I encountered a coyote during a morning stroll. I painted. I ate more sandwiches. I considered the span of one year and what it meant for me and how that fit into the lifetime of this place.
I dated a sailor from Maine who was always telling me there was this place I’d like. “You should really go to Mount Desert Island. There’s hiking; it’s beautiful. I think you’d really like it.” Fifteen years later I made it there. He was right; I liked it.
I find joy in understanding the contexts of things: the multilayered narratives, the why and how behind the what. It's in that spirit that I collected images of the work I've done in the past year, inspired by last summer's adventuring in Iceland and printed a book:
My quest to put paints & glazes in dialogue continues with these vessels inspired by the Iceland landscapes.
Below are images of the process & final results, along with a couple shots from Námaskarð (an area of bubbling geothermal mud pools near Lake Mývatn).
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.
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:
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.
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.
As per my previous post, the street art in Austin is out of this world. Here are some of my favorites from the week...
The Austin street art -- murals, slaps, wheatpaste posters and the like -- is awesome.
And the Hope Outdoor Gallery is like a street art mecca. According to their website, this space launched at the 2011 SXSW with the help of Shepard Fairey. It appears they would like to have some control over what goes up, but there seemed to be plenty of non-sanctioned painting happening.
They're looking for a new home, since this spot is destined for development. I hope they find a good spot! It was so cool to see layers of art, and even cooler to see people hanging out and appreciating this space.
Big Basin Redwood State Park
Took my camera on a little hike for New Year's Eve, to capture some of the textures and colors of the forest. Sempervirens Falls was looking good and there were plenty of good mushroom sightings.
I spent two weeks back east, visiting with an overwhelmingly lovely amount of family and all the while being inspired by the landscapes and natural beauty surrounding me. Here are some textures found on a walk in Walden Woods.
Throughout the Google campus are office galleries, managed by employee volunteers. I feel fortunate to have caught the eye of one gallery owner who invited me to show work in one of the Sunnyvale buildings.
During a visit to Joshua Tree in the spring of 2015, I became obsessed with opuntia basilaris (beavertail cactus). The bright pink flowers of this minty, matte plant punctuated the desert landscape: a pop of party life in an otherwise neutral environment. I brought photographs and sketches of them back to the studio where I began exploring their shapes and essence in different media. Now, I seem to find members of the opuntia everywhere -- prickly pear farms in Morocco, a beavertail at the foot of a sculpture in the Musee d’Orsay, and in the gardens of neighbors in San Jose. Each sighting brings a sense of joy and familiarity.