March 8, 2015

Planning the Wedding You Imagine: From Paper to Perfect

Posted by Cathy Heck

We had a wedding right in the middle of the Christmas holiday. And both the bride (Julianna) and her mom (me) were also working together on a number of studio deadlines. Whew! Now, we are coming up for air and we are happy to share our tip for making a wedding that looks just the way the bride imagines (even if you’re juggling other work or life projects).


MOOD BOARDS! These little paper planners help everyone involved truly “see” the bride’s vision. They are an excellent way to inspire your florist, caterer and even to give some clarity to your own mom. (In this case, that would be me.)

You can make your mood boards on paper, or happily, now, you can make them on Pinterest. We did both. However, sometimes one has collected so many moods on a Pinterest board that it’s hard for the vendor to decipher. So, cull your vast Pin board to make a “Seriously, This Is The Look I Would Like To Have For My Wedding” board. Print them and keep them with you as you are searching for everything from cake to nuts. Here are some of the mood boards that we created to inspire our vendors … and ourselves.

Julianna was a winter bride, and from the beginning, imagined it all to be white and twinkly, with classic black for her bridesmaids and accents of gray and rose-gold all around. Her wonderful groom is from Denmark, so she wanted to keep the look clean and elegant like she had observed in so much Danish design.


Julianna loved the casual but chic wedding ensemble (above) that the beautiful Olivia Palermo wore for her wedding. (However, we both nixed the wedding shorts since it was a winter wedding, after all.) Like Olivia, Jules wanted to find a full tulle skirt and pair it with a soft cardigan. And she was hoping it could be the perfect length to show off some sparkly shoes. Below is the final ensemble. I am pretty sure she is happy with the result.


For her bridesmaids, she imagined a timeless look that Audrey Hepburn might have worn in 1965 or today. And her little flower girls would wear dresses that Jackie Kennedy might have chosen for her own flower girls.


Below you can see the way these mood boards came to life. There were smiles all around … especially when our flower girls (one from Denmark and one from Texas) walked down the aisle with purpose and cuteness. And, I mean cuteness with a capital C.



We started with the invitation.

Mom: “Jules, what kind of invitation would you like? Engraved? Letterpress?”

Jules: ”Mom, I think I need to design my own, or else it would be rude to my degree.”

Mom: “Oh, well we certainly wouldn’t want you to hurt your degree’s feelings.”

The invitation set the tone. Modern, simple, black and white and gray with a little touch of rose-gold bling. It included a nod to the fun fact that the bride and groom found each other, even though they grew up across the sea. Once the invitation was created, all the other pieces fell into place.


We held the reception in our home, catered by the amazing Eddie Bernal of 34th Street Catering. All was warm, rosy, twinkly and easy. Photos below: For rose-gold sparkle, I gathered every piece of mercury glass I found from near and far. I am still having mercury glass dreams. And, here are some of the flowers by Westbank Flower Market. The floral pieces looked as though our mood boards had burst into full bloom.

CathyHeckStudio_Wedding8 CathyHeckStudio_Wedding9

We wanted to welcome our new friends and family from Denmark, as well as embrace some Danish traditions. Below is our version of a Danish Gate of Honor. Later in the evening, we were introduced to the curious tradition of cutting off the toes of the groom’s socks. You can read about that here. (P.S. If you are a Danish groom, don’t wear fancy socks!)


And the twinkle continued inside. Thank you to Amanda Pomilla Photography for capturing all the sparkle. Below left clockwise: 1) Petit Fours in rose-gold and ivory were made by The Cake Plate, and were as delicious as they were pretty.  2) The hand-painted Happily-Ever-After Globe was the one thing on my list that I thought I would have to give up due to time, but luckily, Ellen stepped in and painted the base, so I could embellish with abandon. 3) Here are more flowers by Westbank Flower Shop 4) And, the party favors were hot-chocolate-for-two kits, inspired by our pin boards and assembled (and taste tested) during some sisterly pre-wedding craft sessions.


After smiling until our cheeks hurt, the evening ended with the rose-gold sparkle Julianna imagined on those mood boards months ago.


So, if you are about to begin making some wedding plans, start pinning to your Pinterest board … and be sure to share it with your mom. Happy Wedding!

Tillykke (congratulations) and best wishes to Julianna and Anton.

Okay now Jules, back to work! :-)



Categories: about us Tags:

February 13, 2015

Made With Love

Posted by Cathy Heck

Just stitching up some love in the studio for Valentine’s Day.

Hope your day is full of hugs … and perhaps a bit of chocolate … and maybe even a little bacon. Now that would be a perfect love potion.

Happy Valentine’s Day from Cathy and the studio stitchers


P.S. If you are desperate for a quick and awesome Valentine surprise for your loved ones (little and big), here is a one of our most popular Valentine DIY posts. Happy sugar day!

February 1, 2015

It’s Caldecott Eve!

Posted by Cathy Heck

Since most of you are probably watching a little football tonight, you might have forgotten that today is Caldecott Eve! And, in fact, by the time you are reading this post, the Caldecott awards for 2015 might have already been announced.

Even though I am right on top of it, I will probably still have to sign up for a waiting list for the quickly snapped-up winners. This is a real dilemma, because we have a February-born niece to whom we like to give the most recent Caldecott winner every year. Alas, her package usually contains a note (an illustrated note) saying “Caldecott coming soon.”

This year, however, I thought I might beat the system, and try to predict the winner … my own little mock Caldecott group of one. If I guess correctly, then our neice will actually receive her gift on time. If not, well then, I guess I’ll just have to keep all these beautiful books for myself.

Don’t worry, I think I know some little ones, (and big ones) who will curl up with me to read about Henri, Leo, Frida, Gaston, Sam and Dave. Happy Caldecott Eve!


By the way, if you are on the edge of your seat, like I am, the winners will be announced at 8 am in Chicago. You can even watch the webcast here.

Here are some of my favorite choices.

1) The Iridescence of Birds A Book About Henri Matisse Patricia MacLachlan and Hadley Hooper

2) The Farmer and the Clown Marla Frazee

3) Gaston Kelly DiPucchio and Christian Robinson

4) Once Upon an Alphabet: Short Stories for All the Letters Oliver Jeffers

5) Draw Raul Colon

6) The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus Melissa Sweet and Jen Bryant

We would love to  hear which Caldecotts are your favorite (prized, treasured, dearest, best-loved, wished-for, desired) … oh, excuse me, I just finished reading number 6 above.

December 25, 2014


Posted by Cathy Heck


Have a wonderful day with friends and family! From all of us at Cathy Heck Studio.

Categories: holiday Tags: , ,

November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving

Posted by Cathy Heck

This year, we have felt especially lucky to know such a wonderful and caring group of friends. We are thankful for the little things, because they are so big.

Happy Thanksgiving from everyone in the Cathy Heck Studio family.



Categories: holiday Tags:

July 10, 2014

Uppercase: The Color Issue

Posted by Cathy Heck

It’s Uppercase time! We love this magazine. It is one of our favorite flavors of eye candy. Not only does a stack of Uppercase make an excellent tablescape for a studio, but the content inside is delicious.


And this month’s issue, Number 22 is all about COLOR. (As you might guess, I love color almost as much as bacon.)

Below is the excellent cover by Shelley Davies, enticing all artists, and you know you are one, to open the magazine and take a trip down rainbow road.



And, we are delighted that one little stop you might make along the way is an article with my answer to the question sent out to artists, “What Does Colour Mean To You?”

Here is a taste of our studio color from Uppercase:





There are so many more wonderful contributions from other artists in this volume of color. In fact, this special issue is organized by spectrum. Here’s a great little video illustrating the creation of the issue. So, if you are radical about red or obsessed with orange or loyal to lavender, Issue #22 is for you. You can subscribe for your quarterly dose of inspiration here.

And, while you are waiting for your candy to arrive, you might want to pull out your own color medium of choice and make some art. By the way, we consider raspberries and chocolate perfectly suitable art mediums for summertime masterpieces.

Categories: about us

June 21, 2014

After Surtex: Walton Ford Exhibit

Posted by Ellen Heck

By the kind of serendipity that seemed a credit to New York, we walked into Paul Kasmin Gallery to see Walton Ford’s current show just as he started an artist talk. Standing in front of Tigress, one of three large-scale watercolors that fill the first gallery space, he began with a bit of his own history—how his naturalist, narrative watercolors have evolved over time, and critical thoughts on narrative art in general.


Over the past twenty years, Ford has developed a clear artistic voice by firmly rooting his practice in the well-established canon of natural history illustration and narrative allegory, while also stepping just outside the conventional etiquette of those genres. In the beginning, he said, the process was more formulaic: “take a natural history illustration and subvert it.” Ford tweaks images that we are prepared to see as simply specimens, physically–through scale, and conceptually–through depictions of violence, debauchery, and the juxtaposition of objects and animals that are not usually found in the same picture plane.

But there is more to these works than a mustache on the Mona Lisa. Ford’s compositions are also well-researched. He puts himself into narratives unearthed from medieval bestiaries and arcane fables and permeates his carefully-constructed compositions with the immersive empathy of a method actor. As he is telling us the story behind Tigress, a scene imagined from a Persian manual on kidnapping cubs, my own mother tears up as he describes how the mother tiger is continuously halted in her pursuit. The poachers are instructed to throw glass orbs behind them as they race away on horseback, each one reflecting the mother’s image and confusing her into thinking she sees her babies, until she is lost in an overwhelming accumulation of glass and her own reflections.


On an entirely gossipy note: Vogue claims that Leonardo DiCaprio might have been the purchaser of this particular piece. And for an even juicier article, the WSJ delivers on anecdotes about the artist—though there’s not too much about his art.

Ford then went on to talk more critically about narrative art, specifically about keeping interpretations open. He used two paintings by Pre-Raphaelite William Holman Hunt as examples of stepping on either side of the very thin line between good and bad narrative.

The Awakening Conscience, Ford compared to Norman Rockwell paintings, condemning both for closing all but one door to viewer interpretation. On the other hand, he pointed out that The Scapegoat, by the very same artist, is a masterpiece for communicating emotion, but allowing for endless possibilities when it comes to narrative. Hearing both this and Ford’s own–the real–narrative behind the Tigress, I felt a new appreciation for the piece.

Originally, I had thought the crystal balls were stones, or perhaps cannon balls, and even though I wish, knowing the story, they had been painted with reflections and a real sense of light-refracting glass, I think the strength of the piece rests in Ford’s intimacy with his version of the story. It allows him to portray all the details that mysteriously translate an emotion while leaving doors open for the rest of us.


Another strong ten-foot watercolor in the show was Rhyndacus. This elegantly-composed, satisfyingly enormous, apparently autobiographical allegory was also just plain gorgeous. The press release tells the story behind this one. Here’s a photo of the artist and his work for scale:

And the admirer inspecting the details for more scale:


Admittedly, even though I had read the measurements in Taschen’s monograph of Walton Ford, Pancha Tantra (which was my Christmas present this year and is an excellent art book), the scale took me by surprise. It was impressive—especially from far away. Even better, it is also not just size for the sake of size: Ford’s works are often large because his animals are rendered at a scale of 1:1. The enormous snake by the Rhyndacus river was a 60-foot legend, and tigers and elephants and bears are all huge.

I was glad to be able to see for the first time both the artist and his work. After fantasizing over his book for the last six months, it was a thrill to see the larger-than-life life-sized.


Categories: travel Tags:

June 18, 2014

Washi World

Posted by Ellen Heck

Setting up for Surtex is certainly all about cutting, gluing and taping … but, here is another kind of tape we played with when we weren’t taping artwork to our booth walls.


I’ve never known a Heck who didn’t like a craft project. At Anthropologie in Chelsea Market this year (we always have to go—for research purposes of course) the theme was washi tape. There was even a crafting table with rolls of tape and blank boxes and ornament cards to decorate.

Notice a family resemblance?



In particular, we thought this little box with the folded flower top and tiny legs—which unfolds completely flat—was especially intriguing.


It’s all these little great ideas that keep us coming back year after year—for research purposes of course. And maybe a dress. Or two…

June 14, 2014

Another Important Thing About Dads

Posted by Cathy Heck





Wishing all those awesome fathers out there a perfect day with some XLarge hugs … or cyber hugs. Happy Father’s Day!

June 9, 2014

Surtex, Part 3: Trends and Friends

Posted by Cathy Heck

“Did you see any new trends?” This is the question we hear most often upon our return from Surtex. The dilemma is that it is difficult for Surtex artists to see new trends, because we are all manning our booths! All day. Every day. Making trends.

However, my boothmates and I did find time for a little trend-spotting during our many treks for water refills. Below are a few of the hot themes and colors that we noticed were either new or back again. Now comes the tricky part. We have to decide if a trend is on the way in … or on the way out … and draw accordingly. Sometimes, we wonder if it might just be safer to get out the Ouija board. (Wait … that was once a trend … Hm. A trend searching for a trend. I might be on to something!)

So here is our official list from Surtex, National Stationery Show and the streets of New York. (Note: All data was gathered without the advice of the Ouija Board.)



The good news is that no matter which trends are in and which are out, there is something at Surtex that never becomes old hat … the new artist friendships that we make every year. Here are a few shapshots from our Surtex neighborhood this year.



We had a beautiful view across the aisle from pink paisleys to purple parrots: Meet our neighbors, Diane Kappa from Seattle, Washington, and Nina Favata from Ridgewood, New Jersey. Next door to Nina lived Rachel Gresham from Nashville, Tennessee and her lovely helper, Jill Raney, while our next door neighbors were Colleen MacDonald and Alanna George of Hot Fudge Studio, which, I must say, is a very delicious name for a company.


And, we were so happy to arrive and see our fun neighbor from last year, Sheila Meehan, who is an artists’ agent and consultant. Sheila is wise and wonderful, and funny, too, which are all very nice traits for a next-door neighbor.

And, finally, the youngest neighbor to visit us was from around the corner … the adorable baby belonging to Ana Davis. And as you know, we love babies! Plus, we thought this outfit coordinated very nicely with our booth decor.


So that’s a wrap for Surtex 2014. We had a great time in our home-away-from-home with so many talented artists and art directors from all over the world. It was a great show.

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