Monday, November 26, 2012

Facing Rainy Days With a Smile

Haikus are little word packages with a lot of punch.  These mini poems originated in Japan, so it's fitting that our first Haiku Cup features words by 17th-Century Matsuo Bashō, often called the "Master of Haiku." Bashō's father may have been a samurai. We do know that the poet and scholar son trekked dangerous Medieval roads to relieve sadness, composing penetrating and often humorous Haikus.

"A cold rain starting
And no hat --
-- Matsuo Bashō

Artist Erin Bartholomew captures Basho's nudge to take hardship in stride with her delicate design of a Japanese lady setting forth into the rain, wearing a wry smile to brighten her journey.

The gentle philosophy on our first line of Haiku Cups is ready to be served! Gift and shipping boxes are in, labels ready, artist/poet bios printed. The cups will officially premiere at a holiday craft show on December 8th, but are ready for purchase now! Please become a "follower" and join this site (at right) to show your support and receive updates. Visit our etsy shop here. You can "like" and become friends on our new Haiku Cups Facebook page. And if you are in the Chicago area and can pick up your cup, you can buy at a discounted price: just $8/cup!

Read the story of why we launched our new Haiku Cup enterprise here. Proceeds from these cups help support Erin's classical art training in Chicago, after she graduates from high school this Spring. 10% of proceeds aid flood victims in the U.S. and Asia.

Take time for a little poetry and art...and have a blessed day!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Launching a new enterprise!

When the first shipment of Haiku Cups arrived, my daughter was out. I did so want her to see this pile of boxes as she strode up the sidewalk. But I was due elsewhere with my boys, so we took a few snapshots, then bundled the whole load indoors. The boxes were heavy! Photo by Daniel Bartholomew
Some months ago, I saw sketches paired with haikus (an ancient form of poetry) on my daughter's light table in her bedroom. My 18-year-old had drawn delicate designs to pair with various haikus.

"That should be a book," I told her.

"I only did this for fun," she shrugged.

Months passed. I could not shake that feeling of promise regarding those sketches and haikus. I feared they would be stowed in some obscure folder, or worse, thrown in the garbage. I thought people would enjoy their quiet beauty  -- welcome the chance to pause, think and smile. 

As my daughter turns her sights on pursuing classical art training in Chicago, the time has come to set her designs free. 

From the time she was tiny, Erin could capture an expression with the swoop of a line or two. By the time she was 12, she was illustrating her first published children's book (Panic in the Pews, St. Augustine Academy Press and Amazon). Now, she is releasing her first "Haiku Cup." Some day, the haiku book may come. But for now, her first line of mugs is shining the spotlight on 17th-Century Matsuo Bashō, called the "master of haiku." 
One of Erin's original sketches illustrating a Matsuo Bashō haiku.
Which haiku? Look to an upcoming post to see!

As for Erin? She started drawing with perspective at age four. People noticed her swift evolution from stick figures to three-dimensional. Erin would draw a girl running. She would catch the wind in hair and clothes, the girl's mischievous smile...and even, the bottom of her shoe as her foot kicked up behind her. A few passes of Erin's pen might add an ethnic costume to some figure -- Russian, Dutch, Native American. But most frequently, Chinese or Japanese. 

Erin has loved Asian culture since I can remember. Buying her birthday and Christmas gifts is easy: a Vietnamese outfit with tab collar, calligraphy set, Asian art and handkerchief, a book of illustrated folk tales from China.

That leads us to this natural evolution: allowing Erin's 2-3 hours of daily sketching to bear financial fruit, so she can afford art school. Despite my husband and my contributing to a college account through the years, the fact remains. The costs of classical art training in Chicago are still far out of reach. 

Launching a new business during a recession feels bold and inspired. Bold, because of the obvious risk involved. Inspired, because taking the risk only came after countless family brainstorm sessions and a lot of communication heavenward. That inspiration element has added a new dimension, by the way. 10% of profits from these mugs will go to hurricane victims in the U.S. and Asia.

Stay tuned for future developments! We are opening an store for purchases, and putting our minds and hands to all the little details, readying the mugs for purchase and shipment. If you are in the Chicago area, of course, that simplifies the process! Direct orders and inquiries to

May your day be blessed!

My daughter with her Asian-inspired oil paintings at a high school art show. Erin is home schooled and has enjoyed taking language, math and art classes at the local high school for the past three years. She is thriving in Advanced Placement Art.