Posted on

Handmade Holiday and some updates

Quan & Khoi manning the booth.
Quan & Khoi manning the booth.

We had a blast at Handmade Holiday. Thanks everyone who came out to visit and who bought stuff from us. It was awesome to meet you all! Handmade Holiday was our first Craft Show and everyone was super encouraging. We’ll definitely be doing more in 2015! Thanks to Richmond Craft Mafia for putting on a great show!

We’re currently winding down for the holidays. We didn’t quite get our site updated with all of the new product but we did add a few things that were available at the show. We have a big website overhaul planned for early 2015 which will make it easier for us to get new product up quicker, so we’re excited for that! In the meantime, thanks for your patience on our rather mismatched shop offerings.

Onward to 2015, lots of fun stuff planned!

Posted on

Where to find Manka for the holidays

This year I’m participating in a couple of craft fairs / pop up shops so if you like shopping live instead of online, here’s where you can find my stuff:


Pop the Trunk at Alchemy NFK
Norfolk, VA

I’ll have a selection of paper goods in the curated portion of the event. The curated shop is open most weekends from now to December – check the event page for exact days and times though because they change from week to week.


Handmade Holiday at Hardywood Brewery
Richmond, VA

On December 6 I’ll be heading up to Richmond, VA for my first craft show, Handmade Holiday put on by the Richmond Craft Mafia. I’m super nervous about this one since I’ve never put together a table at a craft fair before but I’m also super excited. I can’t wait to meet people and see what awesome stuff Richmond has to offer.

And for Norfolk people, I have stuff in the always awesome Kitsch as well.

The stuff at the different venues is not all the same so if you’re looking for something specific (and any of the new products I’ve been working on) your best bet is to come to Richmond since I’m bringing pretty much everything there, but if you can’t make it to Richmond, I’m hoping to have new product up on the site the following Monday. Hope to see you there!


Posted on

An unintentional pause.

Milk Vampire

September is almost over and I last posted in July. Whoops. August got eaten by that little Milk Vampire up there. He is very cute but take lots of time and attention. We’ve worked out a deal now so my little Milk Vampire is going to let me play in this space a bit more and in exchange I will let him keep me up all night.

Now that I’ve found a bit more rhythm (a really tiny bit) to this new mothering gig I’m hoping to find a little more time to devote to Manka. I have a couple new products waiting to be photographed and a bunch more buzzing around in my head waiting to be sketched out so hopefully I will be able to eke out a little time to share them with you. My goal is to post once a week. Hopefully Mr. Milk Vampire will let me stick to that.

Posted on

Making Marks – Week 1

Paintings in various states of progress
Paintings in various states of progress

Week 1 of my making marks project has flown by. It’s been really great to sit down with a pencil and paint brush at the beginning of each day and just draw something. The week evolved from strawberry girl to a bunch of little pixies riding random animals.

photo from
photo from

My original inspiration for the pixie riding the deer was the Tsaatan people of Mongolia who herd and ride reindeer. I’ve always been fascinated by people who domesticate animals other than horses for riding. What is it that makes a horse more ridable than another animal? In any case after starting down this particular rabbit hole it got a little out of hand, jackalopes, cats, ostrich…

Ostrich Scout
Rabbit Warrior
Cat Rider
Forest Rider
Wild Ride

Happily, most days I found that once I sat down and started painting I didn’t really want to stop so a few days produced more than one painting. I’ve also found myself thinking about my paintings throughout the day and wanting to redo and refine some of the themes into more cleaned up prints. I’ve started on a few versions based on the paintings and I will probably do a few more. They’re not quite ready to be turned into prints but they are working there way there.

WIP for possible Prints?
WIP for possible Prints?

My biggest frustration with the process so far is my lack of finesse with real media. My brush strokes aren’t as exact as I’d like and sometimes the results are not entirely what I was expecting – but then again that is kind of the point. Practice, persistence and experimentation. The other thing I’ve encountered is I don’t know what products I like yet. I haven’t found a white that is a good consistency for painting the way I like to paint – which is a problem when you’re only painting in black and white. I have a few products on order to try so hopefully I’ll figure out a remedy for that one soon.

All in all I think this week has been super motivating so I’m looking forward to next week, I might even play with some color.

If you like any of this week’s paintings you can have one for your very own for just $5 in the shop.

Posted on

Making marks – a new project

I’m starting a new daily project which I’ll be chronicling a little bit here and probably a bit more on Instagram either here or here. (still not sure whether two instagrams is a good or a bad idea.)

The rules are simple, every day I will draw something new. There are no real restrictions on medium or theme except that it cannot be digital. Basically it’s an excuse (and a daily reminder) to put some marks on paper.

With such loose restrictions you might wonder why I even bother calling it a project – but to me a project is about making time and intention. I usually have the best of intentions to get out my supplies and play around a bit but often it’s easier to just visualize myself doing that while I continue to sit on the couch, surf the web and watch hulu. By publicly declaring my intent I’m hoping this little exercise will provide a bit of motivation.

Black & White Doodles
A bit of my current studio walls

Over the course of the last few months I’ve found myself drawn more and more to monochromatic drawings oftentimes incorporating nature or geometric shapes (and lately pixies) so I’m excited to dive a bit deeper into those themes and see what comes out.

Part of my reason for starting Manka in the first place was to have an open space to experiment and explore whatever strikes my fancy and take you down the rabbit hole with me. This will be the start of that little journey.

In addition, rather than keep these drawings to myself closed up in my studio I thought I would offer them up to whoever might want them. Each one will be $5 including shipping and you will be able to purchase them in the shop here.

Strawberry Girl
I started today so if you fancy the little strawberry girl above, you can grab her here

Posted on

And we’re live…

I’ve been wanting to do this for a long time so, here we go. A new shop full of (to start with) all the prints I’ve been hoarding for the last few years.

There’s a bunch of new stuff in the works but I figured the longer I put off launching, the less likely it would happen. So here I am, diving in with both feet. We’re not quite as pretty as I’d like to be, but we’re functional and we have prints and everything else will get better with time.

So, pardon the dust and welcome to Manka.