Tag Archives: urban legend

blaugust #18: tell me a colorstory.

I spent a lot of time this past weekend making new necklaces for urban legend. Well, cleaning up a dire mess in my supplies and work area, and then making new necklaces. Whenever I’m planning a weekend session of making, I collect sources for color inspiration. Depending on how specific they are, I’ll either make a list or I’ll print out a sheet of thumbnail photos that I’m planning to work from. These come from all over – photographs that I’ve taken, posts I’ve liked on Instagram, spreads in magazines, color boards on Pinterest – the list is endless. In the last couple of years, though, outfits I’ve spotted while riding public transportation have played a huge role in my creative process. I never used to sneak pictures of strangers, but the fashion in Portland is so good that I do it at least once a week now. When I sit down to collect that sheet of thumbnails, it always includes a scroll through the photos on my phone. That’s right: I am that woman surreptitiously taking a photograph of the back of your dress while you, all unsuspecting, ride the train. Because it’s a really sensational dress. In the first place, I’m a huge fan of stripes cut on the bias like that. And in the second place, I’m a sucker for a punch of black right in the middle of those juicy summer melon colors. So I’ll hold the phone up as unobtrusively as I can, and grab a picture that just shows enough of a pattern so I’ll remember it. Thanks, fellow commuter and your outstanding dress. And then I’ll just happen to glance out the window as the train goes over the river, and I’ll see that boxy mustard yellow building that I see every day, but today it’ll have a perfectly blue sky behind it and a towering rusted crane in front of it. That’s another necklace right there. I hadn’t realized until I made my list this week how much commuting has featured in my color work lately, but it’s nice to know that all those hours soaking up what I see eventually get used in the studio.

 

Smiling in the stacks.

It all started last winter when my friend Bettie Newell and I had a conversation over cocktails about small business and marketing. Bettie is a wonderful photographer, and she had an idea about doing a photoshoot with my urban legend jewelry line. Let’s get some cute girls and some vintage dresses together with your necklaces and take pictures! Well, yes, please, I would love that. A few weeks after that conversation, I posted a photograph on Instagram using a vintage dictionary as a background for a necklace. Bettie texted me immediately and said she thought the library would be perfect for a photoshoot. We set about getting permission and rounding up several of our lovely friends to be models.

And so it happened that about a month ago, I packed up a collection of urban legend jewelry and headed to Central Library in downtown Portland to meet some beautiful ladies. Central Library is an exceptionally beautiful building: spacious and light and elegant. We had a gorgeous sunny spring morning, and the light was beautiful. The group of us spent a fun few hours in the stacks, trying to keep our laughter hushed as we effected wardrobe changes, browsed through books, and scouted out good spots to gather. We managed to be unobtrusive for most of the time, but we gathered a small audience while we were posing on the central staircase. What can I say, we looked adorable.

These pictures are a small sample of the beautiful work that Bettie did. I love her eye for color and faces, and I’m so happy with the way this project came together! It’s been so much fun adding a few of these at a time to my shop listings. Keep your eyes open for more! And please visit Bettie’s website to see more of her beautiful photographs, or to book a photo session.

I’m hunting candy in the wild.

photo (18)

Last week I received a lovely selfie from a customer, wearing her recent urban legend necklace purchase. It’s so fun for me to see people wearing the jewelry I make, but because I sell most of my jewelry online, I seldom get the chance. Every once in a while, I catch a glimpse of something I made in the wild, as it were, and it’s a thrill that never fades. I want more of this, I’ve decided. How to get it?

BUT WAIT. The internet lets you see pictures! What if I ask you for these pictures, and provide you with a nice incentive to send them to me? Good? Good.

For the rest of January, I’ll be running a giveaway on Instagram for a $50 gift certificate to urban legend. The winner will be chosen at random on February 1 from all the entries. From now until midnight PST on January 31, you can enter as many times as you like. The rules are simple:

1. Post a picture of yourself on Instagram wearing an urban legend necklace (or bracelet or earrings, if they’re your favorite!), and tag me (@katerimorton). For each unique entry, I’ll enter your name for one chance at a random drawing to win a $50 gift certificate to urban legend. If you have one urban legend necklace, and you post one picture, you’ll be entered once. If you have one urban legend necklace but you like to mix it up with different outfits and you post five different pictures, you’ll be entered five times. If you have five necklaces, and you post a different one for each necklace, you’ll be entered five times. At the end of the month, I’ll use a randomizer to select a winner, and will contact the winner by commenting on their post.

That’s it. Just the one rule. I’m hoping I’ll discover a lot of new Instagram accounts to follow, and get to know some of my customers better, but following me isn’t a criteria for entering the giveaway. I’d rather you follow me because you want to. (Spoiler: I post plenty of pictures of beads and jewelry and things I’m making, but I also post a lot of pictures of Portland street art, my niece and nephew, and Murder She Wrote bingo cards. Mine is a strange, full life.)

I’ll see you in pictures! Please don’t eat the jewelry.

Love, Kateri

A mile marker in candyland.

test pattern

The fledgling jewelry shop I started a few years back so I could play with plastics is about to cross a very big milestone. I’ve sold nearly 3,000 items in my urban legend Etsy shop, and I’m really excited to see the odometer roll over in the next few weeks. When I opened urban legend, I was just starting to experiment with using vintage plastics in jewelry. The bold colors and bigger shapes took my designs in new directions, and it was so fun that it just kept growing and growing.

In the last few years, urban legend jewelry has been featured in UPPERCASE magazine, and been sold in shops in 9 states, as well as in Australia and France. Best of all, it’s brought me so many new friends. I love my work and I’m proud of it. It’s going to be exciting to see that nice round number appear in my Etsy shop!

To celebrate, I’ve planned a special giveaway for the customer who buys my 3,000th piece of jewelry. One lucky buyer will receive a custom long necklace in the style of the pieces shown below, in the color or colors of their choice. As of writing this, I’m 9 items away from the finish line; I can’t wait to see what happens!

As always, please don’t eat the jewelry.

please don’t eat the jewelry.

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I finished my 70 necklaces for Portland Fashion Week last week, and shipped them off to their destination. It was a really fun project, and got me back into the habit of daily design. I’m pleased with what I’ve made, and I have lots of ideas for more!

My wonderful sister-in-law designed my packaging for this project. She designs and prints wedding invitations and favor bags, and you can find her shop, Mavora, on Etsy. Thanks, Abby! I used white popcorn bags, with my business cards attached to the necklaces inside. Packaging everything up and tying them together with little polka dot bows took several hours, but it was so satisfying to see all the bags lined up in rows like candy soldiers.

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I won’t get to see these reach their final destination, but I hope all the recipients enjoy their necklaces. I had the best time making them.