Artist Spotlight: Anna Emilia Laitinen

With the brand new designs by Blanca Gómez, Anna Emilia Laitinen, and Lizzy Stewart, we thought we would do a few more Artist Spotlight posts to introduce you to the artists behind the beautiful designs.

First up: Finnish illustrator of the whimsical and wonderful, Anna Emilia Laitinen. We mentioned her a while back in Part 1 of our Scandinavian Dreams post. She spends her time creating fantastical watercolor worlds and we are proud to have her as part of the Red Cap family! See below:

Artist Spotlight on Anna Emilia Laitinen by Red Cap Cards @redcapcards

You live in Finland--have you always lived there? Where else have your travels taken you?
In Iceland I have been living many times since 2003. I was working there with children and older people and when I started to study graphic design, I also did exchange studies in the Art University of Iceland. Now I have been living back in Finland many years, but still my dreams are to live in Iceland or another Northern island one day soon again. Lately I have been traveling in the continental Europe: Portugal, The Netherlands, Scotland, Bulgaria, Estonia and also Scandinavia. I also have been travelling a little bit in Russia. Another place that I dream to go back to is Svalbard, where I visited two years ago. It was so beautiful with glaciers, motor boat trips on the Arctic Ocean and walking in the mountains. And a little bit scary too with the 3000 polar bears.

Artist Spotlight on Anna Emilia Laitinen by Red Cap Cards @redcapcards

What inspires you most?
Nature and people. We as human beings are very small next to the powerful nature. That is what I think most of the times when I paint. Even though we are very clever and all the time learning and discovering new things, we will never be as powerful as the nature is. The beauty of the nature is also how everything there interacts somehow together.

Artist Spotlight on Anna Emilia Laitinen by Red Cap Cards @redcapcards

Did you always want to be an illustrator when you were growing up?
Maybe I was thinking of some more traditional occupation when I was small. I used to be a teacher many times when playing on my own, my favourite part was to teach my (imagination) pupils things in the nature. But all my childhood was about making things by hands: drawing, painting, knitting, sewing, baking. When my teacher told me to apply to study graphic design, I was not sure what it meant, but I think it was a good choice, as you cannot really study only illustrating in Finland. Only after studying some time I understood that I could illustrate.

Artist Spotlight on Anna Emilia Laitinen by Red Cap Cards @redcapcards

What other dream jobs would you love to pursue?
Still I think that teaching might be fun. Also working in the nature or baking.

Do you have any upcoming projects that you would like to share with us?
At the moment I am working with a Japanese tableware company and the first cups, plates, glasses and bowls will be released soon. I wish to have more time this year also for a few own projects. One lovely secret I have, but I am not able to tell about it before the end of April!

Artist Spotlight on Anna Emilia Laitinen by Red Cap Cards @redcapcards

Your work is very tied to nature--do you feel a kinship with the environment in Finland?
Yes, very much. I think we always carry our surroundings with us, at least the ones from our childhood. I believe also to carry the landscapes of Iceland in me as I think so much about them. It is such a huge difference in a way: East of Finland where I grew up is filled with thick forests of fir trees and birches. In Iceland there are not that many trees, you can see so far that you don’t reach it in one day. The glaciers and volcanoes are so beautiful with the North Atlantic framing them. It is very interesting to think of the contrasts, though as people I think Finnish and Icelandic are pretty the same.

Artist Spotlight on Anna Emilia Laitinen by Red Cap Cards @redcapcards

What other things do you like to do in your spare time?
During winter I like to go cross-country skiing and skating. I walk a lot, and run too. I also started to do some simple yoga. During summers I like to bicycle. It is good to be outside in the nature as much as possible. With friends and my god-son we are searching new things in the city. I also sing in a choir, we sing mostly traditional Finnish songs with some jazz and more entertaining ones. Whenever it is possible, I travel abroad or inside Finland. When I am painting, I cook and bake quite a lot too, it is good change to working and silent but practical time to think about the next ideas. During evenings I read a lot.

Artist Spotlight on Anna Emilia Laitinen by Red Cap Cards @redcapcards

Any artists or designers that you look up to and why?
Mostly I am following musicians, I enjoy to go to concerts a lot. Last time I saw an Icelandic singer-songwriter, Ólöf Arnalds, and before that a Finnish jazz musician Verneri Pohjola. One artist that I really enjoy is Andy Goldsworthy, he works with nature in such a special and respectful way. What I love to do on my travels, is to go to see lighthouses: they tell so much about the history and how life has been. The architects that designed the lighthouses, the people who built them and the lighthouse keepers who worked in them in harsh conditions are huge heroes!

If you could live anywhere else in the world, where would it be?
I love Finland, but partly I could live in Iceland, Faroe Islands or Svalbard. Anywhere by the sea would be perfect. Every place can surely become a home.

Artist Spotlight on Anna Emilia Laitinen by Red Cap Cards @redcapcards

What is your favorite medium to work in?
Most of my works are done by watercolours. I enjoy them the most, though I also draw a little with ink and do collages.

Artist Spotlight on Anna Emilia Laitinen by Red Cap Cards @redcapcards

To view our card designs by Anna Emilia, click here.

Images courtesy Anna Emilia Laitinen

Bur Ware

We are always excited to hear about our artists' other creative ventures. Especially when it involves ceramics--one of our favorite mediums!

Red Cap artist,
Sarah Burwash, is also a talented ceramicist. Her ceramics site, Bur Ware, hosts photos of her beautiful work which are displayed around Canada. Check out some of our other favorite ceramics on Pinterest, and see a few snippets of her work below!

Bur Ware by Sarah Burwash

Bur Ware by Sarah Burwash

Bur Ware by Sarah Burwash

Bur Ware by Sarah Burwash

For more about Sarah, view our Artist Spotlight post with her, here.


Forgotten Valentines

Okay, we know how life is. These days, Valentine's Day can sneak up on you! Valentine's Day is this Saturday, and if you don't have time to order a card or bounce over to a card shop--we've got an idea for you. Paperless Post is one of our favorite ways to send an email card. We even have some of our designs in their shop! Check out a few of our favorites for your pals or sweethearts below:

Favorite designs on Paperless Post by Red Cap Cards @redcapcards

1. Don't forget about your sweet parents--they raised you, for goodness sake! We like this one from Mr. Boddington's Studio.

2. We can't get enough of our friend, Jon Klassen. This is a great one from our own collection on Paperless Post: More than Friends.

3. Arrows are in! Right? Love Shot from Pei Design.

4. A scrumptious Stud Muffin for yours! Love these modern, simplistic cards by The Indigo Bunting.

5. And last but not least, we had to include another of our amazing illustrators! Send an e-version of Floral Heart by Lizzy Stewart.

To see all of our Red Cap designs on Paperless Post, visit our shop page, here.


New Cards from Lizzy Stewart, Anna Emilia Laitinen and Blanca Gómez

Pssst! There are three new collections at Red Cap Cards! We are proud to present new card designs by Anna Emilia Laitinen, Blanca Gómez and Lizzy Stewart, hot off the presses... Click over to our shop to check out all of the new styles, here.

New cards from Lizzy Stewart for Red Cap Cards
Swim by Lizzy Stewart
New cards from Anna Emilia Laitinen for Red Cap Cards
Wild Peonies/Mother by Anna Emilia Laitinen
New cards from Lizzy Stewart for Red Cap Cards
Pelargonia by Anna Emilia Laitinen and Tiger Meeting by Lizzy Stewart
New cards from Blanca Gomez for Red Cap Cards
Long Stem Thanks and Gift Truck by Blanca Gómez

Congratulations, Christian Robinson and Jon Klassen!

We are so proud of Red Cap artists, Christian Robinson and Jon Klassen!

Christian Robinson has been listed as a Coretta Scott King Honor Book for his illustrations in Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker by Patricia Hruby Powell. Plus, the book was listed as a Robert F. Sibert Honor Book!

Congratulations to Christian Robinson from @redcapcards on Josephine: The Dazzling life of Josephine Baker honors

AND, congratulations to Jon Klassen! Sam and Dave Dig a Hole (by Mac Barnett, illustrations by Klassen) was named a Caldecott Honor book for 2015. You guys make us proud!

Congratulations to Jon Klassen from @redcapcards on Sam and Dave Dig a Hole's book honors

View Christian and Jon's designs for Red Cap Cards here and here.


Valentine's Day Nostalgia

Remember the excitement leading up to Valentine's Day when you were a kid? Making your little paper mailbox, readying your Valentines and reading through the ones from your friends? Double score if you got one with candy attached! We dug up this great how-to Valentine's book, Valentine's Day, by Gail Gibbons, with awesome illustrations for how-to Valentine's Day project. Best!

Valentine's Day nostalgia with Red Cap Cards @redcapcards
Valentine's Day nostalgia with Red Cap Cards @redcapcards
Valentine's Day nostalgia with Red Cap Cards @redcapcards

Handmade Valentines were always fun, regardless of the turnout. Cutting out lop-sided hearts and gluing with paste made the crafty holiday special. If you're nostalgic like we are, here are three fun projects that will help turn back the clock:

Valentine's Day nostalgia with Red Cap Cards @redcapcards

Remember junior high? Writing notes to friends about who was cute and who was NOT and then folding them like an origami master? We had forgotten all of the folding tricks, until this post brought it all back. Click over to Assemble to view the full tutorial.

Valentine's Day nostalgia with Red Cap Cards @redcapcards

This is a fun tutorial--a monster made with a bit of paint, a pom pom and some googly eyes, plus a free printable. Creative and cute! Check out the tutorial at Tutus and Tea Parties.

Valentine's Day nostalgia with Red Cap Cards @redcapcards

We don't remember anything this elaborate when we were in grade school, but that doesn't mean it isn't awesome! Totally a favorite-kid-on-the-playground project. All you need is about 30 small plastic animals and a lot of time. Worth it! See the tutorial and free printable at Sweet C's Designs.

View our valentine selection here.

Images as linked above.

Children's Book Picks: Unconventional Friendship

Remember your childhood blankie that you basically tore to shreds with hugs and snuggles? That blankie deserves a valentine. Valentine's Day isn't just about romantic love--it's also about friendship too! We picked a few of our favorite children's books with stories about unconventional friendship--whether it's with a new crocodile pal or a tree, it's the best kind!

Children's Books about Unconventional Love for Valentine's Day @redcapcards
The House on East 88th Street by Bernard Waber. Remember this classic? The friendship between a New York City family and the crocodile (Lyle!) they find in their bathtub. Perfect illustration by Bernard Waber.

Children's Books about Unconventional Love for Valentine's Day @redcapcards
The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. No one's childhood was complete without Shel Silverstein--or this book. It's heartbreaking and lovely all at once. The (often one-sided) friendship between a giving tree and a boy turned man.

Children's Books about Unconventional Love for Valentine's Day @redcapcards
The Hug Machine by Scott Campbell. We've highlighted this one before, in Arlo's Book Club, but it's too good to pass up! This story is about a boy who just has to hug everything--fire hyrdants, benches, trees! Spreading the love, no one escapes the hug machine.

Children's Books about Unconventional Love for Valentine's Day @redcapcards
Henry in Love by Peter McCarty. Okay, so this one is a bit more mushy than the others--a cat with a crush on a bunny, sharing blueberry muffins. Couldn't be a more perfect Valentine's Day!

Send a friend you love a Valentine, here.

Christian Robinson's "What is Dance?" for Sesame Street Workshop Season 45

Remember Red Cap artist, Christian Robinson's fantastic little video, "What is Music?" We love this new animation that he created for Sesame Street Workshop, Season 45, "What is Dance?" (Can you believe that?? 45 seasons!)

Check out Christian's blog to see more photos and read more about it. And be sure to view his new Valentines for Red Cap too, here and here!

Christian Robinson's What is Dance for Sesame Street
Christian Robinson's What is Dance for Sesame Street

Photos courtesy of Christian Robinson.

LOVE is all Around: Color Collage

 We adore this colorful new card by Christian Robinson, just in time for Valentine's Day! We wanted to imagine a fun Valentine's Day that was brightly-colored as his illustration, whether it's spent with a sweetheart or a best pal. Check out what we found in the same hues and tones as these rooster loves.

Christian Robinson LOVE Rooster Card color collage by @redcapcards

1. Coffee, tea or me? For two, that is. Love these Emerald and Bright Red coffee makers, available at HowKaPow.

2. Make a rainbow-colored heart garland for the ones you love. Bonus--kids can help!

3. Shake a tail feather--grab these heart-shaped glasses for a glam Valentine's.

4. Rainbow sprinkle chocolate sandwich cookies! Need we say more? Share or don't!

5. Send a teeny, tiny love letter made of chocolate. These are so cute! Find them at Sea and Cane.



Happy New Year + Welcome 2015!

Welcome to Earth, 2015! We're excited for a fresh new year and wanted to share some goodies that just scream "Happy New Year!" and whistle a party noisemaker in our faces! Take a look at our picks for a shiny 2015 and be sure to hug and kiss a friend at midnight!

Happy New Year & Welcome 2015 from Red Cap Cards @redcapcards

1. Geodes are hot! Just-mined-out-of-the-ground-hot! We like this La Luze Geode Necklace from Sarah Safavi Jewelry on Etsy.

2. A good mantra to repeat the entire year: Stay Strong, Be Positive Card by Naoshi from Red Cap Cards. Frame it. Send it. Love it.

3. Gold is the color of the season. Set your sparkling cocktail on these Gold Wool Felt Coasters in white triangle pattern, from Cotton & Flax.

4. We love this monthly Ferme Á Papier 2015 Calendar from Ferme Á Papier.

5. Forget those Christmas cards! Send a letterpressed 2015 Card from Sugar Paper.

6. Get your fingers dressed for the night! Stratford Honey Nail Lacquer from Butter.