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Some call it rainbow bridge, but we prefer to think that maybe, just maybe, he’ll come back to visit one day. Either way, we’re heartbroken because he was only a youthful and spirited 10 year old -60 in human years.
It was way too soon, and completely unfair on all accounts. We did all that we could to find an answer to Baccharoo’s auto immune deficiency and severe anemia. We had the best internists working on a relief to his plight and his little body fought so hard.
We want to take the time to thank Dr. Kevin Monce and his team for working every angle and overturning every rock to find a combination that worked best for Bacchus. I also want to thank our personal vet, Kate Bush, for her assistance through Bacchus’ life and college orientation.
If you would like to read my tribute filled with stories, photos, songs, please head to my personal blog. Be sure to get a cup of coffee and some tissues -you’ll need them. Maybe that’s just me.
Bear Hugs to All Your Furry Family Members,
Lisa and Andrew
Owner/Creative Goddess of ECStewart Designs, Inc. that includes ECStewart Collections and CalligraphyPets®. Married to the greatest guy Andrew; animal advocate, pet lover and staff to 3 fabulous felines.
Elizabeth (Lisa) Stewart is an award-winning designer and illustrator with a degree in Graphic Design and Fine Arts from Western Michigan University. While in school, Ms. Stewart gained experience in a variety of areas and began publishing a line of greeting cards that showcased her illustration skills. This gave her an early taste of the art world and it was out of this experience that the inspiration for ECStewart Collections eventually grew.
Following graduation, Lisa moved first to Chicago and later to the Raleigh-Durham region of North Carolina. Along the way she held a variety of positions including as a display artist, interior designer, accessory buyer, and print/Web designer.
Ms. Stewart officially started ECStewart Design Studio in 1998 as a way to formalize her freelance activities. In the Fall of 2001, she took the leap and with her partner/husband, Andrew, opened ECStewart Design and Communications (ECS|DC) as a full-service design and marketing agency that formed the basis of what is today ECStewart Designs, Inc.
In addition to the agency, Lisa has also returned to her first love, illustration, and in the Spring of 2002 introduced the CalligraphyCats. These were followed a year later by the CalligraphyDogs and CalligraphyCats Volume II. By late 2004, Lisa had been recognized as one of the “up-and-coming designers” in the greeting card industry for her work on the CalligraphyPets and had developed a network of retail customers across the United States and Canada.
Additionally, Lisa was also selected for inclusion in the book “Strokes of Genius,” a compilation of some of the best black and white works by contemporary artists. Published by North Light Books, Strokes of Genius includes nine of her illustrations.
The CalligraphyPets form the foundation of the ECStewart Collections, an expanded line of pen and ink illustrations that adhere to the artist’s commitment to bringing simple elegance and sophistication to people’s lives through her artwork. Featuring multiple themes beyond just pets and animals, the ECStewart Collections are intended to broaden the appeal of Ms. Stewart’s work to areas outside stationery including housewares, home furnishings, fashion accessories and more.
Lisa finds inspiration in travelling, indulging in her hobbies that include photography, painting, illustration and relaxing at home with Andrew and their three cats.
About the Kanji Stamp
The Japanese Kanji stamp represents the name “Lisa.” Years ago, my good friend Sayuri designed this Kanji character for me because of my curiosity of Japanese identity. Wanting to use this Kanji character in a creative way, it made sense to apply it upon creating the CalligraphyCats. Now, I make sure that every art piece created by me has the character attached somewhere.
P.S. No two Kanjis are the same; I think of it like DNA. If you’re name is Lisa, be sure to consult with someone from the Japanese culture to ensure the best suitable Kanji for you. I guarantee that your Kanji will be different and just as beautiful.
An Interview with EC (Lisa) Stewart about the Paisley Collections
Lisa Stewart is an award winning artist, illustrator and designer best known for her CalligraphyPets® line of illustrations. In 2004 she was listed as one of the up and coming artists by Giftware News and has been seen in numerous other publications and online sites including ModernCat and IndieBusiness. She is CEO and CreativeGoddess at ECStewart Designs, Inc. in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Q: Have you always known you wanted to be an artist.
Lisa Stewart: As long as I can remember, I’ve been an artist, I think I was practically born with a pencil in my hand and have been refining my artistic abilities and eye my entire life. When I was a little kid I created illustrated greeting cards for my family because I could not afford to buy them.
Q: When did you start to get formal training?
Lisa: I think it probably started with my art teachers in junior high and high school, but it really stepped up a notch when I attended Western Michigan University, majoring in both Art and Music. There I was able to explore an array of art techniques from illustration to print making. It really broadened my understanding of what’s possible – which is just about anything when it comes to being creative.
After graduating I worked in a variety of different jobs including print making, store display, accessories buyer, illustration, layout and web design. During much of this time, I supported myself working “for the man” in large companies while I continued to illustrate and design on the side.
Q: How did you come up with the calligraphic illustration style you are best known for?
Lisa: I’ve always been an illustrator, but the calligraphic technique all started with Bacchus and the Ball of Yarn. My mother in-law was visiting and she decided to do some knitting while we watched a movie. As usual I had a sketch book in my hand and when our cat Bacchus decided to chase the ball of yarn, I saw this beautiful highlighted gesture in the low light. After some refinement, the result was the illustration “Bacchus and the Ball of Yarn”. I loved the piece and the way that the simple, undulating calligraphic lines captured the elegance of the cat. As a result, I started seeing other gestures and actions of our cats that I could edit to the same simple, elegant line work and capture just the essence of the movement.
Since it was just before Christmas when I created the original Bacchus illustration, I eventually came up with seven more illustrations that simply fell into the meter of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” – Bacchus and the Ball of yarn and his friends, Pouncer, Bouncer, Chaser, Lay, Beggeth, Purreth and Runneth Away. From there I soon added a second volume of cats as well as the CalligraphyDogs.
Q: Ok, so we know you get inspiration from your cats, where else do you find your inspiration?
Lisa: The short answer is everywhere. My husband and business partner, Andrew, and I love to travel, do research and discover new and different places and things. I think the key to inspiration is to experience as much of what the world has to offer as possible and absorb the nuances of life.
In other cases, it’s from outside sources or requests. For instance, my Mankolam-Paisley design. I had a licensing client that I work with, ask me to develop a paisley pattern for one of their products. I had never thought of designing a paisley pattern before, but after a number of months of studying both ancient and modern interpretations I came up with the Mankolam-Paisley designs you see today on our totes and hobo bags as well as suede journal covers. In this case the impetus for the design was the client, and the inspiration was the research of both the ancient techniques – Mankolam – and the more modern embellishments that were added by the Europeans in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Q: Tell me a little about your art philosophy.
Lisa: I’ve always believed that artwork is not always something that should simply hang on a wall where not everyone can see it. One should be able to share their love of art with the world. With my background being in illustration and fine art, greeting cards were a natural first step in giving people a way to share my art; wearable art was the next logical step
Q: And now you’re introducing leather handbags and accessories that feature your paisley design. This is kind of a departure from your illustration background, is it not?
Lisa: It is, and it’s not. Andrew’s background is in industrial design – product design – so he’s a designer as well and very good at developing physical products. Initially we worked together to create a leather Bacchus tote – which I carried with me everywhere – to showcase my calligraphic illustration. Over time, Andrew also created a number of leather and fabric handbags that I carried around – and generally beat the crap out of – to test construction, design and durability. After about five years of creating different bags, we had a couple of all-leather designs I really liked. Our next question was whether they were something we wanted to start selling. Obviously the answer was yes.
Q: Those early one-offs featured die-cut designs, where did the paisley on suede come from?
Lisa: While we love the die-cut designs, they really only lend themselves to the calligraphic line illustrations, and I have a significant portfolio of work that integrates color into the calligraphic line work. To create products with these designs we had to find another way of applying the image. Andrew and I are both really good at R&D and so we looked at many different options ranging from finding an outside supplier to doing our own screen printing, but none of them really worked the way we wanted them to. Then Andrew hit upon a way of getting the image clearly, crisply and quite permanently applied to suede. After months of experimentation with materials, techniques and timing, we finally had a process that was repeatable and effective.
Now we are able to apply the imagery we want to the suede pieces as we make them so that each piece is both unique and beautiful.
Q: So you apply the image yourselves?
Lisa: Yes, the images are applied by hand to each piece in our studio as we are making the product. As a result, everything we make is essentially a one-of-a-kind piece.
Q: Do you also sew each piece in your studio?
Lisa: Yes, right now most of the bags and accessories are made by Andrew, since I’m very busy building the business, but we both work on every piece so our customers can be assured that they are getting something that is hand crafted by the designers and not produced in a nameless factory somewhere.
Q: You also list your Central Park Hobo and Tribeca Tote as being limited editions. Why?
Lisa: We’ve learned that our customer base is women who like to express their own personal sense of style. They are looking for accessories and items that are unique, stylish and elegant, so that they stand out rather than looking like everyone else. With this in mind, we made the conscious decision to only make a limited number of each style during the year. For instance, every Central Park Hobo has a tag inside with the year and the number (1-500).
Q: Tell me a little about the belts and wrist cuffs.
Lisa: I’m glad you asked about these since both are a really exciting addition to the Paisley Collections line-up. I’ve always been a bit of a “belt” girl and find that a great stylish belt can dress up just about any outfit. Once we mastered the technique of applying the paisley to the suede Andrew and I worked on developing a design concept that we felt would again give our customers a way of wearing my artwork to enhance their wardrobe and show off their personal style: The result is our Bleeker Belt. Similarly, the Columbus Circle Cuff came out of my love of bracelets and a desire to be able to find another way of wearing my art.
Both the belts and wrist cuffs are also embellished with Swarovski Crystals for a subtle bit of bling that does not overpower the designs, but highlights the look.
Q: What’s next?
Lisa: Right now we’re really pushing hard to get the word out about our new Paisley Collections products. Traditionally I’ve sold my artwork and cards through galleries and stationery shops, but the handbags and fashion accessories open up a whole new opportunity to sell through boutiques. Since we’re new to this marketplace, I’m spending a lot of time introducing myself and the line to shop owners and buyers and working to establish new customers. So far the response has generally been positive, but the recession is making it a bit tougher than I’d like. Many of the boutiques we traditionally would have targeted are now closed or have significantly cut back their buying this year, but I’m confident in the line and it’s still brand new so I think the introduction of the ECStewart Designs into the fashion world will be a success.
In addition, we’re working on new products that we plan to introduce for the fall/winter season so we’re very busy at the moment, but stay tuned for more exciting new products coming from ECStewart Designs.
Q: Thank you!
Lisa: Thank you!
Oh and one final plug, if you’d like to see the full ECStewart Collections line-up and purchase any of these pieces yourself, you can visit lisa-stewart.com.
If you’re a boutique owner looking to include any of these pieces for your shop, please contact Lisa (919-271-0668).
|Andrew Hayden is an award winning-designer and marketing professional with over a decade of senior level experience working in numerous industries. Combining an educational background in both product design and fine arts with a master’s degree in business, he has successfully married design and business to bring a unique perspective and methodology to every project he works on. After graduating with a degree in Industrial Design and Fine Arts from Syracuse University, Andrew set out to be a starving artist and designer, unfortunately he soon discovered that he did not starve well and made the decision to go back to school and get a slightly more marketable degree, this time in business.|
Focusing on Marketing as an MBA student at Emory University, Andrew was soon applying design principles to business problems. This unique approach has served him well throughout his career, and is the foundation that he brings to every project he works on. Since graduating from business school, Andrew has worked for a variety of companies both large and small and added these experiences to his understanding of business, marketing and communications.
His experience includes Global Marketing positions with Coca-Cola and Duff-Norton, as well as global marketing, communications and public relations at IBM. He oversaw the brand development of Home Director, the IBM Home Networking brand spun off in 1999 and worked as an executive for Zoom Culture, a television production start-up, during its second round of venture funding. Along the way he has worked on the client side with some of the largest agencies in the world including Ogilvy & Mather, Landor Associates, McAnn Ericsson, Citigate Cunningham Public Relations and TSI Public Relations as well as a host of smaller agencies and professional service firms.
Combining this vast business experience with the design background gives Andrew a unique way of looking at business issues and problems and unmatched creativity when coming up with a solution. He also brings this same level of creativity to his personal life where he is constantly working on remodeling projects at home, successfully dabbles in gourmet cooking and is continuously frustrated by a retrograde Golf handicap.
Bacchus came to us as a 6 week old kitten when we first began dating as a couple back in the Spring of 2001. Bacchus is the littermate (and twin) to his elusive brother, Cheshire. Eros, our resident Silhouette of Doom, needed playmates and thus, the twins were blended into the clan.
Upon opening the crate in the living room, Bacchus lept out with kitten enthusiasm and headed straight to the wine bar. Playing among the wine bottles near the floor, he earned his name early. Cheshire, on the other hand, found the nearest crevasse and hid. With two eyes and a smile peering back from the darkness, it took an impromptu fish on a stick made by Andrew (ala dowel, string, and a leather tag ripped from my jeans) to coax Cheshire out from under the dishwasher.
The first year, I reminisced how much I enjoyed dressing up my kittens as a kid and threatened to do the same to the boyz. Andrew finally relinquished his manly hold and assisted in what was known to become 3WiseCats & Company. Costumes were designed and constructed for the mini-expose on what cats would bring if they were the designated kings to the infamous birth.
It was just a month later when the origin of the legendary CalligraphyCats came to pass. Calligraphic feline mayhem ensued and took over our lives all because Bacchus had to tap into the inner kitten and chase that ball of yarn. Year later, Bacchus has grown into what I refer to as the ‘large fat, spotty lipped, tabby cat’, and continues to provide fodder for a continued series called, “FatCat: PawpArt.”
Since the CalligraphyPets® inception, our small litter has seen bittersweet growth and loss and continue to remain inspired by their primal and comical ways of enjoying life. Stay tuned for further developments in our clan and the inspiration they provide to new art and products.
The calligraphic gesture series transcribes and documents the relationship of kinetic movement within time.
|The work explores movements of animals, people, and objects. The gestures are purified through calligraphic line revealing only the essence of expression while maintaining spontaneity. The animals and objects become symbols and iconography that serve as a foundation for further complex study.
By editing the illustration into few lines allows the gestalt of the mass to balance with the imbued perspective of the calligraphic line. The juxtaposition of line and mass promote a harmony of movement and fixed suspension.
About the Art
Lisa’s fine art and gifts are inspired by travel, infusing the beauty of other cultures and innovating past techniques with today’s modern applications.
Through simplicity, elegance and sophistication, purified gestural images give the viewer a brief respite from the complications of life. Animals and objects become the symbols and iconography that serve as a paradigm for all of Lisa’s art. This hallmark approach to calligraphic illustration maintains a fresh, contemporary, and spontaneous lightheartedness.
The love of gesture drawing, inspired calligraphic techniques from all over the world and the ability to express the essence of the movement with very few lines is central to Lisa’s designs. Once distilled, the elegant image has the ability to stand on its own as distinguished showpiece or to fuse together into complex and beautiful formations.
Lisa’s art appeals to sophisticated enthusiasts around the World and encompasses a broad range of products that include home décor, wall art, jewelry, fashion accessories, leather goods and more.
In addition, Lisa frequently donates her time, talent, products, and a portion of her sales proceeds to benefit local pet rescue agencies.
How many of you know the legend of Bacchus?
|Bacchus was the inspiration behind CalligraphyCats which has now evolved into CalligraphyPets®. We adopted Bacchus and his brother, Cheshire in May 2001 as mates for Eros, the resident king of cats. As adorable tabby cats, they revealed their wonderful personalities through play and mischief.|
The A-ha! Moment: Creating Bacchus & the Ball of Yarn
During Christmas season 2001, my mother n’law sat frantically knitting a gift for an expectant mother during our ‘movie hour.’ Under low light, naturally, our beloved pussycat, Bacchus absconded with her ball of yarn. Rescuing the yarn from certain peril, I realized the wonderful feline gesture highlighted by the glow of the movie was similar to that of calligraphic lines. I went straight to my sketch pad and began feverishly illustrating the numerous gestures that cats exhibit.
During that time, we we’re owned by three (3) cats with 3 distinctive personalities; I insisted that each be represented within this first series of line work. Throughout time, each cat exemplifies various traits, therefore, each cat is appended with various nicknames -and I’m sure you’ve got a few of your own. Given the season, the famous story “T’was the Night Before Christmas’ was influential in providing a meter for remembering the gestures of the cats.
“On Dasher, on Dancer, Prancer, & Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, & Blitzen!”
Now that you know the meter, try saying the names from CalligraphyCats Volume 1:
Pouncer, Bouncer, Chaser, and Lay; Beggeth, Purreth, and Runneth Away!
Or how about the names from CalligraphyCats Volume 2:
Strutter, Lunger, Licketh, and Play; Stretcher, Stalker, and Walketh Away!
Don’t forget CalligraphyDogs:
Fetcher, Beggar, Jumper, Await; Snoozer, Pointer, Scratcher, and Shake!
Since the series inception, our small litter has seen bittersweet growth and loss and continue to remain inspired by their primal and comical ways of enjoying life. Gestures of Eros can be found showcased as Beggeth in CalligraphyCats V1, and Eros & the Empty Bowl in CalligraphyCats V2. Cheshire can be found as Purreth and Runneth Away in CalligraphyCats V1 and Licketh and Walketh Away in CalligraphyCats V2. Bacchus, naturally, is our showcase feline. As Bacchus & the Ball of Yarn remains to be the number 1 image in our line up, we have fun designing products based on his image -even abbreviating it on jewelry and leathergoods.
Meanwhile, I have created more cats, dogs, pets you’d find on farms, woodland creatures, and even animals with celtic influence!
Beyond the ‘Pets
The past few years, you have embraced my calligraphic style and have shared them with your friends and I can’t thank you enough. I am striving to create new imagery and innovate new products just for you, whether it be something we design in our own workshop or with partners. You will begin to see luxe products with paisley designs, wine, flowers, Adrinka symbols, breed specific dogs and even pop art with a calligraphic touch.
Please stay tuned to the additional products we will be revealing in the near future. You won’t want to miss them!
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