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June 2009
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August 2009

July 2009


Visitors to the gallery often ask me if I still paint or take photographs. The answer, by and large, is "no." I don't have time to make art and run a gallery. It's not that I don't have a free minute here and there, but it is almost impossible for me to flip my frame of mind from business to art. That's particularly true for painting, which, for me, requires a lot of uninterrupted time with paintbrush in hand. If you paint, or write, or do any kind of creative work, you probably know what I mean.

What I still do, however, is graphic design. From greeting cards, to ads to postcards, I can do it all on the computer and somehow manage. It's fairly easy for me to move freely back and forth between design and retail management:  customers, ordering inventory, answering the phone, research, dusting, planning shows etc. It is a boon that I can save the work in progress and come back later and it's exactly how I left it. No drying time either.

Another great reason to make postcards : they are future collectible ephemera. So hang onto yours. And for goodness sakes, if I hand you one, don't fold it in front of me. Few things grate on my nerves as much as watching someone mangle my art.

So here are two of my latest. My postcard printers - I use Image Media and love them - were having a 25% sale, so I made a new general card, as well as the one for the August exhibit by Los Angeles photographer Aline Smithson.

postcard, pine street art works, Lena Spiegel, elegant lady 1940's, feathered hat, horn rimmed glasses, varnished nails, Liza Cowan design

Pine Street Art Works, Postcard. Design: Liza Cowan 2009

Here's my grandmother, Lena Spiegel, as my poster girl. Isn't she elegant? You've seen her before in this blog, and she's at it again - helping me out. No stranger to retail, her husband, my grandfather, Modie Spiegel, started Spiegels, yes, that one, the big mail order company. His portrait hangs over my desk and I try to absorb some retail moxy from him. I am the only person in my fairly large extended family who is in retail, so I like to think I get all of his attention.

But it is Lena who claims attention for her own foxy self in her feathered hat and varnished nails. The text next to her, in case you can't read it on the screen, says "I'm Lena Spiegel. My granddaughter owns the store. So shop already."

Blog aline postcard 

Aline Smithson, Arrangement in Green and Black #3, postcard for Pine Street Art Works 2009

Aline Smithson's amazing photograph does the heavy lifting in this postcard. Her show is going to be fantastic. Four photos each from three series - can't wait. Come by in August if you are around.


J. Megan Mays is one of my favorite customers at Pine Street Art Works. She gets what I'm doing -  and shares my passion for ephemera. Last week she brought in a disc of scans from her collection of vintage needle books so I could share them with you. Yay Megan, thanks so much for spreading the love of mid century needle book graphics.

The first three are just graphically stunning and simple. They are unusual for the genre because they do not feature people. I've never seen another one like this homage to sewing accessories.

Needlebook, sewing illustration, pin cushion, sewing tape measure, scissors, pins  

Needle book. Collection of J. Megan Mays. Made in USA.

Needlebook Ideal Laundry (house) from J. Megan Mays 

Needle book -Ideal Laundry. Collection of J. Megan Mays

Needlebook, Woolworth, needle illustration, thread, needles in sunrise

Woolworth Needle Book - Collection of J. Megan Mays. Made in Western Germany.

Typical for needle books is the travel theme because a needle and thread can be so handy on a journey. Railway, airplane, ships, even rockets are common themes for travel in needle land. This family seems on a mythical trip through the Alps.

Needlebook, family travel by train, family 1940's, rail travel, needle case, mother father duaghter in train

The Silvertown, needle case. Collection of J. Megan Mays

Here is the same family in a different, probably earlier guise. You often see the same graphic worked and reworked by different artists and factories.

needle book, maple brand, family looks at mountains, train travel, child pointing 

Maple Brand Needle Book. Collection of J. Megan Mays

This family of four is traveling by air. Or maybe they are welcoming Daddy home after an arduous journey by propeller plane. Gone are the days when we dressed up to travel.

needle book, family with airplane, travel, 1940's, airplane, lady in gloves, father hugs children

Reliance Needle Book. Collection of J. Megan Mays. Made in Japan.

This couple is off to the stars on their own private rocket.

Needlebook, atomic, ride a rocket, man woman ride rocket ship, travel to outer space 1940's 

Atomic Gold Eye Needle Book. Collection of J. Megan Mays. Made in Japan.

Meanwhile, back home, we revisit the theme of women and children sewing. Or, in this case, Mom is sewing and the kids are fighting.

Needlebook, mother sewing, kids fighting, huge sewing needle 

My Own needle book, Collection of J. Megan Mays. Made in Japan

And here we are back to one of the endless variations of a group of women sewing and embroidering.

Needlebook, lovely lady, three women sew, embroider, sewing circle, needle and thread 

Lovely Lady Needle Book, Collection of J. Megan Mays. Made in Japan

So, thanks to Megan for letting me use her collection and I hope you enjoyed it.