Habit + Habitat: Alli McGrane


Ever wonder what the folks at terrain do when we're not in the nursery? In our monthly series, Habit + Habitat, we're finding out by asking one person to share a favorite habit and a beloved habitat. This month, we’re chatting with Web Stylist Alli McGrane, who works behind the scenes to make sure every photo and email looks beautiful. With just three(!) days until Christmas, Alli took us to her studio for a peek at her favorite holiday habit-- crafting hand-printed gift wrap.

terrain: What is your role at terrain? Can you describe your typical day?

Alli: I'm the web stylist. On a typical day, I'm setting up scenes and products that will be photographed for our emails and website.

terrain: Can you tell us about your studio space at home?

Alli: It’s a very small space. There's just enough room for a small desk and shelves, but it has a lot of natural light to work by.

terrain: What are some essential tools that you always have on hand?

Alli: I always have lots of paper-- especially kraft paper rolls to use as wrapping paper. For more formal printing, I like to use Reeves BFK paper. I also like Mars plastic erasers, which are great for carving into stamps. Speedball linoleum cutters and acrylic paint are also essentials around my studio.

terrain: You also spend a lot of time in the studio here at terrain—how is it different working in each space?

Alli: My work at terrain can be very fast paced because we have deadlines to meet. At home, I can take my time and get into the very small details that I had in mind, but wouldn’t translate well in a photograph.

terrain: What are some of your favorite things to make during the holidays?

Alli: At Christmas, I especially like to spend time wrapping gifts-- making or choosing different papers, ribbons, and tie-ons. Also, I usually plant up a few seasonal arrangements for family members.

terrain: How did you get into hand-printing?

Alli: In art school, I used silkscreen for much of my printing work. However, once I graduated and moved around a bit, I didn't have consistent access to a printing studio. So, I started to make much smaller wood cuts and rubber stamps. They're much more portable and I enjoy the process.

terrain: Can you tell us a bit about your hand-printed gift wrap?

Alli: For this holiday craft, I gathered up some kraft paper, a standard white eraser and lino cutter to create the stamps, and acrylic paint with a brayer for application. I chose several different images-- houses and snowflakes for an iconic holiday look, as well as boxwood and pine sprigs. The trick with printing projects like this is to carve one design, then use the shape to create different patterns. For example, the sprigs work well to print a festive garland across your gift wrap.

terrain: Do you have any gifts you’re especially excited to wrap and give this Christmas?

Alli: I have a new niece, Isabella. She'll be receiving a very special, handmade gift this Christmas.

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