Friday, November 28, 2008

Holiday Sale II

The second sale of last weekend was the Handmade Paper Guild Show. We are a Guild of about 25 members and one of only two handmade paper guilds in the country (as far as we know). We've been having this holiday sale, in conjunction with four other artist groups, at a local community college for 5 (or 6?) years now. Each member is encouraged to bring in handmade paper items for sale, work the sale for a shift or two, and just enjoy the experience. The Guild takes a small percentage of each sale. This helps to fund workshops that we hold throughout the year.

This is a sale that is open to the public and we usually get quite a bit of traffic. The economic issues that we all face in today's world kept traffic and sales down. This table had a sign on it that said "Great Gifts for Under $20" and may have helped remind people that great handmade values are possible.

This was my corner of the sale. You'll notice some of the items that didn't sell at the Holiday Sale I Thursday night were moved to Holiday Sale II early Friday morning. Phew!

This year a Guild member came up with the idea to sell Craft Packages. Pictured here, the packages contained all kinds of paper-related goodies. The scrapbooking customers went crazy with this item.

More of my stuff along with artwork by a very talented papermaker (former art professor at Western Michigan University). Each artist must tag their art with the price and a code that indicates which artist gets credit for the sale. All purchases go to a central cashier and each artist then gets their money (minus the Guild commission) a couple of weeks later. Do inventory discrepancies occur? Sure. But that's the risk you take with any group sale, so as an artist you must decide if the benefits outweigh the risk.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Holiday Sale I

This past weekend was quite the flurry of activity. Two Holiday Sales for me, my son/husband went to Florida for the USL soccer nationals (my son played, my husband watched), my girls were good sports about it all, and my mom helped me out to make it all happen on the home front. Except for the pace of it all, everything was good.

The first sale was at a neighbor's house. Each year she graciously opens her home to allow 5-9 artists to display their work and about 400 people are invited in to view, socialize, and hopefully buy artwork and jewelry. It never ceases to amaze me (and so many others) that she allows us to pound nails in all of her walls to hang so many 2D pieces. Every piece in these pictures has a new nail just for this 3-hour event! We split all the expenses, give 10% to a charity that is chosen each year, and then donate one piece each to the hostess. This year, despite the lower number of guests, we still did well financially. With the economic picture so bleak, we exceeded our expectations.

Notice the house in the brown room in the picture above? It is a handmade paper piece of mine titled Happy House. A dear friend of mine bought it. That bit of news certainly made me happy and I hope she gets lots of enjoyment out of it too.

Even the fish got their own room... the powder room. People seem to buy the handmade paper fish for either their cottage or their bathroom. So, this placement in the house seemed appropriate!

After looking at all these pictures, isn't is amazing how much stuff we put into this sale? It takes two days to put it all up and we are able to take it down in about an hour and a half. Of course, when we're done the house looks like Cindy Lou Who's house in The Grinch who Stole Christmas!


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Finished Mosaics Unveiled!

You're the first to see my new mosaics! They will be available at several upcoming holiday sales and I hope I do well with them. The photos of the pieces small enough to scan have good color and lighting. The pieces that are too large for the scanner have been photographed. Badly, I might add, but you'll get the idea.

I'm a bit in an artistic quandary right now as the painting techniques I prefer are become more free form but the precision required of the mosaics is equally enticing. It's a strange marriage but right now it works. Who knows which direction will predominate? Anybody out there have such disparity in the types of work you're pursuing?

I've got more to show you but this is enough for today...

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Crunch Time

It's crunch time. Typically I do only two or three sales a year. This year two of the sales are the same day. Yikes, how am I going to do that?!? One of the sales is the Handmade Paper Guild Holiday sale which starts this Thursday and runs through Saturday. Because it is a group show I don't have to be there every minute of the sale. The other sale is only Thursday night so I must be at that one. But, it's not like it is a chore as it is a really fun evening. My neighbor opens her home to hundreds of ladies. They drink wine and buy art. It is usually a good evening financially for the seven artists, but this year, I fear, the guests may tend to keep their wallets in their purses. Since I'm in Michigan (worst economy in the nation, by many measures), I wouldn't be surprised. As a result, I've been working on more "gifty" stuff with lower prices in order to entice buyers. Plus, since I've been doing some new things (pictures to come) and am eager to show them off to potential buyers, I remain hopeful.

One thing I've been making for years are paste paper card packs. There are eight cards/envelopes in each pack and they sell for $12 each.

Remember those 60 sheets of paste papers I did a couple of weeks ago in the garage? Here's a sample of what they've now become.


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Remember the good

It has been quite a week: hubby sick, daughter sick, me sick, computer died, aunt died. Obviously, this list is not written in order of importance.

My aunt married a painter a long time ago (in the 40s?). In fact, this man, at almost 90 years old, still paints daily. Oh, and he is now legally blind. He has always gotten the attention of the two because he is a well known, rather eccentric, oil painter. However, my aunt was the foundation of their family and was the rock that allowed him to continue his work. She raised five children and taught many, many more in public schools. I'll remember her smile and her quiet way. Aunt Betty was a person of influence in an understated way. She leaves a legacy of goodness behind. In today's world, I'd say that is quite an accomplishment.

Here's a couple of links about my Uncle Armand:, and A couple of years ago a well done, and well deserved, documentary was made about his life and his work. Typically documentaries are not made in honor of good, decent people like Aunt Betty. We must remember them all on our own.


Wednesday, November 5, 2008


A story about the tree in my photograph: That tree is on an island in the middle of Long Lake (near Traverse City, MI), a place that I have visited every year, except for three, since I was six years old. Unfortunately, the name of the lake is so common that it belies the wonder of the place. Anyway, when I was about 16 some girlfriends and I camped on the island. During the night a tremendous northern Michigan storm blew up and we were stranded. The wind tugged at our tents and almost blew them over. The fire, which was out when we went to sleep, started up ferociously due to the wind. As we camped under the trees, the lightning flashed jaggedly for hours. The noise from the thunder shook the ground. The rain pounded on us relentlessly. As I remember, we were terrified, excited, energized, and exhausted. Finally, at the end of it we loaded our sopping wet gear into our metal rowboat and putt-putted home, through large white capping waves, with the six horsepower Evinrude. What a scraggly bunch we were.

The kicker: When my girlfriend, Joanne, saw the green tree with the hot pink background in the post from the other day she wrote to me and said, "as soon as I saw the picture of the tree I knew where it was from." So, even in its altered form, that tree is special and recognizable to more people in the world than just me.

My moral to the story: Open your eyes. Look around you and actually see. You'll have images that trigger great memories for the rest of your life!


Sunday, November 2, 2008

Altered Sisters and the Book Art Exhibition

I belong to a fun group of artists that meets every month to share ideas and occasionally work on collaborative pieces. Named the Altered Sisters, we started about five years ago as an altered book group. We've since moved on to other things but still go back to our origins once in a while and work on books.

In December one of our local libraries will be hosting a Book Arts exhibition and we were invited to participate. We decided to take apart a child's board book and then reassemble the book with jump rings or wire to create a wall hanging. The title of our "book" will be Four Letter Words. I finished my page, TREE, today. The photograph I used is a tree on an island in the middle of Long Lake (near Interlochen), MI. It is my most favorite place in the world and I think of this spot often.

In the morning I will see all the Sisters, and each of their pages, at our monthly gathering. We'll then assemble the entire piece. I'm anxious to see everyone elses work as it is always a blast to see the ideas everyone came up with.

My page uses photograph altering techniques found in a great book by Karen Michel. The book is called The Complete Guide to Altered Imagery: Mixed Media Techniques for Collage, Altered Books, Artist Journals and More. I've had the book for years, looked through it frequently, but never put the techniques to use. Now that I have, I'm sure I'll be doing more of it.

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