The Shop

A Q&A With People I've Loved, Designers of Our New Illustrated Tote

November 14, 2016

The second tote in our Food52 Illustrated series is here—and it's so, so sweet.

For the Food52 Illustrated series, we ask some of our favorite illustrators and artists to design a limited-edition tote bag that embodies Food52. (However they might interpret that.) Our latest addition is illustrated by People I've Loved, whose cheeky and heartfelt prints, cards, and pins seem to always know what you're thinking and how to say it.

People I’ve Loved is Carissa Potter and Heather Van Winckle, who operate out of a small printmaking workshop in Oakland, California. Their Food52 tote is a veritable cake walk—9 little plates of desserts, screen printed in black and splashes of light pink.

We asked Carissa and Heather a few questions to get to know People I've Loved a little better—what makes them tick, what songs they're listening to in their studio lately, and of course, what their favorite desserts are.

If u need to give someone a nudge in your direction...

A photo posted by Carissa Potter Carlson (@peopleiveloved) on

How did People I've Loved start?

Carissa: It started with a longing to connect and a deep loneliness I felt. I feel like it is both therapeutic for me to make and when people share the feelings, I definitely feel less alone. Heather and I met in grad school. She and I both bonded over our interest in human behavior and what it means to be a person, in this time and space. A few years after [attending] San Francisco Art Institute, Heather moved back to the Bay Area and we started working together. I love Heather. Heather is super positive and handles my crazy with grace. I think we balance each other nicely. I feel so lucky and thankful when I think about Heather.

What is the first thing you can remember drawing?

Carissa: Ballet shoes. And my dad says a moose at the cabin. I kinda remember that. Maybe.

You illustrate a lot of plants. What kind do you have in your house/apartment right now?

Carissa: I love plants. I will take all plants. I have been collecting them for years now. It would be hard to draw. I am into Prayer plants at the moment. And cactus. I like to spend quality time with my plants as a form of meditation—and to help fight off sadness. I have been trying to farm plants in my backyard—it gives me to much joy to see them grow and change and multiply. I also really like sharing them with anyone who will take them. It is said that we share about 60% of our genes with plants... which I find comforting.

Hanging jade and prayer plant portraits almost on the way to @quirk_gallery #watercolor #sumi #ink #plants

A photo posted by Carissa Potter Carlson (@peopleiveloved) on

Dogs or cats? (Or both? Or something else?)

Heather: DOGS! Nothing else. Maybe a goat...

Carissa: PLANTS! Nothing else. Ha, ha. JK, I have a dog. He is 17. I use him as a pillow at night. He seems to be ok with that. And he comes with me whenever he can. I kinda think it is more fun to be with other beings. I get lonely when I am just with my thoughts.

Where would you live if not in Oakland?

Carissa: We had a scare a few years ago and thought that we might move to Pittsburgh, PA. BUT IF I COULD LIVE anywhere, I know this is lame, but I would live in San Francisco. Or in the hills in Berkeley. OR no, by the ocean. Or no, I would live in Paris. I tried that once, and it has been long enough to try it again... I would walk the streets of Paris just like Sarah [Jessica Parker] in Sex and the City. I would be a writer. And I would have really nice shoes—but they would be super comfortable like those old shoe advertisements where women played basketball in heels. I would be smoking all the time. Since I quite smoking years and years ago, I still wake up every morning wanting a cliché smoke, book and hot coffee. Eeeek. I am super predictable.

Heather: Canada. Big city.

Pins for rainy days :)

A photo posted by Carissa Potter Carlson (@peopleiveloved) on

Do you listen to music while you work? What songs or artists makes you most focused or creative?

Heather: I don't know... We have been listening to the Fleetwood Mac station on Google Play as of late...

Carissa: My playlist that I am into is Cranes in the Sky, Bon Iver's 33 "God", ROBYN FOREVER, and my sister, Quigley. I swear I am not biased. She is brilliant and I never get sick of her stuff.

Photo by Rocky Luten

What's your favorite dessert?

Heather: Chocolate something.

Carissa: I am into pot de crème?

People I've Loved's sugar-coated tote is now in our Shop! Carry it around whenever you need a little sugar (which is all the time, right?) and check out our first illustrated tote, too, from artist Claudia Pearson:

What revered dessert would be on the tote of your dreams? Tell us in the comments below!

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

Olivia Bloom

Written by: Olivia Bloom

Has a soft spot for string cheese.