Japanese Mon

We recently had a request to make some family reunion keepsakes. They really wanted to have something simple and nice that their family members would actually use and display. Rather than just another t-shirt. The asked us to engrave their family mon onto ornaments with a little commemorative message on the reverse side. 

Japanese mon are the equivalent of European's family coat of arms. An emblem to represent the family. Japanese mon have great clean lines and shapes. The designs translate so well when it's engraved.

They turned out beautifully. What a great family reunion gift to give to an entire family! It was also a unique project for us. We do a lot of private label and manufacturing work as well as our retail line. It was fun to work with a family who wanted to present a thoughtful gift to their family. 

Lasers and love - Thea 

A Little Party Never Killed Nobody - Custom Art Deco Cake Topper

First, I hate that I just quoted a Fergie song BUT it was a big song in the recent connotation of The Great Gatsby movie. It's hard to shake it. 

Gatsby represents the roaring 20's with art deco architecture and design splashed everywhere. It is a long time personal favorite era of mine. Gimme that, art deco design and patterns, loud music, gold on black accents, flapper dresses and lots of liquor. Sounds like the perfect theme for a wedding! We recently had the pleasure of creating a custom cake topper for such a themed wedding.

Custom design by our customer - engraved and painted by 6 by 6

The groom had readymade custom artwork of their own so this project was a breeze. Clean angles with their initials engraved in the center. We painted it a soft gold tone and coated it with food grade wood oil.

A beautiful heirloom keepsake of their very special day. 

Ah...love. 

With that, I'll leave for now wishing you a wonderful weekend!

Lasers and love -Thea 

Wedding and garden planning!

While our "plates" have been quite full lately, and we've been managing pretty well! We're so excited to have some new wholesale accounts! A few of them are brand new stores! So exciting!!! What would be typically a slow time during the year has been a busy one for us thanks to that support.

Late night gluing magnets together party!

Wine bottle openers, paint brushes, spoons and a shot glass = evidence from working late at night.

We also have the added bonus of preparing for our own wedding later this year. Being creative people, we of course can't just settle for readymade anything. We created our own save the dates. We are currently designing our own wedding invitations and programs. We're trying to enlist as many of our fellow makers and small business owners for the things we need for the wedding. I'm very excited to be doing it this way. I will admit that I did buy a store bought dress. I had the crazy idea to make my own. But I came to my senses and realized that I wouldn't have time to actually do it. Nice thought though! 

We made our own save the dates! This is a shot of our envelopes laser cut out of weighted cardstock from French Paper Co.. This is our go-to for simple envelope design.

We also have domestic family stuff too. I've been a long time avid gardener (I only grow food well!) So like I do every time around this year I plan out our garden and start seeds. We've had quite the boost with the early warm weather already hitting us here in the PNW.

Wildflower seeds gifted to us by  Native Ideals  for Montana. 

Wildflower seeds gifted to us by Native Ideals for Montana. 

I typically only focus on growing food. I do have flowering trees & shrubs and flowers for pollinators around the yard. But we were so kindly gifted some wild flower seeds from Native Ideals (their based out of Montana) I have to plan on including them in the garden this year! Their artwork on their seed packets are simply amazing! 

That pretty much catches you all up to date with us. At least for the next 24 hours! We are headed to Central Washington this weekend for some domestic stuff but I'll still post any interesting or ridiculous things we encounter on our Instagram

Lasers and love - Thea

Pop-up Villages!

Being laser art designers there's a lot of pressure to either create kits or intricate boxes. It's the basic thing for a laser cutter to do.  I'm personally not a fan of doing what everyone else is doing and we're more than just laser cutters. Being in 100% control of our laser time and designs I wanted to create something fun and functional. 

We are proud offer our Pop-up Village Houses "kit". Simple, unique, lightweight, Made in the USA by us (duh) and something that you can customize! I LOVE the coloring for all movement. So many of my friends post pictures daily of their work and current books that they are working on. I'm personally a paints girl. I love doodling with paint. I wanted to offer something that someone could have as is or indulge in customizing it with paint or markers.

Customizing a village of pop-up houses.

John had to reign me in with this project. I drew up at least a dozen classic traditional styled homes. I had dozens of accessories I HAD TO HAVE! I also wanted to design the house to look like the houses or houses that were in the neighborhoods that I've lived in. That will be in the next round - or we can talk about customizing a design similar to a house you might have in mind. THE POSSIBILITIES ARE ENDLESS!

One of the many design phases for the Pop-up Houses. I also can't draw a straight line to save my ass. 

One of the many design phases for the Pop-up Houses. I also can't draw a straight line to save my ass. 

We settled on a core group of accessories, planters, grass, hedges and a stylish potted plant. But a mailbox, Christmas tree, forest trees and fencing are coming soon too.

The complete village set including standard accessories. 

We designed these with a simple set up in mind. You simply slide the houses and accessories onto the footers. That's it. They are nice and lightweight and fairly small in size. They can be displayed anywhere. I have to put out the warning that since there are smaller pieces that can be swallowed, we recommend this for pre-teens and up. 

A little display in our living room. 

Our pop-up houses are available as a set or individually. I can't wait to see some customized by you!

Lasers and love -Thea

Demo Sign - The Lettermate

A few months ago Kimberly from The Lettermate contacted us hoping we'd do a small project for her company. Some simple trade show signage. It was a simple job and the end result looked great!

We actually had the opportunity to meet Kimberly in San Francisco at the Renegade Craft Fair at Fort Mason. She was so super nice and her show display looked awesome. (I unfortunately do not have those photos handy at the moment.)

We were totally thrilled that she hit us up again for a large scale version (15" x 12") of her product for teaching purposes in her instructional classes! Oh, in case you're wondering what exactly The Lettermate is, its an awesome hand lettering tool for addressing snail mail envelopes. We will be picking up a couple for our own wedding next year. A few of you fellow Pinterest junkies might have seen The Grommet sharing info about The Lettermate.

Like our work - The Lettermate is made in the USA!

We love projects like this! It doesn't hurt that the lady behind The Lettermate is pretty stellar too! 

Lasers and love - Thea 

New Stockist - The Space Needle

I'm not even sure how to begin this one because I have so many feels about it!

I'm a native Washingtonian that grew up on Whidbey Island during a time where there really wasn't much but trees and the Navy. My mom is Asian and we'd often make trips into the city for "Asian" food supplies long before there was any ethnic markets close by. I distinctly remember my dad driving, my mom singing off key to the current tunes of the early 80's and me peering out of my backseat window and seeing the Space Needle rise up on the horizon as we got closer to the International District. 

Every time I saw the Space Needle I'd imagine one of two things - that Seattle was the land of The Jetson's or that Wheedle was sitting atop the Needle. Seattle was a magical land to this small town island girl and the Space Needle was and still is THE landmark of the city.

A page from a vintage coloring book I've had for years. I referred to this for inspiration during the design process. 

When you think of city landmarks, you think tourists. When you think of tourists, you think of souvenirs. A lot of times they are cheap little magnets with a glossy photo enclosed in plastic, or something along those lines. When we were approached by the Space Needle people; A.) I don't think I've ever tried to act so cool and collected in my life. B.) They told me that they were interested in adding some new but different products for their gift shop. I think I actually looked around to see if I was the person who that question was being directed at. And C.) When they told me to "just see what I can come up with" and gave us permission to use their image and brand name, I went into full on panic. 

Why would the great and awesome Space Needle people ask me and my extremely tiny company to do anything for them? They could ask anyone to do this sort of thing for them, but they asked us. A local mom and pop shop. Whoa.

While we can get down with some elaborate design work, I really felt that we should keep the products we pitched at them simple and functional. 

Pages from my sketchbook: Although, the artwork is crude, we first spend a lot of time flushing out the concept before we laser cut the prototype. We decide if the layout works or in this case how usable would the writing area be. I often leave question marks on the pages about various things. 

I drew out a simple layout of a small chalkboard with the silhouette of the Space Needle cut out. Lots of usable space for love notes or reminders. I envisioned someone picking one up on New Year's Eve and someone writing a proposal on it. (Hey, I said I had the feels with this one!)

The second thing we pitched was a souvenir magnet. We really wanted it to be unique amongst the others. This was my opportunity to incorporate a small bit of my childhood imagination. The Jetson's shapes and sounds always made me think of the Space Needle. So I sketched out a mid century modern shape and John found an image of the Space Needle that included the architectural underground footings in their image archives that he liked. We selected a font similar to one on their website. Their website by the way, is AWESOME. 

Pages from my sketchbook: I drew out many versions of the wood magnet. I had a mid century modern "Jetson's like shape in mind. Like always with my raw drawings John took an actual picture of my drawing and used it as a guide in Corel to fine tune it. 

We did this as we do all of our original work, we both do crucial parts of the development. I depended on John to help me finalize the shapes I was hoping for. Sometimes I just can't draw the exact thing I had in mind. Also, I am far better at drawing freehand rather than in outlines. I initially spent a lot of time actually drawing the Space Needle in great detail. PAGES of drawings. The our final prototypes were approved on the first submission. 

We rounded the edges from my original drawing. 

Close up of the laser cut out Space Needle. We have a bunch of these cut outs now in the studio. 

We were able to engrave the product details and pricing on the back. Which is so awesome in a retail environment.

The final shape was the shape I had envisioned. I want to publicly compliment John for being so great at figuring out what I was trying to get out. The architectural design with the footings looks so great! It's hard to tell here because this is a picture from my phone, but I was so excited to share this news I took a quick photo to share.

It's an honor to have been asked to do this for the Space Needle. We're continuing to develop more too! Next time you're at the Space Needle look for our work. 

Lasers and love -Thea

Beer Me, Booze Me, Wine Me!

That's right, we've created "The Holy Trinity"! It started with Beer Me:

And we've added Booze Me:

And by popular demand, Wine Me:

Why do we call it The Holy Trinity? Well, I'm sure we're not the only ones who've spent some time "praying to the porcelain god". 

I have personally been known to say all three of these at any given time. It's just so effective when someone is walking to the kitchen/fridge/refreshment area. Beer Me! Booze Me! WINE ME! Hey, you can't get what you want unless you ask for it right? 

State your preference in your home or a special event with one, two or all three of the this trinity. Speaking of trinity, we have a little coupon code if you want to own all three.

Enter coupon code (TheTrinity) from now until Thursday July 17th, 2015 and save $5.00 off of $45.00 purchases! 

So what's your preference? We did consider Coffee Me, but let's face it, no one is in the mood to talk until the first cup of coffee is finished. Its just an unspoken understanding. 

Lasers and love - Thea

Game On

Well, I wrote out a great blog post and Comcast crapped out on me and didn't save that amazing post. Ahh, I guess it wasn't meant to be. Alas, I wanted to share what we've been up to lately. While I do wish it was gaming. (I'm personally eagerly awaiting the Final Fantasy 7 remake!!!) But we've been producing new works as well as custom items. Like these large laser cut and engraved chess and game piece wall decor:

Custom Phoenix Shield

Custom Phoenix Shield

Black and White Knights. 

Black and White Knights. 

They turned out pretty great. They were hand painted and laser cut and engraved. A fairly simple design but really awesome. 

Speaking of games...have I mentioned that we have a new Critical Hit design? In addition to our original Script style we now offer our Modern Block style for our Critical Hit signs. Available in ten colors! I'm a little sweet on the red:

Well back to work! We picked up a handful of beautiful reclaimed maple wood sheets that are calling to be laser cut and engraved into something awesome. 

Lasers and love (8 bit heart love), Thea 

Stem

Recently we had a great opportunity to do some custom work for Stem a company based in Millbrae, California. Stem creates solutions that are changing the way energy is used and distributed. More about the amazing things they do are available to read here. Pretty fantastic.

We were asked to create a large company sign for their corporate headquarter's office. They chose bamboo as their material of choice for the sign. The results were fantastic. 

Photo by Stem, Inc. 

Photo by Stem, Inc. 

Photo by Stem, Inc.

Photo by Stem, Inc.

We're tickled to see our work out in the wild. But this one is a little bit more special due to the company it was for. 

Lasers and love - Thea

The Starr Flower

Okay, it's no secret that I (Thea) have another company that has indulged my borderline crazy love for vintage kimono fabrics. I love that I can bring old fabrics back to life.  When John and I discussed purchasing a laser to go into business together, the little hamster wheel in my head immediately started churning up ideas for products for my other company. Because, you know, it's always about my fabrics...first....always.

The Starr Flower is the first project to come to fruition from the long list of my ideas. 

The Starr Flower - An Original By Thea Starr & 6 by 6 Arts

The Starr Flower - An Original By Thea Starr & 6 by 6 Arts

The aptly named Starr Flower is based on the Chinese Bellflower. When your last name is Starr I think it's just assumed you love everything with stars on them. This is no exception. 

The Starr Flower - An Original By Thea Starr & 6 by 6 Arts

The Starr Flower - An Original By Thea Starr & 6 by 6 Arts

It's a combination two things that I love, vintage kimono fabrics and walnut wood. Maple is available too but I love dark walnut woods. I did a little doodle that John translated into laser language and we laser cut out American maple and walnut woods.

We tend to do a lot of larger pieced works so we loved trying our hands at smaller personal items. Which we have a few more of up our sleeves. Stay tuned for those. 

Lasers & love - Thea


Some Advice

* Warning* 

This post contains profanity. If you are sensitive to language consider skipping this post. 

Just this morning on Facebook my best friend of 33 years posted a little meme picture that read "fucks need to be earned."  We see things like this posted all over the internet which are meant to inspire really caring about what matters. It might be in a so-called crude way but you get the point. 

Not long ago I was spinning my wheels hard about something really stupid. We've all been there right? You get worked up over something for various reasons. An hour later you forget why you are actually mad.  Maybe someone said something on the internet that pissed you off.  After awhile you question whether or not you actually like that person who said that dumb thing to begin with. Or maybe you didn't understand where someone was coming from and then later learned more details about the situation and then you get it. Unnecessary fucks spent. 

We've all been there. We've all lost it over really dumb stuff. It's really a shame to invest so much energy into a whole lot of nothing. That includes people. People can be shitty sometimes, but time spent on the ones who actually matter are worth it. 

"Two of the most valuable things we have is time and relationships with other people. - Candy Chang"

I firmly believe that. 

Spend your fucks wisely. Spend them on people who want nothing from you but quality time. Don't waste them on the bitch that sped up and cut you off in the parking lot to get that open space. Don't waste it on that cashier at the grocery store who yelled at you about how you put things on the conveyor belt. Don't waste time on people you've let go of.  Most of all don't be mad at yourself, keep moving forward and learn to spend your fucks wisely. 

Lasers & love - Thea 

Island People Are In Fact Weird

A couple years ago a couple of my childhood friends and I vacationed together on our home island. We visited our old neighborhoods and special places where we once roamed. Which of course led to debauchery. Let's face it, when you hang out with childhood friends no matter what age you are your maturity reverts to a lesser level.  To make a long story short, one of us spotted a flock of pink flamingos in the front of a local establishment and we may or may not have attempted to "borrow" one of them. Let's just say, the plan hilariously failed and will live on in friendship lore.  

*Disclaimer - In no shape or form do I promote unauthorized "borrowing". In our defense, as the title of this entry claims, island people are in fact weird and do weird things. It's always in good fun. We promise.*

Funny where inspiration comes from right? I do like the appeal of the kitschy-ness of the pink flamingos. I thought it would be fun to have them standing proudly in my indoor plants. 

As the listing notes, my first intention was to make some standard plant identification stakes. But my mind deviated and end up with these. 

Thea's original flamingo sketch.

Thea's original flamingo sketch.

PinkFlamingoBy_6by6Arts

They do absolutely nothing but make you smile. And hey, we own a laser can bring our crazy ideas to life like this. 

Lasers and love - Thea 

Will you be my Palentine?

2015 opened with a stream of custom work requests for us.  We recently created a custom "Happy Palentine's Day" sign for a customer.

Our customer throws an annual "Palentine's Day" party for her friends. Which is a totally awesome idea!

There's still a bit of time left to have a custom love sign made for your sweetie or for your friends for Valentine's Day. Just shoot us a request if you're interested. 

Lasers & Love - Thea

Custom Trade Show Display Pieces - Melanie Casey

Since our inception last May, we had a specific business plan about what products we wanted to provide. What we didn't plan on was the great opportunities we've had to manufacture customized items for fellow makers. 

Recently we had a request for a more elaborate display piece. Melanie Casey is fine jeweler  based in Boston Massachusetts. She is participating in the NYNow trade show later this month and needed some display signage for her booth display. 

Her logo is simple and quite elegant.  The feathered tail required fine laser work. 

Gorgeous detailing that suits her line. It was a fun project for us. As well as great discovery into a fellow maker's fine work

Lasers & Love - Thea

Icosahedrons & Damn Fine Cup(s) Of Coffee

It's a little late in the game today. Which is actually the norm these days. I suffer from the exact opposite of SAD. Fall & Winter are my most creative times and I'm always full of energy. Poor John is constantly bombarded with random ideas blurted out at him.  One of the most recent blurts is this: 

Twin Peaks is one of my all time favorite TV shows. I'm thrilled that there will be a revival season in 2016.  One of my favorite quotes from the series is: "You know, this is - excuse me - a  damn fine cup of coffee...". When Special Agent Dale Cooper sits down for breakfast at The Great Northern. Whenever I come across a damn fine cup of coffee that scene rolls through my mind.

Additionally we added some icosahedrons (I LOVE saying icosahedrons!) to our 2014 ornament line

Geometric shapes are always in style are beautiful. And who says you have to limit your tree trimmings to Santa or snowman theme fair! It's your tree! You do whatever you want. :)

I hope you've enjoyed my evening's rambling! 

Lasers & Love -Thea