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Sweet Tea Towels are back!

Sweet Tea Towels are back in the shop! Before screen printing this new batch, I took a moment to revamp the design to reflect the growth in my lettering skills. I also freshened up the illustration with a bit more detail. Just take a look for yourself below. It feels so incredibly good to see the evolution of my abilities.

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Upcoming Hand-lettering Workshop at the Virginia MOCA

Next month we’re teaching our classic hand-lettering workshop at the Virginia MOCA in Virginia Beach on the 14th! We’re holding it on a Saturday morning to make it more accessible to anyone who would like to attend. Per usual, bring your sketch book, a ruler, pencils and pens. It’s open to everyone but you get a discount if you’re a member of the museum. We don’t plan on doing many workshops this year, so now is the time to join us. Plus the MOCA is a pretty lovely place to be and you’re right next to the oceanfront. Register online here.

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Designing Drop Caps Workshop Recap

There we were in Phoebus on a rainy Saturday morning, sitting in our car and staring at the Prince Ink storefront for any signs of life. What a wonderfully awful morning for our first workshop of the year. The kind of day you don’t mind wasting indoors. We waited till a member of AIGA approached the door and also checked for life. Then finally Matt of Prince Ink, walks up and unlocks the door to their store/studio.

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While we setup for the workshop, eight other AIGA members slowly trickled in. They were here to take our workshop, Designing Drop Caps and Other Junk and Stuff for Screen Printing. Long-ass title, I know. Once everyone was settled with their sketch books open and pencils in hand, we were off and running. We started with a short lecture about screen printing and what to consider when designing for this method of printing. Matt sat in his office that jutted off the long hallway we were using for the workshop. He was taking notes, but also served as confirmation for whatever we would discuss. Whether is was the specifics of overlaying versus trapping, or some technical aspect of printing that he could give more professional insight about. I like to remind folks that we screen print in our closet of our apartment. Hey, it works. Don’t judge.

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We then dove into a quick discussion about drop caps. But despite the workshop name, they became just decorative letters since they had no text to drop into. I directed everyone’s attention to a example of a letterform exploration on the letter “M” that I composed to demonstrate various type treatments. Then we randomly assigned two letters to each person and let them get to work.

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Drawing two letters in a hour might sound like an easy task but it’s not. I felt for our students because I know that struggle to be inspired when being forced to do so. While they sketched out various concepts, Derek and I made our rounds and would guide or encourage certain directions. When all was said and done, I was incredibly excited about the results! Luckily these letterforms will be put to use in the following AIGA workshop where Prince Ink is teaching screen printing. Before this can take place, I will need to piece all of these hand-drawn letters into a single graphic that will be screen printed on t-shirts in that workshop.

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If you didn’t get the chance to take our workshop, you still have time to sign up for the Screen Printing Workshop on February 7th where you’ll learn the basics of screen printing and even get to screen print your own t-shirt. You need to be an AIGA member to sign up, but being a member is a good opportunity to meet other creatives in this area. Do it.

NEW Valentine’s Day Cards are in the shop!

I didn’t make a big announcement about this through the site, but as of the beginning of the year I’ve taken Maple & Belmont on full-time. This is so I can focus on expanding the product line among doing a million other things. Whoot! So I started the year off by cranking out some new cards that can be used for Valentine’s Day or whenever you’re in a loving mood. And who doesn’t appreciate a little love note every now and then.

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There are two different styles. The first is minimalistic but eye-catching. I screen printed black and white “xoxo” designs and paired them with bright persimmon envelopes.  These came about from drawing a bazillion “xoxo’s” and just had fun coming up with a few variations. I thought these make the perfect boxed set since you get two of each design to send to whomever you like.

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The second line of cards are a little more intimate and convey a loving message without being overwhelming lovey-dovey. I’ve been inspired by a lot of celestial and occult imagery so I pulled in some of those elements for the designs. Screen printing these in jewel tones just seemed fitting. Everything is up in the shop, cheers!

Designing Drop Caps and more for Screen Printing Workshop

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Wanted to squeak this in before tomorrow is here. We’ve partnered with AIGA Hampton Roads and Prince Ink Co. to teach a workshop on the basics of what to consider when designing for screen printing. The focus will be on drop caps but our tips will be applicable to anything you design. If you’re in the Hampton Roads area, join us tomorrow from 10am-12pm. You have to be an AIGA member to come, but that’s all the more reason to become apart of this creative community.

The workshop will start with a quick lecture but will heavily focus on designing drop caps because the drop caps you design at the workshop will be printed on t-shirts in the following workshop. Sign up here. Hope to see you tomorrow!

Feature in Mollie Makes Magazine

Our Conan print is featured in the newest issue of Mollie Makes magazine! Such a great way to start the week. I’m a big fan of publications that promote creativity and using your hands to create which is something dear to Mollie Makes. Also I’m a bit late saying this, but Happy New Year! I’m hoping to do a LOT more blogging this year.

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The Holidays

I know it’s been a while since our last post but I wanted to give everyone a heads up about the new holiday items we have available and the upcoming shows and markets that we’re apart of.

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This year we revamped the holiday cards and gift tags. For the cards, we came up with two new designs and reprinted our beloved “Tis the Season” card in a much brighter red. We’re super excited to release the holiday ornaments which feature our hand lettering screen printed on Maple wooden discs. I’m beyond tickled with how these turned out! You can find all the new goodies in our shop.

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If you’re local to the Hampton Roads region of Virginia, you can always find our stuff at Kitsch. For those who live a bit farther away in Richmond, you can find our goods at the Bizarre Market. Or if you have a love for local beer, you can find us at the Handmade Holiday show being held at the Hardywood Park Craft Brewery this Saturday from 11am-5pm. The brewery is always a blast, so I suggest making time for that if you can.

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Whew! We’ll I’ve got a ton to do before this weekend so I better get back at it.

Hand lettering Workshop on September 18

Back by popular demand is our Hand lettering workshop! This time we’ve partnered with the Nobile & Amundsen Gallery in downtown Norfolk. We’re really excited because they have such a wonderful space to host the event. To top things off, our event is being paired with an exhibit that opens tomorrow for John Edward Welch who was a self-taught sign painter and artist.

So mark your calendars on September 18th from 7pm-9pm because we’d love for you to join us if you’re in the Hampton Roads area. Bring your pencils, pens, a sketchbook, a ruler and your favorite gnarly eraser, along with a short quote and a love of letters. We’ll give you an overview of lettering along with one-on-one assistance to help turn your quote into a hand-lettered masterpiece. Don’t worry if you’re new to lettering, this class is excellent for anyone.

We’ll also supply some other tools of the trade and explain how to use them during the class. Space is limited, so sign up through our shop here and reserve your seat today! For more detail visit the FB event page here. Since it falls after work for most of us, we’ll provide some light refreshments to help you relax and unwind.

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“Haute Desert” Stationery Suite featured in The Knot

At the beginning of this year I partnered with Lynsey Hamilton, event planner extraordinaire, on another photo shoot for The Knot. The theme for this shoot was “Haute Desert.” I used sharp geometric patterns to balance layers of coral, pink and gold for the entire suite. Per usual, the shots look incredible thanks to Lyndsey’s ability to bring together so many talented folks including Poppies & Posies, Nine Cakes and rEvolve Furniture Co.

If you’re interested in ordering this suite, shoot us an email at hello(at)mapleandbelmont.com with information about your upcoming wedding or event.

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Getting Back to Film

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Film photography has been a hobby of Derek and mine’s for the past 4 years. Up until this year, I’ve been using toy lomography cameras to fuel my film obsession. We use to share those photos through a tumblr blog called Yellow Polka Dots. Between us, we have a Diana Mini, a regular Holga, a Fisheye 2, a Sprocket Rocket and a 35 mm Holga. With these cameras, Derek and I were just having fun snapping shots of the world around us. There really wasn’t too much you could change on those cameras so it was more about capturing happy accidents. Over the span of two years, we posted 765 photos and then we stopped about a year ago. Life got in the way and we just couldn’t keep up with it.

Even with everything that was going on, I kept wanting to get back into photography. Around the holidays last year, I told Derek that I wanted to pick up an old film camera so that I could actually learn how to take a good photo – not just point and shoot. I mentioned that I was looking at a Pentax k1000 and he perked up at the name because he remembered that his mom use to have a Pentax. Derek checked with his dad and sure enough he still had it. It wasn’t the Pentax k1000 but the Pentax ME Super instead, which still had all the bells and whistles that I wanted. Huzzah!

For the past few months I’ve been taking a LOT of photos so that I could get use to manually setting a camera. Since I don’t have the luxury of checking my work as I go like I would with a digital camera, there has been a lot of trial and error. I’ll admit that there were several rolls of film that turned out just awful. I had the wrong exposure set and even the film speed was wrong on my first roll. But I learned from my mistakes and slowly got the hang of it. So I’ve been building up a new collection of photos from this camera and decided that it was time to breath life into Yellow Polka Dots again. I’m proud to relaunch this blog and share my photos with you. I’m not a photographer by any means, so if you have any tips/comments or just want me to follow your tumblr, hit me up! I’d love the advice or just a new person to follow.

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