I had some old paintings stacked in the studio that were hideous. Really, quite bad. But I couldn't bring myself to throw away a decent stretched canvas, so I scraped them down (a bit), layered on a coat of titanium white, and threw down some glacier inspired shapes and colors. This weekend I layered on some darker shades and some are starting to come together alright. In a few, the texture of the old painting underneath works. In others, it looks stupid; I'll probably end up trashing those. Going to let them simmer for a bit and then go in for a third round next weekend. Regardless of whether any of them make it through the month, it makes my soul happy to be working with oils.
A batch of glacier-inspired paintings wasn't working for me. I revisited them a few times but they were exhausted and so was I. In a final effort to salvage the lines and colors, I cut them into components and assembled them into new works. These attachments are working much better now.
A typical studio flow:
laying out a grid of surfaces and working on them at the same time.
Usually one or two turn out right.
Here are some from this weekend. I will probably rework these but in the mean time, here they are in progress...
Sumi & acrylic inks layered for depth with a touch of pencil and oil pastels
mixed media on paper 22" x 36"
Iceland is beautiful. I spent ten days there in July and couldn't wait to bring the colors, the light, the textures, the stories back to my studio. Last weekend, I finally had the time to do some painting. Here is a little of the process & a few of my favorites.
Fun fact #1 This 30 second timelapse represents something more like two hours
Fun fact #2 This footage was captured by taping my phone to the wall #lifehacks
Came back from Iceland, completely blown away by the landscapes -- especially the glaciers. Dark ash created lines, accentuated peaks and dips. Brought these to a woodblock printing workshop with Karen Gelardi, Anna Helper, and Megan Brady at Waterfall Arts in Belfast, Maine.
Below are some process pics and pieces from the workshop.
You'll be able to find Waterfall Arts; it's the building with a giant banner on it:
The banner was installed as part of SEESAW -- a collaborative show by Anna Hepler and Karen Gelardi (who is also my sister). This weekend, I went up to Belfast to participate in an artist workshop with them and help take down the show. Fortunately, the banner will stay up indefinitely, so if you are driving through midcoast Maine, you'll be able to find the building easily.
In case you didn't make it in person, here are some pictures of the show.
Overheard at a waterfall: "get it without any people."
It's pretty common practice to compose photographs that suggest you are the only human around. In Iceland, there are many places where you may truly be the only person in sight. But, at the major natural sites with large parking lots, restrooms, and coffee shops, there were many tourists. And I saw many of them taking photographs which omitted their fellow travelers.
I too took my fair share of photographs during this trip which intentionally cropped out people. But I also wanted to capture some of the tourism around me. Here are some of my favorites.
How thrilled I am to be the first Maker featured in Mama's Gonna Make's Summer Maker Series! Click on over to read our conversation about creativity and crafting:
Angie is one of the most inspiring, thoughtful educators (and makers) I've met in California. She recently moved to Nevada and, while I miss having her around, it's been thrilling to watch her build and launch www.mamasgonnamake.com.
Her blog chronicles her journey merging her passion for crafting and making, her knowledge and skills around Early Childhood Education, and her new role as "mama" to an adorable little human. The content is humorous, honest, and beautifully designed. A great follow for caregivers and educators of young children.
Spring has been busier than I planned, or maybe exactly as busy as I planned. At work-work, I helped throw a party for 700 people, hosted a conference for local educators, flew to Portland for another conference, and still managed to balance day-to-day things. In art-making-work, I popped up at Renegade, SJMade Spring Craft Fair, MakerFaire, and Patchwork. (I guess my plan to focus on "bigger" shows this year panned out). I've also got some fun press coming out later this summer -www.mamasgonnamake.com will be interviewing me for her summer makers series and Content Magazine is putting together a profile on me for their next issue!
Also exciting, in a few days, I'm off for a month of adventures. Leaving the studio (and the web shop) behind for the summer will feel strange, but I'm excited to see what new things come out of this space when I return! Have a great July everyone!
Over the long weekend, I brought a few of my things up to a friend's house in La Honda. Everything made it up the windy road intact, so we brought them into the woods along with a little picnic.
Pottery and prints looked right at home in the habitat that inspired them. Can't think of a more lovely family to spend an afternoon with, eating scones and berries in the forest out of handmade mugs.
One of my favorite ways to get to know a new place is to walk around with my camera and look for visual surprises -- often in the form of street art. Luckily, I had some time last weekend do this in Ventura. Overall, the city was particularly street-art free... probably because everyone is too busy going to the beach. But I did find a few goodies:
A friend collected sticks covered in moss and lichen for my booth display last weekend. Now that the bustle of Renegade is over, I am putting these sticks to other uses: lichen covered stick studies with sumi ink on 5x7" and 8x10" paper. Looking at this growth in black and white pulls attention to the shape and texture in a new way. The drawing are piling up and I must say, they look quite delightful grouped together!
I’m still pretty new to selling things that I make, to strangers, in public places. So after a moment of joy, when I found out I would be a vendor at the spring SF Renegade Craft Fair, came the panic. I had about one month to prepare for the biggest craft show I'd ever done!
I went to the internet with questions like: How much inventory should I bring? Will my booth be an embarrassment? How much money am I really going to make? Will there be a parking spot for me? The internet really let me down. Zero helpful answers. For anyone out there who is suffering from similar anxieties, this blog post is for you.
Huge Fear #1 I am going to be totally embarrassed by my lame booth display
RCF is lovely and organized on the back-end (just as you would imagine)! They give lots of great information to vendors including pinterest boards dedicated to booth design inspiration. These are filled with phenomenal images of people who have built entire kingdoms in a 10x10 space. And, they do nothing to quell the fears of someone sweating about assembling their display with a tablecloth and some wood crates.
Take a Deep Breath: Yes, there were people with amazing booths that they built on-site. AND there were people with tables and plain tablecloths, like me. It was actually nice that nobody’s set-up looked the same. It’s okay if you don’t require power tools to build your booth. If your work is looking good, you’ll be fine with a simple display. Here's mine:
Looming Fear #2 I am not going to have enough inventory
300 amazing makers! 20-30k shoppers in a weekend. O. M. G.
Take a Deep Breath: Worst case, you sell out. That’s the worst case. Um... that’s a pretty awesome scenario. I brought what I needed to have a full display and tucked a few containers of back-up inventory under my tables. Back home, I had another container of inventory ready to go in case I needed it for day two. (In this case, I did not need it.)
Below are charts of # of sales throughout the weekend. I noticed that traffic picked up in the early afternoon but sales picked up later in the afternoon. I attribute this to people arriving and walking around the show before making decisions and actually purchasing. This trend might be unique to me/vendors selling heavy items like pottery :)
Paralyzing Fear #3 I don’t know what to expect. Where do I go? What does it look like? What is happening??!?!?!?????
Yeah, that was me.
Take a Deep Breath: San Francisco is hilly and trafficy so plan lots of extra time for getting to Fort Mason, drive slowly, and you’ll be fine. Once you drive through the gates of Fort Mason, head towards the buildings along the water. The Festival Pavilion is along the back, jutting into the water, and looks like this:
There is a decent amount of parking. It will cost $14 for the day; you pay at any of the automated stands in the lot. The earlier you arrive, the closer to the entrance you will be. So, if you don’t want to walk really far between your car and the venue, arrive earlier. If you want to get your steps in, then just arrive during the suggested window. Bring your own handcart to make your life easier. Throw down the $ for early load-in if you are an anxious over-prepared freak like me.
When you load in, you tell someone at the front you are there and then just do your thing. If you paid for wifi, you get your password from the front desk too.
Load out is pretty easy too. In the spring, there is a Sunday farmers market that takes up a bunch of parking spots. Just saying. Consider coming on the early end of the window they suggest, so you'll be able to carry things out to your car and avoid the load-out zoo.
DON'T PANIC -- THERE IS A COFFEE SHOP AT FORT MASON In the back of a cute little bookstore in Building C, there's Goody Cafe that sells good coffee. Just get there for your mid-day fix before they close (4pm on Saturday, 3pm on Sunday).
Irrational Fear #4 I am not going to make any money.
The vendor cost is no small fee. Add to that a charge for wifi, table rental, parking, gas to-and-from, business cards… this is adding up! Is it worth it?
Take a Deep Breath: At the end of the day, I just about broke even. Maybe, maybe there was a teeny profit but certainly nowhere near that whole "you're going to make 3x the entry fee" estimate that's floating around the craft world. Thank goodness I didn’t splurge on a hotel room in the city for the weekend!
But, I think were was a lot of non-monetary value to participating! I had oodles of people take my business card & lots of people signed up for my mailing list. My website traffic surged leading up to and during the show. I talked to lovely people. I made new vendor friends. I connected with some potential wholesale buyers. And, I survived my first big craft fair!
The marketing, new relationships, and experience totally made this worth it. I have a bunch of big shows coming up this spring and feel much more confident about how to be successful at them after having this experience. I'm so grateful to the RCF folks for taking a risk on this newbie; I hope to be back at Fort Mason this winter!
These bundles of green cling to tree branches all over Austin. Their strikingly creative name is "ball moss" (it was pretty easy to find them when I googled "mossy balls in austin trees"). But contrary to their name, they are not moss at all. They are air plants! Bromeliads. Tillandsia recurvata. Names aside, I collected a bunch and brought them inside to paint.