june artist spotlight.

At Kitsch, we love us some creative tag teams! Last month we spotlighted the duo behind Horse & Hare, and now June has led us to another husband and wife team, Derek and Kimberly Munn of Maple & Belmont. Derek and Kimberly have truly mastered the art of hand lettering, bringing new life and character to the written word. Kitsch has been lucky enough to carry their greeting cards, prints, tea towels and pillows, and we're always excited to see their next great design. PicMonkey Collage1

This past week we had the pleasure of hosting their hand-lettering workshop, which was a great time!

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We look forward to offering more classes from this awesome couple -hopefully as early as July. In the meantime, here is a fun little interview we had with Derek and Kimberly. It just makes us love them all the more...

Maple & Belmont was born out of a dream to create stationery and other paper products with our own two hands. So we rekindled our love of screen printing and got to work. Our stationery features charmingly, witty designs that explore our visual voice through hand-drawn illustrations and typography. We strive to bring our patrons a quality only found in short-run handmade products. Currently, we specialize in cards and miscellaneous paper goods, but we are starting to branch out into other stationery products including stamps and textiles. We also offer custom design work along with calligraphy services.

Where do you find inspiration?

Our fascination really began when we lived in Brooklyn. The old signs, building façades, and barrage of old ephemera we'd find at The Brooklyn Flea gave up plenty of fuel for the fire. Now that we're back in Virginia, we're pulling from local references. Looking to Richmond, even though neither one of us smoke, we both love the once mighty tobacco culture that was there. We have a small collection of tins from the turn of the century that have some amazing lettering details. We also find inspiration in old sheet music, packaging, and wooden crates.

What's your studio playlist?

We really have a great grab-bag of music we play, but lately it's been about Macklemore/Ryan Lewis, Daft Punk, and Santigold.


How do you get yourself out of a creative rut?

We live near so many great coffee places (Fairgrounds, Stella, and Cure), often times a good walk, some caffeine, and conversation restarts the creative engines. We'll share some new ideas, stare into each others' eyes for a bit, then talk about what's working and if it's a good idea to try something completely different. If coffee isn't an option, our two dogs (pug and mini-dachshund) always want to play. A quick game of fetch or just a snuggle session helps get our brain off the task at hand.

You have a time machine. Where are you going?

DEREK: Noble historical interferences aside, I'm going back and seeing some dinosaurs. I know I could be eaten or get some crazy paleo-plague, but I don't care. Anyone that says differently has lost touch with their inner 5 year old.

KIM: Ditto on Derek's answer. That sounds awesome.

Describe your work in 5 words.

DEREK: Write your mom a letter.

KIM: The old is new again.

How do you find balance?

We're both designers, so it's actually tough for us to put it aside. We admittedly have to get better at carving out "No Work Time". We try to get out on the weekends as much as possible. It's going to be much easier now that the weather is warmer. Spending time walking either along a beach, in the Dismal Swamp, or even the neighborhood (Ghent) is where we balance out.

MB-Studio Is there a story behind your blog/shop name?

We were on a long road trip a few years ago and Derek just happened to blurt it out as a good idea for a name. We're both originally from Newport News, and Maple & Belmont is the combination of our two childhood addresses. Kim grew up on Maple Avenue downtown, and Derek grew up on Belmont Road in midtown. Putting the two together captured the idea of something warm, genuine, and sentimental. Both places made us into who were are today, and both places will always be home for us. Despite those places being very specific for us, Maple & Belmont very much embodies the idea of home being where you make it. It's where you belong.

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We're handing you plane tickets to anywhere. Where are you going?

That's awesome!! Thanks Kitsch peeps, peace out…If we could go anywhere hmmmm... It's a tossup between a European tour starting in Barcelona or a trip to Japan.

What's your favorite local haunt?

We were just talking about this with friends the other day, and the Hampton Taphouse is our place. Even though Norfolk has the original, we're still drawn to this gem in downtown Hampton. The beer menu is always on point, and the food is by far the best of any bar. Yeah, we said it. The specials never disappoint, and the regular menu is a pillar of hunger satisfaction. It's a good place for a date, to take your parents, or get rowdy with a huge group of friends. We do all threes there. To top it all off, the music that comes through is always great. And do yourself a favor and try their Sunday brunch menu.

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