josh meyer & ashod simonian

Collages, totally made up authors/novels, and perfume… what a magical combination! Perfumer Josh Meyer is the creator of Imaginary Authors – a collection of perfumes with personality. Each scent is brought to life using a fictional author, and their stories, to draw you into the scent. So fun! And not only that, each story/perfume also has a custom found-image collage as it’s label. Josh teamed up with artist Ashod Simonian for those. Now, I have no idea what these perfumes smell like, but I’m thinking “The Soft Lawn” might be lovely for a summer day, while “The Cobra and The Canary” might get me into a bit of trouble!

ps. The lovely ladies of Little Yellow Couch are doing a sample set give-away… The deadline is March 24th, so get over there and enter. Oh, and let me know what “Cape Heartache” smells like!





a lovely letter

When Kate Woodrow, an editor at Chronicle Books, approached me about writing a book, one of the first questions she asked me was “Why do you want to do this? What do you want to get out of it?” My answer was pretty simple. I told her that I wanted to write about blocks, and inner-critics, insecurities… and of course a way to break through all of those things. I said, “If I can make just one person feel better, less alone, not so creatively broken, I would consider this project a huge success.” And yesterday, I got this letter {that made me cry – twice} from a woman named Claire. I asked her if I could share this letter with you, and she said yes:

“I am writing to thank you for the most amazing book I have ever read… next to the Velveteen Rabbit and the Secret Garden.

About 14 years ago when I was at college studying art, I had just passed my driving test and went to a job interview at a newspaper for some work experience. All my work was in the car, portfolios, sketch books and exam certificates – I wanted to get it right. My work was deeply personal and I was very proud of it, it was who I was. Anyway I went for the interview and then went on a date, the first in two years. I went back to the car park to get my car… no car… it had been stolen with all my work in it… NOOOOOOOOOO! The car was eventually recovered a week later, but no work in the car. Everything I had produced in ten years was just gone. After that I could not make anything. I couldn’t paint, think, draw nothing would come. Then eventually I had my son, and needed to work for myself. My art qualifications were my main qualifications, so I started doing commercial work, and slowly my soul felt like it was being hoovered of all creativity. I just produced work that thought would sell and could not produce anything personal or anything I felt proud of… or that I felt was valid.

So, that has been me for the last 14 years… sad but true… anyhow,  just after Christmas I got really sick and have been in bed pretty much since then. I had an enormous amount of time to think about stuff, and my artistic practice, and what that means… and slowly my brain started to remember that girl who produced work with passion and vigour with no thought for what anyone would think of it. I made because I had to. I had to get it out… and then I saw your book. I have followed your blog for ages, moved by all the work on there. Then your book arrived, and I cannot thank you enough, and all the artists in it, for their honesty and candour. It has moved me and shaken my stuck little world, and today for the first time in 14 years, I made some work… which i am proud of. It is just the start, but it is a start. I have quit all the commercial work and I feel like my block is over. I can make work that is personal, that matters, that I believe in… because I have to… otherwise it’s just half a life.

I just wanted to say that your book has given me a great gift and has really aided my journey back to my brushes. I was on that path and your book has given me some more courage and tools… thank you… seems small, but it has meant more than I can explain.” ~ Claire

Thank you so much, Claire. This means more than I can explain. I think what moves me so much about this is that I feel like this is my story too, which makes you start to realize that there are lots of stories like this out there. When you’re in it, you feel like you’re the only one who has ever felt like this… until you share your story and suddenly you realize that you’re not alone at all. Having blocks just means you’re part of a very elite, creative club! You can’t have a creative block if you’re not a creative person, right? I’m so glad to be in this club with Claire, and all of you.

*artwork by Rachel Castle





giulia palmobino


I find great comfort in simple, well-done drawings… and this work by Berlin based artist/illustrator Giulia Palmobino definitely fits that description. Maybe the comfort comes in the “getting back to basics-ness” of it … just your hands, a stack of pencils, and a pile of thick paper. Sigh. Lovely.





lyndie dourthe



Je t’aime… mushroom terrariums, and perfect petals. So, so gorgeous. These little bits of nature, in textile form, are the work of Paris based textile designer/artist Lyndie Dourthe. Delicate, whimsical, and beautifully made. I know this sounds greedy, but I really truly want all of these beauties… yes, even those poisonous mushrooms. It’s ok. They’re under glass.

{via Galbie}





julia rothman… again

Gorgeous. This beautifully illustrated love letter to New York hits shelves TODAY! Hello NY is a gorgeous passion project by Julia Rothman… a talented designer, illustrator, and of course, New Yorker. She wrote a very honest, heart-felt post about the ups and downs of creating this book on her blog, Book By It’s Cover – give it a read, and then go pick up the book. I’m going to need a copy because I’m heading to New York {for the first time in my life… WHAT?!} in a few weeks for my NYC book event! Oh, and it just so happens that Julia is one of the artists interviewed in CREATIVE BLOCK! If she’s not too busy promoting this lovely piece of bounded art, she’ll be stopping by the CB party on April 2nd. I hope she has a pen ready to sign her lovely pages!

ps. there are still a handful of tickets available to the NY party, so if you want to come, grab your ticket here.





anna barlow



Now THIS is how every Monday should start! Drippy, sweet, whipped cream covered ice cream with a ceramic cherry on top… ok, it’s not really drippy or sweet because not only are the cherries ceramic, so is everything else! Yep, I am officially obsessed with this work by UK based artist Anna Barlow. Here is her description of this series:

The beauty of food left to melt and ooze holds a fascination for me. It is something that is usually over looked and temporary but this can be captured and frozen in time with clay and glaze. I have focused on ice cream as it is such a momentary and yet memorable treat that most of us have experienced and therefore can evoke memories of sensations and tastes, as well as prompt a fantasy of desired indulgences. I am firstly inspired by the materials I use. I find that clay, porcelain and glaze have so many wonderful possibilities and often translate well to represent food.

Yum. Oh, and good luck not craving ice cream for the rest of the day. You’re welcome!

{via art is a way}





that time i went to PIXAR to talk about my book (?!)

So this was a crazy day. This is what I saw as I walked into the main doors at PIXAR last week… life-sized LEGO sculptures of Toy Story’s Buzz Lightyear and Woody… and a poster with my book on it. Mind. Blown. No time to think about it much though because my talk was starting in about ten minutes. As I was setting up, I was told that the last presenter hosted by PU {PIXAR University} had been JJ Abrams. Hm. No pressure. Quick, could I make one of the books explode or something!?

Alas, nothing exploded, but I did get all set up in a gorgeous theatre with a really, really big screen {of course, it’s PIXAR} and talked my little heart out. I told the story of how my blog was born {which included a cameo by my son, because if it weren’t for having him I never would have started this site}, and how the book came about. The main point of the talk though focused on the big lessons I learned while writing CREATIVE BLOCK. We covered blocks, inner critics, public critics, and then getting through all of that so that you can get back to the joy of making work… work that you’re really proud of! I have to admit. I was nervous. I was in a room full of creative geniuses and I was worried that they’d be like “Uh-huh. Yeah, we never get blocked, lady.” You never know?! But no. That was not the case, because as it turns out they were all human. I spoke for about forty minutes, followed by a Q&A. Everyone then went out into the lobby so I could sign a few books {sign books?!?! very surreal, I have to tell you!}. The feedback I got was amazing. AMAZING. I had no idea who was in this line up and as I asked each of them what they did at PIXAR and what kind of art they did on their own {because all of them had something going on the side} I felt like a total fan girl! I mentioned to two of the guys that my son’s favorite movie is UP… they both worked on it! A few people told me that while they’re very confident in what they create at work, they really miss drawing, or painting, or [enter medium here] but felt a bit blocked when it came to getting started again. Several of them said this book was coming at the perfect time for them… it almost made me tear up a tiny bit, but I held it together because I was pretty sure that JJ didn’t cry while he was there.

Lunch time! I had a giant celebratory cheeseburger, and more fries than one person should ever have, with my amazing PIXAR host, visual-effects expert / fine artist Vincent Serritella, and my good friend Cariann Nesler. She came along as my cheerleader/photographer/book seller/driver, thank goodness! Vincent gave us a tour of this insane campus, which included their current in-house art show. Yes, they curate shows using the personal work of their staff – how amazing is that! {that is a close-up of Vincent’s fabulous self-vandalized self-portrait below}. We met a few famous friends along the way, and then, after a lovely full afternoon, it was time to say bye bye…

*Leaving PIXAR. Thank you so much for having me, PIXAR! Hope to come back through those gates again soon.





lucia dill

So, last week I popped by the gorgeous California College of the Arts campus in San Francisco. I took a little walk through the students’ studios, and there was so much good work hanging everywhere… but this studio stopped me in my tracks:

Muted color palettes… simple compositions … and so many chairs!!! I was in heaven. After a little bit of sleuth work it was determined that this was the studio of soon-to-graduate BFA student Lucia Dill. I wish she had been in her studio as I was snooping touring around campus, but alas, she must have been out looking for more chairs. Such lovely, “beautifully boring” work. I don’t know if it’s just me, but these chairs seem almost human. Some look lonely, others look like they are newly in love, and a few of them might not be speaking to each other:





nepal art dogs

Aren’t these crazy?! And they come with a fantastic story too! Ready? An American woman named Michelle Page spent some time in Nepal, and while she was there fell in love with these hand-painted, metal, “beware of dog” signs. However they were slowly being replaced by computer-generated signs. Not only did that mean the death of these crazy awesome folksie signs, but it also meant that the artists that made them were out of work. Well Michelle didn’t want to see that happen, so she started Nepal Art Dogs. You can send in a photo of your dog, and she gives that photo to a Nepalese artist who paints your dangerous, and or enlightened dog, on a metal sign. You get an original piece of art, the artists continue to work, this art form doesn’t die out, and your neighbors are protected, and or enlightened! Oh, and don’t worry cat lovers, we’ve got something for you too:

… and yes, even a little something for you chicken-lovers in the crowd {you know who you are}:

{via It’s Nice That}





mary anne kluth





Ah, the great outdoors… that has been chopped up and put back together to create the most magical, bizarre, i-wish-i-could-go-there landscapes! I saw some of these gorgeous collages, from a series titled Theme Park by California based artist Mary Anne Kluth, in person when I was in San Francisco last week, and fell madly in love. They look amazing here, but you should see them in person… and you can! Some of Mary Anne’s work is currently in a show titled SKY at the Bedford Gallery in Walnut Creek {not far from Oakland, CA}. It opened last Sunday and will run until May 25th, 2014.

ps. I am soooo excited to announce that I’ll be curating a huge, beautiful “creative block” themed show at the Bedford, opening at the beginning of December 2014.
pps. It’s going to be AMAZING!