Amanda Jane Jones

It never ceases to amaze me how eerie the internet can be – sometimes I stumble upon the most perfect thing at any given time. In this case, I was exploring Pinterest and came across a vibrant image that resonated with me (being a Michigander and all!).

Unfortunately, the artist wasn't credited in the caption but with some research I found her website. First off, I noticed that she was based in one of my favorite Michigan cities (Ann Arbor) and after skimming through her portfolio realized that she had done some work for an old colleague/friend of mine, Detroit-based artist Scott Hocking (check it out here). Small world!

The artist's name is Amanda Jane Jones and she is the primary designer forKinfolk Magazine, a niche publication which focuses primarily on the beauty of entertaining and small gatherings. Amanda's crisp, clean design aesthetic is apparent throughout the magazine's lovely pages.

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Kinfolk's website offers a host of lovely videos encompassing everything from cooking to beekeeping.

I’m always interested in how an artist settles into their particular field, so that was the focus for this short Q&A with Amanda.

Q: How did you get your start in graphic design and letterpress?

A: We were lucky enough to find an old letterpress for sale in a creepy shop in Downtown Detroit. It was full of old machines and when we saw the Vandercook we knew it needed to come home with us. The owners didn’t even know how to use it, so it was a pretty lucky find.

Q: What’s the single most valuable lesson you’ve learned during your time in the field

A: Oh man, I’m still learning. But I suppose I’d say at this point in my life, make sure you leave time for personal design projects. Sometimes I get so busy with client work that I forget to take a day or two to just design for fun and see where it takes me.

Q: What’s your favorite campaign to date that you’ve created and/or been a part of?

A: I love ‘em all.

Q: How did you get involved with Kinfolk?

A: Nathan, the editor, sent me an email before the magazine began to see if I’d be up for being the designer. I’m forever grateful he did! Kinfolk is a wonderful project to be a part of.

Q: What is your greatest source of inspiration?

A: Books, books, books. Old and new, big and small. I’ve got more than I can count!

 

Amanda's online portfolio showcases her diverse body of work. I'm particularly smitten with her thoughtful end-of-year and birthday card designs.

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All photos via Amanda Jane Jones.

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A Creative Gesture

Throughout the year, elaborate paper sculptures have been left anonymously at literary venues and libraries across Edinburgh, Scotland. These intricate handmade pieces are lovely gestures that showcase support for cultural institutions in a creative way. Having worked in the nonprofit arts field for the past decade, I have witnessed some pretty unique ways that people in varying financial situations have contributed to arts and cultural organizations. Since the economic downturn, I have noticed people getting more creative with their means of giving. Some people volunteer their time, some utilize their resources and relationships to help out, some designate $10 from each paycheck to donate to their favorite nonprofit organization, and others create pieces of art for fundraising auctions. The list goes on and on, and every little bit helps - whether it's donating your money or sharing your artistic skills with your community.

Even though this particular example doesn't impact me on a local level, it had a positive impact on me and triggered a smile (from ear to ear). I also must admit...the new media nerd in me thinks the inclusion of Twitter handles in the artist's notes is pretty darn cool [to read the notes, go to the original post here]. This anonymous artist knows that social networking = free marketing = press coverage = people like me, millions of miles away, reading this inspiring story = more coverage = more social networking. Which generates interest from all over the world and raises awareness about these literary institutions - which in theory, brings new donors, supporters, and volunteers.

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Found at the Scottish Poetry Library in March:

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Found at the National Library of Scotland in June:

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Found at Filmhouse Cinema Edinburgh in June:

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Found at the Scottish Storytelling Centre in July:

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Found at the Edinburgh International Book Festival in August:

Read the full story (as well as the notes left with each sculpture) and see more photos here.

Delta, CO

The city of Delta, CO sits at the base of Grand Mesa, one of the largest flat top mountains in the world. For both pricing and weather reasons, Matt and I chose to fly into Grand Junction, a two-and-a-half hour drive from Telluride, and we happened to stumble upon this gem of town on our drive there. Seven buildings in downtown Delta act as canvasses for local artists - the murals depict local history, culture, nature and wildlife. Seeing such vibrant large-scale works in a tiny "don't blink, you'll miss it" town was a great introduction to this beautiful state!

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Next up, we arrive in Telluride...