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Hello!!! Welcome to this week’s Featured Handmade Artist– Shayna from SteelPetalPress! Shayna is a fellow Chicagoan (almost a neighbor!) and I’m thrilled to feature her today. I’ve seen her letterpress cards at the Renegade Craft fair and I can attest to how cool and how well made they are. This is my current favorite card…

Featured Handmade Artist- SteelPetalPress
Seriously? How fun is that? Check out a sample of some of her other products that are for sale. She creates custom wedding invites (how cool!), bound journals and really fun letterpress cards…

Featured Handmade Artist- SteelPetalPress

Hi Shayna! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

My name is Shayna and I currently live in the Logan Square neighborhood of Chicago by way of San Francisco, New Orleans, Los Angeles, St Louis and Washington DC. I print handmade letterpress greeting cards, custom wedding invitations and make hand bound journals.

What is the first craft project you remember making?

I remember drawing birthday cards for my all my family members starting a very young age, 4 or 5 maybe? I also remember writing stories, illustrating them and turning them into books around the same age.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

I’m inspired by old mechanical tools, vintage objects, collectables and type. The Vandercook and Chandler price presses that i print are from the midcentury and have fascinating cranks and levers and gears. I love the tactility of it all.

Can you describe some of your creative process?

First I have to think up a new idea. This can come at any time and is usually out of the blue: riding the train, while jogging, on a Sunday morning reading the paper, running errands, riding my bike. Then I need to transform the idea into an image or object. This takes some time tinkering with the materials and the images and seeing what looks best. Then there’s production mode, in which I just crank out a bunch of work. The last part is much less creative.

What is your most prized handmade possession?

The fingerless mittens a friend knit for me in exchange for a mix CD many years ago. I love them and have managed to not loose them.

If you could give one piece of advice to a new etsy seller, what would it be?

Do what you love and keep working at it. There will be slow times and busy times. Put care into what you do, make beautiful things, stay true to yourself and don’t give up.

What are some of the ways you promote your shop?

Word of mouth has been really great for finding people looking for custom work. I also have a facebook page, twitter account, flickr and blog.

Also, I try to renew an item at least once a day. And I sell at local and regional craft fairs. I am a member of the EtsyBRC street team and Ladies of Letterpress on

I’ve also spent some time going door to door presenting my work to stores that might be interested in wholesale.

What are the three websites you couldn’t live without? – naturally – is a love hate relationship, but because I’ve moved around quite a bit, it helps me keep it touch with friends in other states – is great for discovering new music

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

I would really love to be living in a house with a large studio where I could keep my own press and store stacks of type and survive entirely off my work.

If you could have one super power, what would it be and why?

I wish I was the type of person that could survive with little to no sleep. Then I would have time to both work and play and I wouldn’t have to cut corners in any area of my life.

Thanks so much Shayna!!! I hope to see you at the Renegade Craft Fair this year!

Please be sure you stop by the SteelPetalPress shop and check out all Shayna has to offer!!!

Is there any shop that you think should be featured? Would you like me to feature your shop? Please feel free to send me an email aprilbern at gmail dot com!

Have a great day!

It’s been a little less than 24 hrs. since the historic blizzard of 2011 has ended. My car is finally shoveled out and the roads are fairly passable yet still kinda rough. It’s been a doozy of a few days. While I wasn’t brave enough to go outside in the snow and take pictures (hello! I’m only 5’2″– i would have been in snow up to my neck!) I do want to share some images from folks around Chicagoland and how they captured the blizzard on film…

Frozen Lake Shore Drive
Frozen Lake Shore Drive via extinction blues

Chicago Blizzard 2011
via mg33_chicago

Lake Shore Drive in the Blizzard
via metroblossom

Snowmageddon - Feb 2, 2011.
via Brandon

32/365 - 2/1/2011 - Title: Snowmageddon - Location: Chicago
via Ken Bocchino

via hedgehog3457

the cleanup begins...
via cb804

Hope you’ve all had a chance to shovel out and are staying warm and cozy!

Renegade Craft Fair- Chicago
This weekend was the long anticipated (by me, at least) Renegade Craft Fair. Division Street, between Damen and Paulina, was filled with some of the most incredible handmade goods made by over 300 craftspeople from all over the nation. Oh, I wanted to take home everything!!!! It was **so** hard not to whip out the credit card at every booth. Here are just a few of my favorite shops…

Renegade Craft Fair

  • Orangyporangy
  • handmade ladyware from orangeporangy

    I loved these skirts. I don’t even wear skirts, and I wanted them all. They featured a great cut, and awesome awesome patterns and colors!

  • Steff BombSteffBomb

    Loved the cute plush creations! They also had super cute sad hamburgers. Don’t believe me? Go check it out!

  • Squeaky Queensqueakyqueen

    I’m a sucker for a good handmade soap. These soaps smelled amazing. And, they were cool too. It’s not everyday that you a prep soap complete with syringe

  • There were soooooooooooooooooooooo many other vendors that I loved and would love to show you and write about, but that would be nearly impossible as I need to get back to work.  Here’s a complete list of crafters that participated in the Renegade Craft Fair– please be sure to stop by and check them out!
    To see more of my photos from the Renegade Craft Fair, check out my flickr slideshow.
    To see a ton more photos, check out the photos from the Renegade Craft Fair Group on Flickr!

    Up in the Air
    photo credit: El Dave

    Have you seen this? I mean, really? How cool is that! A hot air balloon over Chicago!
    I’m a little disappointed that I missed the Albuquerque‎ International Balloon Fiesta. Both times I visited New Mexico, I was off by a week. This is probably the next best thing, right in my own backyard! Did I mention that you can go INSIDE this balloon?!

    I so want to do this once this summer. Can you image the photos I’d be able to take? **sigh**

    Here’s a little blurb from the Navy Pier website:

    Float in silence 35 stories into the air on the Navy Pier AeroBalloon, an anchor, helium-filled, state of the art balloon. The balloon will carry up to 17 passengers at a time for spectacular 360-degree panoramas of a bustling downtown Chicago.

    Tickets are $25 for an adult (for a 8-10 minute ride.) A little on the pricey side, but seriously, how often do you get a chance to be up in a hot air balloon?!

    Now, all i need to do is find some friends who are NOT afraid of heights to go with me…

    Have you been on this yet? What did you think?

    Turn for Clearer View
    photo credit: El Dave

    Special thanks to El Dave for letting me use his images in this post. If you like his images, please check out his flickr page. If you’re interested in purchasing any of his images as fine art prints, please check out his etsy shop and feel free to contact him for any special requests you might have!

    Blackhawks Celebration, originally uploaded by ifmuth.

    makes me a little glad that I don’t have to work downtown!

    Congrats to the Chicago Blackhawks! It’s been a fabulous season!!!

    more shots while driving in yesterdays blizzard…

    Chicago Renegade Craft Fair September 2009

    Chicago Renegade Craft Fair September 2009

    You should go.
    Find out more info here.

    Happy Monday!!! I’m back with another Macro Monday– This week’s theme is “Seeing the Light.” I really like this weeks theme, as I find light to be very important when I shoot!

    This is a close-up shot of the face towers that are on Michigan Ave. in downtown Chicago (right outside the art institute.) The faces are kinda creepy. They just sorta stare out at each other. But anyways, all these tiny lights make up images of these hulking towers! Close up, they don’t really look like much, do they? get a little father away, and they look like this:
    photo by chartno3
    kinda cool, huh?

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