Cassie Leah Sawyer – September Featured Artist

Cassie Leah Sawyer

Location: Sarasota, Florida
Website: www.cassieleahphoto.com

Q&A

Give us a brief description of you and your work.

I am a natural light photographer specializing in maternity and baby portrait photography from newborn to 12 mos. I have a boutique home-studio where I hold my newborn sessions, complete with an organic changing station and a ‘parent’s corner’ with comfy chairs and resources for new parents to browse during their session.
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How would you describe your style?

Organic and simple. For all of my sessions, I concentrate on the use of natural light, as I find it provides a soft and authentic feel to the images. Also, I tend to stay away from the use of distracting props and bold colors to keep the image’s focus on the pureness and beauty of the subject. I am a true believer of ‘less is more.’

What’s your goal as an artist?

My goal as an artist is to create a timeless piece of art for my clients to enjoy for the rest of their lives. I work to capture irreplaceable glimpses of life, whether it’s a new mother-to-be sharing a moment with her growing belly, or a fresh newborn snuggling up into a womb-like curl. Every image I create reflects love and the miracle of life, and is intended to be turned into a stunning piece of custom artwork for my clients’ homes.
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From where do you draw inspiration?

I find inspiration in every day adventures. The joy that comes from living in the moment. The beautiful changes in weather and light (particularly in Florida during the summer),when the bold blue sky shifts into a tumultuous thunderstorm that passes over in a mere 15 minutes, leaving behind warm sunlit raindrops that glisten off the trees and road. The colors in the sunset that are never the same as the evening before, but are equally as beautiful. The plants and trees, the lizards, squirrels and birds that all co-exist in my backyard so harmoniously with no effort.

Nature inspires me to live in the present. Living in the present inspires me to love deeper. And that deep love inspires me to make a forever impact on my clients’lives by capturing a piece of their own flawless ‘weather’ to forever hold onto.
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Your business is an eco-friendly photography company. Can you tell us some of your “green” practices?

In addition to working without artificial light, I keep my energy consumption low by having a home-studio which runs off of the energy already being used for my house. All payments,receipts, contracts, etc. are managed digitally, greatly reducing the need for paper. My packaging for products is all comprised of recycled and biodegradable materials. The few studio props I do use are ones that I’ve ‘upcycled’ from garage sale finds and from my local salvage yard. My newborn changing station is comprised of an organic cotton changing mat, eco-friendly diapers, and organic cream, powder and lotion. All of the products I offer to clients are made with sustainable resources and/or come from print labs that have environmentally sensitive procedures in place. For example, our gallery wrapped canvases come from a facility entirely powered by wind! I, the photographer, am fueled by mostly organic and vegetarian food. I live an eco-conscious lifestyle and it is absolutely important to me that my business also leaves the smallest footprint possible.

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Why do you chose to show your prints of your artwork on Plywerk?

When I was first seeking out vendors for my collection of ‘eco-friendly fine art’ product offerings, I knew I wanted something made from bamboo. Bamboo, being a rapidly growing grass, has always been one of my favorite materials.I have patches of bamboo in a variety of types in my backyard and my studio’s floor is made of bamboo. Portland is also one of my favorite places in the world. When I found Plywerk online, I not only loved their use of my favorite sustainable resource, but also their consistent branding and culture. As soon as I received my first Plywerk panel, I was sold. Their attention to detail, high quality materials, quick turnaround and customer service were incomparable. I love how clean-lined the panel’s design is,how the subtle siding of the bamboo makes the mounted image pop and the fact that I have never seen anything like it before. Plywerk art pieces are both my, and my clients’, absolute favorite products that I offer.
 

 How do you keep yourself motivated and your artwork fresh?

Much of my motivation comes from the genuine excitement I have before each session to see and play with my baby clients! The majority of my clients schedule my ‘Baby Plan,’which means I get to work with them to capture every big milestone of their first year of life; bump, newborn, three months, six months and one year. Very quickly I develop a relationship with these families and find myself missing them between sessions! It still amazes me how fast babies grow in a mere three months, and I absolutely love getting to watch them grow and their unique personalities develop in such a short amount of time.
To keep my artwork fresh, I spend a little time each month shooting for myself and myself only. I’m very drawn to nature and have developed a passion for both landscape and macro photography, with which I’ve decorated my house on m favorite 16×24 Plywerk panels. I find that taking time away from ‘client work’ and shooting for myself enables me to stay creative and interested in my art.
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What is the hardest part about working with babies? The best part?

The hardest part about working with babies is having to hand them back over to their parents at the end of their session! haha! But seriously, I develop such a love for these sweet souls, especially since I’ve known most of them since they were only 7 or so days old! I’ve even captured a few of their actual births, and often visit with my clients between sessions just to get some cuddle time with them (their babies, that is:)) Building friendships with my clients and watching their babies grow is by far the best part of my job. It’s such a dream come true to be able to make a living from doing what I love. The most challenging part of working with babies is the patience that’s needed, particularly during their newborn session, although I don’t mind the ‘behind the scenes’ comforting at all!

CassieLeahPhoto_05Your favorite website besides your own:

Birthwithoutfearblog.com – This amazing network inspires, supports and empowers all women on their journeys through pregnancy, birth and motherhood with peace, love and healing. It’s so important for women to be informed of, and understand, all of their birth options, and receive unconditional support for whatever path they may decide is best for them.

First thing you would do if you won the lottery?

Assuming it was a very large sum of money, I would pay off my house, buy a house in Washington State, South California and New Zealand, give one million to each of my family members, invest one or two million, and donate the rest to charities around the world.

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If you could have any superpower what would you choose?

The power to turn fear and hate into love and compassion.

If you could choose to stay a certain age forever, what age would it be?

I would choose to stay the age that I am now, 28. It’s such an exciting time in my life; I just got married this past April, we’re working on renovating our first home, starting to talk about having children, I’m healthy, extremely happy, and my business is successful. I feel very proud of whom I have become and although accomplished, I have so much life ahead of me.

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Favorite coffee drink?

A flat white made with Coava coffee and almond milk.

Win a Cassie Leah Sawyer Print on Plywerk

Post a comment about Cassie’s work below and you will automatically be entered to win one of her images on our 3/4″ bamboo Plywerk! We’ll select a winner at random at the end of the month so make sure you come back to the blog in early October to see if you won and to check out the new featured artist! We’ll ship it anywhere in the US for free.
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Sarah Pollock – August Featured Artist

Sarah Pollock

Location: Port Matilda, Pennsylvania
Website: www.sarahpollock.com

Sarah_Pollock

Q&A

Give us a brief description of you and your work.

I’m originally from southern Wisconsin and I began my creative career as a Color Stylist for Walt Disney Feature Animation. For the past decade, I’ve worked as an independent fine artist. I celebrate the world around us by creating original cityscapes and landscapes. My cityscapes are visual diaries of cities I’ve visited, including locations like New York City, Philadelphia, London, Paris, Milan, and many more. My landscapes focus on the gorgeous Pennsylvania mountains and woodlands around our home. In essence, I’m a country mouse who also enjoys the city. I work in soft pastel, dried sticks of pigment applied over textured grounds, and in oils on linen. I sell my artwork at outdoor art shows throughout the East Coast and online through www.sarahpollock.com.

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How would you describe your style?

I see the world with “the volume turned up.” Although I work in a realistic style, I heighten the color and contrast of my subjects for added punch. I’m very interested in the play of light and shadow, and the harmony of color in my subjects.

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What’s your goal as as artist?

It may sound a little cliché, but I try to live the dream. I always dreamed of being an artist when I was a young child. I couldn’t see myself as anything else although I worked some other jobs in animation and web development before I reached a point in my life when I could pursue this dream. At the time when I decided to become an independent artist, I resolved always to work hard to make my vision happen so that I would be at peace in my heart that I was making good use of my talent and giving myself the best chance to succeed. I never wanted to be one of those people who reached a milestone birthday late in life and then looked back with regret and said to herself, “Oh, coulda, woulda, shoulda.” None of us have a guarantee on tomorrow. We only have today to make our dreams happen.

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 From where do you draw inspiration?

I wholeheartedly believe that there’s beauty all around us. We just have to keep an open mind and allow ourselves to see what’s out there. The right light can totally transform a subject, taking the ordinary to something exceptional. The question is, will we slow down and give ourselves the opportunity to recognize inspiration when it presents itself to us?

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What do you think is the most important influence in your art?

Well, this may not sound very lofty, but here goes: Hard work. I grew up in the upper Midwest in the late 70s and 80s. There was an ethos that you make your own luck in this world. From this foundation, I’ve always believed in the importance of continuing to learn new things and of challenging myself. I think it’s really important to continue learning throughout one’s life. If you reach a point in your creative work where you feel like you’re comfortable and you totally know what you’re doing, then you’re doing something wrong. I learn by exploring diverse interests and I add the ideas gleaned from these interests into my artwork. For example, just this past year I added oil painting to my artwork. It’s a fun new challenge, like learning a second language, and I’m enjoying the process of realizing my ideas in this new medium. I’m a geek at heart, so I love to read, to explore new places, and to pick up inspiration from quirky sources.

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Why do you chose to show your prints of your artwork on Plywerk?

My cityscapes are contemporary subjects, and Plywerk’s bamboo blocks are a perfectly modern way to present these subjects. I dub my artwork prints on Plywerk as “City Blocks.” They offer my clients an elegant way to easily put a pop of vibrant color on their walls without having to deal with conventional framing and presentation.

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 How do you keep yourself motivated and your paintings fresh?

I try to keep my balance in this world. Independent creative work can be totally consuming because there aren’t defined work hours, regular paychecks, and coworkers to buoy you during off periods. Many a musician and artist have lost themselves in an unhealthy way to their creative pursuits. To prevent burnout, I carve out time to spend with my family, I exercise (fairly) regularly, I explore other interests through books and classes, and I give myself downtime to just veg out and listen to music or stare off into space. Then when I get back to my easel, I’m able to give my ideas my best effort.

What was the last full album you listened to?

“Lost in the Dream” by the War on Drugs. Awesome tunes.

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First thing you would do if you won the lottery?

The first thing I would do is give my parents a good chunk of the money as a gesture of gratitude for everything they did for me when I was a kid. Then I’d take the remainder and use it to travel around the world, with Istanbul, Turkey as my first destination.

If you could ask your future self one question what would it be?

Did you keep your eyes on the prize?

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What sound do you love?

When my husband finds something utterly hilarious, he laughs so hard that it’s difficult for him to catch his breath and I refer to this as his “supersonic” laugh. It always makes me smile to hear that.

Win a Sarah Pollock Print on Plywerk

Post a comment about Sarah’s work below and you will automatically be entered to win one of her images on our 3/4″ bamboo Plywerk! We’ll select a winner at random at the end of the month so make sure you come back to the blog in early September to see if you won and to check out the new featured artist! We’ll ship it anywhere in the US for free.

Posted in Featured Artists | 5 Comments

Freelance Blog Writer

TITLE: Freelance Blog Writer
REPORTS TO: Marketing Coordinator
COMPENSATION: $15 per blog post. Writer to work remotely.
LOCATION: Portland, OR

Plywerk specializes in the design and manufacture of handcrafted, eco-conscious photo display products from our headquarters & workshop in Portland’s inner SE industrial district.  Since our beginnings in 2007, Plywerk has been driven by the desire to create products that blend a high-design aesthetic with an ethos of sustainability – in both the environment and society at large.  Read more about us on our website.

We are a small, local company looking for a freelance blog writer to help us on a regular basis. Writer should be familiar and passionate about the concepts outlined on our More Than Just Green, About Us, Our Workshop and our Products pages. Every article will need to find a way to link back to a minimum of one of these pages, even if the topic is not about Plywerk directly.

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Role Competencies

  • Dependable with strong communication skills. Writer will need to respond in a timely manner to emails, and meet deadlines.

  • Able to follow a strict publishing schedule of four blog-posts per week, 300 words per post. If you’re out of town we’d expect you to arrange to write some ahead of time to ensure that we don’t get behind. You will have one week from the time you are given the topics until they are due.

  • Excellent writing, grammar, and formatting skills that communicate a strong voice and persona that can match the company’s brand.

  • The creativity to consistently write unique and compelling copy for a variety of topics.

  • We use a lighthearted, often tongue-in-cheek, and sometimes outright nonsensical marketing style as an effective, non-aggressive way to engage customers and help them connect with our brand story. You will be expected to write with a voice that conveys this whimsical persona, as well as to sprinkle such playfulness into each post.  Here are some examples: blog post.  landing page.  newsletter.

  • Putting the answer to this question in the subject line of their job application: What is the tallest mountain in Oregon?

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Technical Skills

  • Basic knowledge of WordPress. Will need to know how to add posts and hyperlinks as well as use our SEO plug-in.

  • A thorough understanding of the intricacies of SEO, and how to write content using provided strategic keywords that will boost website traffic. Each article will need a minimum of 4 keywords and/or relevant links to our website.

Office

Qualifications

  • Previous experience as a published blog writer.

To apply, send us an introductory email to jobs@plywerk.com with your resume and 3 relevant samples of your writing.

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Full-time Internal Sales Representative

Hey everyone,

Plywerk is looking for another fantastic person to join our growing team. Details below. Please share if you know someone who might be a good fit.

Cheers,
The Plywerkers

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TITLE: Full-time Internal Sales Representative
REPORTS TO: CEO
COMPENSATION: $12-15ph DOE + commission
BENEFITS: stock-options + health care (both after introductory period)
LOCATION: Portland, OR

Plywerk specializes in the design and manufacture of handcrafted, eco-conscious photo display products from our headquarters & workshop in Portland’s inner SE industrial district.  Since our beginnings in 2007, Plywerk has been driven by the desire to create products that blend a high-design aesthetic with an ethos of sustainability – in both the environment and society at large.  Read more about us on our website.

Office

We are looking for a qualified and highly organized individual to fill a position as our full-time internal sales representative, responsible for driving wholesale and b2b sales, while maintaining a strict margin and conforming to our core values and branding.

Plywerk Office

These duties include overseeing existing accounts, generating leads, tracking and scrutinizing sales data, and generating sales reports. A professional and on-brand Plywerk tone, attitude (in-person or not) and attire appropriate, and catered to the client, is expected at all times.

Plywerk Woodshop

In addition to the requirements outlined below, and to being a cultural fit with our small and growing team, this individual should possess a knack for establishing, maintaining, and improving upon standardized organizational procedures.

Studio

Role Competencies

  • The ability to maintain an energetic and positive outlook towards clients and co-workers in emails, on the phone and in person, while being considerate of our product limitations and margins at all times.
  • Strong organizational skills with both digital and paper-based CRM & sales systems, and spreadsheets.
  • Kind, honest, assertive, firm and fair approach to ALL client and co-worker interactions.
  • Able to communicate concisely, effectively and efficiently.
  • Self-directed & highly organized in managing sales-leads and existing clients.
  • Quick learner who is able and willing to adapt to new processes and changes.
  • Work well with others on collaborative projects and tasks.
  • Enjoys a broad set of tasks (that may cross into other roles within the company)
  • Putting the answer to this question in the subject line of their job application: What is the tallest mountain in Oregon?

Technical Skills

  • Thorough understanding and experience in using Highrise (or similar) CRM system.
  • Thorough understanding and experience in using Basecamp (or similar) project management system.
  • Thorough understanding of printing, DPI, color.
  • Thorough understanding and experience in using Google Drive.
  • Competent using Excel, and generating reports and spreadsheets.
  • Quick learner of and efficient use of new software and/or online tools.
  • High level of computer competency (examples: typing, keyboard shortcuts, basic troubleshooting).

Qualifications

  • BA in Business, Marketing or Communications
  • 3+ years of experience in sales related positions
  • Recent experience in photo / gift market / ad specialties

To apply, send an introductory email to jobs@plywerk.com and include your resume and LinkedIn profile.

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Free Images From the Library of Congress

Alright guys, today we’re going to get a little crazy. Hold onto your hats because we’re going to tell you about the super rad things you can do with the help of the Library of Congress. Wait! DO NOT STOP READING. Really, there is something pretty cool that you should know about the Library of Congress and not everyone is aware of it. And that’s how you know it’s cool.

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You can find all sorts of fun images on the Library of Congress website!

The Library of Congress happens to have one of the largest photography collections in the United States. Some of the images are available online and they’re pretty much yours for the taking. Or using, rather. So, that’s good news for folks who want to create their own photo art, but don’t TECHNICALLY own a camera. So get on board with the Library of Congress free images.

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There is something for everyone in the image catalog on the Library of Congress website – for free!

In short, if there’s something that you’d like a photograph of, the Library of Congress probably has it. They even have a Flickr page now. And while they’re a little hazy about who can give you permission to use an image for a reproduction, it seems like they’re giving you a little wink. Like, “Listen, we’re not one to give you PERMISSION to use this picture, but if you want to use the picture, we’re just going to put it on Flickr, look the other way, and if you want to use it, that’s up to you.”

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The Geiranger Fjord in Norway can live on a Plywerk on your wall right now thanks to the Library of Congress.

So check it out, y’all. Don’t let all these images go to waste. If you want a picture of Norwegian fjord and you’ve never been to Norway, don’t let that stop you from creating your very own wood-mounted print of a fjord. The library is your oyster. Hop to it. And we’ll help you out. All you need to do is download, upload, and we’ll do the rest. And you’ve got your fjord art.

Posted in Beyond Plywerk, Photography | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment