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Good morning!  Ok.  24 more hours then The BIG THAW is on!  Yessssss.   :)  This morning we’re talkin’ with Anna Low from Purplebean Bindery whose journals, sketchbooks and more are functional, colorful and affordable.  Check it out!
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Anna Low from Purplebean Bindery

How did you start making books?

I bound my first book in kindergarden but the obsessive binding really started in college with a great book arts class. I started working my way through all of the bookbinding instructions I could find and had to give away my little book experiments to make room for more. It’s grown from there into a nice ‘job’. I love making functional art. Every book I make is different and I think of all of them as collaborations between myself and whomever the book goes home with. I like that a hand-bound blank book might inspire someone to fill it’s pages with amazing sketches or writing…or something completely banal in a colorful cover.

Funhouse Blank Journal


What kind of goodies can our customers expect to see at your table at The BIG THAW?

I’ve got all kinds of funky and colorful goodies for The BIG THAW. I’ll have my customary Buttonhole Journals – nice books for journaling, list making, note taking, general musings. I love this binding because it’s both decorative and the books lay open flat. The binding also allows for lots of decorative paper and embellishments, so the books are cheery and user friendly. This winter (it was a long winter) I’ve been a recycling fiend in the studio, so I’ll also have a nice stack of books made with reused material, including some old school flash cards that I’m in love with and manilla paper that still smells of grammar school.

A Selection of Purplebean Notebooks

What textures/colors inspire you most?

One of the reasons I keep making books is because there is so much cool paper and fabric out there. I love colorful. But I also love black and white. And cheesy kitsch. It’s hard to narrow it down. I guess I should say, the next beautiful piece of paper is the one that inspires me the most?


What’s your favorite thing about Spring in Maine?

I love winter and snow but this year I’ve been antsy, antsy for mother nature’s big thaw. I love spring in Maine because it means gardening season is ON. I’ve got my veggie seeds started inside, I prowl the yard for signs of the bulbs I planned last fall, and if I owned a hair drier I’d be using it to melt the last chunk of dirty snow under the lilac. I also love that all the windows are open because 55° feels warm.

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Right on, right on!  55 DOES feel warm and hopefully we’ll feel that tomorrow, Saturday April 16th, the day of The BIG THAW Arts, Crafts and Vintage Sale.  10am-4pm at Mayo Street Arts Center, 10 Mayo St. in Portland’s East End (off Cumberland Ave between Franklin and Washington).  Look out for the signs!  Can’t wait.  :)

Now we're talking!


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ohmygosh!  It’s STILL snowing in Portland.  Wherever you are we hope you’re warm, healthy and don’t have one eye bulging out a la Ren & Stimpy due to the tremendous stress of neverending winter.  Don’t worry, The BIG THAW is coming soon!

Today we get to ogle the work of Dunja von Stoddard aka DOONYAYA which is a just plain awesome name.  The Doonyaya shop offers pot holders, sachets, cat toys, journals, postcards and beyond.  Let’s take a little peek:

Colorful Catnip Toy!

Cat toys!  Sometimes it’s a GOOD thing that a product gets tested on animals and these are one of those things.  Apparently the felines go wild for these guys.  I personally go wild for the fact that they’re not those creepy, hairy mice that my cats seem to bat around for a bit, ignore, and then they emerge months later from the sofa covered in fur and food.  Doonyaya’s catnip toys do double duty as colorful accents while making your kitty go nutso for cat herbs.  Fun!

Sooo many colors you may need to grab two!

Now might be a good time to mention that Dunja’s business tithe (10% of her profits) go to organizations that save and protect animals.  So on top of all the niceness listed above you’re also doing your little part towards contributing to the health and happiness of other critters.

In the paper department, Doonyaya peddles journals and postcards.  The latest work is inspired by Victorian culture and 60-80s pop culture.  Pictures are worth a thousand words:

Journal Designs by Doonyaya
New!! Oversized Postcards from Doonyaya

So, basically once you’re done filling your shopping cart with all of the above you’ll probably like to see her potholders and sachets, complete with silk screened birds.  Fresh clothes and fashionable casseroles, here I come!

Sachets by Doonyaya.  Look at the kissing birds!
Potholders by Doonyaya.  Owl and bird love!

So there you have it, folks.  I had an opportunity to ask Dunja about how she heard about The BIG THAW and she had these lovely things to say about Maine artists and the Etsy Maine Team:

I heard about The Big Thaw from joining the Maine Team through etsy. I am so impressed with how many artists and crafters there are in our State, and the team has been a great way to see what my fellow Mainiacs are doing. Having moved from New York, I’ve found Maine to be incredibly inspiring and supportive of artists. I am living the dream here, making things every day out of my garage-turned-studio, and getting encouragement and feedback from my small but mighty crafting community. I am excited about the Big Thaw because I always get inspired by what other artists are creating.

Us, too, Dunja!  And no lack of inspiration come Saturday, April 16th 10am-4pm at Mayo Street Arts Center at 10 Mayo St. for The BIG THAW!

Awesome. Just awesome.

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