Archive for February, 2010

From Civil War Daguerreotype to Figments Studio Gift Box

Posted in Uncategorized on February 22, 2010 by figmentsstudio

Inside Daguerreotype Case

Wandering through antique shops and antique malls is one of my favorite things to do.  For me, it’s relaxing, nostalgic and visually stimulating.  I often discover something unexpected that is inspiring or that gives me a new idea.

That’s why, when I was working on the design for my Figments Studio gift box, I went to an antique mall in Seattle’s Pioneer Square to see what might turn up.  After a bit of searching, I spotted something I was vaguely familiar with, but had never looked at very closely  – Civil War era photo cases. Photographic technology was in its infancy during the early to mid-1800’s, and a number of different processes were invented for taking photos (i.e. daguerreotypes, ambrotypes and tintypes).  The photographs that resulted are beautiful and haunting.  Because the technology was new, these photographs were very expensive and rare so they were treated as family heirlooms.  As a result, the design of the cases used to protect these images became an art form in itself.  And, it was these decorative cases that caught my eye in the antique mall that day.  They had beautiful and delicate embossed leatherwork and fine hinges and clasps.  They were dark, ornate and worn.  I couldn’t take my eyes off of them! I purchased three that day, but one in particular stood out.  The embossing had an interesting frame of curves and corners around an urn of flowers, and a border of swirling scrolls.  This was IT!!! The inspiration for my gift box design! 

I had high resolution photographs made of the front, back and sides of the case.  I then worked with my graphic designer to pick out font styles and colors that would integrate well with the original design of the case…and Voila! The Figments Studio Gift Box! I’m so happy with the way it turned out and customers seem to like it too.  Best of all, I include a free gift box with every purchase!  Take a look at the images below and let me know what you think. 

Daguerreotype Case Cover Design

Figments Studio Gift Box Inspired by Daguerreotype Case


A Fairy Tale in the Making…

Posted in Uncategorized on February 13, 2010 by figmentsstudio

Edmund Dulac is another artist who has inspired a lot of my work.  One of my favorite Dulac paintings is “The Princess and the Pea,” which appears in “Stories from Hans Andersen.”  The rich colors, textures and patterns are eye candy!  For a recent craft show, I designed a booth display, inspired by this beautiful painting.  I had a blast making the table skirt out of ripped Dupioni silk strips and ribbons…all done with a glue gun and duct tape! See the photos below.  The “Once upon a Time” scroll you see behind the table has the “A Figments Fairy Tale” printed on it.  You can read that fairy tale on my website.  In addition to my array of blank writing journals and desk accessories, I like to display small antique collectibles… glass and ceramic inkwells, spectacles, trinket boxes, letter holders, old books, etc…little treasures I find at my favorite antique shops.  If you look closely, you can see these on display in the photo. 

Edmund Dulac’s “The Princess and the Pea”

Dulac Inspired Figments Studio Booth Design

For more info there is a good article and additional links about Dulac at Wikipedia –

An ebook version of “Stories from Hans Andersen,” which includes “The Princess and the Pea,” is available for free at

Veggie Mask inspired by Giuseppe Arcimboldo

Posted in Uncategorized on February 3, 2010 by figmentsstudio

I am fascinated by the sixteen-century Italian painter, Giuseppe Arcimboldo.  (Here’s a great link with more info about him –  Arcimboldo’s portraits of faces composed of animals, fish, fruit and vegetables have inspired me, both in mask-making and home decorating.  I made the mask below from artificial fruits and vegetables.  It is reminiscent of the bust in Arcimboldo’s painting titled, “Summer,” which is part of his four seasons series, all of which I have framed in my kitchen (also shown here).

Veggie Mask

Arcimboldo Prints in Kitchen

Two down, three to go…Carnival Jester Mask

Posted in Uncategorized on February 2, 2010 by figmentsstudio

Here is a photo of the Jester Mask I just finished today.  A little spooky maybe, but it reminds me of an old, leather carnival mask. 

Carnival Jester Mask