4xForth: Johanna Winter Harper of JWH Designs / by Natalie Pavela

4xForth-Chicago-Johanna-WinterEach Friday we’re highlighting one of the lovely women in our community by learning about her favorite Chicago places and restaurants, hearing what websites she’s all jazzed about, and gaining some inspiration from destinations she’s dreaming of traveling to next.

It’s 4 x Forth Friday and today we’re talking to Forth alum Johanna Winter Harper - artist, illustrator and designer at JWH Designs. Johanna will be speaking at our Etsy Shop Ownership Panel Talk on July 8th (details and tickets here).

Places I frequent in Chicago:

1. Beans & Bagels (Rockwell location) - Best coffee in a cup (or a bag). Best lox breakfast bagel. Best lemon poppyseed muffin, best tables to spread out and work on. Right around the corner from my house too!

2. Chicago Park District - There are so many hidden gems in this city. We love (shall I tell?) tiny Jacob Park right at the end of Leland by the river. We also love the swimming pool at River Park and the sledding hill at Horner.

3. Supreme Beauty Parlor - I recently cut my hair short and so I have to go to the hairdressers a lot more. This tiny gem of a salon is right off the Francisco brown line stop. All vintage 50’s decor, two lovely pups, and a sweet-as-can-be owner, Christina, who used to work at a salon in Logan Square. She's down to earth, fun, and gives stellar hair cuts (and I’m picky).

4. The El - we are a car-less family and so the El (and bikes and scooters) are our mode of transportation. We spend a lot of time on the train. It’s a great place for interesting conversations with kids about architecture, rooftop gardens, friction, politeness, storms, city living, rural living, not licking windows in public places, who owns shops, why do rainbows happen, why doesn’t the train fall off the tracks? Yes, why?

Places I'll go someday:

1. Scandinavia - pattern, design, fjords, progressive education systems - need I say more?

2. North Africa - for the pattern, architecture, ocean, sun, and history.

3. India - textiles, printing, history, literature!

4. Down under to Australia and New Zealand - the land - desert, mountains, oceans - I love extreme landscapes. I’d also love to have Christmas on the beach!

Best Bites in Chicago:

1.  Los Nopales is a family-friendly Mexican restaurant in Lincoln Square. Get the Guac, it's delicious! Bonus: It's BYOB.

2.  Beans and Bagels has the best croissant bar none, baked by their French pastry chef.

3. First Slice Cafe for delicious quiche, and pie. Great eats, and a worthy cause. They serve over 4,000 meals a month to Chicago’s hungry.

4. Baker Miller. The lovely couple who started Bang Bang in Logan Square will be opening a bakery soon in Lincoln Square. No ordinary bakery, the Millers (yes, that is Dave and Megan’s last name), will be milling their own flour and promoting heirloom food trades.

Sites I lurve:

1. www.color-collective.blogspot.com - I go here to swoon. What a simple and effective concept: find a photo that inspires you. Match the colors in it. Create a color story. I have used specific color combinations from this site for inspiration many a time.

2. www.patternpeople.com - Everything pattern under the sun. I go here for inspiration and to look at their ebooks on everything from rising trends to how the print industry works, and tutorials.

3. www.bigkidsmagazine.com - Just go here. The animation on the home page alone will have you transfixed. The whole concept just makes my heart glad.

4. www.ablersite.org - I have a better understanding of complex ideas, and am more willing and able to tackle the status quo after I read posts on this site, written by my friend (and smartest gal I know) Sara Hendren.


Thank you for sharing Johanna! We're just as excited to try Baker Miller once it's open, and are eager to try the pies at First Slice Cafe. We love that you use rides on the El as an immersive learning experience for your kids. Oh, and you're totally rocking that short do...might need to follow your lead and make a visit to Supreme Beauty Parlor one of these days!

Follow Johanna and JWH Designs on Twitter, Instagram and through her Etsy shop!