Category Archives: Creative Business

Hooray for the Year of the Dog!

mixed media collage by Amy Gorrek

Today marks the beginning of the Lunar New Year and the Year of the Dog. I was born in the year of the dog, so this is super exciting for me!

Chinese astrologer, Laura Lau sums it up on Refinery 29:
Lau says: “The Dog does his best to protect high-integrity people and support their cause.” In other words, this year of the Dog may see people fighting for the causes they believe in. This influence could manifest itself as large-scale political movements or something as simple as local community work and small acts of kindness.

Do you know your lunar symbol? How does it interact with your zodiac sign?
I’m a Leo born in the Year of the Dog.. I did a quick google search and found a pretty accurate description of the Leo/Dog combination. I guess this explains why I’ve always considered myself a dog AND cat person!

The collage above was created on chipboard with mixed media paper ephemera from my treasure trove(!) and gouache paints. To see more of my collage work, check out my instagram. ♥

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Rough Draft Bar & Books

A few weeks ago, on my instagram feed, I stumbled upon a post from a café in the Hudson Valley. I looked further and saw photos of books and coffee and beer — all snuggled under one roof with a very poetic name.. Rough Draft Bar & Books. This café/bar/bookstore caught my eye and tugged at my heart strings. In the comments section, I tagged my dear friend/former college roommate, Tracey, who lives in Troy, NY — and said “Hey, we should meet for coffee here soon!”.

Tracey agreed, and a couple of weeks later we did just that! She drove an hour South, and I drove two hours North — We met around noon and enjoyed great coffee, conversation and a bite to eat. Rough Draft was just as adorable as I had expected — quaint, cozy with great energy. It’s located in historic “Uptown” on John Street in Kingston, New York. Rough Draft has only been open a few months and seems to be a bustling hub for the community.

From there, we walked up John Street toward Front Street and meandered in and out of antique stores and shops of Uptown Kingston. Then we drove a few miles to “Downtown” which is near the river — and wandered in/out of more cute shops, chatting it up with their friendly owners.

What I loved about this day was seeing an old friend, face-to-face, in a new place and exploring it together as we caught up on each other’s lives. Technology introduced us a great new spot, then we followed it up with some old fashioned friend time.

Making the time to get together with friends in person is worth the effort 1000 times over. Reserving a day to break away from the usual routine is also completely refreshing. Especially in the middle of winter. MORE day trips please!

We wound down our visit at a great restaurant called Kovo and enjoyed a late lunch of chickpea fritters and Greek Caesar salads. Super yum.

I realize as I am writing this post that I should have taken notes at all the places we stopped into!! Oh well — I was caught up in the moment of the day — and wasn’t thinking about much! Which is a good thing I guess. 😉

Alas, a very thorough blogpost has already been written about Kingston! To learn more about this “city in the middle of the country”, click here. Or just get yourself over there and wander around yourself! ♥

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Word of the Year

My daughter and I spent some time in the Jellyfish section of (one of our favorite spots) the Maritime Aquarium last week. Can you see the rings in their centers? Those are their stomachs, and jellyfish have 4 of them. I learned this a few days ago.. Cool, right?

For 2018, my word is Transparency.
Jellyfish have no choice in this matter… but we do. Transparency is not always the easiest path — It stirs up vulnerability. Transparency is listening to your gut, and then following through with your actions. I would like to be more truthful (on the spot) with my Clients, Family, Friends, and mostly to my Self. This will take practice. Perhaps I should meditate on my jellyfish friends as a reminder each day.

What’s your word of the year?
Can you connect it to an animal/object to help you remember it each day? ♥

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Happy Thanksgiving

Wishing you much love and peace this Thanksgiving.

Along with cooking yummy recipes and spending time with family, I plan to take some time to nurture my inner artist by making more collages this weekend. I have a boxes of vintage ephemera I’ve collected over the years — waiting to be repurposed into new art. The above “Acorns” is one I created last Fall. ♥

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Book talk with Ellen & Paula

I’d like to curl up and hibernate in the Strand’s Rare Book Room for a while this winter.

I visited for the first time Tuesday evening for a cozy design talk with Ellen Lupton & Paula Scher — two inpiring women in design. It was a heartwarming and intimate chat about both of their recent books, Design is Storytelling by Ellen Lupton, and Paula Scher: Works – Unit Editions’ new book on the designer’s phenomenal career so far.

Ellen and Paula are wonderful role models — insightful, witty, warm and ever so humble — with (what it seems like ) an ongoing desire to keep doing good work.
Viva la Graphic Design! ♥

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Love ALL Project – Let Love Rule!

I joined the “Love ALL Project” in early February, when the project began.
The Love ALL Project was founded as a response to a hateful act.

From Love ALL Project founder, Sharon Baanante:

“On February 6, 2017, white supremacist fliers were circulated throughout Norwalk, CT and a few surrounding towns in Connecticut. Covered in plastic sheets and filled with small pebbles to weigh them down, these were left in driveways and mailboxes. The fliers stated ‘We must secure the existence of our race and future for white children. Make America White Again’.”

“Just two days after reading about the hate fliers, I started a community movement in Norwalk called ‘Love ALL Project.’ Love ALL Project is a non-partisan volunteer organization whose mission is to support diversity and unite our community by fostering understanding and relationships between different cultures through inspiring sustainable collaborations.”

“Love ALL Project will provide ways for our community to link arms and work together to better support and understand one another. With the right resources and support, we can spread the love by sharing our community model with other towns and cities.”

I was immediately drawn to this project, and RSVP’d for the first meeting. I had been craving the goodness of something like this. I really didn’t know what I would do, but I was super eager to help. At the first meeting, Sharon outlined the needs and goals for Love ALL Project. One of the immediate needs was… a logo(!). Well, that was something I COULD do! So I jumped right in began my design process.

Regarding the name, I thought the word “Project” was equally as important as “Love ALL”.  “Project” means “Progress” — Every small action can make a difference. Through my sketching & incubating, the idea of origami came into play. With just a square piece of paper — anyone, anywhere could make a paper heart to show their support. I envisioned people of all ages, congregating around tables, making hearts in support of the movement.

The logo shape mimicks a completed orgami heart. The squared edges also give it a badge-like appearance. When the heart is used in a repeat pattern — it represents strength in numbers.

The typography is confident and clean, and works with the shape of the heart. The color palette is made up red (awareness) and warm browns/beiges which represent the beautiful skin tones that make up our community. The stripes combined with heart shape provide versatility for many brand applications.


Its been about 5 months since the project started and the Love ALL Project is growing… Meetings have been held to brainstorm on event topics — Car magnets were produced and distributed.  In April, we hosted a booth at the “Growing Unity” event in Pikney Park. Local Mosques and churches are getting involved. Money is being raised to help fund this project. We are getting ready to distribute “business kits” to local Norwalk business to help promote/support this movement. We are going to develop a program for schools. We co-hosted a family event at the Norwalk Public Library on June 20th. Progress is happening.

My best work is done for companies and causes that inspire me. It feels good to be involved in this community effort. It’s been fun, productive and I’ve made some new friends along the way.

Let love rule!
#LoveALLProject  #unitedagainsthate  #designforgood

Select photos courtesy of Lauren Henry Photography (Thank you!)

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Beautiful day for new beginnings

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I am feeling inspired on this 2016 Election Day by Hillary Clinton, and the notion of the USA electing its first female President.

To celebrate the spirit of new beginnings, I am kicking off my 100 day project (created by the incredible Elle Luna) today! I will create one collage per day for the next 100 days. This is something I’ve been wanted to do for awhile, and I think today is a most excellent day to begin. Follow along with me on instagram if you’d like! 01/100