Category Archives: Our Inspiration

Behind the Scenes: Launching the Autumn/Winter Collection

It’s hard to believe that it’s almost time for the summer show season to begin! We can’t wait for you to see our new product launch this summer!

Our product development team has been dreaming, planning, creating, and diligently sourcing each of our products to create a breadth of styles and trends. Traveling to and working with different countries allows us to bring a wide array of materials and styles into our different collections. We really love the idea of having a diverse product range that allows our customers to mix and match products to meet their needs.

The development cycle is lengthy, but when items are finally selected to become part of the line, the photography samples begin to arrive!!! Unpacking the boxes feels like Christmas as the office here in Portland finally starts to see final products! The whole vision starts to become apparent as each sample arrives. Samples are organized by collection on metal rolling carts (or boxes when we run out of carts) and wait for their turn to be photographed.

Working around so much product during photography time can be a challenge. Our office is quite small and when it fills up before photography it becomes…  well, interesting… but we love the excitement the new product brings and welcome the space challenges.

Photos of new products, fresh images of favorite existing items, catalog covers, section titles, as well as social media and industry ads are all created in our studio! Our product styling team carefully selects props, fresh florals, and plants that are used as accents for the new products throughout the weeks of photography to set the mood of the upcoming collections and catalogs.

It can be a challenge deciding what collection to place some of our items into, as so many can go in multiple groupings. We work hard to develop items that are diverse and able to fit into most any setting. Sometimes the choices seem endless! But at some point, we have to decide on what our looks will be for the upcoming season’s style and direction.

We are so excited for you to see the new product line and we hope to see you all at the summer markets. Our style team is already hard at work setting up the showrooms for the season!

Market time is always an exciting time as we see all our hard work come to fruition; watching our customer’s responses is the very best part! We take our customers’ success seriously and love meeting and talking to each of you.

You can find the summer market schedule here and find your local sales representative here.

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Featured Artist: Emily Little

Emily Little of Little E Studio is a self-taught mixed media artist based in Nashville, Tennessee. Emily uses layer upon layer of color and texture to create works of intentional joy.

Needing a new creative outlet after leaving her day job and closing her antique booth, Emily took a weekend abstract art class with friends. The class helped Emily overcome her inhibitions because it emphasized expression over perfection. Armed with the knowledge that there are no mistakes, only layers, Emily began painting every day.

Other than weekend class, Emily is primarily self-taught. Her style developed as she experimented with different mediums and applications until she found her niche with acrylic paints and the palette knife. Her fresh palette and unique style have been featured on home decor, gift, and seasonal lines with Creative Co-Op. This successful collaboration has allowed Emily’s bright and happy artwork to grace homes all over the world.

 How long have you worked with Creative Co-Op?

My first collection came out in 2012. It was all bright and colorful and whimsical. I remember the first product photo I ever got was of a small chest with my birdcage painting on the drawers. My jaw dropped. I was very green. I had no idea what licensing was really about at first, so seeing all the creative applications of my images on wood, metal, ceramic, and fabric just blew my mind. I suddenly realized that behind every rooster on a dish towel is a hard working artist sweating it out in a studio somewhere. I’m just so happy to be one of them!

What are your favorite Creative Co-Op products that you have been involved with?

The large decorative floral papers are definitely my favorite product ever. My original work tends to be very layered and textured, and the tactile nature of these papers captures that aspect of my work. Also, they are ginormous and I love the idea of someone having a huge statement piece of art at an affordable price. The prayer box from my first release, the oversized ornaments from the current Christmas collection, and anything they’ve done on metal is also a favorite. It’s too hard to decide!

I always feel like Tamra and the product development team at Creative are magicians. They just know how to match the right image to the right product in a way that respects the artist and considers the market. It’s so fascinating and fun to watch the process develop from image to showroom.

Who inspires you?

I am constantly inspired by the other local artists in my community. When you roam the aisles or sit across from talented people all weekend at an art show, you learn so much. And they are so generous with their advice and encouragement. It inspires me to grow and stretch when surrounded by people who excel at what they do in their chosen mediums.

What medium do you work in?

My work is mixed media. I typically use texture mediums, paper, fabric and acrylic paint applied with a palette knife although I’ve been exploring brush and pen work lately.

Do you have any other creative outlets?

Right now, renovating and decorating my house is my other creative outlet. Our former home burned several years ago and it took a couple of years to rebuild, sell, and then move again. We finally feel settled and ready to make this house our home. I’ve been having a blast infusing our home with the same unabashed mix of color, texture and pattern found in my artwork.

 What is your favorite meal?

Fair food. If you sell something in a kiosk, food truck or concession stand, I will buy it and eat it. Things I would never eat normally; I will eat if you sell it out of a truck. It makes no sense.

How does the place that you live/work inspire your creative pursuits?

My studio is in my home on 2.5 wooded acres that back up to a horse farm. When I throw open my studio doors, I see huge evergreen trees with gnarled limbs, rusty wire fences, golden hay bales, blue skies, stacked wood, glossy manes. These varied textures and saturated colors are integral to my work. The studio is definitely the heart of our home. During the day, I am a one-woman show, but once school and work are done, everyone ends up in the studio. We intentionally created a bright and colorful multifunctional space where everyone feels comfortable, including the dog who has claimed the bottom shelf of my paint table as his bed. The peaceful, natural beauty outside my studio and the messy, joy-filled togetherness inside cannot help but infuse my artwork with its signature happiness.

 

Check out all of the products featuring Emily’s art here!

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Inspired Spring Décor and Tips

Indoor plants are proven to not only improve air quality, but also help reduce stress, improve health, sharpen focus, and create an overall feeling of well-being. We think those benefits are too good to pass up, which is why you can find homes for plants in nearly all of our collections with enough style variety to match any décor!

Decorative trays may not be the first item you think of when it comes to indoor plants, but they can be perfect to mix things up from a standard pot or cachepot. Choose a ceramic, terra-cotta, or metal tray, filled with sand and rocks to make a shallow succulent garden or use a tray to hold a few different coordinating or matching pots to keep all of your plants together.

Looking for a clean, modern plant display? Terrariums are a chic way to display air plants, moss, or African violets.

A pot or planter is your plant’s best accessory! Having a variety of options for the littlest of plants to homes for large indoor plants is great for ensuring that anyone who visits your store can find a pot that suits their space. Sets of pots with varying sizes can be broken up to sell individually, but also look great in the home all living together.

Shop All Pots

Hanging planters and wall vases are a popular home décor item and can be a fun item to display in your stores without taking up room on the shelves. We hear your window displays calling to have a few of these added!

Speaking of displays, how do you display items like these? Tiered shelves, carts, and tables are fantastic pieces for displaying pots and planters! If you have a green thumb, add a few of your favorite plants to reap the benefits of indoor plants in your store or add a few faux plants for an approach that requires less maintenance

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Mint and Mist: A refreshing and functional collection for the home.

Color is a powerful tool. If you’ve ever painted a room or a piece of furniture, you know exactly how transformative it can be. When we dream of new collections and start to plan new products and themes, we often start with color. Not just a color palette, but a feeling and a mood that those colors create. In January of 2016, we were inspired to create a theme that was refreshing and renewing, a truly relaxed style for today’s home. As we created a color palette, we felt drawn to colors that truly embodied the clean, fresh look we were hoping for: sage, mint, pistachio, and shades of grey. These natural hues blend easily into many different styles of décor and can be incorporated into any room of the house. Though this collection had many names during its creation, we finally decided that Mint and Mist perfectly integrated every element that we were hoping for.

Products:

With a new theme, also comes brand new products, inspired by pieces you’ve loved in the past.

New shapes of elements that you love, such as glazed stoneware mugs, bowls, canisters, and pitchers. New colors on classic berry bowls, batter bowls, and mini bakers feel fresh and new. Your favorite wooden spoons, now come with dipped handles in our mint and mist palette. There are little pieces here and there that we knew you would love to see.

This new theme allowed us to find opportunities to grow our line. The sage colored, “Welcome to Our Home” tray is an excellent embodiment of this collection. It’s a fun, versatile piece that’s an effortless addition to any décor. Intricately hand-carved handles, mixed materials, and rich patterns are integrated into salad servers, cutting boards, and coasters. These harmonize simplicity with craftsmanship. A broad choice of materials including cement, horn, glass, wood, terra-cotta, seagrass baskets, abaca fiber and metal perfectly blend and contrast to keep this collection from being anything but boring.

The pillows, blankets, and rugs of this collection combine classic concepts with a more modern approach. Unique textures and patterns created with tassels, weaves, and embroidery adds a bit of unexpected but unique detail.


Natural materials such as hand-woven seagrass, jute, raffia, and straw break up the soft tones of this collection and add depth in both color and texture.

We hope you love the results of this collection as much as we loved creating it! From refreshed, best-selling product bodies to 100% new and fabulous items, you’re sure to find something to adore.

Shop Mint and Mist

 

 

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Recipe File: Height of Summer BLTs with Roasted Poblano Aioli

The best parties always leave the host time to mingle with their guests and RELAX. If you’re the host, all the more reason to try to stick to that rule!

set the table for your Summer Party

For your next summer shindig, come up with a menu that lets your guests build their own dinner. Setting up stations where your friends and family can tailor their meal to their tastes is key. Pretty glasses and lemonade with some sliced strawberries and a few spirits mean the grownups can make a cocktail that’s theirs alone. Kids (let’s be honest, not only the kids) will love scooping their own ice cream for dessert, adding some sprinkles and syrups on top.

But the star of your meal – especially if you have at the ready these summery plates– will be the BLTs. Not just any BLTs, mind you. These have an added oomph that will bring smiles all around. This easy to make Roasted Poblano Aioli might just make the best BLT you’ve ever had.

BLT prep

It all takes just a little prep work, nothing too arduous. It is summer, after all. Roast the poblanos, cook the bacon, slice and toast the bread. Slice up those delicious tomatoes – sort of medium thickness – and wash the lettuce. You’re practically done! The aioli comes together quickly in a food processor.

After the party, if there’s any left, the poblano aioli can be served alongside grilled pork chops, stirred into corn and tortilla soup, dolloped over your morning sunny-side up eggs. IF there’s any left.

Happy summer!

Roasted Poblano BLT

Height of Summer BLTs with Roasted Poblano Aioli

Good crusty bread
Best tomatoes you can find, either heirloom or even better, home-grown
Bibb or romaine lettuce
Thick cut bacon
Salt and pepper

for the aioli:
2 egg yolks
1 clove garlic
¼ bunch parsley
1 TB lime juice
3 poblano peppers, roasted on the grill or under the broiler, then peeled, seeded, and chopped
Salt
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil

Combine and purée the egg yolks, garlic, and parsley in a food processor. Add the lime juice, roasted poblanos, and salt to taste. With the motor running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil, gradually adding more until it’s the consistency of mayonnaise. Check and adjust seasoning.

 

 

 

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Behind the Scenes: Home Décor, 2017 Vol. 2

Shooting photos for our catalogs takes many, many hours – weeks, even – but the best days are the ones where the shoot involves a road trip. For the Havana and Waterside collections this season, our “studio” was on the coast near Gearhart, Oregon.

garland

Setup for the each of the shots actually takes a bit of time. What might look like a scene you’ve just happened upon while strolling on the beach more often than not has been arranged and rearranged, with the art director stepping back to peruse and consider, which then means more rearranging…

Behind the Scenes 2     Behind the Scenes 1    Behind the Scenes 3

But along the way, amidst all the hard work and long hours, there’s always a little play time.

quilts

We think our catalogs look better than ever! With more than 800 new items in this season’s Home Decor and Flaire catalogs, we hope you enjoy thumbing through them and shopping for new items as much as we did sourcing and shooting our new products.

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Behind the Scenes / Summer 2016

We are thrilled to offer over 750 new home décor additions this season! As always, we traveled far and worked intensely to create quality, trend-forward goods to share with you all. Here are some highlights from our travels in Asia, and our catalog photography in the Portland, OR office.

IMG_1186

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Notes From the Road / Paris and London

Bonjour! Welcome! We recently returned from a month long product trip across the pond looking for inspiration and new ideas. From glamorous home décor shows to flea markets to roadside car boot sales, we scoured France and England to find vintage artwork, color inspiration, and antique items that will all add something unique to our next season’s offering. Merci! Enjoy!

Notes from the Road London and Paris

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BEHIND THE SCENES / COME WITH ME

Hello!

Heather here, I’m a Graphic Design intern at Creative Co-op, and I’m happy to be guest posting about our most recent photo shoot at the coast for our new release, Come With Me. We brought some of our beautiful new product, and set up a delectable dinner spread right on the beach!

come_with_me_02

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Behind the Scenes / Home Decor Vol. 2

We were so in love with the rattan open wing chair when it arrived that we knew it had to grace the cover of our new catalog. That decision was easy. Getting the right photo, on the other hand, was a whole other story. Take a look behind the scenes of our most recent photo shoot in downtown Portland and on the Oregon coast.

behind the scenes of our home decor photo shoot

Our not-so-cooperative model, Tank and adventures in the Pacific ocean.

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