grad school

The processing of process….

Notes on November

…thus far.

Nothing dries here. Mom bought me a box of sun, which seems to be helping the doomy gloomies a bit.

I think too much about what I could be doing, and berate myself for not living the life I think I want, or am supposed to want, but if I want to be the sort of person who goes to bars alone and practices karate, why don’t I ever actually want to do those things? Perhaps the new coolness is someone who goes from home to school and back again and eats mac and cheese. This is a thing, right?

I think too much, I think. Oh wait. Crap.


School is different the second time around. Better and deeper in many ways, but I can no longer summon that wild, vicious sense of youthful self-import that undergrad held. There is less of a sense of inevitable greatness, though it is replaced with a stronger sense of what I do and why. But I miss feeling like a ball of greatness waiting to explode. Maybe it’s a slow detonation. Also, I drink much less in this iteration, which is probably for the best. I seem to recall a lot of drinking alone and baking cookies while crying at “Friends” the last time.

So, basically, I’m awesome.

I am continuing to work with letterforms. I did the whole alphabet in large, 18″x24″ form:Screen Shot 2014-11-05 at 12.05.47 PM

…and hung the whole shebang up for crit. I kind of want it up forever.

IMG_3948 IMG_3949

I’m trying to learn to use it, which is trickier than I thought. Learning to write in it is going alright, but reading it is a whole other matter. Makes you realize that we don’t see the individual characters when we read; we just grab the whole word. I can READ the code-language, but I still have to parse it letter by letter. I’m going to try to get some friends to be secret code pen-pals with me to help me learn– I need stuff to read that I did not write, that’s cheating, and really doesn’t work. It’s, in the wise words of my father, like a three-year-old memorizing Go Dog Go and then pronouncing that they can read. I suspect he may be speaking from experience on that one.

I’m not quite sure where the language/code thing is going yet, but I find it compelling. I think, at the core, I’m trying to create the world I want to live in, all magical and shit, and this is perhaps how language looks in that world. It seems very important for me to be able to use it, not just have created it and let it sit there. I have lots of little seeds of ideas of how this might fit into other work later…

I also started to get back into makeup a bit, at the urging of my mentor. Again, not sure where that leads but hey, we’re all about experimenting right now. Can you tell that “I don’t know what the hell I’m doing” is a common theme recently?


This one was mostly practice with a white base makeup I got for Halloween. There was no character theme; just play.



My mentor suggested I remove variables to make the focus really on the face and makeup, so going forward I’m going to try a few set poses, same outfit, no wig, no face expression, just really focus on the makeup.

Oh, and speaking of Halloween, here’s how THAT turned out:


We were pretty awesome, if I do say so myself. Dancing at the Lovecraft ensued and a good time was had by all.

Right. Off to make some capes and write some letters. Huzzah!

grad school

…And then it rained forever.

This is our forecast. I am trying to think of this positively. We get so much green! Things grow! It’s not a flaming ball of fire like the other places I consider home!

But still. I don’t know about this at all.


This week has been a lot of ups and downs, focus and weird floaty feelings. Sleep comes hard. Insecurity abounds. I am trying to speak kindly to myself, noticing how much of my inner dialogue is negative: you’re not good enough, you’re too old, if you were going to “make it” you would have done it by now, everyone else is more together than you, what are you doing still mucking about like a teenager get a goddamn career path already, why can’t you get up early, why can’t you keep a schedule, your work is a joke hahahahaahaaaaaaaa…

Yeah so that’s there. I know this is a common human condition and I am not alone in this vat of bullshit, but GODDAMN it’s annoying. How much could I have achieved if I just blithely thought I was awesome? Why does it seem so hard to be nice to ourselves? What the fuck is that all about?

Did I mention it’s raining forever?


Entrepreneurial, history, and the other “classes” we take come in an out of focus. It’s an odd setup because you are basically doing YOUR WORK, whatever that is, and most things are in service of that in one way or another. Very different from undergrad, where you have a range of classes giving you a set of skills and you are applying yourself to all of them and seeing what comes of that. Now we have a PRACTICE. My history professor related it as undergrad being about starting broad and narrowing to a point, and grad school being about starting at a point and opening out again. This is such an exciting prospect, but also a massive undertaking, and this week I feel like it has dragged me under a little. Being as my husband, family, best friends and dogs are all far away, it’s so easy to get lost in all this philosophy and questioning and there’s no one to make me come out. It can get very surreal and eventually pretty unpleasant; I’m pretty lousy at making myself stop working, and I forget where the line is between work and everything else. Maybe there is no line.

I’m sorry, I’m only supposed to blog about happy things like how meaningful life is, and, like, cookies and craft fairs. I am remiss 🙂

I did a fair amount of work this week. Still exploring the concepts of object, symbol, language. I’m continuing work on the ponies. I’m planning to finish at least the 5 large ones and possibly the other 2 small ones I have primed before I let myself move on from this exploration, however long that takes. We are meant to be doing more iterations and experimentation than finished work, but I am partial to the big ponies and I at least want to do right by them.

I found this one at goodwill this week. Serious pony bath time!


Primed Ponies

IMG_3895Process:Screen Shot 2014-10-15 at 2.03.19 PM

IMG_3906Spring Pony Process. Same model unicorn, different colors.
IMG_3804 IMG_3849

IMG_3905 IMG_3901

Pony workstationIMG_3875

Pony progress lineupIMG_3894It’s amazing how long these suckers are taking me. I have a crit next week– I will admit I am nervous.

I also worked more on the letterform stuff. Originally I was looking at symbols and thinking I would make my own syllabary, but then I sat down to consider what concepts or words would need to be represented, and it got real big real fast. Seriously, guys, it’s like ooh ok, “love” “hope” “dream” and then you realize you’re just listing off those inspirational etched rocks. And that there are A LOT of important concepts, and nuances to those, and then it got too big and my brain exploded, so I scaled it back for now, and thought I’d try making an alternate alphabet. Nothing groundbreaking, I’m not going all Tolkien and making a new language, I just want to make my own version of the alphabet and try to learn it. Which is harder than you think! I have pretty much all the letterforms and their correspondences memorized, but it’s the input that gets you: I can write a word in it fairly fast now but I can’t look at a word and instantly see/translate it. So more practice.

Here’s the alphabet. It took me quite a while to decide on the letterforms, and I still have some I feel like perhaps I should change, but I’ve already started memorizing it so I think they will just stay. It’s visually influenced by Sanskrit, Arabic and Elvish (of course).


Practice pages:

IMG_3862 IMG_3908I began making large, ornate versions of some of the letters, just because I wanted to. They are so beautiful and it’s like getting to know them better. These are 18″x24″



IMG_3874Sooooo that’s the week. Now it’s off to make mac and cheese for a class project. That’s right, I have to. Hah.


Random Updated Musings…

Well, here we are again in the holiday season. We have finally finished with the last BeastWares holiday event, and I am celebrating by, well, mostly sitting still and staring at the wall. I’m calling this “meditation” and chalking it up to spiritual practice, NOT catatonia and a desire to do nothing work-related. I often find myself in the trap of thinking of all the things I could or should do–sketch, exercise, clean– and then generally feel like a failure at life for not doing them. I’m working on the whole “everything is just as it should be” thing–surprisingly hard. I’ve been training to be discontent for years, I can’t give it up now!

Apart from the good ol’ winter of discontent, things are coming along. The new collection, “We Can Dance if We Want To,” is SO close to being done and released. Why is it called that? Because it’s one of the best philosophies of life EVER.

We did an awesome photo shoot for it last week, shot by Carlo de la Sera and organized by Eamon Armstrong. It quickly became an impromptu dance party with photos on the side, which seems appropriate, really.  It looked a bit like this:


The Disco Prince in all his glory.


Party people making use of San Francisco’s rooftops. Superhero dance jam!

We should have pictures back pretty soon, which is the last step before launch. This is an exciting collection, because we’re really branching out. What started with Glitter Britches is expanding into a wider line, with tops and dresses and who knows what else on the horizon?

I also designed some new hang-tags, since the ones we already had are very specific to Britches. Here’s the new look:


I’m rather pleased with it. Originally it was going to be more colorful, since color and shine is a big part of what we do, but, you  know… black goes with everything, dahling.  I decided to be brave and take the text off the front entirely, because I like the logo so dang much, and I want to let that bold image just do it’s thing. The magpie is really central to the brand identity, and, hey, I just like him.


Graphic Design, Uncategorized

New Clothing Tag Time!

Yeah, that hardly sounds thrilling, I know, but it’s time. I thought I was very clever with my Glitter Britches tags, getting fiber content and care info and EVERYTHING on one tag, but then I started making things that AREN’T 80% polyester and it all went to hell. Plus, as much as I like my GB tags, the super-cool silver ink they’re printed with wears much more than expected, and we can’t have that, now can we? So to Google I go.

It’s amazing how much there is to think about once you decide you need to buy some tags. Woven or printed? Damask, silk or taffeta? Color? Added rhinestones? Rubber tags are very “in” these days you know. How about die-cut platinum? Thrilling! Embossed leather? But of course!

Then you realize that your tag costs more to produce than the entire garment it’s meant to be labeling. Oops.

It’s hard to be both a designer and a cheap bastard, let me tell you. I really NEEDED those dupioni silk tags with engraved copper detailing. However, the cheap bastard is hard to shut up, so I went in search of a cheaper alternative. I found an awesome deal on woven damask tags (ooh trés chic!) in and overstocked yarn… basically they were wicked cheap if you got them in red and white. Fine! I went to art school! I can work within parameters! It’s a slightly altered and updated version of the GB tag, but laid out to fold in half and be sewn inside, rather than a “clench fold” that goes over a seam with one half on the outside. The magpie logo gets to feature prominently though, which I like. No more fiber content–sorry, laws, I’m broke and use too many different fabrics. And it’s still a bit funny, which is imperative. I kind of want to spring for tags with weird, random phrases on them and sew those in too. Because I would REALLY like it if my clothes had secret messages. Like the fortune cookie of the fashion world…


Now I need to go make some clothes to put these babies in.