the categorical days: Work

July 31, 2009

Knowing is half the battle

Designed by a nerduo, printed by us

We're going to get a good workout at the studio when this BATTLE shirt goes to press.

Its been the fastest selling design on our site.

In commemoration of G.I. Joe, I present my favorite fake PSA.

Look at all your different colored hats!

Filed under: Tshirts, Work | | Comments (1)

April 17, 2009

Fate to Fatal

Kim and Kelley take a break after printing up 1000 limited edition "Fate to Fatal" EPs.

I'm going down to Shake It Records tonight (8pm) to see these fine ladies play some music in commemoration of their release and Record Store Day.

Things have been so pedal-to-the-metal that I haven't really taken the time to talk about this record. The cover is the first one I've ever designed proper, and it's a helluva an honor to work with The Breeders. Vaughn Oliver's work with them is one of the biggest reasons I do what I do these days. The fact I love their music? Gravy. The best gravy ever.

Total honor.

If you're curious how to get the EP on vinyl, it is out there at independent shops on 4/18, then it will likely show up in more places on and offline soon.

Filed under: Design, Music, Work | | Comments (2)

February 05, 2009

super pretty

This is all one scarf, it's called Blood Bank

I mentioned someone was making scarves back in November (still working on a little movie about 'em), but I had yet to provide any more detail.

And that's been hard because these are easily some of my most favorite things to photograph at the studio, ever. Whenever I got ready to don the hat of promoter and street barker, they would sell out.

So without delay, I'm sharing this link to Kelley Deal Goods

I have too many favorites.

Filed under: Work | | Comments (2)

February 03, 2009

back in the studio

Tom made this

I didn't see my workmates for six days while the weather was inclement. So while I pushed around pixels at home, Tom and Wendy worked on projects from their end (while balancing everything with a house full of sick kids that were off school).

When I walked in the joint on Monday, I saw evidence of Tom's playful creative side. The image above is a slice of a poster design concept he worked up.

I quite dig it.

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January 09, 2009

I refuse to participate in the recession

3 creams. 7:47 a.m.

We've been dedicating time at the studio to mind our business so to speak.

For the first two years, our studio has primarily been viewed as a t-shirt company. We do other design work in the background, but it doesn't fit neatly into our website as it stands. On top of this disparity we started looking a few years out and realized we didn't have much of a concrete vision in place.

What do we want to do? Where do we see our company? How could we get there?

To chart new territory, we enlisted the help of Laurie, an advisor and business coach. She's been helping us define, prioritize and tackle a game plan. Along the way we've had exercises and assignments to clarify goals and actions. (You might remember the Post-It notes to the future from a while back.)

It's been very rewarding, but every bit as much hard work.

On Friday we met with other groups and individuals in the area doing the same thing for their business.

I sat there in my car before the workshop, listening to NPR and dumping half-and-half into coffee. The news reports were grim. Job loss reports came out that day. More caution from the financial sector. I'm sure they tickled "Stormy Weather" on the ivories of Marketplace. It was brow furrowing, and even the weird excitement of being up before dawn didn't ease it up much.

I stepped into the conference room filled with unfamiliar faces, listened perhaps a little harder, and ended the day with a better understanding of this whole planning concept.

When we wrapped up, everyone shared some thoughts of the day and one lady remarked that she "refused to participate in the recession." I let out a sharp hearty laugh, tinged with a bit of discomfort and optimism.

Filed under: Work | | Comments (7)

December 03, 2008

From screen to magazine

Making the cover

Cincinnati Magazine just released their annual "Best of the City" issue for 2008 (on newsstands now).

In it they list 110 of their favorite things around town, from restaurants and shops to services and activities (including kilt rental and clogging lessons.) They not only gave a shout out to Wire & Twine for our shirts, but they had us print up a batch for the cover along with a tee for every winner on the list.

This is the type of thing we file under 'awesome' around the studio. A great reward as we approach our anniversary and look forward to 2009 and lots of new projects.

(Related link: The "Open for business" post.)

This appreciation would not be complete without tipping our collective hats to everyone who filled up a cart and checked out of our virtual store, 'blogged about a product, emailed a friend with a link, or even sent us good vibes.

Thank you thank you thank you.

Filed under: Tshirts, Work | | Comments (9)

November 25, 2008

The "new" guy

cuttin it up

This is Joel.

You may have noticed him modeling some of the new shirts over at the shop. Well maybe not, since I'm always cropping off everyone's heads.

Anyway, Joel has been with us for like a year now, so he's technically not the new guy, but he is the newest. He comes in a few days of the week and can jump into darn near any project we've got going. That alone makes him valuable, but the real bonus is that he's a bright and fun guy, with a passionate (and yes, maybe quirky) taste for music; whether he's picking out an album to play, or talking about his own creations.

The only thing we disagree on is how to say Appalachia.

All in all, we lucked out finding him.

Current music: Thao & The Get Down, Stay Down "Yes, So On And So On"

Filed under: Friends, Work | | Comments (2)

November 17, 2008


screens stacked in the darkroom

Joel (the "new" guy at the studio) has been getting things in order.

We're gearing up for the holidays.

No time to type!

Filed under: Work | | Comments (0)

October 06, 2008

Notes to the future

I make the same icons over and over it seems...

As we approach our 2nd anniversary at the studio, it's time to figure out where we've been and were we want to go. Part of this process is to think through our personal vision.

We started this today.

Tom was printing out fun tidbits last I saw, Wendy was plotting out things on a grid, and I grabbed a marker and some post-it notes.

So I threw out everything—personal and professional—then gave a subjective rating as to how well I'm attending to any particular topic. (I'll admit I borrowed the latter idea from Wendy's grid)

Tomorrow? We reconvene and look for overlap and ways to help each other.

Photos ZOOM IN to read the notes

Current music: Deerhunter "Activation"

Filed under: Pondersome, Work | | Comments (5)

October 02, 2008

While the kids were sleeping

breaking out the index cards

Tom keeps having quality control issues with his thrice repaired and replaced laptop, so he went to the computer store and I was left to entertain myself at the quiet studio yesteday.

Crossed a few things off the to-read list while I ate lunch at sloth-like speed and then spent the afternoon carving out business plans with Wendy while her kids were sleeping.

We stared at the calendar, then came up with what is potentially a fine design idea. Now I'm fleshing out the doodle above.

Current music: The Killers "Human"

Filed under: Work | | Comments (0)

July 09, 2008




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November 02, 2007


Tom sets up the shelves

Flurry of activity at the studio. That calendar is already paying off. While I was upstairs pushing pixels, Tom and Garrett were downstairs making magic happen.

Soon filling orders will be as easy as pulling out a bin and selecting the right size. (another photo from above)

Those two have also been making good with the markers for the next t-shirt—a special edition garment for our friends at WOXY. (draft)

In non-work news, I'm tempted to rent a hotel just to have a big tub and load it up with Calgon. Got home in time to maybe go out and catch a flick, but there's not a dang thing I really want to see out in the theaters.

UPDATE: We're going to see that Across the Universe.

Current music: Dirty On Purpose "Always Looking"

Filed under: Work | | Comments (0)

October 30, 2007


The studio at the farm

Folks have been intrigued by the little snippets of the studio that crop up on these pages now and then—usually there's an expanse of plywood or shelves heavy with tools or inspiration, there are drawers, ink, and sometimes I'll crop up.

One of my November goals is to get with the other folks and give a proper tour of the space.

Until then, this here's the outside. And another view if'n you're interested.

Current music: Guided By Voices "Tour Guide At The Winston Churchill Memorial"

Filed under: Work | | Comments (5)

October 23, 2007


Old factory adjacent to Target and Crossroads in Oakley, no idea what they make (or made) here

Crunch week.

Outside communication (replies, emails, phonecalls) will be on time delay.

Post text, sparse.

Current music: Band Of Horses "Is There A Ghost"

Filed under: Work | | Comments (3)

October 02, 2007

welcoming October

It's hard not to say Boo-yeah

Lot's of good stuff on the work front. Among them, we finally updated the Wire & Twine homepage with the Skeleton "Smart-Tee" pictured above. Tom drew up the bones and the kids around the studio won't stop wearing them and spelling out the word printed along the hem.

If you want one and you're in Cincinnati, stop by MiCA over in O'Bryonville (map). They've got most all of our shirts in stock and have a whole store full of neato stuff.

Upcoming news...

In a few weeks two important events overlap, Farm Day - a yearly shindig by my good friends that is always guaranteed fun, and Dan's recital - a gig he's been planning and practicing for almost non-stop.

On tap this week: I'm going to Chicago on Friday to bend elbows at the FLIST Blogger's Artshow.
I'm a bit over-excited as a.) I'm going to meet lots of folks from online I hold dear, and b.) I've never had anything up on a gallery wall except for that thing in 3rd grade where I got a that red ribbon.

If you're free on Friday night, stop on by. Runs 'til 2am at the Happy Dog Gallery (1542 N. Milwaukee, 2nd floor - map)

Current music: Stars Of The Lid "Even If You're Never Awake"

Filed under: Work | | Comments (1)

September 14, 2007

Blocking out time

Wendy helps me formulate a workable schedule

The afternoon was spent in a state of the studio meeting, carving out short term goals with a few darts thrown in the virtual distance for good measure.

As the work whistle blew, I was given a schedule for the next week with a handle on how to approach the juggling of hours.

I'm excited to give this whole planning thing a whirl.

Filed under: Work | | Comments (0)

September 05, 2007



I didn't take many photos yesterday, but this one emerged from a set I'm using for interface elements.

The holiday weekend ended and I stepped back onto the fast train that is work. Good news is that I feel motivated and energized.

Bad news is that I still haven't sorted through vacation photos.

All in good time.

Current music: The Long Winters "Carparts"

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August 31, 2007

a little fall cleaning

I am not this organized [ + zoom to read the labels ]

It's not present in this photo, but that blurry span in-between seasons is here.

A day that starts off dreadful and muggy ends up cool with loops of crickets lifted on the breeze through open windows.

The colors are changing too, like someone is fiddling with the hue and saturation of the light and landscape, ever so slightly.

It's also a time when other things are shifting—like schedules and whatnot. Maybe it's a quarterly thing, but the need to get a rough plan for the next few months seems prudent right about now.

So I walk into the studio yesterday, and Wendy is there. The gal who's college class schedule I lifted because I equate scheduling with numbers, numbers are math, math is hard, so I avoid it.

Anyway, because it's also that part of the year when school starts up, there's no babysitter during the day—so I barely get to see her.

We chit chat sitting at our desks and without any preconception, we start tidying. In no time we are eliminating piles and breaking out the broom. I prepare packages for things I'd meant to send out to friends months ago. Like items are boxed or put into appropriate drawers. Shelves are able to be dusted.

It wasn't a super-thorough spring cleaning, but we can now see the floor. And we didn't make any actual plans or figure out the schedule, but we're more ready.

Current music: Larsen "Rebirth" from the album MUSM

Filed under: Work | | Comments (0)

June 07, 2007


Tom’s handiwork

There are so many "films" laying around the studio that haven't been filed away proper. This particular one, from a print job for a CD jacket/invite, always catches my eye.

Lots of activity in the studio today. As I wrestle to get perspective and step outside of my comfort zone with pixels, there's the sounds of woodworking below. Tom's making shelves because you can never have too many of those.

Current music: The Field "From Here We Go Sublime"

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May 31, 2007

ink, part 2

Fret not, they don't dry out when exposed to air

The short work week will get shorter as I head south for a wedding tomorrow.

On the work front, we've had some issues with the inkjet printer that makes transparencies for films. That solved, now the thermometer on the dryer is pitching fits.

(insert image of boat that springs another leak as a previous one is stopped)

The good thing is that we've got a new pair of hands and eyes for the summer - and that has been fantastic as we gear up for some stuff in the works.

I was going to wrap this up with some random links, but I don't have my editorial cap handy. There's lots of recent surfing recorded here iff'n you're bored.

Previously: Ink (November 2005)

Current music: Growing "Fancy Period"

Filed under: Work | | Comments (1)

May 11, 2007

pattern control

buttons! knobs!

This week has been jam packed.

Wednesday, a mini-marathon of a meeting – getting to know the development team behind a new project. The image above is part of a tour of the facilities and bears some relevance to the order of the day as expectations and outcomes are considered.

There's no way to control such patterns, but experience provides a darn good foundation.

I once read a mildly funny bit about using computer commands in real life—maybe it was for Word or Photoshop. My Google powers only bring up some fark-like banter that wasn't what I was looking for. Then I remembered that ctrl+z shirt on Threadless that is sorta related, I guess.

Current music: Beastie Boys "Now Get Busy"

Filed under: Work | | Comments (0)

May 02, 2007


Something that is not a t-shirt (or a dozen roses)

I had the luck to "beta-test" the latest Wire & Twine creation this past weekend. It's called the Momergency Kit and it contains a whole bunch of stuff I never have on hand, a booklet with ideas on how to use said stuff, and a bag to keep it all tidy.

Now, I'm not a mom, but there's no exaggeration when reporting that I dipped into this tote no less than four times over my few days in Austin.

  • The flashlight helped explore the dark under a picnic table for a missing pacifier.
  • A safety pin attached a flower to a lapel.
  • I used a ziplock to make a safe haven for a lens with a lost lens backing.
  • I flossed with some of the thread.

Oh yeah, I passed a photographer on the street that first night out and paid for a mugshot from this character. If I didn't have that Sharpie I'd never have gotten his email address.

So I tip my hat to Wendy for making something that's already been worth it's light weight and small footprint. I suppose if I'm going to tout, it would seem prudent to remind folks that a certain holiday approaches, and if you don't want to send a box of chocolates...

The Momergency Kit is a fine choice.

Oh, and after reading that entry on wikipedia about Mother's Day, who knew it "was copied from England by a social activist with a call to unite women against war." The proclamation is worth reading.

Current music: Voxtrot "Mothers, Sisters, Daughters & Wives"

Filed under: Work | | Comments (1)

May 02, 2007


in a row (sorry, couldn't resist)

Woke up about the time a rooster would, trying to look proper for a meeting this morning.

Been a long time since I had to give a bit of background about what I've done professionally, discussing experience and process. Though I was flighty, muttered, and waved my hands too much, it was cathartic.

I don't often consider the path I'm on, but I'm feeling really good that I'm heading in the right direction, and lucky to be sharing the journey with good people on every front.

Which reminds me, I think dinner club is this weekend. It's May. Wow.

Current music: Sonic Youth "Pattern Recognition"

Filed under: Work | | Comments (1)

March 27, 2007

new gal at the office

Honestly, every time I round the corner, she startles me

Thanks ma (who works at an antique store) for finding this specimen for the studio.

Current music: Little River Band "Lady"

Filed under: Work | | Comments (1)

September 16, 2005

Neigh Moo Oink Cluck


Though not the first print from the screen printing set-up, today was the most successful. So many variables: applying screen block, registration, viscosity of ink, and getting the curing temperature to 320° without any scorching.

By mid-morning we were throwing whatever we could on the press to see what took.

Seemed to work just fine on everything from cotton to plywood.

Now to figure out what to do with it all.

Filed under: Work | | Comments (2)

May 19, 2005


Winding down

When the work whistle blew, I joined a friend and his daughter to enjoy a bit of the late afternoon at the park yesterday.

In the garden house, one of the workers there—a granola type with an excitedly relaxed vibe showed us some stamps he'd carved out with raccoon footprints. He beamed, "I get paid for this."

I should've gone into agriculture.

Filed under: Work | | Comments (0)

April 17, 2005


Time to find some summer socks

Today I put the (hopefully) final coat of paint on a basement floor that will house all the screen printing equipment.

Filed under: Work | | Comments (5)

April 06, 2005

Intelligent software agents

I could've easily gotten several testimonials from previous clients to get the same statement...

So I'm peeking over the shoulder of a fella I'm working with and we're going over projects outlined on our Basecamp hub. As we traded barbs about how we use (the project management website) and how we _wished_ it would work, this screen came up.

Filed under: Work | | Comments (4)

August 18, 2004

A watched pot

Cheapskate... or disorganized?

I had to have a document printed in a few hours and I had no "regular" paper. The ink jet generally collects dust unless I am printing out a CD cover, label, or a photo on glossy stock. Even when I get directions from Mapquest, I jot them down by hand on the back of a student loan envelope.

I just don't print that much.

So I X-acto up some notebook paper from a pad and run it through. Blotches appear with streaks until the tension and alignment is properly set.

There's no time to reprint though, as each page seems to be taking 10 minutes.

Funny how there's a correlation between need and time. I finally just gave up on pacing and decided to take care of some chores.

The thing finally printed, and holding the ruled paper in my hands I thought, this looks cool.

Maybe not "professional," but cool.

Filed under: Design, Work | | Comments (0)

July 28, 2004

I'm keeping the Aeron

The parade of Herman Miller chairs

Real quick here, as there aren't enough hours in the day.

My mom and brother were busy at the studio earlier this week, and man, what progress they've made.

((( Thanks )))

We're breaking everything down and getting TONS of things taken to the curb for trash, and organizing the rest into piles of: eBay, yard sale, take home, store, and give away.

It's amazing how much stuff an office can accrue over a period of 8 years.

I'm not sad to see the space go, as it was just not being used, and the notion of being free of it lightens both overhead and feelings of guilt.

I will admit some melancholy looking at these empty chairs lined up. Reminds me of the four tall firs we had out in front of my house growing up. We created family history around them, saying they represented myself and siblings. True to lore, when my sister married and left the roost, one fell.

Next week: The dreaded backroom– filled with boxes of papers and other stuff we'd hidden from plain sight.

Filed under: Pondersome, Work | | Comments (0)

April 08, 2004

Whiplash photoshoot

Red red red red red

While up in Columbus, I was trying to find some images of a computer. A seemingly simple task, but I wasn't happy with anything available through their online subscription photo service.

Considering their office is ultra-hip, I had a camera and the light was good; I figured it was time to snap a few shots myself.

It's not for print, so I don't have to worry about super-fine detail (though in pinch, I could achieve that) — simply some usage online and in computer presentations.

It's days like this when I like what I do the most — when I can have an idea in mind, and create a solution, clean it up, insert it into an interface and feel like I accomplished something at the end of the day, without limitations, roadblocks or waiting.

Filed under: Work | | Comments (0)

October 13, 2003

The couch office

Click, click, click, key command, save, post, edit, post, refresh

I find it mildly amusing that I can be productive while sitting on the couch, high on Tylenol Flu.

I hate taking over-the-counter drugs, but frankly - I'm just not in the mood to listen to my body telling me it's unhappy.

My amusement doesn't end there... I don't save master files much anymore. The web, so transient.

I'll make a little icon, post it, and delete its parent on my drive. Some other company will redo the site in the future and all this is for naught.

Back to carrying my head around on a string... La la la...

Filed under: Work | | Comments (0)

October 02, 2003

Working with idiots can kill you

Stress caused by dim-witted co-workers may give you a fatal heart attack

STOCKHOLM -- Idiots in the office are just as hazardous to your health as cigarettes, caffeine or greasy food, an eye-opening new study reveals. In fact, those dopes can kill you!

Stress is one of the top causes of heart attacks -- and working with stupid people on a daily basis is one of the deadliest forms of stress, according to researchers at Sweden's Lindbergh University Medical Center.

The author of the study, Dr. Dagmar Andersson, says her team studied 500 heart attack patients, and were puzzled to find 62 percent had relatively few of the physical risk factors commonly blamed for heart attacks.

"Then we questioned them about lifestyle habits, and almost all of these low-risk patients told us they worked with people so stupid they can barely find their way from the parking lot to their office. And their heart attack came less than 12 hours after having a major confrontation with one of these oafs.

"One woman had to be rushed to the hospital after her assistant shredded important company tax documents instead of copying them. A man told us he collapsed right at his desk because the woman at the next cubicle kept asking him for correction fluid -- for her computer monitor.

"You can cut back on smoking or improve your diet," Dr. Andersson says, "but most people have very poor coping skills when it comes to stupidity -- they feel there's nothing they can do about it, so they just internalize their frustration until they finally explode."

Stupid co-workers can also double or triple someone's work load, she explains. "Many of our subjects feel sorry for the drooling idiots they work with, so they try to cover for them by fixing their mistakes. One poor woman spent a week rebuilding client records because a clerk put them all in the 'recycle bin' of her computer and then emptied it -- she thought it meant the records would be recycled and used again."

From the folks that brought us BatBoy

Filed under: Work | | Comments (0)

October 01, 2003

Opening up a can of Whoop Ass

I tucked in my shirt

So they cleared a desk for me up at the gig in Columbus. I share space with the Chief Marketing Officier. Fancy title for a bubbly chick who seems to balance motherhood and professional responsibility with aplomb.

I'm left staring at a few remnants of the prior occupant, so I spent the early morning hours arranging the visual noise to be less obtrusive to my convoluted thinking.

The job is going fairly well, but the notion of offices, people and working in a larger company seem to get more of my attention than the pixels on the screen.

Today, I noticed one of the junior marketers, public relations I think. She was dressed all smart with her hair done up nice and some whoopass boots on. I believe she had a meeting scheduled with a vendor. Some higher-up golfing-type left without her.

I hear this from others as they discuss it in the primarily female marketing department, and I realize that what I'm seeing is, quite simply, discrimination.

It saddens me a bit.

The P.R. person/girl/young woman/chick, went about her business outwardly unfazed. I realized that I notice these things, and it would make me a good manager. Better yet, I'd fare well at being the higher-up sans the golf.

Thank god I don't exist in a place that requires titles.

Filed under: Work | | Comments (0)

September 18, 2003

Real Work?

I see red.

The folks I work with for this contractual gig are pretty down to earth and hip.

It's hard to focus in their environment though, as there is so mush kitsch around.

The hallway is abuzz with people going to and from meetings, popping in for questions and general water cooler hubbub.

The job seems ancillary to the social interaction.

So and so's daughter got the West Nile Virus from a mosquito bite on her girl scout camp out. Another's grandson is in the hospital. Pictures shared from the drunken conference. Where did you get those shoes?

It's kinda comforting to see the humanity covering up the hierarchy.

Filed under: Work | | Comments (0)

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