The Fourth Wall

5.30.08 Tee + Journal = FUN

Everyone who knows me knows I love clothes. Never completely content with the work of (most) other designers, I’ve been creating my own clothes for a long time. Sadly, I can’t sew worth a dang! But that, my friends, has not stopped my creativity… oh, noooooo. This little hurdle only means that my designs must be constructed from found bits and pieces, embellished, recycled, deconstructed, reconstructed.

Now that this kind of patched-together DIY fashion is all the trend, I’m happy to be able to make things not just for myself, but for other people too. The dear monsters from designfarm’s little sister company, myright2right.com were chosen to grace our fun, recycled-wallpaper altered composition book journals. But in my mind they were always begging–in their text-message kinda way–to be printed onto clothing!

Now, anyone who knows me also knows that I can thrift like nobody’s business. So off to Value Village we went (on a Thursday… 25% off!) to snag some adorable, gently used clothing that fit within the MR2W design aesthetic. Bright-colored tees…

Pink-striped drawstring pajama’s…

And super fun kid-friendly gear.

Each one-of-a-kind article of clothing is bundled with a mismatched (but adorably so!) journal and for each combo sold, we’ll donate TWO composition books to our recipient school, Piney Branch Elementary, located just 2 blocks from the studio here in Takoma Park. We’re doing a small range of these and they are selling quick!

To see the clothing up close and personal, visit us later this month at Washington DC City Paper’s brand new Silver Spring CRAFTY BASTARDS crafts show at Pyramid Atlantic, Saturday June 28. We are proud to have been one of a small group of 50 vendors selected out of hundreds of applicants!

5.15.08 Full Circle

When bandleader/singer Roddy Frantz got in touch last week to discuss the design of a poster for the Urban Verbs upcoming gig, May 24 at the 930 Club, I knew my life in this profession had come full circle. The poster above, featuring the iconic photo of Chris Morse by Peter Muise and updated New-Wave-for-the-21st-century-logo by Bill Harvey, will be for sale at the show.

If, like me, you are of a certain age (ie, you graduated highschool in the 70’s), and you were living here in the Metro Area toward the end of that very decade, then you know about the legendary Urban Verbs… and you know that back then the now world-famous 930 Club was just a dank hole-in-the-wall called the Atlantis Club… located in the Atlantis Building at (you guessed it) 930 F Street. There were but a handful of bands at first, until the scene gained momentum.

And now, 30 years later, many of those bands are back in town and rockin’ hard. I’ve heard them jokingly refer to themselves as Geezer Rockers, but having attended some of the shows, I’m not buying that tag. Lest this turn into a 4-mile-long post on the early days of punk & New Wave in the Nation’s Capitol, suffice to say that my relationship to the bands of this era was as a member of a close-knit circle of co-conspirateurs and bona fide club kids. We ruled the nights, and the Urban Verbs + a few others wrote and played the soundtrack.

To get back to the point of this post, I also created some of the earliest Verbs gig flyers to paste around town. With photos we took ourselves AND printed in our home darkrooms. With xerox machines, press type, xacto knives and an ancient device called a waxer (don’t ask). Some efforts were better than others. The specimen above? NOT one of my best! To my credit, at the time I was studying photography and fine art at UMD, not design. And really, I just wanted a sulky, artsy self-portrait plastered around town.

A scant few years later I discovered my fine arts degree to be about as valuable in the job market as today’s real estate, so I began to actually learn the craft of design & production, on the job. I created the flyer pictured above for a little vintage clothing business called Flip Flop that I ran out of my big old house in Takoma DC. What you are seeing is the “mechanical,” a tissue-overlayed paste-up to be supplied to the printer. Photo of the beautifully iconic Dot Steck by husband/photographer/bass player Charles Steck.

Despite a hideous first job creating mechanicals for a Civil War reenactment magazine (!), I continued making photographs and printing them in a closet darkroom at home. Flip Flop moved to an antiques Emporium in historic downtown Frederick MD and was renamed That Girl! Photo by yours truly of the amazing Melissa Flipski, then a young teenager in a cool vintage dress.

Ahh, those really WERE the days. But, so are these. We’re still rockin’. Still wearin’ vintage. Still making photos. Life is good.

5.14.08 New from MyRight2Write

New Journals

The Farmers have been busy crafting once again! Introducing the new (Not So) Plain Jane journals, clockwise from upper left, The Sarah (named after you know who!), Contesse du Barry, The Jessica (named after you know who!), Madame Eclore (Eclore means Bloom in French, get it?!), and Marie Antoinette (Jodi’s obsession continues). Made with new (instead of vintage) wallpapers some of which are textural and all of which are oh-so-cool, these are available in multiples, taking the surprise out of purchasing a OOAK journal… What you see is what you get! Also available in $$-saving six-packs. Check them out at www.myright2write.com.