Tag Archives: Design

How To Decorate For Fall In 10 Easy Steps!

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“Have a nice trip? See you next Fall”, photo by Summer Olsson
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First published in PQ Monthly

The air is getting crisp in the morning, the first grilled cheeses and soups are being devoured, and the swifts are careening into plate glass doors with reckless abandon (yes, I’m the asshole who thought for my first three months in Portland that The Swifts were an indie band that played a really long gig at some elementary school every September). It must be fall in the Pacific Northwest, and with it comes entertaining season. You’re doubtless going to have company, you popular thing you, so kick that Scruff trick out of bed and get decorating for fall! As an amateur decorator and professional know-it-all, I’ve compiled some of my favorite tips to get your house looking so good, people will be fooled into thinking you have your life in order. I’ve been drinking from my box of wine as I write this, I’m sure that didn’t affect anything:

1. Curate carefully.

2. Use a bright color on an accent wall.

3. Owls, everywhere fucking OWLS. Continue reading How To Decorate For Fall In 10 Easy Steps!

The Woman Who Runs With The Wolves, Part 2

photo by Summer Olsson, digital artistry by Tucker Cullinan
photo by Summer Olsson, digital artistry by Tucker Cullinan

Do what you love. Be brave. Take a chance.

These are all things I’ve talked about often on this blog, since my decision to take an artistic sabbatical and share the journey with others. Recently, I met someone else who took a similar leap: Michelle Lesniak-Franklin, winner of Season 11 of Project Runway (yup, it was her I was writing about at the end of this previous post). You’ll remember her personal style and razor-sharp wit, and probably her obsession with wolves, too.

I met the Portland native at her studio last week to chat, and she was just as funny, tough, and candid as she appeared to be on the show. She was also game for a photo shoot in Portland’s Japanese Gardens, inspired by Hayao Miyazaki’s anime classic, “Princess Mononoke”.

Here’s Part 2 of the interview, click here for Part 1.

BLCKSMTH: We share an obsession for the periodic table of elements. My personal token of strength is the “Fe” symbol for Iron, and yours seems to be “Au” for Gold. When did the transition happen from the name of the brand “Michelle is well” to “Au”?

Michelle Lesniak-Franklin: I got advice from a friend and investor about the name “Michelle Is Well”, that it sounds like a hospital update. “Oh, we went to the hospital to visit Michelle, how is she?” “She’s doing great, Michelle is…well.” I never loved it either, I thought it sounded really juvenile, but was something that just stuck.

I like to be smart, and articulate, and slightly geeky. And so the periodic table…you know I have a little bit of a science background, it just stuck with me. And I wanted it to be Au, to represent a golden moment, a golden piece of clothing that will stay in your closet until the end of time. You know it’s geek chic, but there’s also something tough and hard about gold. Continue reading The Woman Who Runs With The Wolves, Part 2

The Woman Who Runs With The Wolves

Michelle Lesniak-Franklin, The Woman Who Runs With Wolves.
(l. to r.) Michael James Schneider, Michelle Lesniak Franklin. Photo and mask construction by Summer Olsson, digital artistry by Tucker Cullinan.

Do what you love. Be brave. Take a chance.

These are all things I’ve talked about often on this blog, since my decision to take an artistic sabbatical and share the journey with others. Recently, I met someone else who took a similar leap: Michelle Lesniak-Franklin, winner of Season 11 of Project Runway (yup, it was her I was writing about at the end of this previous post). You’ll remember her personal style and razor-sharp wit, and probably her obsession with wolves, too.

I met the Portland native at her studio this week to chat, and she was just as funny, tough, and candid as she appeared to be on the show. She was also game for a photo shoot in Portland’s Japanese Gardens, inspired by Hayao Miyazaki’s anime classic, “Princess Mononoke”.

BLCKSMTH: You were excited when I brought up the “Princess Mononoke” concept of the photo shoot, are you a fan of Miyazaki?

Michelle Lesniak-Franklin: I am, definitely!

Explain a little bit of the wolf obsession, please.

At the time of being on the show, you’re alone during filming, and you don’t have your friends and family there. You don’t have your support system for weeks and weeks, and you’re cut off from the world. I felt, too, that my garments weren’t being received very well. Not having the fashion background, it started making me think, “Oh, I’m not good at this, no one will like my aesthetic, it’s not supposed to be out there in the world.” It started getting me down, and I felt like “You can’t be in this dark space, think of a power animal, put yourself into an animal that can survive through all odds.” And it was the wolf. And I ended up being pretty dangerous for the other people. Continue reading The Woman Who Runs With The Wolves

The Business Card Banned From Planes

I can’t think of a more boring blog subject than business cards. But when I started thinking about designing my own, I wanted to put my own signature on them. I had a few non-negotiables: I wanted them to be made in the United States, I wanted them to make an unforgettable impression without being cheesy, and I wanted them to say a little bit about BLCKSMTH just from looking at them.

The finished product…well, minus the “@” symbol

Enter St.Paul Stampworks, an engraving and stamping company based in St. Paul, Minnesota. Since its inception in 1870 by its founder, Axel Mellgren, this company started out making “marking equipment” including seals, door numbers, and plates for church pews. Eventually Mr. Mellgren diversified into categories like medals, badges, and printed materials.

Over 130 years later, I found them online and contacted Joyce, a personable salesperson, who understood exactly what I was looking for when I described it. In fact, she didn’t bat an eye when I told her I was going to use their metal tags, traditionally used for identifying pipes and electrical fixtures, as business cards! Continue reading The Business Card Banned From Planes

NTRGLCTC by BLCKSMTH

Ehridahn

I’ve been a little preoccupied with “world-building” lately, thinking of the toys and imaginary friends I played with during childhood, and thinking of the progression in sophistication they took from when I was very young, to right before when I stopped playing with toys. When I was young, it was just “good versus evil”, good guys versus bad. But as I got a little older, I started working other characters in, the story got a little more nuanced, and eventually a couple of franchises worked their way into the imaginary world I created. Lately I started thinking, what if I made a physical representation of the world that all of these characters inhabited? And what if I could help others do the same?

Continue reading NTRGLCTC by BLCKSMTH