By day, Josh Higgins is a web designer and developer for local firm Spindletop Design. But when he's not busy coding websites for clients like Fat Cat Creamery and Brazos Bookstore, the 28-year-old is known for creating more tangible. Under the moniker HMD Stuff & Thangs, Higgins designs posters and T-shirts bearing pop culture icons such as Marvin Zindler, set against a border of slime-green ice cubes and bearing his signature blue shades, face in solemn Orthodox repose.
Jingle All the Way Day
Nov 15, noon-5
Burning Bones Press
1518 Yale St.
And though his Saint Zindler posters and T-shirts have been flying off the shelves of his virtual store, Higgins's newest T-shirt design looks poised to replace it, starting this weekend. "The office I work in sometimes operates like an improve troupe with lots of riffing off each other," says Higgins. "One day after enjoying some kolaches we ended up riffing the scene from Glengarry Glen Ross as if Alec Baldwin were addressing our office and 'Kolaches Are For Closers' was born."
The t-shirt is red, signaling the seriousness of such a statement, and it will be one of the many items that Higgins has for sale this Saturday at Jingle All the Way Day, the second annual holiday market held at Burning Bones Press. The print shop on Yale St. in the Heights is where Higgins and many other local designers come to create their T-shirts, posters, and more using Burning Bones's screenprinting machine, lithography equipment, and other materials. Many of Burning Bones's other designers will have their works for sale at Jingle All the Way Day, including Alyssa Diaz, Cristina Espinoza, Carlos Hernandez, Amber Kaiser, Cathie Kayser, Nancy Luton, Julia McLaurin, Linde Pieper, Eric Pearce, Carlos Pozo, Alex Schwenke, Kathy Trice, and Tera Yoshimura.
In addition to the holiday market, says Higgins, "we will also be printing shirts and prints live on the spot for people. I love the crew at Burning Bones, it's always a fun time when they put on events, and there's always something for everyone."
In creating his T-shirts, the native Houstonian employs a slightly different technique than simple screenpriting—a technique in which Burning Bones's array of equipment comes in handy. "I use a method that involves carving the design from a piece of wood and then running it through the press like a giant stamp on the shirt," says Higgins. "It gives it a really cool, handmade, distressed aesthetic that I love."
The end result runs $20 (in person—the T-shirt sells for $25 online), and would make a killer Christmas present for that kolache-lover in your life paired with a gift certificate to Shipley Do-nuts, though Higgins claims Christy's in Montrose makes his own favorite kolaches.
It's difficult to imagine this T-shirt playing as well in any other market aside from Houston, which—aside from our undying love of kolaches—has lately embraced the trend of clever self-promotion, self-referential humor, and self-love in a variety of local products, from Houstorian's minimalist Loop 610 T-shirt to FHYA's campaign to promote Bayou City supremacy via snapbacks, tanks, and koozies. Higgins recognizes that his own Houston-focused products tend to sell quite well, with more in the works: "I'm working on a show of Houston-centric work that should hopefully open mid/late next year that I'm really excited about."
For now, however, Higgins is content to watch his kolache t-shirt sell out this weekend, though he notes that he—personally—doesn't really think kolaches are only for closers. "Kolaches are a human right," says Higgins, "but I do believe, like many other comfort foods, they taste better when you feel you've earned them."