarogers.com . Wish me luck!
One of my entries into last year’s Phoenix Art’s 40 Art Show
I’m putting the finishing touches on my entries for this year’s 40 Art Show. What is 40 Art you ask? It is the brain child of our local go to for the artists in Bucks County, Phoenix Art. Its the place we all go for art supplies and inspiration. It was started many years ago to expose the community to the great avaiable and to encourage purchasing art for art’s sake . All pieces must be 5″x7″ and they may be any type of medium. The artist can be published, famous, unknown, young, old it doesn’t matter because the playing field is set to be even for all. The idea is to have art be affordable to everyone.
A black & white entry from a past 40 Art Show
All the work is placed unframed and unsigned on racks that wrap around the tent out behind the store and without the names of the artists apparent till the item is purchased. The anticipation is high and attendance even higher. The line will wrap around the store and out the door of those ready with cash in hand, waiting for the countdown to begin. Since the art is hung anonymously you are drawn to pieces because you like them, not the artist’s name and their collectible value. For some lucky people, their 40 dollar investment will end up being worth considerably more if the particular artist they purchased is famous.
A lazy little turtle 40 art entry
You can imagine the scene when at the appointed hour the golden curtain is dropped. People rush in and begin calling out to the attendants the pieces that they would like to purchase. It is not uncommon to hear cheers as the artist are revealed, it is quite an exciting event. I myself have many framed pieces throughout my home that are 5″x7″ from past events, in many a variety of mediums. All the pieces are loved as they were purchased because they were admired. Some are well known, some are not, but honestly in the Hamilton household all are appreciated the same.
Just a sampling of the over 300 pieces entered into last year’s show
You’ll have to attend the show and see what my entries will be. Have I peeked your curiosity yet? If you’d like to enter yourself or would like more information on the event visit their website at http://phoenixartstuff.com/40art . I hope to see you under the tent July 19th. Happy art hunting!
Shhh… its a secret, can’t reveal this years art yet, you’ll have to come to Phoenix Art on the 19th.
In 1997 our community gathered to perform a “barn raising” of sorts at a community playground in Doylestown, PA. Businesses, families, artists, carpenters and community members worked together to create a place for the local children to play, explore and dream. The result of many months of planning and weeks of hard work were unveiled on June 22, 1997. I am proud to say that my family was part of that original “barn raising” of our local castle. My husband brought his hands, hammer and woodworking talents, while I wheeled a paint brush. I had fun creating store fronts and funny little elements to go along with the castle.
Original construction of Kids Castle circa 1997
It was a happy day as Dawn Byers, the spearhead of the cause, officially opened the playground. Our four children, then 1, 3, 6 and 9 have spent many hours exploring the giant playground and we have lots of happy memories to prove it.
Opening day June 22, 1997
My husband Keith and our 4 kids, opening day of Kids Castle
My now 22 and 24 year old sons hamming it up at Kids Castle
Fifteen years later the castle has been loved immensely by children of all ages and was in need of repairs and sprucing up. Dawn Byers whose children like mine were no longer toddling around the the playground and were instead heading off to college, stepped back in to once again take up the mantle of leader to get the job done. I admire the woman and leader Dawn is, she is always involved with ways to make our community better. Knowing that the repairs were coming I contacted Dawn to let her know I would once again be happy to help paint and repair anything I could help with. The art committee then asked me to take on the project of creating and painting two knights to guard and grace the refurbished castle. I said I would, knowing that I would also be finishing up my semester projects at Moore College of Art and would eventually see the light of day, to paint my knights. Bad pun I know, but couldn’t resist.
Kid’s Castle Doylestown PA
I love the quote on the home page of the Save Kids Castle website, “If everyone does a little, we can accomplish a lot”. That sums up just about anything in life, especially where community and making a difference is involved. So I did my “little” and worked on the two new men in my life, squeezing in time in the barn to bring the knights alive. I am proud to say that this past weekend my husband and I delivered Mr. Blue and Mr. Red to the art committee to await their anti-graffiti coats and a date to begin guarding the new and improved Kids Castle. There are still improvements in stages to come and money to raise to insure Kids Castle remains safe and standing for the generations to come. I have agreed to continue to help paint for the art committee and have no idea what the next canvas to bring to life will be, but I am ready and excited for the challenge.
The boys awaiting their trip to the Castle
If you would like to donate time or money to the cause or just wish to find out more information please go to their website at http://www.savekidscastle.org/ I hope to see you at the “Castle” this summer.
Just when you are about to give up on a dream, the universe will smile upon you and show you the way. We had been searching for a furry addition to our family after our beloved sheltie, Lady, had passed two springs ago. She was with us for 13 wonderful years, even traveling with us in an RV on a whirl-wind family vacation through New England, when the kids were little. Her’s would be a big place to fill in our hearts.
Our beloved sheltie Lady
Lady was a very special member of our family and we needed time to mourn, but we also needed to find the perfect fit for us. The future member would need to fold into our current family of 4 kids, Mon and Dad, a cat named Charlie, a love bird named Pepe, but most importantly our king charles cavalier spaniel, Allie. We thought that we might like the addition to be a golden-doodle like my grand-pup, Bizzo. He is a very sweet and gentle young man and has often stayed with us. He even spent several months at the farm, when Dylan, after graduating from Florida State University, went to Australia for ten months to pursue his passion for rugby .
My grand-puppy Bizzo
Once we made the decision as to what type of pup, we spent several months investigating and attempting to find a doodle rescue. Seems they are a beloved breed for many as they would go as fast as we’d spot them. Till one Friday night while watching TV with my husband and browsing the dog sites on the web, I came across a picture that was new. My interest was immediately peaked. The next morning I contacted the breeder and made arrangements for my daughter and I to drive out to meet this little ball of fur. She was one of two born in a litter and her brother had just found a new home too.
This is the picture that launched a thousand smiles
Once we arrived and met her, needless to say we were instantly in love and there was no way we were heading home without her. So we agreed to take her, finished all the paperwork and headed home, anxious to see how Allie would feel about her new “little” sister. The puppy was a trooper on the ride home, no fussing, no crying, she just curled up in my daughter’s lap.
As my daughter says, our “little nugget”
Once we arrived home we introduced the two pups. We knew she would be a good fit when she and Allie began to play and run around the yard. Allie has even tolerated the puppy chewing on her ears and pulling her by the tail. Everyone’s hearts were full that day.
Sydney and Allie’s first hellos
I guess the lessons to this story are, that although a beloved friend will never be replaced, the heart has the capacity to grow and be filled with more love. Patience would be another lesson, something that I am constantly being reminded of. With patience the universe will present the right opportunities to you. Despite the fact that we couldn’t agree on a name for three weeks, Sydney is now officially part of the Hamilton clan. She brings us daily reminders to slow down, play, smile and enjoy the little things in life.
Trying new things, no matter what age can be fun and challenging at the same time. For instance going back to school to finish a degree I started many moons ago, was a bit scary. But honestly its also been one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever challenged myself with. Enter Dominic Saponaro, a friend and for this past semester my teacher too. I took Dom’s digital painting class this past semester at Moore College of Art and Design. Having never really learned or mastered the medium of digital paint, hey I was beginning to think the Wacom tablet on my desk was a hot plate or something, I was a bit nervous. From day one Dom forced us to face our fears of the tablet head on, giving us a big assignment out the gate. So I sat with my new friend the pen and tablet and tried to get to know her a bit. By week 3 I had the required piece to turn it, but I was mortified to show it with all these exceptional young women who have grown up in the digital age. I did survive that crit and was determined to keep learning. Most of my digital illustrations up to this point were done with a mouse, probably not the easiest thing to do, but I adapted.
This is the first version of my Green Tara
Dom is a wonderful teacher, firm, to the point and will push you to grow. and I am so glad I stuck with it. By the end of the semester in a few short 14 weeks, the tablet and I were friends. I even looked forward to meeting up with her to work on assignments and dare I say actually began using the the tablet and digital paint medium in some of my other projects. Project #3 was to create an illustration that could be marketed. I chose to create an image that could be used on on a wrap around book jacket continuing with my Asian theme. This time I didn’t hide under the table at crit time.
Project #3 for painting class
All semester long I listened to Dom’s advice and kept that original painting of the Green Tara on my desktop, occasionally revisiting her. We were given the opportunity to rework our images to have for presentation at our final critiques. So Tara and I met often, late at night and through many stolen minutes throughout the day. I am happy to say that version #2 was a much better completed piece.
Version #2 and final Green Tara Illustration
So I met the challenge head on, developed a new skill set and dare I say, had fun too. So no matter what your age take the opportunity to learn something new. Get out of that box and have a little fun. You never know what you are capable of accomplishing. while you’re at take a peek at Dom’s incredible digital painting on his website at http://www.swashbucklestudio.com . He has truly conquered the digital medium.