Category Archives: Art

guest post: sara swecker

IMG_0524I am so excited to have my first guest post! I’d like to introduce you to my fabulous and creative cousin, Sara Swecker.  Sara works with the team at Nine6 Design, where she combines her love for furniture design and architecture.  I’ll let her explain the rest…take it away Sara!

I’m an architect and furniture designer and usually into anything else creative.  I  went to North Carolina State University in Raleigh, NC for my architecture undergrad and violin performance.  Then moved to Maryland where I went to Morgan State University, Baltimore, for my Master of Architecture.

It was there where I met Matt and Joe.  After a three-way tie for that year’s Thesis Design Award, we talked about if the two of them ever went into business to give me a call.  Well, they did.  A couple years later they had started Nine6 Design specializing in architecture, furniture design and interiors.  Odd name, yes, let me explain:  Their thesis project in grad school was to convert shipping containers into housing.  The US has an abundance of shipping containers as it is more expensive to ship empty containers to our foreign suppliers than to just send over more.  The height of these containers is 9 feet 6 inches.  Nine6.  We’ve continued to explore the reality of converting shipping containers into viable housing, but have focused more lately on our furniture.

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Our studio is based in York, Pennsylvania where they both live and about a 90 minute drive for me.  I  work from home and go up once a week to discuss business and work collectively on designs for up-coming pieces which usually involves paper and trace strewn over the tables, cardboard boxes being transformed into furniture, loud music playing, and creativity running rampant!  My job description covers a range of topics:  furniture designing, architecture, managing our graphics…lots of computer drafting, lots of sketching, lots of emailing, lots of creativity!  So far we have been featured on numerous flash sales sites (, had our City Life Sideboard shown in Dwell magazine, have worked with several interior designers, and are currently in several retail stores in North America. We’re hoping that business will only get better and our designs will get more positive publicity.


For more information check out or find us on Facebook, Twitter (@nine6design) and Pinterest. The pieces pictured above are from the City Life Collection.

video: being creative


journal experiment-Wacom tablet

It’s amazing what happens when your artwork meets your thoughts & words.  Wacom tablet experiments-day one.  This is the start of a beautiful thing.

Project Pendant


I recently started making mini-collages and putting them in small metal pendants for gifts. They are simple, meaningful and fun to make.
Here’s my quick how-to:


Buy these pendant frames that come with cut glass.  Cut heavy paper such a cardstock to the size of your frames.  Collage to your liking on the cardstock.  I use PVA glue to adhere the layers smoothly to the cardstock.




Once you have your complete collage, be sure everything is dry, then place it between the two sheets of glass. Insert the glass carefully into the metal frame and you’re all set…it’s as simple as that!


The last thing to do is string your pendant onto a chain.  I use different chains depending on the style and weight of the pendant.


Video: A Journey to Be

Sometimes the best source of inspiration comes from within.  Revisiting this video tonight was just what I needed.


Artist Inspiration: Bekah Ash


I love love love Bekah Ash artwork!  I first saw Bekah’s paintings at a gallery in Galena, IL and have been admiring her work ever since. Her portraits are gorgeous. Ash’s paintings are in galleries across the Midwest as well as art festivals throughout the summer and early fall.  She has been featured in top-ranking art festivals, and has had her images published in popular media including textbooks, interior design publications, and Hallmark greeting cards. Check out her website to see more of her beautiful artwork:  Keep rockin it Bekah!






artist inspiration-sabrina ward harrison

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I have been a fan of Sabrina Ward Harrison since the day I first paged through her artist journal, “Spilling Open: The Are of Becoming Yourself.”  In my opinion, Sabrina’s artwork is as good as it gets. The words, the saturated pages, the stories and the messiness, it all hits home to me. When creating artwork, there is always a struggle between artistic control and true freedom.  Sabrina’s artwork has taught me that it’s ok to be completely free with my art, to not worry about the spills, the splatters or the raw bits.  Real life and real moments, that’s what her artwork captures.

“I’ve been consumed with all this living up to something. To ‘be something, express something!’ We have such a longing to be understood and loved by others, why? Can’t it be just this now? Without armor and shield? Just myself.  My vulnerability protects me, not my tight control.  I hope to love with an open hand and a slow trusting stride” ~SWH

See more of Sabrina’s artwork:
Spilling Open, Messy Thrilling Life, The True and the Questions, And the Story is Happening.

We all need space

I am so thrilled to have my own art room.  After moving out of a one bedroom apartment where I had one little art corner to make things, having an entire art room to myself is amazing!  I have my paintings set up on one side, my drafting table set up on the other and a whole closet for materials!  Jewelry making supplies, scrap paper for journalling, paints, old magazines, blank canvases…they all fit!  It’s such a great feeling to know that there is a place to escape to where I can be messy and creative without judgement!

Any artist or hobbiest can attest to the need for space.  If we can’t spread out a bit and be messy, if we can’t be by ourselves from time to time, we will have a hard time maximizing our creativity.  I have found that the same is true for personal evolvement as well.  We need space to grow, develop, explore and become.  We need the space to go off on our own, to travel and to learn to trust ourselves.

So no matter your living arrangements, make sure you find some space and time for yourself.  If you can’t make the space in your home, visit coffee shops, libraries or cafes where you can, even for a little while, have your own space.   Allow yourself the time to listen to your inner artist!

Now go, mark your territory!

it takes a while

when you need a little push, a spoonful of motivation, watch this video from Ira Glass.


Today I had the day off, so after my morning run i made my way to Julius Meinl to sip some coffee and dive into some creative readings/thoughts/projects.  It was the first time in a really long that I was able to escape from the things around me, drink coffee and jot down notes and ideas without having to keep track of the time.  I was switching between my journal, a book called “Living the Creative Life” by Rice Freeman-Zachery, and my Lucky Peach Magazine (a quirky and brilliant magazine about food).   I love it when I am able to teeter between art and food things, it’s like a creative manifesto that never gets old.  Anyways, as I was enjoying my coffee and bouncing around new art and food ideas in my head, this paragraph from Living the Creative Life stuck out at me so I wanted to share it.  It’s a little confirmation for all those folks who have chosen to embrace their creativity head on; those who fearlessly follow their creative instincts into unmarked territory, rather than getting tangled up in the muck of a prescribed life.  Cheers to the brave, the bold and the bodacious people of the world!

“But for most people, true creativity is pretty scary.  It demands things of you.  I requires attention and sacrifice.  Think how much easier it is to take a regular nine-to-five job, do the things most people take for granted:  spending the evening watching TV, sleeping through the night without waking up to scribble or sketch or check on the progress of something drying in the studio.  Think of that, and then think about how flat your life would be.  Creativity, if it holds you in its thrall, is worth every sacrifice, every risk, every moment of looking at life from a slightly different perspective from your family and friends and neighbors.  It is, in short, life itself.”