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Posts Tagged ‘New York City’

The Making of a melissaAnne Water Colors Image

When I tell people that my photos are from the bottoms of boats it often results in funny looks and the following:  “THAT’S a bottom…of a BOAT?  How do you do that?”  If you are  part of my network of amazingly supportive friends, you fully understand the looks and the questions because you’ve shared my work and you’ve experienced the same reactions. Let’s face it, it’s weird.  It’s not quite “normal”.  Most people don’t spend their vacations in amazing places like St Maarten or Martha’s Vineyard climbing through weeds in boat yards taking photos.  They don’t drag their friends out to “bond” amid the dirt and cobwebs of boat “graveyards” and graffiti laden walls.  But, if you are among the few who have joined me in one of these adventures…well, you get it.  Sorta….

For the rest of you,  I’m about to give you some insight into those popular questions, “THAT’s a bottom…of a BOAT?”  and “How do you do that?” using one of my favorite melissaAnne Colors Water Colors images.

 December 29, 2008

I was in Texas visiting family for the holidays.  December 29th, my mom’s birthday and how did we celebrate it?  Driving aimlessly around Lake Lewisville searching for boat yards of course (yes, my mom is a saint).  I was still new to the melissaAnne Colors Water Colors process, this only the second time I’d gone on a boat yard mission.  We drove around most of the day, with me crawling around “the yards” looking for just the right boat, colors, angles, textures, patterns.  It’s about ALL of that!  We stopped at one marina with power boats and sailboats and I snapped away and wandered around for a while.  In the back, among the tall grass and weeds I discovered this. 

The bottom of a boat.....

This, in my world, is a goldmine!  I know, weird.  Those questions marks are floating over your head.  “This is a goldmine?” you’re saying.   Just wait…..

From this dirty old boat came this colorful but somewhat dull image.

© Melissa McClain

With a little photo software magic I brightened the colors (most Water Colors images are the original colors, simply enhanced) and got this.

©Melissa McClain

But it wasn’t done.  One of the things I love most about the melissaAnne Colors Collection is the versatility.  There was one more thing to do, rotate.  Before I finalize an image, I rotate it left, right, 180 degrees to find a story that speaks to me.  At 180 degrees, this one was done.  

 
 

© Melissa McClain

I immediately saw a shoe.  A red shoe.  A red HIGH HEEL shoe.  It said “woman”, “power”, “celebration”, and “confidence”.  I pictured an elegant evening of dancing in red high heel shoes. 

That’s where I stopped and it became Water Colors Elegance, a popular print among strong women!

Although, I didn’t truly stop there…see what else that boat gave us.

©Melissa McClain

 Water Colors Red No. 10

©Melissa McClain

  Water Colors Hope

 

THAT’s a bottom…of a BOAT?  Yes. 

 Final Water Colors  images shown above are available for purchase at melissaAnne Colors   

Moments of Inspiration

I attended Apartment Therapy Offline Meetup this week!  The guest speaker was rug and textile designer Madeline Weinrib.  Her designs are unique and beautiful.  I found her story truly inspiring and a reminder that it’s OK to be different, stay true to your vision, and follow your passion and you will realize your dream.  Thank you Madeline and Apartment Therapy!  You can also see Madeline’s designs at one of MY favorite places, ABC Home in NYC.  

 Listen to the Color of your Dreams. ~John Lennon  

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It felt like Spring today in New York City. It was beautiful!  I love Spring and Summer in the city because I get to spend time on the stoop Brooklyn-style with Alex.  He loves being outside and watching city life pass by.  I enjoy watching the kids run up and down the street and catching up with neighbors as they pass by.         

Sweet Alex - King of the Stoop

If you’d walked by today, however, you would not have found us out on the stoop.  I don’t really know what Alex did today…but it probably involved the couch, the window ledge and the bed with closed eyes.  I didn’t get to enjoy much of the great weather today either.  But, I’m not complaining!  I spent the day at the Arch Digest Home Show at Pier 94 in Manhattan.  I was hanging out with D. Bryant Archie of D. BRYANT ARCHIE T E X T I L E S.   Being surrounded by her passion and beautiful designs and the excitement of the show made for a really great day.  I’ll be at the show again tomorrow and will write more about it in an upcoming post.  But, I’ll say that it completely inspired me and I can’t wait to get my collection out!  Maybe next year you’ll see melissaAnne at the show!  Until then, we’ll continue the journey here and I’ll keep sharing my images and updates.    

We plan our lives according to a dream that came to us in our childhood, and we find that life alters our plans. And yet, at the end, from a rare height, we also see that our dream was our fate. It’s just that providence had other ideas as to how we would get there. Destiny plans a different route, or turns the dream around, as if it were a riddle, and fulfills the dream in ways we couldn’t have expected.  ~ Ben Okri

I was in DUMBO a few weekends ago to meet a friend for lunch and talk about a book I’m working on.   Before lunch we took a little walk through the streets in search of a fence my camera and I had discovered a few weeks before.  I wasn’t done with it yet, knew there was more it wanted to give me.             

I started out walking down the street I had been on before, capturing some new perspectives of the colors and textures as I went.  Then, I turned the corner and discovered that this same fence continued on for another block.  Same fence, but a completely new perspective and color palette.  It was full of exciting possibilities.  I spent a lot of time with this new section of the fence.  I let it guide me and speak to me as my friend waiting patiently.  My camera was moving at all different angles and I was in the zone.  It was exhilarating!  My excitement increasing with every capture.  I couldn’t wait to get home, download the images and see what was there.   

Here are 3 of my favorite pictures from the “new” side of the wall.   

   

Urban Colors Collection © Melissa McClain

   

Urban Colors Collection © Melissa McClain

   

Urban Colors Collection © Melissa McClain

I love the blue and rust colors in these image.  The swirls give such movement and a sense of grace.  I like how each image is slightly different in direction and color, yet they evoke a similar feeling and energy.  I think I can see textile designs in these images.    

I was sending a sneak peek of these to a friend and put them into a collage for easy viewing.   This would really make a fun wall hanging as separate pieces or three prints in a collage frame.  

melissaAnne Urban Colors Collage In Blue

 

   

Moments of Inspiration  

I have been anticipating the Arch Digest Home Show all week!   There was so much inspiration there!  It was really amazing to see so many designers networking and helping each other make connections.  There were so many young, female designers from Brooklyn who are doing great things.  I’m looking forward to meeting more people tomorrow and sharing some of my experiences with you in a future post.     

Listen to the Color of your Dreams. ~John Lennon          

Next post…I have no idea what the topic will be.  I guess I’ll be just as surprised as you!!  Until then…    

I’ll keep moving forward and I hope you will too!

 

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Keep your dreams alive. Understand to achieve anything requires faith and belief in yourself, vision, hard work, determination, and dedication. Remember all things are possible for those who believe.  ~Gail Devers

      

As I work through the process of identifying a production resource, I am staying focused and continuing to move forward on the plan to launch my first melissaAnne pillow collection. A big part of that is identifying the melissaAnne Water Colors and Urban Colors Collection images to test on fabric, selecting the right fabrics, and ultimately deciding what will be used for the first collection.     

I have hundreds of Water Colors and Urban Colors Collection images at this point. I have a connection to all of them. Many of them have a story. A story about where they are from, how I found them, what I see in them, what others see in them. So how do I choose which images to test on fabrics?     

 I’ve selected a few of my favorite images. I selected a few because they have stories that pull at me.     

A few chose for me by getting in my head and not leaving. Some were just a whim, that paid off!     

There are a few that were chosen in honor of friends’ favorites. And, there is one image that I get incredible energy from and I want to share it with others.     

After I select potential images, I order an 8×8 fabric swatch. The swatch is a crop of the full image. The whole process of deciding and preparing for print is really quite fun! The swatches allow me to check color integrity, fabric type, and whether the images transfer well to fabric. Some do. Some……     

I recently received 7 new test swatches from Spoonflower. Some of them are really exciting! One was particularly disappointing but I’m not giving up on its potential quite yet. These new swatches definitely give me a few more options to consider for my first collection. Here are two that I really like.     

melissaAnne Textile Swatch ©Melissa McClain

 

This is a corner of a swatch from an Urban Colors Collection image recently shot in the DUMBO neighborhood in Brooklyn. Because of the strong colors and more edgy, urban feel I printed it on upholstery weight material. The colors and shapes really took well to the fabric.     

melissaAnne Textile Swatch ©Melissa McClain

 

This is another image from the Urban Colors Collection shot in DUMBO. It’s edgy, yet soft. I decided to play up the soft and printed the image on Cotton/Bamboo blend fabric. This fabric is really soft! I think this would be a great fabric design for the “tween crowd”.   

Maybe you’ll see these designs as finished pillows over at melissaAnne Gallery when I launch the first melissaAnne Home pillow collection. Maybe they will be part of a future collection. I guess you will just have to wait and see.  Do you have a favorite Water Color or Urban Color image you want to see as part of the first collection?  Let me know!   

Moments of Inspiration

This moment of inspiration is about one word: Turquoise.   

It’s probably obvious that I like color. All colors. But, turquoise is my favorite color and it ALWAYS inspires and excites me. I was struggling a while back to pick my “brand” image. I had been using one that I really liked but something about it didn’t feel right. I had just finished a coaching session with Jane Button (check her out if you are launching or trying to grow your product) and she told me “it will come to you.” Well, she was right! It came to me. It was obvious really once I really focused on it. It’s what was missing all along.   Turquoise!     

I’m debuting the official melissaAnne brand image and colors very soon. melissaAnne blog subscribers will get a special sneak peek!     

 The Inspired Room     

The Inspired Room is a great blog on design that I read every morning. This particular post came on a day that I needed a little extra inspiration. It inspired all day. I couldn’t stop looking at it. You can see my new dream kitchen (sunset.com) here! How could you not have an inspired, exciting and happy life waking up to breakfast here every day? I have a certain turquoise image that would look perfect…right…THERE!     

Listen to the Color of your Dreams. ~John Lennon

Next post I’ll take you on a recent Urban Colors expedition and share a few of my favorite images.      

  

I hope you have a dream and I hope you are following it!

 

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To live is to choose. But to choose well, you must know who you are and what you stand for, where you want to go and why you want to get there. ~Kofi Annan

 

I’m still searching for a production resource for melissaAnne. I never imagined it would be this challenging. I’ve researched online. I’m asking for references.  I’m meeting with different people.  I haven’t found “it” quite yet.  I met one  woman who I bonded with immediately. I left our first meeting completely inspired and feeling like I could sit in a studio with her all day and laugh and talk as we busily worked on creating designs for melissaAnne and collaborated about making a difference in the world. Unfortunately, her sewing experience didn’t quite match what I’m looking for. I’m holding her number though because I have a feeling there is a spot at melissaAnne for her energy, vitality, and warm heart.

I found another sewing contractor on Craigslist a few weeks ago and I was initially intrigued by the company’s story and why they went into business. It sounded like they had a great vision for supporting new designers. I was really inspired and excited to potentially work with a company that had a vision similar to mine.  Unfortunately, I didn’t feel a connection during our first meeting. I’ve had some follow up communication with the company and it just doesn’t seem to be working for me. I’m not feeling the connection that is so important to me.

But, I’m torn.

I have high expectations. I know that. This is the beginning of my melissaAnne family. This is a relationship that will allow me to take one more step, a big step, towards fulfilling my dream and realizing my vision.  Shouldn’t it reflect who I am and what I stand for?  Shouldn’t it be part of my story of where I’m going and why I want to go there?

However, I’m really anxious to get my pillows produced so I can begin to share them with you. I’m ready to take the designs I see in my head every night and every morning and put them into your hands. Pillows that will bring color, energy, and inspiration into your home. Conversation pieces that evoke story and creativity in your mind.

I’m torn because I wonder if I should go with a resource I have some questions about just to get a tangible product started. Do I lower my expectations? Do I make some sacrifices in the beginning? 

Or, should I wait?

Wait for the resource that will meet or exceed my expectations. Wait for what feels right to me.  I’m sure it’s out there. Somewhere.

Will it make a difference in the final product? Will the energy and inspiration in your melissaAnne pillow be even stronger if I wait? Will the color be somehow more vibrant when you open your package?

What do you think? How do you want your pillow made?

Choose.  Or choose well.   To be continued…

 

Moments of Inspiration

I’m making this a regular part of my posts to give you some insight into what/who I get inspiration from or things I do to ensure the inspiration for melissaAnne keeps coming.

Women on Fire Retreat

I registered for the Women on Fire Retreat this week and I’m so excited that one of my best friends is coming with me! The Retreat is an “inspiration” present to myself. These amazing ladies from around the country regularly provide me with the energy and inspiration I need to continue my journey. I can’t wait to be in a room with them for 2 days! I’m also excited to hear Stedman Graham speak.

Interested in attending and getting some inspiration for your life and your dreams?  You can sign up here. I can’t wait to see you there!

 

Listen to the Color of your Dreams. ~John Lennon

In my next post, I’ll let you in on the process of picking my melissaAnne pillow collection images from the Water Colors and Urban Colors Collections and show you some new fabric swatches I’m considering for the first collection. I’ll also have a Moment of Inspiration for you. I’ve been holding onto this one. It’s colorful!!

 

I hope you have a dream and I hope you are following it!

  

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I’m expanding my blog. I’ve had the idea for a while but hadn’t quite committed to it. A good friend and mentor gave me a little push this weekend, so here we go. I’ll continue to share my photography but I’m also going to talk about the journey to launching melissaAnne.  I hope my story, the triumphs and the struggles of growing melissaAnne, will connect with you and inspire you. 

 

The way to stay grounded inside yourself is by taking what you have to give and sharing that with the rest of the world.” ~Oprah (Friday’s interview with the amazing Alicia Keys)

 

I was really excited to see Alicia Keys on Oprah Friday. She has such an amazing voice and is a strong woman who is making a difference in the world through her Keep a Child Alive organization. Seeing women using their gifts to create change and improve the lives of others always inspires me to keep moving toward my dream and my vision.

Keeping the  dream alive isn’t always easy. Working full-time and keeping my vision in front of me is a lot of work.  It means late nights and busy schedules. But for me, the sacrifices are worth it because I can see the “other side”. I realize the impact my Vision will have on others. Those “others”, the one’s I don’t know yet but can see in my head, keep me moving forward.

So, I’m following this journey. I’m trying to say “YES” to every opportunity to learn something new or make a new connection (thank you Janette Barber for this lovely advice and the humorous nature with which you deliver it!). I’m saying “NO” to the fear that creeps in to derail me.

A few months ago I went to an Apartment Therapy Meetup. It was scary, I’ll admit. I didn’t know anyone there and was surrounded by designers. That voice in my head kept telling me I didn’t belong there. I was beginning to believe it until I heard John Robshaw talk about his textile line. Did you know he started out as an artist and discovered a love of textiles? Wow! Someone I could relate to!

Not only are his designs beautiful and the colors energizing, but his story was moving and inspiring. The way he works with his team in India and speaks of them as if they are family elevated my respect for him beyond that of an artist and creator of beautiful fabrics and connected it with the person he is. I walked away from the evening more motivated than ever to keep creating images that provide color and inspiration and to build the company I dream about. A company that believes in the value of relationships and is committed to making a difference in the world.

Maybe I’ll interview John Robshaw about his designs and his vision. Maybe I could ask Janette to give him her advice before I ask. He won’t be able to say no. You can’t say no after listening to Janette!

Stay tuned. Hopefully you’ll be reading my interview with him!

 

We don’t accomplish anything in this world alone … and whatever happens is the result of the whole tapestry of one’s life and all the weavings of individual threads from one to another that creates something. ~Sandra Day O’Connor

 

After the Meetup, and through the wonders of social media, I connected with D. Bryant of D. Bryant Archie Textiles. We met for coffee last weekend and what a delight she is! A genuine, caring and creative soul who was completely open to answering my questions about textiles and sharing some wisdom she’s learned along the way. I’ll be hanging out with her at the Arch Digest Home Show in a few weeks! Go over to her website to see her beautiful designs and check back here for updates after the show.

 

“Who is inspiring our daughters?” Sharon Bhagwan Rolls of femLINKPACIFIC at Women Hold The Solutions, Global Fund for Women

  

If I am going to accomplish my vision of empowering and inspiring others, I need to have those elements readily available in my life. Here are a few things that I pulled inspiration from last week.

Women Hold The Solutions

I attended a panel discussion sponsored by the Global Fund For Women.  The members of the panel were all inspiring women who run programs to support women’s rights around the world. The quote above has stayed with me and inspired me the most.

Art Milk

I have my favorite blogs and e-newsletters that I get via email and read every morning. Art Milk, an expansion of Design Milk, is one of them. A few weeks ago I submitted to be a featured artist. I felt really good about it, I overcame those doubts and fears and I submitted. Then I let it go.

Imagine my surprise when I opened the email for my daily read and saw MY NAME! It wasn’t just my name…it was me. My Water Colors and Urban Colors Collections were profiled in Art Milk. I was elated!  Thanks Art Milk!  A great reminder to take risks. Put yourself out there. You never know……

 

Listen to the Color of your Dreams. ~John Lennon

 

Check back Wednesday to find out about my search for a sewing contractor to create pillow samples and produce my first collection. I’ll also share some photos of new melissaAnne Urban Colors fabric swatches that arrived last week.

 

I hope you have a dream and I hope you are following it!

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Last weekend I went to one of my favorite neighborhoods, DUMBO.  I always feel really alive and creative when I visit DUMBO.  Maybe it’s the majestic bridges watching over me when I’m there.  Maybe it’s the skyline of Manhattan.  Whatever it is, I’m always happy when I get a chance to spend some time there with my camera. 

© Melissa McClain Brooklyn Bridge - NYC

© Melissa McClain Manhattan Bridge - NYC

Did you know DUMBO stands for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass? 

I found some great new Urban Color images as I walked around the icy streets of DUMBO.  Until recently, I had a preference for the Water Colors Collection.  Now, well, I’m equally as inspired by the colors and energy both Collections exude! 

© Melissa McClain melissaAnne Urban Colors Collection

© Melissa McClain melissaAnne Urban Colors Collection

© Melissa McClain melissaAnne Urban Colors Collection

© Melissa McClain melissaAnne Urban Colors Collection

This weekend I took an impromptu walk down 4th Avenue in Park Slope with a friend, looked longingly at buildings with artist studios, met a wonderful resource for product production at Flirt, and found some fun new images!! 

© Melissa McClain Brooklyn Neon

© Melissa McClain Brooklyn Market

© Melissa McClain Color and Texture....Oh My!

I was also treated to a few Urban Color treasures on the side streets off 4th Avenue. 

© Melissa McClain melissaAnne Urban Colors Collection

© Melissa McClain melissaAnne Urban Colors Collection

© Melissa McClain melissaAnne Urban Colors Collection

I’m really getting into these Urban Colors!  

I guess I didn’t get enough yesterday, so today I took a walk down around the Gowanus Canal and I found more inspiration. 

© Melissa McClain Gowanus Color and Lines

Gowanus Bridge

© Melissa McClain Gowanus Bridge

© Melissa McClain Gowanus Tracks

Gowanus Canal

© Melissa McClain Gowanus Canal

© Melissa McClain Gowanus Industrial

And then, I found these AMAZING Urban Colors along the canal.  These colors give me so much energy and joy.  How can you not be happy with these colors around? 

© Melissa McClain melissaAnne Urban Colors Collection

© Melissa McClain melissaAnne Urban Colors Collection

© Melissa McClain melissaAnne Urban Colors Collection

Thanks for stopping by!  I hope the colors make you happy and give you energy and joy to start the week. 

 

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