Well, as we get ready for Thanksgiving (family all coming to us for the first time in a long time...and a 23 pound turkeyto cover the spread....in every sense of the word), I'm also getting ready for a small local show. It's the annual "Shop 'til You Drop" event at Synergy, a wonderful fitness center in Ellicott City, Maryland. It's 6:30-9:30 on November 30. Details and directions can be found at the website noted below.
I'm but one of many artists and merchants showing (and, we hope, selling) many different goods and services.
I'll have jewelry from earrings to statement neck-pieces. And, you still have time to place a special order for that special someone! So, if you're in the area, do come to the show.
For directions and to see the list (and pretty pictures) of the artists and merchants at the show, go to the following link:
With the uptick of interest in things football in both DC and Baltimore, I can even fashion a wonderful necklace for you in team colors to show your support. [Hint, hint: they're also good for collegiate colors, even high school colors!!] AND, there are items for brides and bridal parties, too!
I've got LOTS of new things to share, and even a few pieces that I have been asked to make and remake!
Hope to see you there! And, in the meantime, enjoy the turkey, but enjoy the family even more!!
In the wake of Sandy, the storm, I'm tired after collecting two parents in their 90s from a cold, dark townhouse in NJ and relocating them to the warmth of our guest bedroom for the duration. I have taken to referring to my dad as the "ice pop," since he's yet to warm up after a number of days. It's no trouble; it's just different, with other people's "things" in places usually reserved for mine....lol!
Where does this leave my beadwork? It's in a bit of a creative hiatus, particularly following a somewhat disappointing show in Morristown, NJ. The show was high-end; the quality of the goods, superlative. The number of fellow (or more accurately, sister) beaders was wonderful! We all work in the same medium, but the end results are so very different! Kathy King, who I adore, works with her beads upended and the thread showing gloriously (and in a very orderly way) on the tops of her "bead quilled" work. Sheila Fernekis has the most creative color sense of almost everyone I know. Wendy Lin's work runs in two directions: subtle like her lariats, or a riot of textures in her bracelets. Robin's work has ethnic overtones with loomed bracelets galore. My work is somewhere in the midst of all of this, and, again, wholly different. See, for example one of my new pieces in the picture.
Unfortunately, despite incredible artists and a broad variety of types of hand crafted goods, from upscale gold and silver jewelry, to outrageous floorcloths, to sculpture, enamel work, porcelain and some of the BEST clothing I've ever seen at this show or any other outside the ACC show, the gate was down. Those who came, walked with hands in pockets. Most artists didn't clear costs....your's truly among them. What got to me were the people who took a great deal of my time and booth space trying on a series of items, having me size them to meet their needs (all written down to make the alterations relatively easy, once they bought the goods), and then WALKING away with nothing. I can only hope they contact me via e-mail or my website. SIGH....
BUT, the camaraderie was wonderful; the time spent with other artists was WELL worth the trip itself. Perhaps we can find a creative outlet to share down the road.
In the meantime, I'm completing some projects that have been in the works, repairing bracelets shredded by zealous (or perhaps overly ambitious) efforts to fit small circles around overly large wrists. The result was rather like the square peg into round hole syndrome -- because something had to give, it often was the jewelry. I've had a few commissions of late. Some larger, some smaller. One with potential to help explode my business! I should know around Christmas if that happens. And I will share a picture of what it's all about...WHEN I can....
Plans for the spring and beyond are shaping up.
1. While we await acceptance, a colleague and I expect to be be teaching "Nerfertiti's Necklace" at Artifest in Ohio. It's a two-part project. My colleague, Roberta Altschuler, will do the necklace part; I'm teaching the pendant and closure. Two days, two teachers....It should be a GREAT opportunity. More as the process evolves!
2. Waiting list for ACC/Baltimore and ACC/Atlanta. I remain hopeful for both. Keep your fingers crossed for me!!!
3. NO Sugarloaf this Spring; family events are conspiring to make it virtually impossible. And they are VERY exciting family events, I must say. (Pictures to come when they occur!!!)
4. Applications in for East Coast shows for Spring; applications in the works for many other shows. Stay tuned for updates to my calendar.
In the meantime, I'll be posting new pieces to the website and working to get a shopping cart up live. If I'm not up to beading per se, I can always engage in the business of the beading business, right??? The holidaze are coming; time to stock up on my beading designs. It's not just jewelry, it's wearable art!
What is exhausting, I've discovered, isstanding in one place for hours during a show. A week later, despite good shoes, despite sleeping with feet raised, and despite being off salt for years, my otherwise skinny ankles are still a bit puffy.
The Ann Arbor show ran 4 days, opening at 10 am each day; closing at 9 pm but for the last day, when it closed at 6 pm. That's four 11-hour days (not counting partial setup and takedown each day.) It also doesn't count the heat and humidity and the RAIN! [Mercifully, when we had a deluge overnight, my neighbor had a sump pump. He used it to bail out the backs of both of our booths. Apparently, we were in the lowest part of the street, and the water rolled downhill right into our booths. So glad I'd picked up the carpet!]
Nonetheless, it was a very successful show from many perspectives. My work was validated and valued by my colleague artists, which is most gratifying. Sales were better than they've been for at least the last 18 months (but then, again, so were the crowds, probably since it's a free show of very long standing).
And Ann Arbor is a GREAT town! Stucci's ice cream (so fresh, such unusual flavors, so MELTED!). The pilgrimage to Zingerman's deli where they serve corned beef that is the next closest to New York City's that I've ever had. Wonderful dinners at great restaurants -- including two meals I received in boxes after John went to dinner with our midwest relatives who visited. Clam pie from Mani Osteria was particularly remarkable --even tepid/cold! And we met the most incredible, friendly and wonderful people, whether other artists or locals.
I must say, the shows really know how to make it comfortable (relatively, given that we're talking an outdoor 4-day show) for the artists. Breakfast is available for us in the morning -- coffee, bagels, muffins and other goodies. Staff bring around ice cold bottled water during the day without asking. Booth sitting is readily available and the (ahem) facilities are very clean and tidy --and include sinks and recycling, too.
What you see to the right is the view I had from the BACK of my booth. It's the University of Michigan "Diag"(I assume, short for "diagonal.") Out front, in addition to my wonderful "across the street" neighboring artists, is a stunning old church (barely visible in one of the pictures). How much better could it get?! Not much!
I do hope to return next year.....perhaps at a different place to lay my head. The B&B was nice, but the large dogs, turn-of-the-century AC (and I mean 1800 to 1900!), shared bath, and the fact that I left before breakfast made it just OK. [That, plus the fact that being accepted late meant we wound up sharing a double bed. We're small, but it was small for even us!!] But all of that is a year away......
In the meantime, I continue to rest my sore tootsies and stretch my seriously compressed spine, a problem that I can't afford at only 5' tall!
Now I KNOW I shouldn't even lead with a header like that, since it's really tempting fate, but it seems that the muse may have returned -- along with the first hummingbird of the season! Both flit in and out of my life in the spring and summer, but I'm hoping they'll both decamp for a while and become a part of my life.
The picture appended to the left is the latest goodie--a beaded wave in my under the sea collection. What you can't see very clearly in this rendition is the changing nature of the necklace beyond the wave or that it's offset, with the clasp close to the shoulder, not the nape of the neck.
Even better, I've been creating some chain maille/beaded bead necklaces in multiple colors and looks..They're part of the "just what the doctor ordered" collection. With loop and bead closures in the front, they're designed particularly for individuals who have trouble with arthritis in the shoulders, elbows or even hands. In fact, they've been "test driven" by several friends who, sadly, have limited mobility in these ways. Let me know if you want to see some of them. I'll load them up.
I'm now working on a few "finish ups" that have been in the works for quite a while. Stay tuned. It's getting exciting to see NEW THINGS. And I hope to get them up on the website for EVERYONE to see.
Challenges for the rest of the summer: getting new pictures shot of a few special pieces; getting instructions written for a few bracelet kits; getting instructions for a different bracelet AND pictures to a beading magazine for consideration as a published article; getting materials together for a class I'm teaching at the end of the month, and getting show applications for 2013 started. Hard to believe when we're just halfway through 2012! And oh, boy, do I have a lot of work to do.
Hope those of you in the heartlands (or those who want a great town to visit!) will find time in mid-July (18-21) to come to the Ann Arbor Craft Shows. FOUR different shows all at the same time! And I'll be there -- at the Guild Show -- State Street, booth 4! Drop by!
NEW SHOW ON THE WEBSITE CALENDAR: Check it out! October 19-21, 2012. I'll be at the National Guard Armory in Morristown,New Jersey for the 36th annual Morristown Craft Mart. Don't know the booth number yet,but stay tuned. Check out the website for further updates on this and other upcoming 2012-2013 shows.
I'm on the WAITING LIST for Fall Paradise City shows (Massachusetts) and WAITING LIST for One-of-a-Kind Show in Chicago (December). Let the show organizers know you want to see me there if you can!!!
One day more.....Come on down!Sugarloaf continues. I'm cleaned, dressed, pressed, bedecked and bejeweled and ready to grab a bit of breakfast before heading to the show....and ARGHHHHHHHH!!!! The clock radio in the hotel room is off by an hour. It SAYS it's 7:24, but, in reality, it is only 6:24! No wonder I'm still so very tired!
The solution? More beading time! I can finish up a necklace before I head off to the show....It has been busy, but nowhere close to the definition of busy during the fall holiday season. I've even got a "booth-and-a-half". While in the middle of a row, I've been able to configure the space to provide the illusion of a corner booth, allowing beaucoups of additional sunlight streaming in from the window nearby. Wonderful!!! AND I've got a bit of extra "leg room" behind to provide a nice little storage area! Wowzers!
The only thing that's missing is YOU! So come to visit!
Exhausted at the end of the week (Well, it almost the end of the week!)
Successfully got all the applications for show sent in, but for one that requires a cd. Digging in for a three-day bead frenzy....Victorian is where I'm heading. Off to the library to read and soak up the look of the different periods...yum!!!
The best news is that last night I had a good night's sleep, dreaming of beads and good friends at a wonderful music festival on the great ocean road in Oz!
Welcome to Sunday morning before leaving for the show. Dressed, packed, coffee-ed and ready to go.
Yesterday was, in a word, "meh." Lots of looking; lots of ooohing and aaahing, but not so much BUY-ing. The usual "oh, I bead, too" comments (or substitute "my daughter," "my daughter-in-law," or "my sister" for the first person singular!) Many asked me for lessons on a particular item so they could make their own.... Perhaps when I decide to end the particular items in the line they'll go on-line as kits....way to do it, methinks..... or perhaps now?
All will become clear today, I hope.
Pictures coming AFTER the show of some of my colleagues -- and that is the BEST part of the show for me! I've met some wonderful artists -- primarily wonderful young women. It's been a joy to be around them.
Tearing down is at 5 pm after the show closes. Collapse sets in thereafter.....but with a smile on my face because I made it through the BIG TIME ACC....for the first, and I dearly hope, NOT the last time!
Off to the show!!!
So, it's Friday morning at 5:55 am! Why am I up? Well, I was going to be interviewed on Good Morning, Baltimore -- the local ABC affiliate-- about the ACC craft show. Apparently the "power who art" at the show decided I knew how to do a good interview that promoted the show in a positive, upbeat way....Got up at 4:15, since I had to be ready to go live at the Convention Center by 6 am. Poor husband got up even earlier as my "driver-in-chief."
Checked the e-mail and cell phone at 5:00 after breakfast and copious amounts of coffee and, damn, there's a message from midnight from the PR folks: "Interview cancelled, trouble with getting a reporter on site." Can you say #%#%$^$&^$# ?? So, here I sit, over made up, with Calista Gingrich-style immovable hair (sans the "Calista curl," mercifully) trying to smile about it all. Guess I'll get some beading going since I've got a few hours before we need to leave for the show.
Retail begins today! Keep your fingers crossed for heavy sales!! I'll be back at blogging on Monday, after we're through with the show.
the booth -- better picture to come tomorrow. Doesn't my new sign look great?
Well, the booth was set up over the course of Monday and Tuesday. I spent Monday night making a "pole condom" (thanks to the artist who told me this name; it's forever stuck in my mind for better or worse). It's a covering for the corner pole required to ensure the new configuration of a corner booth didn't fall down. And, because I had to do a full square of header so I could put up my lights, I made pretty little valances to hid the metal poles running across the top of the booth. I thank my 8th grade home economics teachers for teaching me how to stitch straight and my grandmother for the vision to find ways to use minimal tools to create beauty.
Now, Wednesday and Thursday (today and tomorrow) are wholesale days. Buyers, generally unused to bead art jewelry, don't seem entirely sure what to make of my jewelry. As in the past, a little demonstration helps. [It also helps keep me awake! The traffic is slow in the extreme, but I was warned it might be!] I'm not expecting much by way of wholesale, but the contacts, particularly for my Judaica work, should well be invaluable!
Sana, my "buddy" (a long-time exhibitor paired with me to act as a mentor and advisor) has been fabulous -- as has her husband. They've provided me with invaluable advice and sent folks in my direction who might have an interest in the quirky work that I do. In fact, most of the folks in my environs have been wonderfully helpful to this newbie!
Gotta go put my tootsies up -- perhaps a nice warm bath will be a good thing. Just thinking about it makes me feel warm and cosy!
This blog is where Thea Fine, Beading Design meets Fine WordCrafters (my writing/editing activities). I hope you find it a happy collision of my two artful worlds.