Very fresh limited-edition artist prints from kate spade new york

[Pamela Williams] This is the year of color — cheerfully declared so by kate spade new york. And, in celebration of all things bold and bright, the imaginative creative team, who we’ve written about before, has commissioned original artwork from 12 favorite artists. Each artist was assigned a month and a color to do with as their colorful minds pleased. The final prints will be organized into sets of three, released in four portfolios, one portfolio each season. Doesn’t this first trio make you want to take a big, deep breath of fresh spring air?

(Me too. And if you are as taken with them as we are, read about our special giveaway at the end of the post.) The first three artists are Caitlin McGauley, January, Red; Jenny Bowers, February, Pink; and Hannah Berman, March, Yellow. The playfulness and confident use of color in the Spring Series is reminiscent of the brand persona and the modern style it represents. (Just look at the spring 2011 shades for this “year of color” — a dash of red, a pop of pink and a twist of yellow!)

Red, by Caitlin McGauley

Caitlin McGauley says getting the “red” assignment was serendipitous. “It’s my favorite color. The first two big clothing purchases I ever made were a red handbag I found in Italy, and a red floral top, which I still have and wear to this day, years later.”

McGauley, who has been painting and drawing since childhood, loves being commissioned to paint interiors. “I’m thrilled every time I get to do an interior, especially one that is so layered.” She says this room was imagined, but everything in it was pulled from real rooms — artwork, furniture and accessories. Research is the favorite part of her artistic process. “I love gathering the inspiration for all of the details: the shoes, the bag, the vintage phone. I print everything out and have it all in front of me as I paint. I test all of my colors on a separate piece of paper to make sure they all work together. I do a sketch, and then I go directly to painting.”

She hopes viewers will look into the room and want to know more about the person who lives there. “Who I imagine living there is a girl who has lots of interests and fills her space with what she’s collected or is curious about; a girl who has just been in the room, writing a note, or reading and having a cup of tea.” In fact, if you look closely, you’ll see polaroids “taped” onto the red wall, just above the vintage blue phone. “I wanted to show that although she has peonies in a vase on her coffee table, and she has framed artwork, she is informal and spontaneous, too.”

Pink, by Jenny Bowers

Jenny Bowers, who is 1/10th of the illustration collective Peepshow, was commissioned to illustrate the Kate Spade 2011 calendar before her work, shown here, was chosen for the artist portfolio. She thinks of pink as a celebratory color, noting, “It suits February so well.” She told me she added red to the pink because she loves how “the close colors sing together.” In working on the calendar, Bowers collaborated with the kate spade new york creative team over the course of a couple of months. “It was a great commission to get. I was absolutely thrilled to work with the designers on the calendar. They had a very clear idea of what they wanted, but also allowed me to come up with a lot of things myself.”

The original art for Pink was created with hand-cut paper letters collaged together and layered to produce areas of abstraction and color overlay, “but still very much with the message clearly legible,” she says. The strapline — a British term used to describe a memorable brand phrase — was provided by kate spade new york. “I think the slightly confused presentation of the words reflects the sentiment of the message. It’s not too ordered and thought out, just an expression of the feeling of being head over heels in love.” What did she like the most about the project? Above all, “working with a client who enjoys color and pattern as much as I do,” says Bowers.

Yellow, by Pie Bird Press

Hannah Berman, who has a Felt & Wire shop and prints under the moniker Pie Bird Press, says she is inspired by anything colorful that catches her eye. “The rose in the original card was found on a walk through my neighborhood one sunny day with my dog. The sunlight was hitting it in such a way that the yellow positively glowed, and I had to stop and snap a picture of it.”

She says her goal is to give viewers a sense of nostalgia when they see her work, and to make them smile. She is drawn to objects that are familiar and often associated with childhood pleasures, like doughnuts, toy ponies, plaid thermoses and puppy dogs. “I have spent many years browsing through antiques, and I have a fascination with county fairs that borders on obscene, both of which inform my work.” Berman likes the idea that her work gives people the same sense of wonder they felt when encountering some of the objects for the first time. “I present my subject matter with some reverence that sets it aside from what is generally considered ‘kitsch,’ but most of my designs do incorporate a certain amount of humor, and I am aware that there is some crossover.”

Berman has always been inspired by bold graphics that utilize large areas of flat color, and by vintage paint-by-number kits. “Given the limitations of the media, the challenge for me is to create depth using as few flat colors as I can, and I really enjoy taking that on every time I start a design.”

In scouring the world for the right paper for this series, kate spade new york’s creative team could have chosen anything, but super-thick Mohawk Superfine’s lovely eggshell finish (blind debossed, above) was just what they were looking for.

Each print in the curated collection is handily sized 10 x 8 in. so the prints may be hung salon-style … think chic Paris atelier. January artist McGauley often incorporates framed artwork salon-style in her own art. “It’s a way of getting tons of detail and color into a small painting,” she observes. Salon-style hanging is also great way to add a pop of color to a wall when you don’t have a large statement piece.

For sure, kate spade new york has an affinity for art and artists, particularly those who fearlessly use color. Consider that tape installation designer Rebecca Ward and painter Bella Foster were both featured in the book of inspirations, Things we Love. McGauley sums up the company’s commitment: “It’s not a one-dimensional fashion brand that’s only about the clothes. They are interested in the girl who is wearing the clothes, and what kind of art, books and experiences appeal to her.”

Felt & Wire has one limited-edition set to share with a lucky reader! Tell about us about something you love … whether it’s a favorite color, a favorite spring flower, a book, below … and on Friday, we’ll pick a winner at random. The Spring Series artist portfolio is available in kate spade new york shops and online. And, in case you haven’t yet seen it, bringing together lots of eye-popping color is the wonderful new blog, The Weekly Spade, on

Artworks atop this post (left to right): Pink, by Jenny Bowers; Yellow, by Pie Bird Press; Red, by Caitlin McGauley

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Comments (20)

  1. Posted by Jennifer on 03.16.11 at 8:45 am

    Yellow. It screams life and optimism. Many people are afraid of it–it’s too bright, too overpowering–but I love it.

  2. Posted by Kate on 03.16.11 at 9:31 am

    You mean something I love besides these prints?

    I love a great full a-line skirt. It can play so many roles- ladylike one day or belted with a t-shirt for running around the park another. One of the best feelings in the world is twirling in a full skirt (and it is finally almost spring so I can break mine out again)!!

  3. Posted by LEE MOODY on 03.16.11 at 9:38 am

    Wow +
    I madly in love with the artwork from the 2010 calendar ( I have a secret stash of the calendars )and the 2011 calendar is a delight~ I have cut up a few and framed them …of course “Paris atelier ~ salon style” is my favorite ! And now Caitlin , Jenny and Hannah have bigger prints ~ I feel faint ~ ;)))
    This wonderful style of color and pattern is so unique to Kate Spade ~ it makes me happy happy happy , can’t wait to see what is next!

  4. Posted by Cindy Salant on 03.16.11 at 10:15 am

    LOVE this, so glad this all came together. kate ladies–they are gorgeous! Everyday as I enter my office I look upon Yellow, by Pie Bird Press it cheers me up and got me through this long winter! Thanks!! 😉

  5. Posted by Katharine on 03.16.11 at 10:29 am

    I love the green freshness of springtime! It’s always a welcome sight after the grays and browns of winter in Virginia.

  6. Posted by Lorena on 03.16.11 at 10:51 am

    I’m in love with the yellow print! So colorful and inspiring! 🙂

  7. Posted by Kaitlin on 03.16.11 at 10:53 am

    I love beach BBQs–after you’ve had your fill of lobster, salads and s’mores, you put on your sweater, dig your toes into the sand to find the sun-warmed layer, and snuggle up with someone special to watch the moon reflected in the waves.

  8. Posted by royaltygirl on 03.16.11 at 10:55 am

    For me it is a striped skirt or striped tee! I am obsessed with stripes! This is a super article! I like the prints so much more now that I hear some scoop behind the artists and the creation of them! Love!


  9. Posted by Sue MacClain on 03.16.11 at 10:55 am


  10. Posted by Kelly on 03.16.11 at 11:08 am

    I love brand-new flip flops with a fresh pedicure and a sunny day with no plans.

  11. Posted by Amanda on 03.16.11 at 11:08 am

    These prints are gorgeous!

    And would go perfectly with my art collection (which is the thing I love)!

    My collection ranges from pieces my friends made in art school, to my husband’s work, my own work, pieces I picked up while traveling, pieces I find in thrift shops and favorites I can’t resist on etsy.

    I have several favorites… one is a print my bff made in college that was one page in an adorable book she made about the journey of a little fly boy who falls in love with a girl.

    Another is a large framed print I bought in South Africa – I am crazy about the style of the black and white woodcut. When I bought it the woman who sold it to me told me that the artist had died just a year earlier in a knife fight over a woman.

    My third favorite is a print of Saint Francis of Assisi that I bought in Italy from the artists workshop. He had a really unique process of painting on glass and printing off of that – I love the unique way the depth of the color varies because of the process. Plus it reminds me of a really special time in my life 🙂

    ANYhow – I would LOVE to add these stunning works to my collection!

  12. Posted by Mary Ellen Butkus on 03.16.11 at 11:10 am

    Ah Inspiration! [Especially on a rainy day] Breath of Spring air!

  13. Posted by Robin Baron on 03.16.11 at 12:25 pm

    The spunky, eclectic decor in Caitlin McGauley’s “Red” certainly speaks to the Kate Spade brand. I can see a modern, independent and thoroughly cool gal living here!

  14. Posted by Sara Harte on 03.16.11 at 12:34 pm

    I love the first warm spring day when I can open the windows of our house. The fresh crisp air feels so amazing after a long Minnesota winter…

  15. Posted by cam on 03.16.11 at 1:55 pm

    oh, how lovely is this…

    what I love..well, for the most I love my family! that give me strengh in every days live!

    ..I love the beginning of Spring, smelling the freshly warmth air and feeling the touch of sunshine on my skin…as well, as watching the flowers come out and showing all their colors of emotions! ♡

    …I love meeting with my friends, going for a walk and doing fun things, like photo sessions, eating icecream and chitchatting about all and nothing! ♡

    …there is so much to love and be thankfuf for!

    fingers crossed!

    lovely greetings!



  16. Posted by Amber on 03.16.11 at 8:12 pm

    i always say that my 2 favourite colours are …

    WHiTE + RAiNBOW!

    i love to surround myself with white – it soothes my soul – and then it’s all the colours of the rainbow that bring JOY into my life. x

  17. Posted by Ludvik on 03.17.11 at 1:57 pm

    I love life!

    It’s so great to be alive and experiencing all the richness there is. From going places, to enjoying a movie, to finding your life long partner and having a family.

  18. Posted by Jennifer on 03.21.11 at 11:10 am

    I love the sound and movement, shadow and light, of sheets drying on a clothes line. I especially love the smell and feel of those sheets on my bed at night!

    Line-dried sheets are my absolute favorite!

  19. Posted by Felt & Wire on 03.22.11 at 9:31 am

    Hello, everyone. Since every comment posted here was very lovely. Read them again when you need some inspiration or joy! We used to pick a winner. The lucky person winner of the spring set of limited edition prints is Cam (Congratulations and we’ll be in touch via email to get your prints to you!). Happy Spring, everyone!

  20. Posted by Blue Brindle on 03.29.11 at 11:41 am

    I love dogs, shelter dogs to exact. Everything about them is beautiful — their determination, strength, loyalty to people, wet kisses and wiggles, and I love their coats. Did you ever look up close at the soft fur of a dog? The patterns, brindles, textures, spots, colors and shapes? Amazing that it all exists in nature don’t you think? Yes, I love dogs more than anything in this world. My dog is my muse, she is a blue-brindle sweet little Pit Bull girl. Yes, I love dogs. Where would we be without them in our lives?

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