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Bears Eat Berries

Prepare yourself to be swept away in a cloud of Washi tape, gentle, dusty color palettes, Kraft paper, and minimalist silhouettes…say hello to Laura Wentzel of Bears Eat Berries – Design & Letterpress Studio. My first inclination when I came across Laura’s whimsical and simple design via Etsy was to swoon, and immediately after that I giggled. Then, I was envious of her hair…she has that perfect, tousled, highlighted-by-nature-the-sun-and-lemons sort of vibe.

Laura Wentzel featured by The Walkup

A graphic designer by trade, Laura’s work is recognized by its clean typography, graphic illustrations, nature-inspired patterns, and folk motifs. She also works on an honest-to-god-half-ton printing press from 1911. In case you weren’t around for that great year, it was a big year in mechanics – in fact, Henry Ginaca invented the “Ginaca Machine” that automated the peeling and coring of pineapples. Huge.

Laura Wentzel featured by The Walkup

Also, as a happy coincidence (or maybe kismet), in that same year, Arizona was admitted as the 48th State in the Union called the USA. Bears Eat Berries happens to be located in southwest Arizona, therefore this was all meant to be! Circuitous logic? Maybe.

Laura Wentzel featured by The Walkup

Name: Laura Wentzel
Location: Phoenix Valley of Arizona
Job: Owner & Designer of Bears Eat Berries
Age: 29

Laura Wentzel featured by The Walkup

EAT: Gallo Blanco in downtown Phoenix. It’s set in the ground floor of a funky midcentury era hotel and is furnished with eclectic furniture and decor. Overall it has a very funky vibe. It’s also the first restaurant my husband and I tried when moving to the southwest! Gallo Blanco tries to source locally and places a lot of emphasis on simple Mexican-inspired dishes. Before dinner you can bring your drinks to the poolside or climb to the rooftop for an amazing Phoenix skyline view.

Laura Wentzel featured by The Walkup

SEE: Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West School. It was his architectural school (still in operation) and winter home which sits at the brow of a mountain in North Scottsdale. Wright designed the nature-inspired complex in tune with its desert surroundings. It’s one of the most beautiful and peaceful places in the valley, especially at sunset.

Laura Wentzel featured by The Walkup

SHOP: I love perusing Ultimate Consignment in Phoenix. It’s a huge warehouse filled with consigned and vintage items where you can find absolutely anything from a hammer to a handbag. I just recently scored two vintage tweed green office chairs there!

Laura Wentzel featured by The Walkup

DO: Hiking and exploring the southwest. My husband and I just moved here about a year ago and we love driving out in the desert to discover new towns, mountains and the ever-changing landscape. I love spotting a line of quails cross the street and the occasional roadrunner.

Laura Wentzel featured by The Walkup

INSPIRE: I’m inspired by children’s picture books, Japanese design, traditional folk motifs from around the world, and any great use of white/negative space. Throughout my life I have been drawn outdoors, so nature-themes play a role in many of my design.

Laura Wentzel featured by The WalkupFrom a business perspective, Laura set up Bears Eat Berries studio to offer various price points so that a wide range of customers can enjoy them. Isn’t that nice of her? She offers single cards which are priced to compete with normal retail stores (why go to CVS, Walgreens, or Duane Reade, when you can support a local artist?) and she offers custom and personalized products for those who want something extra special – like for a wedding, or business card, ahem?

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I came across Bears Eat Berries while looking for letterpress (I’m a sucker for texture and hand-mixed inks) Thank You cards for my bridal shower. Immediately her craftsmanship was obvious – the cotton paper, the simple yet, bold design, the odes to nature – oh to be a symbol pressed into one of Laura’s clever cards! Think of all the joy you’d bring to your [                    ]. 

Want to send someone you love (father, mother, sister, cousin, BFF, long lost twin, pen-pal, mistress, step-son, pirate, actor) a clever, old-fashioned note? Now you CAN. Enter to win these woodland animals saying hello! Perfect to send a friendly hello. 

Laura Wentzel featured by The Walkup

Each set of twelve letterpress woodland animal hello cards includes coordinating kraft brown envelopes with two of each animal (fox, bear, hedgehog, rabbit, deer, squirrel). Original illustration and printed by hand on an antique printing press on thick, luxurious 100% cotton paper.

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American Pi(Day)

First of all, happy Pi day. Pi day occurs on March 14th (3.14) and celebrates both math and dessert. Seriously, we need more holidays like this. I had a friend in high school who was able to recite Pi up to its 100th decimal point. It was actually, weirdly, relaxing to hear (almost hypnotic).

Secondly, AND I AM PUSHING SEGUES HERE, lets talk about American Pie. To me this song, and this ideal, represents a bric-a-brac of American culture. The song encompasses one man’s love of music in America that spans Bob Dylan (Minnesota), Buddy Holly (Texas), Janis Joplin (Texas and California) , Elvis Presley (Mississippi and Tennessee), and Carly Simon (New York). The song also mentions the changing American landscape during the death of the Kennedy’s. To me, this song commemorates America in a way that is not kitschy and uber-patriotic – it is totally genuine.


Based in Chicago, Illinois, the LGBT-owned furniture company 900Blok also celebrates the topography of America. I love the idea of designing in a patriotic way that isn’t the literal “Stars and Stripes”,  “American Flag Colors”,”Western”, schlocky and humdrum decor. 900Blok’s first collection called “50 States” aims to bring the shapes of midcentury design to the shapes of The United States. The shapes of the states are familiar, we have always seen them on maps on our elementary school walls, we see the shapes of the states on the news, the cutout is ubiquitous. Yet, we have not seen the shapes as tables. This design allows me to think of each area as an aesthetically pleasing form – rather than a political entity. I currently live in New York – but what an amazing way to remember where I grew up and commemorate their importance – Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

California Here We Come. Look at those solid oak legs and that lacquered tabletop finish! Image courtesy of 900Blok, HERE.

These nesting tables allow states to touch that otherwise wouldn’t. Ever wanted Ohio to touch Nevada (not the states seen above)? DONE. Image courtesy of 900Blok, HERE.

Chicago! Also can we talk about the Wayne Thiebaud coffee table book? This is probably a necessity in every home, in fact I might need to write a post merely about his cake icing and frosty pastel colors. Image courtesy of 900Blok, HERE.

‘Oh, the farmer and the cowman should be friends’, Ron Arad 2009, Corten and mirror-polished stainless steel , 5.5m wide, 3.5 m high, 40cm deep , Courtesy Ron Arad Associates and Timothy Taylor Gallery, London, © Ron Arad, 2009

The United States of Logos. Look at each state’s different branding, calligraphy, and colors! Found HERE.

United Steaks of America. I think this would be a killer print in someone’s kitchen. Image Courtesy of the artist, Dominic Episcopo.

Both of the above images courtesy of dirtsastudio on Etsy! Grab yourself a chalkboard state! Chart your travels, mark your favorite spots, or just learn some geography with a chalkboard map of the United States.

q.a. DESIGN has a circus-striped and colorful take on the U.S. I love the contrasting colors in the prints. The shop is filled with maps from various states, with a simple heart over the state capitol (or your favorite city of choice). A person’s home can features the states in which she has spent most of his/her lifetime. 

I could not help the pun of using Wisconsin as a Cheese Board. However, any state can be found in this design shop! A.Heirloom Design Shop, HERE.

Shop by the Numbers: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 (no longer available but if you Google Map Decoupage, DIY stuff comes up) / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 

What state are you?