Bookmaking with Rachael Gootnick of Just Terrific

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(photography by Jacalyn Meyvis of Jacalyn Meyvis Photography)

My name is Rachael Gootnick and I am the lady behind Just Terrific, a small bookmaking and design studio. Born and raised in Rochester, I’ve been inclined to stick around for a variety of reasons. Family being the first and foremost reason, but also because of the amazingly supportive artist community.

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A book lover and crafter my entire life, my true love for bookmaking started at RIT where I studied Printing and Publishing. After working in publishing for several years after graduation, it wasn’t until I saw a distinct turn (some may say a decline, but I prefer to call it a shift) in the publishing industry, that I decided to leave my full-time job as a book designer to start my own book making business.

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Working with my hands to create one-of-a kind books brings me great satisfaction. I love selecting my materials, all which start flat, and transforming them, fold by fold, into functional objects. I use sewing techniques created centuries ago, and work with timeless materials guaranteed to last hundreds of years in the future. My book repairs and restorations use a constructional approach to bring life back to old and broken books. My miniature books are created from scraps I’ve cut from my larger books. I find it very important to reuse and recycle materials. As an example, some of my favorite leather pieces started out as a motorcycle jacket.

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I’m grateful that people see my vision for Just Terrific, and can appreciate the handmade books I craft. My hope is that every book I create ends up filled with memories and stories, making them a true keepsake. We use temporary technology so much, like text messages and snapchats, that archiving our thoughts and feelings inside of a book allows us to remember what’s truly important. I feel strongly in the lasting power that a book can hold. Some people say books are dead, but I think they are more alive and treasured than ever.

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Painting Crystals with Melissa Huang

(photography by Emma Rowlands of Emma Louise Photography & Design)

Meet local artist, Melissa Huang. Born in Chicago, Illinois, she received her BFA in Fine Arts Studio from Rochester Institute of Technology. She is a figurative oil painter currently working on a series of faceless, crystalline portraits. Melissa won Best in Show in the 2015 Women Artists of the Finger Lakes exhibition, and shown in group exhibitions at Dacia Gallery, Zeitgeist Gallery, and Main Street Arts. Melissa interned with the Corcoran Gallery of Art and the American Art Museum, and currently works as a gallery assistant at Main Street Arts in the Rochester, NY area. She also assists a local art appraiser and is pursuing a career in fine art appraisal. Melissa’s paintings were included in Fresh Paint Magazine and Art House Press.

More from Melissa:

“I’ve been an artist my entire life with oil paints being my medium of choice ever since I first used them. I love the beautiful, vibrant colors and incredible textures you can achieve through glazing and other oil painting effects. It’s the perfect medium for my work, especially for my recent series of paintings of crystalline portraits and landscapes.”

“My crystal portraits are surreal versions of friends and family, with each person becoming a human geode. I like the idea of looking past someone’s face (one of the most important markers of a person’s identity) and seeing inside of them to an entire crystal world. It’s also very satisfying to contrast the softness of a person’s body against the hard, sharp shape of most crystals. I start by photographing my model and selecting an appropriate crystal, either from my collection or using a reference image found online. I do a mock-up in Photoshop to see what the overall portrait will look like and to use as a general reference to paint from. I deviate from this reference image as I paint and the final painting often looks very different from the Photoshopped version.”

“I’ve collected crystals and fossils my entire life. I like to say that I have magpie tendencies and am drawn to gathering shiny, sparkly things! I incorporate many of the crystals in my collection into my paintings and enjoy having them around me while I work. Every crystal is unique, and I’m trying to explore different textures and crystalline shapes in my new paintings.”

Throwing Clay with Lynne of Hobaica Ceramics

(photos by Jacalyn Meyvis)

Meet Lynne Hobaica. She is the talented artist behind Hobaica Ceramics. We asked her to introduce herself and tell you a little bit about her process behind her unique and whimsical pottery. Thanks again to Jacalyn Meyvis for the wonderful photos.

Hi I’m Lynne Hobaica. I grew up in Phoenix, Arizona somewhere in the middle of six siblings. I went to Syracuse University for undergrad, which is where I discovered ceramics. I transferred there in the middle of my sophomore year which made making friends a little difficult. I ended up taking a wheel throwing course, and from was deeply attracted to the process of working with clay, but also the community. Ceramic artists spend so much of their time thinking about the making and use of pottery which in turn makes meal-time an important and often shared experience. I love that as someone who makes pottery, I can play a part in the important and intimate role of a meal.

Most of the pots I make start on the wheel and from there transform into new and unexpected shapes. Before the clay is completely dry, I paint colorful slips (liquid clays) onto the surface and then carve creatures and patterns into the pot. The creatures I use have evolved over time, reflecting whatever seems to be happening in my life or around me. Each animal is hand drawn, leading to a slightly different expression or mood every time. Ultimately, my hope in making the pots that I make is that they will bring color and playfulness into people’s everyday rituals.

Making Candles with Sunny & Lo

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(photography by Jessica Campbell, a photography student at RIT)

Sunny & Lo is all about the home. Owned by Brianna Giambrone, Sunny & Lo is a lifestyle brand (named after Brianna’s grandmothers), with a growing collection of hand-poured soy candles. What began as a creative outlet after leaving her demanding 9 to 5 job, has steadily grown into a business that is about to open its first brick-and-mortar shop. 

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“I love everything that represents and embodies home. Home is my retreat after a long day, the place where I relax with the people I love. I want Sunny & Lo to represent all these wonderful things we associate with the comfort of home. When you light one of our candles we want it to bring those relaxed homey vibes right in to your living room.” - Brianna Giambrone

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Sunny & Lo will open later this month at 129 West Commercial Street in East Rochester. Brianna hopes you’ll stop by to say hello and to sample some of Sunny & Lo’s best selling candles, including: Rosemary & Mint, Cashmere, and Tobacco & Vanilla.

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Ivy & Lace: Styled Shoot with Lovely Bride

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(photography by Hannah Betts of Lives Styled)

Katie Wadhams, owner of Lovely Bride in Rochester wanted to show everyone her new line of  Rue de Seine gowns, and what better way to do that than a Roc Girl Collab! Along with Katie, the girls from Lives Styled helped design this shoot and make it come to life and look completely magical. We are in love with EVERY SINGLE ONE of these photos. Enjoy the ivy & lace in our most recent #rocgirlcollab. Here are all of the amazing Roc Girls involved:

Dresses: Rue de Seine from Lovely Bride Rochester
Photography & Styling: Lives Styled
Jewelry: The Adorned Studios (Interstellar Love Craft & Inner Loop Design Co)
Flowers: Stacy K Floral
Hair & Makeup: Special Occasion Hair Design
Models: Virginia McDonald, Paige Smith & Shannon Costello

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Botanical Ballet

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(photography by Natalie Sinisgalli of Natalie Sinisgalli Photography)

This Roc Girl Collab just might go down in history. So many amazing and talented Roc Girls came together and made something amazing. Thanks for sharing with us! Here are the talented vendors:

Photography: Natalie Sinisgalli Photography

Floral: Stacy K Floral
Hair & Makeup: Special Occasion Hair Design
Manicures: Sunless 2 Go
Model: Elizabeth Rodbell of Rochester City Ballet
Model: Caitlin Schwartz of Rochester City Ballet

Corset: Lovely Bride Rochester
Furniture: Panache Home Design

Space: Agathi & Company

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Rachel Cordaro: Blush

Thank you to Rachel Cordaro for donating her gorgeous painting.

BLUSH: Original painting on canvas using acrylic paint. 12x36 inches. See more of her work HERE

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“Rachel’s work … prioritizes outward beauty. Her flowers don’t attempt to reproduce physical reality; instead, they strive for a higher symbolic truth: our need for nature’s enchantments. She doesn’t paint with the delicate intricacy one might expect in floral art, but rather with broad, thick strokes and strong centers that carry a flare of confidence into the blossoms. Her paintings have no human subjects, yet they exude human personality: dramatic, shy, flirtatious, quiet, sassy, classy, and at times untamed.  ”
— PAM EMIGH-MURPHY

The Girl Behind The Gang: Meet Sarah Knight

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(photos by Meghan Marin)

So many people have asked me how I got the idea to start Roc Girl Gang. It’s pretty simple, who on earth HASN’T wanted to be the leader of a girl gang!? Am I right? It just sounded like a good thing to have on a resume. Actually, when I was starting my own graphic design business years ago, I was looking for something like this. And I couldn’t find it. So I decided it was time to create it myself. I love encouraging others. I love to see talented, hardworking women succeed. I love to see risk and perseverance pay off. I love creating and being a part of something much larger than myself. All this has come together and formed Roc Girl Gang.

I am a graphic designer and have lived in Rochester for about ten years. About six months ago, I made a Rochester Street Sign print and I knew it would be a hit with the local community but I really didn’t have a platform to launch it. I randomly connected with Paige Smith (a tried & true Rochester local who has a gorgeous feed and is now a regular contributor for RGG) and we hosted a giveaway. She was thrilled to do it and we launched the first #rocgirlcollab (but not the last). It was a big hit and it really got me the local exposure I needed (Paige got a free print as a thank you from me- WIN/WIN). Then I got thinking, I want to start something that does this ALL THE TIME for local creatives. I want to give them a platform to show off their work. Better yet, let’s get local photographers on board. Some makers are amazing at their specialty but they aren’t taking good photos of their product. Then they don’t get the exposure and attention they deserve and that’s just sad. So we are connecting photographers & makers and it’s a beautiful thing. They are collaborating and working together and doing some amazing things already.

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(killer necklace by Inner Loop Design Co)

Connecting with other creatives is hard, it’s intimidating and it might feel awkward. But what if we just skip over all that. I want Roc Girl Gang to be a place where we encourage each other and say hi and make connections and feature amazing women and collaborate and say “good job” and then hopefully meet in real life at some point. That’s my goal for Roc Girl Gang. So let’s create! Let’s take photos! Let’s collaborate! Let’s encourage! Let’s give stuff away! Let’s just get this thing started for crying out loud! XOXO, Sarah Knight