New Chapter

Whelp, it’s a new year, so it’s time for new business.
Ladies and gents, it is with some regret that I announce that next summer I will not be at Bristol Renaissance Faire. Instead, I will be going full Monty (NAKED ART! RAWR!) with this suckah and applying to a number of summer shows that I have until now been passing up in order to stick with my very only ren faire.

I first did Bristol when I was a wee sixteen years old.

IMG_3821

IKNOWRITE??

It was my gateway drug. To art. To culture. To adult content.
To freedom, really. Both intellectual and literal. I am who I am because I ran away with that circus and I have not a single regret.

For those of you who don’t know, I used to do this full time. Nine months a year for ten years of my life, this was my job. I worked for two master leather crafters for most of that time, had many adventures of all sorts and I miss the crap out of it.
Getting off the road was a different adventure. I wanted to try college and living in the city that jammed loving hooks into the meat of my heart the first time I laid eyes on it, so I moved to New Orleans for a few years.
College didn’t agree with me, and even though New Orleans is absolutely and deeply embedded in my soul, I chose to move back to Chicago for a multitude of reasons, financial, familial and personal.
It was supposed to be a way station only. I wanted to get back on the road. Back to the movement of the caravan, chasing the warm weather all over the country like a kid chasing the ice cream truck.
I was supposed to stop, get my bearings, load my truck and fly.
Not what the universe had in mind though.
My beloved companion animal was diagnosed with cancer and required frequent and expensive treatment (yeah, I’m one of those pet owners who is crazy attached to their dog), and my dad came out of his second bone marrow transplant induced remission, with no further transplants possible because of his age.
So yeah. That happened.
And I needed to do something besides work for a crazy screen printing lady (quitting that job comes in at 5 in the list of top five best things I’ve ever done) and worry. That’s how I started this business. No training, no money, no freakin’ clue what the hell I was doing.
Just desperate to move my hands and engage my mind with something besides two family members on chemo (dogs are so family members) and missing my nomadic life.
But I always had one toe left in the rennie waters, and that was Bristol.

So maybe you can guess how weird it is that this year will be the first time in more than twenty years that I won’t be doing any kind of faire.
I won’t lie, it’s messing with me.
But summer is art-show-palooza and if I’m doing this for a living I’ve got to jump in fo’ realz.
So, I’m doin’ it.

When I got off the road, a wonderful fellow named Al Craig, who was the crafts coordinator at Scarborough, said something to me as I was checking out. I remember exactly what he said, “You’ll be back. You’ll take 8 years, maybe 10 years, do whatever it is you’re going to do, and then you’ll be back. Some people just pass through on their way somewhere else. But you’re a lifer, girl. This is your home.”
Eight years since he said that I still believe he was dead on.
I’ll find a way to incorporate traveling and ren faire back into my world someday.
But this day is the time to pour all my energy into growing my fledgling business into something that can fly.

Wazzap?

I’m sure there are those of you who are all, “Wtf is As the Crow Flies Studio lately?”.
Shhhh, don’t mess with my delusion. I prefer to think you all love the hell outta my posts and the lack of them keeps you up at night. Validation, dammit!
Anyway.

I’m normally such an obsessive poster because FB is a douche canoe and I figure if I post all of the things, more of the people who have liked my page will actually see them. It’s a business page, so people seeing my bidness is pretty much the point.
I could be wrong, but short of hacking FB (May I request that? I mean, with all the hacking going on, surely someone with the skills is done enough with FBs jackassery to do it?), that’s my best plan.

But it’s been a busy couple of weeks. Shows! Art classes! Funerals!

Sadly yes, that last one is true. My mom’s best friend died suddenly last month and left her as the executor of her estate, so I’ve been as busy being helpful to her in whatever capacity she needs as anything else. I’ve learned valuable lessons from this. It’s enormously complicated to die in this country, and you should leave freakishly detailed instructions to your executor/family members, if you possibly can. Write a will. A looong and precise one, and update it periodically.
Consider giving someone power of attorney, just in case. We actually had to argue with the medical examiner because the deceased had no known family, and they were afraid if they released the body without power of attorney (which, according to the lawyer, ends with death, but they insisted on it anyway) some random unknown relative would come suing over the disposition of the remains at some later date. The funeral home had to get its legal department to draft a waiver exempting the medical examiners office of liability if that should happen, before they would turn over the deceased to my mother, who had her copy of the will naming her as executor, which is all she legally needed in the first place.
Also? Don’t hoard. Your survivors will have to figure out what to do with your stuff and that sucks because it’s emotional to have to sort through and dispose of the possessions of someone you cared about. So don’t have a bunch of extra shit lying around to make it harder for them.
The one upshot, weirdly, was the memorial. The departed was a very sassy old lady and sassy old ladies tend to have fun people in their lives who will eulogize them in hilariously touching ways.
So, yeah. That happened.

But, shows!
Red Door was down profit-wise from last year, but otherwise just as lovely an event. I blame the weather. Despite the almost constant presence of it in the Midwest (particularly along the shores of a large body of water), it continues to stump people. Chicagoans won’t leave the house if anything is falling out of the sky. And it was, so they didn’t. But the dip in fortunes was slight, and since I got such a positive reception and the organizers were, as before, really communicative and great to work with, I had a fine time anyway and look forward to next year. Even a great dane peeing on my display could not dampen my day. No, nothing was damaged, thank FSM, though his owner was kind of a jerk about it. Such is life. If that’s the worst thing that happens at a show in the coming year, I’m calling it a win.

And next up of course is Shop Jarvis Square, this coming Saturday in Rogers Park. Buncha bars, buncha artists, buncha bloody mary’s and a whole lotta awesome. I’ll be in R Public House, the first one in line coming from the train station. Dave will be there with lamps both new and funky and we’ll both be merry and bright because cocktails. Come out. Even if there’s stuff falling out of the sky. There’s a raffle! And discounts! And beer!

Lastly but hardly leastly (shut up spellcheck, you don’t think “thusly” is a word either so I don’t trust your squiggly red line anymore), art classes!
I’ve posted about my collage and assemblage classes with Lynn Whipple, my new favorite art doula. Now I’m taking something called a “Junk Book” class with Carla Sonheim, whose deal this is all been going through. Her hubs makes the videos and they live on her site. Mixed media, collage, watercolor, acrylic. I’m not sure there’s anything she doesn’t do.
I met her at one of the shows mah boo and I reconned in the spring and signed up for her mailing list because I liked her work so much. Best thing I’ve done in a long time, as it has turned out.
The class involves repurposing junk mail into an art book. Hence, junk book. There is drawing and painting with watercolors, neither of which I even kind of know how to do. Franken-junk is my jam. But what fun would life be if we never challenged ourselves? Hmmm? Besides, it’s important not to decide you suck at something until you’ve actually tried it. And then if it’s fun you can keep going, sucking at it notwithstanding. Sometimes you stop sucking with practice, and sometimes you don’t, but the bit about fun is the important bit.
The finished product should theoretically end up looking like so.

junk1

Mine doesn’t yet, but I’m only 3 lessons in out of 6, so we’ll have to see.

These classes, btw, are available to all, online, for a way reasonable rate. They’re mostly short, one or two week deals that take you through a project and give you the tools to expand on your own from there. Go to http://www.carlasonheim.com/ and check out what’s available. Classes in all manner of art things, free tutorials, and ongoing contact with your classmates and the teachers through a given class’s FB and Flikr pages. It’s better than college if you ask me. But I don’t like mornings, or student loans. And there you go.

So that’s what’s up, y’all. I hope everybody has a good Whatever Holiday You Celebrate, or a good time ignoring them altogether.