Pennyweight Goods No. 01 / by Elise Joseph

I couldn't be more excited to announce the launch of Pennyweight Goods. Since I was about 11 years old, I have dreamed of one day owning a brick and mortar shop. While I am still working towards that goal, I have decided to curate this new venture - I get to support amazing artists and offer exclusive, limited edition products just for you. The site will be updated on a monthly basis, and will feature small batches of beautiful pieces from various makers around the world.

First up is the lovely and talented Chelsea Petaja of Oh My Deer, who designed this stunning 18" x 24" poster for the first release. The Albert Camus quote has been very dear to my heart over the past year, and my hope is that it brings you joy and peace each time you see it.

Photography by Tec Petaja.

Photography by Tec Petaja.

When and how did you get into (and learn) your craft?
I was born into it. My dad was an art teacher for 30 years and taught a few night classes of classical calligraphy. My mom, though a chemistry and physics teacher by trade, has beautiful penmanship and could show Martha Stewart a thing or two. They both love beauty and encouraged my art. Heck, they never once asked me what I was going to do with a fine arts degree.

Where do you find inspiration for your work?
Lately, I've been most inspired by the ebb and flow of watercolor. My background is in acrylics and watercolors always intimidated me, but experimenting with brushes and papers has been an inspiring challenge.

What's a typical workday look like for you?
Coffee, email, coffee, email, insanity workout, kick the couch because insanity was so hard, lunch with my husband, back to emailing and painting and making a mess (I'm a clean cook and a messy painter). On nights that I stay in, I get a ton of work done when no one else is home and it's dark and quiet, except for the episodes of 30 Rock I have playing on Netflix (Liz Lemon probably has something to do with that. She's my mom's doppelganger, so maybe I just feel like my mom is being hilarious and getting Tracy Jordan out of hijinks. But I digress...) and though I'm no night owl, I get most of my energy and ideas at these times.  

What would you say is your favorite part about your job?
There are so many... I worked as a teacher for 4 years out of college and though it was a beautiful time of growing up and learning about myself, it wasn't my heart and I was exhausted. For the few years of the job, I was growing Oh My Deer on the side and it got to be too much. Leaving the job I really liked and that gave me a ton of security was crazy scary, but the consequence has been so rewarding: I get to use paint and my hands to make a living; my time is my own to manage; my extra time allows me to be a better everything — wife, friend, sister, daughter; and I have the sweetest clients.

Any story behind this piece for Pennyweight?
If winter is cold, dark and gray, summer is the opposite: hot, bright and green. When in a season of despair, it's imperative that we be reminded that hope and light are not only inevitablejust as winter is promised to turn to spring and spring is promised to turn to summerbut it's within us, given to us and surrounding us.

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Huge thank you to Joe Gomez for the photo and video work (photo of Chelsea and her studio by Tec Petaja). Be sure to sign up for the Pennyweight Goods newsletter to receive updates on new releases, designer collaborations and more.

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