victoria vanb.

Freshly launched: two websites (and one redesign!)

web designVictoria VanBruinisse

March, already almost past, was my busiest web design month yet -- two new sites, and a redesign of a site I built last year. I'm really pleased with how they turned out, and the clients are thrilled as well!

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The first site I finished this month, and hands-down the prettiest one I've made yet that wasn't for a personal project of my own, was a content-rich informational site for editor Amy Smith Bell. Amy had an old site with LOTS of great content, but framed in an outdated design. I took all of her (impressive! genre-crossing!) work, broke it down into categories that were easier to digest, and gave her a clean, cool, modern design that matched the quality and caliber of her work.

The site still links through Wordpress address at the moment, but Amy will be transitioning over to her direct link in the coming weeks.

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Second spot on the dance card this month was Rachel Cardone's Red Thread Advisors website. Rachel came my way via a Seattle women's business-related Google group recommendation, and similar to my interactions with Amy, I found myself floored by the depth and scope of her work. Rachel has worked on impressive projects, consulted for the Gates Foundation, and is an all-around quality human being to boot. We pulled the content from her outdated hand-built site, delivered key information in a bold, clean, easy-to-understand design, and let her work speak for itself.

I've handed the reins over to Rachel for some final content edits, and will link back to her completed site here soon!

Last up, but certainly not least, was a quick redesign for a site I built last winter. I worked with my now-partner Barry Uhl on the launch of his project in 2014, and took some time this month to give him a basic refresh. We're prepping to map all new content for his site in order to focus on the release of his next album, The Stargazer's Bible, and I wanted a clean slate to work with in the meantime. Once we've got graphics and visual / audio assets, I'll be digging back in to both design and written content to reflect all the incredible work he's done.

If you're in need of a new site, or a redesign of something you've already set up on the web, please don't hesitate to get in touch. My rates are very reasonable, and I'd love to lend a hand on your project!

Product shoot / web design: Laura Stalions

photographer for hire, products, web designVictoria VanBruinisse

This month's project was a bit multi-faceted: I worked with mixed-media artist Laura Stalions to build a basic online gallery that showcased the pieces she wanted to list for sale, and also did a photoshoot for the actual pieces as well. One afternoon of shooting, a few days of Wordpress immersion, and a handful of basic edits later, I launched her site.

The shoot involved a visit to Laura's home studio, to capture accurate renderings of high-gloss paintings (without the pesky glare), straight-on images of her screenprints, and my personal favorite, these hand-forged wreaths:

In addition to the work displayed, she also does commissions and custom jobs -- don't hesitate to reach out to her if you have something in mind!

New Year's Eve wedding: photobooth!

community, personal, photobooth, portrait, weddings & engagementsVictoria VanBruinisse

Best New Year's Eve ever? Possibly. I spent the night down on Lake Union surrounded by friends, witnessing the wedding of my boss and her partner, and running a sparkly, prop-filled photobooth (my wedding gift to them). To top it all off, we ran down to the water just as the clock struck midnight, all fireworks and KEXP blasting from the houseboats and kisses in the middle of the street.

I didn't have a camera for that last part, but here's a fraction of the photos from the booth I mentioned:

Best of 2014

personal, music & performance, word saladVictoria VanBruinisse

As a rule, around this time of the year I find myself laboring intensely over lists, specifically as they relate to cultural intake: best photos, favorite shows, albums that changed my life. This year, though, it was a bit more of a tangible experience than years previous -- I had a series of experiences in the forefront, through which I found myself assembling a soundtrack, as opposed to the soundtrack dictating the series of experiences. It sounds like one and the same, sort of. But for me, they're pretty different.

Almost ten years ago, when a friend first turned me on to KEXP, I discovered a soundtrack that not only narrated my life, but also caused actual motion -- I'd listen obsessively, make mixes, find bands that I loved and bands that those bands loved, spend hours poring over new releases at the record store, and drive great distances on weeknights for can't-miss kinds of shows, meeting scores of people along the way. The music, via KEXP, dictated the paths I chose and pulled me around into countless adventures that shaped the person I am today.

In a bit of a plot twist, for this year at least, the music in my life started to serve as more of an undercurrent than a motion-inducer, as 2014 saw me in the midst of major changes: I came into the year on the heels of a few explosions on my interpersonal landscape, got yanked out of my self-care cocoon by a trip to Maui, experienced reunion, changed my relationship status and moved in with my partner, abandoned a whole cache of personal 'rules' I'd set up for myself, took a big break from social media, and shifted the terms of my dayjob to allow for more (and a new variation on) freelance work. 2014 has been exhausting, exhilarating, unbearably sad, utterly joyful, scary and amazing -- all at once. It pushed me and pulled me and even now, in the waning dusk of the year these last few days bring, continues to refine almost every facet of my being.

The songs that went with these shifts are vast in their range, almost as vast as the experiences themselves, from playful to sorrowful and everything in-between. I'm in the midst of making both new music mixes and new-to-me mixes that cap it all off, but it's worth noting somewhere in the blog world that the only two records I actually wrote about at length (aside from the work I did for Barry's project) were Damien Jurado's Brothers and Sisters and Chad Van Gaalen's Shrink Dust. In a gentle blender, they touch most of what happened to me in the last twelve months, and served as the A- and B-sides to all those changes, embracings and abandonments.

Plenty of other things dot the landscape as well: favorite singalongs from that cover band I never started, old Todd Rundgren releases, Derby, UMO, revisiting the Anthology and taking on Living In the Material World, and old Richard Swift tracks. As soon as the mixes surface I'll post them here, as the goal is to have all of this tackled in the coming days, an effort to leave the year behind with as clean of a slate as possible.

Bon courage, last twelve months. I can't wait to see what happens next.

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Update! Best of 2014's new releases playlist here, and best of new-to-me (non-2014 releases) playlist here. Happy listening!