The Happiest Valentine: Our New Artist Dylan Mierzwinski!

If you haven’t noticed, we are expanding our roster at Jennifer Nelson Artists!  Always striving to meet the market’s needs, while simultaneously honoring the niches of our amazing artists, it is challenging to find just the right fit...  Well, challenging until you come across an artist like Dylan!

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Dylan’s work is singular and fabulous.  From her hilarious cartoon-like drawings to her sophisticated florals, she manages to create a broad range of art while keeping the thread of her personality and skill running through.  Seeing her art for the first time, the color palette and sketchy lines struck me.  In Dylan's work, I immediately saw skill, imagination, drive, joy, and potential.

Which, as is often the way with art, are the very words one could use to describe Dylan.  A self-taught artist, Dylan’s drive is clear.  She has carved out a prominent space not only as an artist but as a top Skillshare teacher.  Her joy comes across in her passion for sharing knowledge with others through teaching and through wholehearted Instagram posts which always elevate the online community.  Dylan is a supporter through and through.  As for potential, we cannot wait to see what Dylan comes up with next!  Every new piece she sends us is a delight.  

Dylan's work is available for licensing and full-buyouts and, if your interested in seeing what she can come up for you, she is also available for commissions!  Check out some of her amazing work below and visit her bio to find out more!

Making a Dream Project Come True: Birds in a Book by Rachel Grant

Just over a year ago a little dream of mine came true when I was asked by Abrams Noterie to illustrate not only a bird book, but a pop up bird book! Birds are one of my very favourite things to paint, I’ve always felt a certain connection with them, perhaps it’s something about their (comparatively) quiet, peaceful existence, where curiosity and nesting seem to be their primary goals! 

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When Abrams approached me to produce this book as part of their “Uplifting Editions” range, it was described as a “Bouquet of Birds” and I just loved this concept. The dust jacket comes off, revealing a hard cover reminiscent of antique bird books, then each branch and its bird lifts up above the book forming a bouquet shape that can then be displayed on a desk or a shelf. 

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My art director and editor began the design process with me by sharing a copy of a previous, floral version of the book that had been created in collaboration with Molly Hatch. This really helped me to see the way that I needed to engineer the illustrations in order to make them work within the confines of the page space. For example each pop up branch had to be carefully considered to check that its ‘turning circle’ was within the frame of the page when the book was closed and that the branch was wide enough to be sturdy and to take the rivet at its base. Then of course the overall ‘bouquet’ shape had to be considered, with the scale of the different bird species needing to be taken into account. 

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With each spread I worked on came new facts about the birds. The text was written by Lesley Earle and I loved the way she brought the bird’s character to life, describing their quirky little habits and rituals. These kind of facts helped me to tell a little visual story on each page. For example, the male Regent Bowerbird builds an “impressive amphitheater” called a Bower to attract his prospective female and to provide them with a vantage point to watch his courtship display!

I created each page spread as a fully layered digital file in order to give maximum flexibility in the design process. To do this each element was painted individually with a mixture of acrylic, arcyla gouache and designer’s gouache on loose, watercolour paper. I then scanned these into the computer, removed the background white and digitally composed them onto the page. The text was added later by the lovely folks at Abrams. 

When my advance copy of the book arrived and I held it in my hands for the first time I was completely over the moon. To lift up each little bird and see the bouquet come to life, working just the way I designed it to, was the most rewarding thing in the world. After looking at it constantly for about a week, I then took great pleasure in taking it to my bookshelf and finding it a perfect spot amongst my collection of antique bird and botanical books. The completion of a dream come true. 

“Birds in a Book” can be purchased from Barnes&Noble, Books-A-Million, IndieBound, Powells, !ndigo and from Amazon worldwide. 

Introducing Malin Gyllensvaan!

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The first time I saw Malin’s art, it sparked my imagination.  Her combination of graphite and paint was so unique, her sensibility so lavish and refined.  I felt surrounded by opulent beauty.  I traveled into the graceful curve of her lines.  I swam in her florals.  I said to myself, “I must sign this artist!”  That was back in August.  Every step along the way has been a confirmation of that decision; from her wonderful sense of humor and warmth on our artist retreat in Lake Como, to the glee I feel each time we pour over a new piece of Malin’s work.

Malin comes with an incredible arts background.  She graduated college in 2001 and immediately began working as an employed textile designer for a variety of companies, including Ikea, H&M, Wrangler, and many more.  When she had her first chid in 2013, she decided to start freelancing and has not looked back since (lucky for us!). We are simply thrilled to be included in her impressive roster of experience!

As I got to know Malin better, I came to understand the roots of her unique style.  She is a self-proclaimed “sucker” for old textiles, especially embroidered silk, and she finds inspiration from the art and crafts movement.  Most of her work starts with florals because they contain all the aspects of art that Malin loves.  They are rich in color, texture and shape.  Painting them puts her in a relaxed, meditative state of mind.  It amazes me to think how these things translate onto the page and could cause me, living thousands of miles away, to feel that same sort of meditative enchantment from just seeing her work.

We could not be happier to introduce this wonderful artist to you today and to be representing her!  Below are some of our favorite pieces.  If you’re interested in licensing her work and seeing more of what she has to offer, please feel free to request a gallery.  

I hope you enjoy her delicious images as much as I do.

-Cathy

 
 

JNA's Trunk Show is just around the corner. Have you signed up yet?

I can’t believe the Trunk Show is NEXT WEEK! We’ve been busy bees, putting together this opportunity for art buyers to enjoy our artists’ work at special studio rates. The best part is that the show is exclusively online; you can join us from the comfort of your own computer!

Come peruse our curated art galleries! Organized so you can take a leisurely stroll or go directly to the categories in which you’re most interested. Options include holiday art, greeting card sentiments, florals, and much more! Additionally, art is available for full buyouts, flat-fees, and traditional licensing. We can’t wait to see what you pick out!

The Nitty Gritty

DATES: January 15 - 17

ACCESS: Click here to sign up. Passwords will be sent on January 14th.

JNA goes to Lake Como, Italy for Artists Retreat 2018

If you follow us on social media, you know we’ve just gotten back from an artist retreat on Lake Como.  It was an amazing time!  We were generously hosted by Amore Escapes and the majestic GrandHotel Imperiale!  Our days were filled with painting, yoga, sight-seeing and, most importantly, time together.

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JNA artists from around the the world gathered, Rae came from Minneapolis, Janna from Hamburg, Miriam from the Netherlands and our newest artist, Malin, from Stockholm.

We were in the town of Moltrasio perched right over a waterfall that pours into Lake Como. Below, you can see work-in-progress from the artists as well as some scenes from the village.

A highlight of the trip was a lake tour with our kind captain, Giacomo. The lake is lined with fabulous grand old (and a few new) homes. Some of which belong to George Clooney and Richard Branson… one property even boasts scenes from Star Wars and James Bond movies. This place is like a dream.

Below are a few more shots and more art. The work is as stunning as the place!

From left: Malin Gyllensvaan, Miriam Bos, Janna Krupinski and Rae Ritchie

From left: Malin Gyllensvaan, Miriam Bos, Janna Krupinski and Rae Ritchie

This is a trip I won’t ever forget! Stay tuned to see what we do next year! - Jennifer


Jennifer Nelson Artists Made A Big Splash in The City By The Bay

Whew! What a terrific trip I had traveling to San Francisco for our first-ever West Coast trade show. The city was beautiful (and I have pictures to prove it) and the show was a big success. We will definitely be coming back to Blue Print San Francisco next fall!

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I met up with other artists and agents at the Fort Mason Center to set up for Blue Print (special thanks to Katy Tanis who helped me so much with the booth). The show was three good days punctuated with eating super yummy foods. I loved meeting all of you (many for the first time) and celebrating our mutual love of art.

Our booth looked great. I got to hang out with my agent friends, Abby, Brenda and Paul (founder and mastermind behind Blue Print) and Patrick too!

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The flight from Boston was 3,234 miles. I brought more than 90 pounds of artwork to the show, on foot. Quite a workout, but it was well worth it! :)

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A very sweet client brought Jill Howarth’s latest book up from LA for us. It’s so satisfying to see the artist’s work out in the wild.

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The setting was gorgeous, right next to the water. At one point I looked out the window of the hotel and saw a seal basking in the sun. We don’t get those in Boston!

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 The show was a huge success and we will definitely be there next autumn!

After three fun-but-exhausting days I had some time off. While in San Francisco I visited Alcatraz with my friend Brenda and hiked all around town.

I walked (just under 10 miles - and met not one but TWO corgis!) from Japantown to the Painted Ladies… down Haight Street to Market Street… to Lombard Street back down to the water… and back to the bayside, where a friend and Advice for Artist client, Shannon McNab, kindly drove me back to the airport.

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I had a great time but it’s good to be back home. The succulents out west are so pretty, I brought one back to see if I can let it live in my studio. A little souvenir of my week in San Francisco.

 

Go West, JNA, Go West!

We are packing our bags, putting the final touches on the booth notions and sprinkling in some fairy dust for good measure! See you in San Francisco 2-4 October (Gallery 308 at Fort Mason Center). We get into high gear preparing for what will likely be our best show ever!

Here is a sneak peek at some of the great winter holiday art we will be featuring at Blue Print!


And some of the gorgeous florals, animals and the loveliest beach scene you have ever seen making a debut too!

We even have special handmade gifts for our Blue Print buyers! Reserve your appointment time today! I cant wait to see you there! - Jennifer



Pet Portraits by Rae Ritchie

Hi everyone! Over the past year I’ve been creating more and more private commission pet portraits! I love working on these with pet owners, discussing the animals' personality and unique details and markings to really bring the piece to life. One of my favorite parts is choosing the symbolic foliage background with the client. For example, Honey, a brown and black chihuahua, was found as a stray by her owners while they were working on a macadamia nut farm in Hawaii. Thus, Honey is surrounded by the beautiful blooms of macadamia trees. I love telling stories with my work, and when animals are involved? Well, I just can’t help myself!

Oftentimes, I get to capture a pet that has passed on. These are some of the most special portraits. When the client reacts to seeing the final piece, I realize why I started making art in the first place; to help others feel more connected to each other and to the nature of this world. 
- Rae

100 Days of Drawing by Jennifer Orkin Lewis

My New book 100 Days of Drawing is finally here!! It takes almost a year from the time I finished the art and design for the pub date to arrive so it kind of feels like the time will never get here, But it always does!!  September 4th is the official date.

I'm so excited about this book, It's a follow up to my first one Draw Every Day, Draw Every Way. They are similar yet different. They both have a beautiful open binding and you can take off the paper cover and have your own personalized notebook. They are beautiful as a pair! 

My goal is to get everyone drawing all the time, here I give you 25 ideas to get yourself started and motivation to keep going. Ideas that are easy to forget sometimes when you are staring at a blank page. such as Record your Day in Drawing, Use only Blues for your Palette and Draw Surprising Things in a Butterfly wing! If you do 1 a day, quickly you will be at 100 days! 

And there is a freebee,  If you Preorder the book and fill out the form on my website you can get a 5x7" print called Grow Your Own Way. It's super cute!

Publisher: Abrams Books I hope you love it, It's colorful, fun and I hope inspiring to you!!
x, Jennifer (Orkin Lewis)

Anisa Makhoul took 10 years to come back to art

Our own Anisa Makhoul answers your questions about creating art for surface design. We asked the artist to select three questions pertaining to her art career. These are her fascinating answers.

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Q. If you hadn’t become a professional artist, what kind of career do you think you would have chosen?

A. If I couldn’t do anything artistic at all, I would have studied herbs/flora and religion. I’m very interested in folklore, folk magic, and African American folk spirituality. I dream of traveling to the Caribbean and studying under a root doctor. Maybe I’ll still do it one day.

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Q. How old were you when you knew you wanted to be an artist? Did you strive to get your art on the refrigerator as a child? Describe your earliest artwork. 

A. When I was really young I used to draw pictures with my crayons and then put prices in the corners, like 5 cents or so, based on how good I thought it was. I’d force my parents and grandparents to buy my drawings from me. I wasn’t just going to give them the art for the refrigerator. 

Q. Did you have formal art training? Thinking back to art school, what’s something you learned in a classroom that you still use to this day?

A. I have a BA in fine art printmaking from Minneapolis College of Art & Design. I started out as a film and photo student and ended up graduating in hand printmaking. I never even considered illustration as a career. I thought I couldn’t draw because that’s what my drawing teacher told me. In fact, after I graduated from art school I was very sure that I had no place in the art world. After college I started sewing handmade dresses and doing fashion design. It took me 10 years to come back to art. Everything clicked when I began allowing myself to draw things in the wackiest, most relaxed way I could. I started enjoying drawing, and getting better at it. 

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Anisa's clients include: Vogue, Compendium Books, Anthropologie, Flow Magazine, Taproot Magazine, American Greetings, Trend Bible, Cost Plus World Market,  TeNeus Publishing, TJ Maxx, Design House Greetings, Godiva, Hallmark, Harrods of London. 

The most wonderful time of the year!

Feel that excitement? It's spring trade show season! This is the time of year when we get into high gear preparing for two big back-to-back shows in New York City: Blue Print 1 and SURTEX. Even one day in the Big Apple means lots of things to do and people to see. This is SIX DAYS in the city so we're talking six times the energy and six times the fun! Portfolio books are arriving each week... the artists are busy putting the finishing touches on their prints... and we are making special handmade gifts for our buyers this year! Reserve your appointment time today!

Come see us 17-19 MAY at BLUE PRINT and 20-21 MAY at SURTEX (register in advance here). If you decide to come, make an appointment and I will set aside time especially for you! For more information on the busiest, most exciting time of the year, you can read about JNA at the shows.

Thanks for looking at our latest work. You can see more at the two big shows in New York, or simply let me know and I will put together a custom gallery on any subject or by the artist of your choice. Kindly, Jennifer

Jennifer Orkin Lewis works her gouache-y magic!

Here's a treat for you. In just 26 seconds you can watch Jennifer Orkin Lewis work her gouache magic. She doesn't really work quite this fast, but she is that good! Jennifer creates paintings like this constantly and never seems to run out of inspiration. 

Want to see more of Jennifer's stunning work? Just ask and I pull a gallery together for you in a jiffy!  Enjoy - (the other) Jennifer

 

Kelly Angelovic strives for inspiration and joy

Our own Kelly Angelovic answers your questions about creating art for surface design. We asked the artist to select three questions pertaining to her art career. These are her fascinating answers.

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Q. How do you integrate your art time into your daily routine?

A. I’m grateful every day that I get to do work that lights me up. As the mother of two high-octane little ones (ages 6 & 3), my schedule involves a lot of moving parts. In lieu of balance (is there really such a thing?), I strive for inspiration and joy. Some weeks are filled to the brim with exciting creative work and some weeks, motherhood takes center stage. There are also times when everyone is sick and deadlines are looming – weeks when my joy heads for the hills (as I watch, wishing with the whole of my being that I could run for cover too). My life is blessedly full, and following a heart-centered creative path isn’t always easy, but I can’t imagine doing anything else.

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Q. Do you prefer working digitally or using conventional art media?

A. My background is in graphic design so I’ve always been a digital girl. Lately though, I’ve been playing with gouache. Mixing colors, smelling the paint, feeling the way different brushes move across the paper – it’s a sensual experience. Whenever I feel uninspired or stuck in a rut, exploring a new technique or medium is a surefire way to get my creative juices flowing. There is such delight (and frustration) in becoming a beginner again, especially when I’m able to completely surrender the outcome. This is the work I do for personal enjoyment. I believe that the key to a wonder-filled life is to keep learning and trying new things. My kids, who are filled to the brim with joy and never-ending curiosity, remind me of this everyday.

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Q. Did you always want to be an artist?

A. My mom was a graphic designer, so I grew up in a household where creativity was encouraged. Despite my early leanings though, I strayed from a creative path for many years, initially pursuing a degree in marketing. A few years after graduating, finally heeding my own creative call, I went back to school for graphic design. I didn’t discover my path as an illustrator until my daughter was born though. The intensity of motherhood took me by surprise and in search of a new creative outlet, I started drawing while she slept. Illustrating lit me up, it fed my soul – and made me a better mom. I haven’t looked back since. 

Kelly's super smart spots for the Seal Press book,  Equally Wed.

Kelly's super smart spots for the Seal Press book, Equally Wed.

Anisa Makhoul's work reaches the home decor market

Anisa Makhoul loves to design patterns and loves to travel! She has lived in Amsterdam and travel extensively, most recently to Germany with the agency for Heimtextil. About Anisa recent work for the home decor market, she writes "I like that I can see these on a number of home decor products. I love a bright happy pattern. There’s a good amount of folk art invoked here, which helps to tell a story. I obviously love pattern on pattern and any opportunity to pattern clash.”

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What could be cuter than baby goats? Jill Howarth's adorable illustrations!

Hey! This past year I had the amazing opportunity to work on not one, not two, but three picture books with Quarto publishing about the sweet goats of Goats of Anarchy! If you are not familiar (which is likely NOT the case) GOA is a goat sanctuary in New Jersey, started by Leanne Lauricella, that takes in disabled goats. These little guys are as amazing as they are cute and their real-life stories were so fun to bring to life. Goats in coats, goats in duck costumes and a pig that acts as their nanny...what could be better? I actually had never really drawn a goat before, but I can't say that anymore! 

Proceeds from the sales of all the books go towards GOA's efforts to save these wonderful animals, making it both a fun and worthwhile project that I am honored to have taken part in. Recently, Leanne's story was a part of a piece on the popularity of goats on CBS Sunday Morning. Check it out! - Jill

Watch the entire video, if you have time... but if you are too eager, cut right to Goats of Anarchy and Jill's work, skip to minute 3:35. - Jennifer

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Bee Brown had a very strong sense of color, even at that small age!

Our own Bee Brown answers your questions about creating art for surface design. We asked the artist to select three questions pertaining to her art career. These are her fascinating answers.

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Q. How old were you when you knew you wanted to be an artist? Did you strive to get your art on the refrigerator as a child? Describe your earliest artwork. 

A. I can still remember my parents sketching things, and as a small child, always being entranced by what they drew. It was like watching them make magic on paper right before my eyes. That must have been the spark that lit the fuse. I can also clearly remember being in Kindergarten and just loving making big, messy painterly marks on the A3 paper that was clipped to our easels. My teacher remarked to my parents that I had a very strong sense of colour, even at that small age! Painting and drawing was very much encouraged in our household so it was never a struggle to get pictures “on the refrigerator.” Our artwork was always displayed on the walls at home. It was a very natural part of growing up. As I got older, friends would come over and we would sit making pictures. I have strong memories of at one time loving to draw people and making one particular picture of people dancing at a disco! I wonder if I still have it somewhere?

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Q. Being an artist is so different from having a day job like most people. Do friends and family envy your career? Do they criticize your choice? How do you respond?

A. As mentioned previously, being creative and thinking for oneself was greatly encouraged in my home, so for me to go to Art School was accepted without question. I never thought that I was doing something that could be perceived as unusual or risky, especially as I was choosing a more commercial path in taking design-related subjects. As I became an adult it was an eye-opener to discover that some friends/acquaintances considered my path to be a brave choice, especially when I made the decision to go freelance. Some see my career path as bold and fearless because of the perceived uncertainty whereas others wish they’d had the support that I was lucky enough to receive to be able to go out into the world doing what you want and love. Now I am a mum to two brilliant boys, so if I ever need to defend my choice it’s always that I am fortunate enough to be able to combine both motherhood and working from home in a mostly happy balance.

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Q. The computer has changed so many things in today’s world. Do you like to work digitally? Do you prefer to roll up your sleeves and use ink and paint?

A. I used to work all the time with paper, pen, brushes and ink/watercolour. Now I have to be honest and say that personally, I tired of working this way. About 4 years ago I decided to make a complete about-turn and embrace the digital world full-on! Everything I learned prior to working digitally very much informs my digital practice now. Traditional art media has definitely shaped the way I use the computer to evolve my working style today. From a practical way of working, it’s also easier and much more of a time-saver to ping a digital file off to a client and to make colour/design changes as a project progresses than when everything was done by hand. I’m sure there will come a time when I’ll need/want to shift my process again, but for the moment it’s a good way to make work.

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My Heimtextil Diary

For our first time exhibiting at a trade show in Europe I decided to keep a diary of each day’s events. Ha! Easier said than done. There was so much excitement, so much going on and so many people to see and places to go, that my diary plans fell apart immediately. So here are just a few random highlights of our adventures in Heimtextil.

I left behind record cold temperatures in Boston.

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I flew to into Frankfurt, where the weather was lovely… much more pleasant for walking and exploring the old town, and having dinner with my artist friends. I was delighted to find that Frankfurt is a very walkable city; the tram, subway and buses are easy to use (and free with your Heimtextil badge!).

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Anisa's rendition of Römerberg, the rebuilt "old town" of Frankfurt.

Anisa's rendition of Römerberg, the rebuilt "old town" of Frankfurt.

The show was tons of fun, especially meeting all the people. I met some artists I have consulted with, as well as clients I have wanted to reach for a long time. There were lots of new faces from the US and abroad.

One of the highlights of the trip was meeting Janna Krupinski for the first time! Although she has been with Jennifer Nelson Artists for almost a year, we had never actually seen each other in person. It was wonderful to discover that Janna is as funny and smart as she is talented. 

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Artists Janna, Rae Ritchie, Anisa Makhoul and myself all stayed together in an AirBnB. What a treat! We had a great time. One of my favorite parts of being an agent is the enduring friendships I have with my artists.

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I wondered how I would fare in Germany since I don’t speak that language. Just fine, it turns out. The German people are very kind and accommodating. Having a few German words and phrases to express pleasethank you, and good day goes a long way.

Wow! Heimtextil is a busy market, with some beautiful elaborate booth construction. Two doors down from me, a designer even built a log cabin in the space. The show was really something to see.

Lots of beautiful work was on display. This is a new market for us and I realized we still have more to learn. Prints at Home Decor shows are HUGE (~24 x 36")… so our prints looks a little small in comparison. Most of the artwork is repeat patterns, as clients are buying and licensing for wall, furniture, bedding and other home surfaces.

In comparison to a show like SURTEX, Heimtextil offers more for your investment. The booths are ample size, the tables are amazing and come complete with lockable tables and a small cabinet. The extra chairs, lights and tables do not cost a fortune. The space is large and the aisles wide. 

There was a good feeling of camaraderie with my Blue Print friends as well. Brenda Manley was just across from me and Paul from Cinnamon Joe was just around the corner. Friendships with other agents makes the world feel a little smaller, even thousands of miles from home.

After the show each night we had had one delicious dinner after another: Indian, Italian, French and the last night, Vietnamese. Frankfurt is a cosmopolitan city with lots to offer. Then we came back to our AirBnB where the artists painted, and we drank wine from teacups and talked. That was my favorite part!

Rae Ritchie sketchbook (left) and Anisa Makhoul's (right)

Rae Ritchie sketchbook (left) and Anisa Makhoul's (right)

Saturday we took a train to Freiburg to be tourists for a day. It is a charming little town! We took an early train from Frankfurt, ate spaetzle (German pasta/dumplings) with wurst and lentils, found an amazing o market in the square and an little shop where Christmas is happening 365 days a year! On the way back, Anisa even bought champagne for us to enjoy in the train!

Overall, the trip to Heimtextil was a success. We licensed work for window coverings, bedding, pillows and rugs in Mexico, US, Europe and Asia. We met several US clients and very importantly expanded our database to many new clients from around the world. 

Now that the show is over, I am going to enjoy some R&R in Budapest (where my brother lives) and visit the Szechenyi Baths in the morning before the US is even awake! Pure bliss and $20 for a one-hour massage. I can hardly wait. :) Jennifer

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