Sunday, December 20, 2009

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow...

We in the mid-Atlantic area do get snow most winters, sometimes more sometimes less sometimes not at all. Well, it's not even winter, according the calendar we still have one more day till Solstice and Winter begins, and yet we have our first Winter Storm. Snow is a mixed blessing, it brings hardships and challenges for a lot of people, and my heart goes out to all those suffering from cold, and shortages of all kinds brought about by this weather. But this storm simplified a very busy weekend for us by cancelling nearly every commitment we had, in an over booked near holiday weekend. We spent most the day yesterday watching the snow fall, baking cookies and making chili and just spending time together. Where ever you are, whatever your weather is, remember to take time to stop and enjoy something, and find a moment or a day or more to spend with those you love.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Curating a treasury

One of my favorite features of Etsy is the "Treasury." Treasuries are member curated collections, each one lasts 2-3 days and it is a serious challenge to get a spot in the treasury lists. The window of opportunity opens for 30-60 seconds when the number of treasuries drops below 333 for the Main Treasury or 222 for Treasury West. The number rise and fall a little unpredictably, and depending on the time of day the numbers start to get close to the "opening" there could be 700+ people waiting for that tiny window of opportunity. The process is a little addicting and always feels like you have won something when you manage to grab a spot on the list. All that said, I got one yesterday! I hope you enjoy looking at it.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Sources of inspiration

You never know where you will find inspiration. I try to take my camera with me where ever I go, so when I find something that grabs my attention I can record it. There are no lack of opportunities to find inspiration: a trip to the zoo, a chance encounter with a butterfly, a mind bending display of fire spinners, my daughter's band warming up at sun down... who knows when those images will find their way into art or in what form?

Friday, November 13, 2009

Fabulous Art Dolls

By now anyone who has been reading my blog is aware of some of my small contributions to the world of art dolls. Etsy has teams in every imaginable category including one for art dolls. Here is a small selection of dolls made by some of my teammates. One of the things that never ceases ot amaze me is the wonderous variety of materials and techniques that are used in the creation of art dolls. Some really do look a lot like dolls, but as often as not they are really just sculptures on a very small scale.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Fun with the Fae, or My Adventures at Faerie Con

As I mentioned in my last post I spent this past weekend as a merchant at Faerie Con. This was the 3rd Faerie Con, I attended the two previous Cons as a day tripper, which was fun, but nothing in comparison to being there all weekend and being part of the show, well as much as a merchant ever is.

My table was in the hall outside the ball room, which allowed us to listen to the balls as well as the bands warming up. The amount of creativity all gathered in one place was quite staggering. Not just from the various merchants, but from the attendees as well. Costumes ran the gamut from Tinker Bell tee shirts and jeans to some of the most elaborate gowns and wings I’ve ever seen.

The highlight of the weekend may have been a short but potentially meaningful conversation with the production manager on Saturday afternoon. We briefly discussed my work and some possibilities for next year. As the year progresses and things become more definite I will undoubtedly share more information, for now let me just say that I have several new areas of inspiration and can't wait to get to work on my new ideas.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Learn from your challenges

The world of craft shows and cons is still pretty new to me. Early this year I signed up for a table at FaerieCon ( ). The event is 3 days long, and there will be thousands of people who have a love of all things faerie attending workshops, balls and shopping. It seems to be my niche market. Nevertheless it's a big leap for me to take. Over the summer I succumbed to the persuasion of two ladies at my church to do the craft show being held in their retirement community. I decided the smaller show would be a good warm up for Faerie Con. From that perspective it was a very successful show, as I learned a lot that day.

I booked a 10x6 space, and was to bring my own table & chair. When I arrived I discovered my space was about 6 feet long and already had a 4x4foot table and a pair of wooden arm chairs with the table. They took away one of the chairs but the table and other chair remained.
Having practiced my set up for a 10foot long space this was an unexpected challenge. As I was running later than I’d planned, and nearly everyone was already setting up, there was nothing to be done but graciously deal with the space I had to work with. Luckily my table cloths covered the unexpected dimensions of the table. Once draped I had some quick thinking to place my props and set up my display, years of doing wedding flowers came in handy and I just made the best of it.

In the end the busy wallpaper was the only hurdle I could not overcome. During the course of the day I received many compliments on my set up. I did not make many sales but I did have many people return just to look. Some brought friends to stand and loose themselves in the faerie world I’d set up on my table.

As a “dress rehearsal” for FaerieCon I’d say it was a good day. FaerieCon here I come!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


Like many people there are items in shops that I have been yearning for. Some of them are so beautiful I'm not even sure I'd be daring enough to wear them, but still I return to gaze at those items over and over again. Maybe one day I will find myself purchasing one or more of these lovely scarves & collars, but until then I'm happy to share them here ...

Monday, September 28, 2009

Escaping reality, enchanting doors

I don’t know about you, but some days I would just like to open a door into a different world, to escape my own realities even if only for a few moments. Books, movies, music, art and so many other real world options can distract you for a time and often bring with them new insights or at least a diversion. Though the fantasy of actually stepping out of time and the known world we all occupy has some hold on my imagination, and clearly I am not alone. Wandering around on etsy I’ve found a few shops that offer doors that open new possibilities. They may not be large enough to actually get through (unless you have found some of the edibles from Alice in Wonderland) but they are inviting to the imagination and delightfully charming additions to a garden or home.

These inviting wee doors are from:

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Facing Your Fears

Lessons come in many forms, and teachers in an equally astonishing variety. My daughter is my new hero, inspiration and teacher. Last Saturday morning, despite anxiety (fear, stage fright, what ever you want to call it) she donned her new band uniform, climbed into the car and faced her first performance in marching band. The band rehearsal season started months ago but up to this point it has been all drill and endless hours of instrument practice. While some aspects of this process were fun, there were also stressful moments, as she accepted criticism and correction from the director and section leaders. She kept her game face on and always strove to make the required corrections. I can not say in words how proud I am. Her determination and her outwardly calm demeanor impressed several of the upperclassmen enough that they told her that they loved her, and how she stood up straight and said "yes sir, I will fix that..." She had been told numerous times it would become fun, once the performance season started, but up until that point anxiety often seemed to outweigh fun.

On Saturday the 19th, I caught up to her shortly after the band left the field after the halftime show. When I asked her how it went and how she felt she said "it was fun." As the day went on I & other family members checked in with her to see if it was all worth it, and each time she expressed more enthusiasm. Like many performers, once she was in position the hours of hard work were a memory and she could just enjoy performing. Fear fell away and joy filled it's place. This Saturday was a new test, she sailed happily through the performance at the football game but then had to prepare for a competition on the same day in Hershey, PA. The band had a little down time as instruments and equipment were loaded into trucks and buses and the mom's prepared to feed the band. Once fed and once their uniforms were packed up we loaded into 3 buses and a van and some trucks we headed out to face our first competition. To add to the challenges it had been raining in Hershey since 1pm and every band went on the soggy field soaked. They put on their game faces and performed like troopers. We returned to the buses so the kids could change and try to stay dry while we waited for our scores.

I had assumed that the prospect of facing judges would bring on a new round of anxiety but she was so focused on her performance (first time on AstroTurf and first time in the rain) that she was not really paying any attention to the judges.

New situations have always been one of my personal fears, as I face unfamiliar situations and "first performances" I will hold the memory of my daughter's face in my mind's eye and remember the lesson she learned on the field, and I hope to keep her bravery and determination in my mind when I face my own daemons.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

So lovely I have to share

I spend a lot of time wandering around in etsy shops, probably more than I should. Sometimes I stumble on shops that are so amazing I wish I could do work like them, or afford to buy out their shops. Instead of wallowing in jealousy I have decided to share them with the world and today will be my first featured artist post.

Emily Balivet's work is just stunning! She has managed to blend a feel for the Pre-Raphaelites and a modern aesthetic, referencing mythology, art history and fantasy. It all works together with an elegance and grace few manage to achieve.
OK so I'm gushing a bit, I admit it. See if you agree with me, stop by Emily's shop ...

Monday, September 7, 2009

Seasons of change

Nature is full of changes, what would life be without them? Some things change quickly, some erratically and some things slowly: seasons, weather, growing cycles, evolution everything in life is constantly changing. Managing change or our responses to it are also ever evolving. One day I will learn to respond to changes in life in a more timely fashion, with grace efficiency. Until that day comes I fear my blog posts will be sporadic.

It has been an age since my last post and so much has happened. We have had a VERY busy summer, maybe the busiest I have ever known. My daughter is now in marching band. Some people may know what kind of time sink that can become. I am officially a band mom, since they discovered I have a sewing machine I have been helping sew flags for the color guard - we only have 70 flags to make for a 7 minute show - no problem. My kids also took part in a rowing camp for 3 weeks, and the kids & I did our normal 4 weeks of art camp in June & July. The kids went to Disney with my sister, then came more band camp time, and our family trip to Maine. The kids are now back in school and things will soon settle into a more predictable pattern, for a little while at least.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

You have to start somewhere

Well, the big day was nearly 2 weeks ago, so I have enough distance from it to look back and see it with a bit of persepective. I'm glad we did it. It was not the most financially profitable day, but it was profitable from an educational point of view.

I learned a lot, the primary lesson: get your advertising out WELL in ADVANCE of the event!Get your advertising out to the largest audience you can reach. Your regular list is only a starting place. Make extra postcards/printed invites so you can hand them out to anyone curious enough to ask about the show. I took some with me to church because some people had asked me how they could see/buy my stuff. Those people did not show up, though I was happily surprised to see some others who I'd given invites to quite spontaneously.
Setting up the night before is much easier than set up in the morning. It was wonderful to wander back over once my house was asleep and keep tweaking things in my display.

Food is good, cold drinks on hot humid (seriously rainy) days are necessary.
I was really glad that we were indoors and that there is a roof over the sidewalk outside, since it rained off and on all day.
Rain is not your friend if you are hoping for large crowds.
Once is not enough. Since the studio space is mine I don't have to worry about travel or inconvenient schedules set by festival organizers. I am hoping to have a similar show in the fall, closer to holiday shopping season. Next time we will get the word out well in advance and to a broader audience.

Jenny has done lots of craft shows, large and small. I'm still pretty new to this kind of thing so I was really happy to have a chance to use this as an opportunity to think about how to set up my table for FaerieCon in November. For that reason alone I am very glad to have done all that work; the good company and any new exposure was a happy bonus.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

The Big Day

Well, this is it! The facade of my studio has been painted (despite the rainiest season I can ever remember) the side wall has not - it's exposed to the rain.

The studio has been cleaned some furniture rearranged and we set up our displays last night. Jenny will be bringing the nibbles over in a little while and we "open the doors" in less than an hour. I hope we get a nice steady flow of people, but it's already raining and thunder storms are on the way. Will they keep people at home or encourage them to come out and look at art? Who knows...

I'll get photos and post again tonight.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Cloth and Clay a creative friendship

Friendships come in many forms, on Saturday June 20th you are invited to come and see how well cloth and clay work and play together.

The cloth will be represented by my dolls and the clay is the work of my friend Jenny Davies-Reazor. I am in awe of her tiles and shrines, not to mention her collages.

The studio will be open from 10am until 5pm, and is located at 106. N. Main St. St. Georges DE

My Studio

It's taken a while, years in fact, but with paitence, some nagging and a lot of hard work I finally have a place dedicated to making art. I can actually walk out of the house into a quiet space or one filled with the sounds I've chosen and no Sponge Bob, computer games or other sounds generated by my kids. It has quickly become my favorite room!

In honor of this stupendous moment I'm teaming up with my friend Jenny Davies-Reazor
and we are mounting our own mini show and opening the doors to the world. On June 20th, just one week from now, we will join our creative energies and our work and with some luck we will increase our visibility as artists. I can't wait to see what the day brings.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Computers can't live with them can't live without them

OK so some lessons should be so obvious you don't need to learn them the hard way, but...
Before you do anything else BACK UP your computer! Without warning a couple of weeks ago we suffered an impossible to diagnose fatal computer malady. We did get most files backed up onto our new external hard drive but alas I lost all my photos! Thousands of photos gone - poof! I'm slowly recovering and slowly getting to know my brand new laptop. It took about a week but I've retaken photos of most of my newest projects (the ones not yet listed to Etsy). Alas vacation shots, school concerts and other kids events all gone. I'd add a picture to this post but sadly I don't have much edited yet.

SO, if you do nothing else today back up your files!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Choices choices...

Many people who would like to buy my dolls can't afford them, especially given the current state of the economy. So, I am considering adding prints or cards of my dolls to my etsy shop. This would open up the price range in my shop and allow people to buy a card or a print of the doll(s) they most like. These are the images I am considering using. At the bottom of the page there is a poll; I would appreciate it if you would give me some feedback as to which doll you would be most likely to buy if it were made as a card, print or pin. If have other feedback feel free to leave me a comment too. Thank you so much!

Orchid & Albus, Crisiant, Inas

Diana, Hollisha, Carroll

Firth, Aweinon, Joy

Seraphina, Sunniva, Mabel

Lotem, Madog, Thanner