LIGHT UP THE NIGHT

When I was twelve I decided to go into business for myself. I had come up with what I saw as a genius idea - to sew cat shaped pillows out of country print fabric. The older ladies would love them. Especially in the Midwest, it was common to have a wicker chair with a country print pillow on it, and who wouldn't want a cat shaped pillow for their chair? I had just recently learned how to use my mom's sewing machine and the simple cat shape seemed like a breeze. I sewed ten of them, in a dark blue paisley, auburn stripes, and tiny polka dots, and then promptly lost interest before ever attempting to sell one. (I think I took up mural painting all the filing cabinets in our basement).

Country Cats never made it, but I returned again and again to the act of making things by hand, from extravagant skirts of satin and tulle for my friends in high school to practical things for my home like shower curtains and bags. I sewed and altered my own clothes and immersed myself in DIY culture, yet until I came to graduate school creative success to me still meant selling a painting.

My thesis project at MICA developed from within a different, unrelated project. While at school I spent hours doing calculations of engineering and environmental conditions, and would come home and relax by sewing or drawing. I got more and more involved in those projects until I realized I was more involved with them than my actual thesis. And so it became everything. Turning my art and craft work into a real business, not just something on the side, became my new project.

Hammer & Fox has allowed me to take every creative desire and find a way for it to be a part of the project – illustration, design, textiles, photography, travel, food – and because I followed these desires with purpose, my project grew to more than I could have hoped for. It is real and bursting, it is just the beginning.

This site serves as a record of the project on an MFA level, however please check in on Hammer & Fox as it continues to develop and grow and burn bright into the night.



STUDIO



Hammer & Fox is a lifestyle brand based studio, creating surface designs for fashion and home wares. Rooted in handcraft, heritage and environmental appreciation, Hammer & Fox produces quarterly pattern collections available for licensing, in addition to in-house product designs for the H&F Shop.



2012 PATTERN COLLECTIONS




Dark forests, strange beasts in the night, flowers of bone, mossy spores, and mesmerizing meadows make up the bright but secret world of the Woodland Spirits Collection. Influenced by Scandinavian folk art, medieval Coat of Arms, biological specimens, planetary movement and mathematics, and fairy tales, the collection blends hand made elements with digital manipulation to represent the ways humans both idolize and destroy nature.

  • ORNAMENTALS
  • INNER GRAIN
  • TREE STUDIES
  • COAT OF ARMS
  • THE MEADOW
  • BONE BURST FLOWERS
  • MOUNTAINS MOVE
  • BRAMBLE FOX


Sunny mornings baking bread, outings to the farmers market, eating brunch in the garden while watching the birds, a run through the backyard to collect apples – these wistful connections to land and food are the inspiration behind the Marengo County Harvest pattern collection and speak to a greater appreciation for living self-sufficiently and compassionately. Named for a town in Iowa and intended primarily as canning accompaniment, the series will continue in the fall.

  • PEACH PRESERVES
  • PLUM JELLY
  • STRAWBERRY JAM
  • PEAR PRESERVES
  • APPLE BUTTER
  • LITTLE SPARROWS
  • LITTLE RUNNERS
  • RHUBARB PIE

PRESS



Hammer & Fox Press produces limited run letterpress and screen printed cards, calendars, fine art prints, posters and wrapping paper, and manages the catalogue development for the H&F Shop. In the future the H&F Press will also expand to printing small books and photography journals.



PAPER GOODS


BUNNY & SKELLY



SHOP


Hammer & Fox currently operates through Etsy.com. This has been a supportive and exciting community to be a part of and the shop has picked up quite a number of followers both nationally and internationally. Visit the shop now!





LIFESTYLE

Hammer & Fox is the energy of night air and fast beating hearts, the warmth of a low sun and the breeze from the sea. It is the never ending ache of desire for a world that is compassionate and a love that is true.


I have this love and this rage. I lose myself in punk rock and in piano sonatas, in baking bread and sewing, and in running as fast as I can. All of these things are in all of us – to be the lovers and to be the fighters – to know history in order to keep a future possible.

There is a balance of tragedy and love in life. Happiness comes not because of perfection, but because of beauty and sadness together – the sun is warm but causes cancer, romance is amazing but heartbreak can be violent and emptying. Things in nature have these cycles – death and birth, blooming and rot – we destroy nature but we continually mimic it, recreate it, worship it.

When I was younger I learned about physics and energy displacement, how nothing can ever be destroyed, just changed to a different form. I thought that when trees were cut down their spirits were being recycled into humans, and as our populations grew, the forests shrank. I believed that it is all the same energy but it is always shifting. This is why I don't want to believe I am better or more important than any other living thing out there, and why I feel a responsibility to take care of all that I am around – to support everything else because it supports and sustains me even more.

I've known deep love, passionate love, devoted love – the kind where I run everywhere because walking isn't enough. I call it maverick love – bold, inspired, alive. Conversely I've felt such wrenching heartbreak – the kind where you don't eat or sleep or breathe for days, weeks, months – where you question everything about you and them and the world. But from these things I have grown. I don't fear things the way I did when I was a bit younger, because this is it, this is this life and I won't sit still – I want to light up the night with this unending desire to be a part of it . There are so many incredible things happening in this world, so much inspiration. It is in tree bark and the way bees dance to each other and the way light on water can blind you and the way your breath in the cold has its own body. For these things I move ever onward.



EXHIBITION



WRITING


OH HEART, I WILL BETRAY YOU

“We both have to do it. By tomorrow,” she says. “We've been talking about it forever.”
My best friend's voice makes soft encouragements from a thousand miles away.


“I know,” I reply. “We need this.” We've both been in a rut.


Jamie and I are both working artists, painters mostly, but neither of us has ever committed to the risk of doing it full time. We usually show in galleries and shops a couple times a year and take on a few commissions, but it's not really enough to live off of. So we go from day job to day job, making art at night on the side. We've worked in museums, restaurants, schools, offices, a pharmacy, and, most recently for me, as deckhand on a 137-foot yacht based out of Seattle. I haven't even painted much lately, and most of my creative output is through photo editing, baking, or sending mail-art, none of which is exactly lucrative. We've been throwing around ideas – painting exchange, daily photo blog, someday starting a bakery/coffee shop/art gallery together – but we never seem to get them started. Time is passing fast, and every time I rev up for a big life change, something bigger comes along and shuts me down. But today she brings up a small idea that has a lot of potential. Starting online shops for our artwork.


I run my finger along the wood grain a foot above my head in the tiny boat bunk while we talk, outlining where my ex-boyfriend's body used to sleep above me. The room still smells like him. The whole boat does. I know it's the other way around, that the scent I had associated with him before I started working here too had actually been the boat and the boat house where it resided, some distinct combination of lake water and pine cleaner, diesel exhaust and vinegar, wax and cement and expensive carpet. It was in his hair and his clothes and even his skin, and every time I walk through the door from outside, he is the first thing I think of because of it. I probably smell like that now, too.

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BOOK

Hammer & Fox Thesis Documentation Book



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