Year End Blog: Salutations, thank yous, Things!

Hello, and a merry Whatever Holiday You Celebrate If Any. This is my end of year ramble, which is not going to be about all the shows I did this year, because mostly I did the same ones but for a couple. I can sum those two up thusly; Bucktown,ugh. Not remotely worth the pain in my ass. Chicago Art Girls, holyshityay!

Finally it seems I’m finding the shows, the audience, the mojo, that I need to find. We makers of things all do. We need to not just find our audience, but also find our shows/galleries/wherever the rad people come to experience what you make and hopefully let you make a living making. Making a living making is more than just selling the work. It’s also the connections and the community that you find while you’re at it. The importance of that can’t be remotely overstated. So, THANK YOU. You are so freakin’ beautiful and weird and awesome that I can’t even. There’s no doing this without you and I treasure your presence and participation. Those of my friends and rennie peeps who were among the first to follow the Facebook page, fellow artist/sans/makers, and those of you who just hopped on at the last show, or however you found your way here, you’re all in my black little heart and I love you. Like, for real.

2016 has been…challenging. To say the least. I am, like everyone, dealing with that as best I can. But speaking from a strictly shows and art life place, this season has been wonderful. I haven’t done the numbers yet, so I don’t know if I mean that in a financial sense, but this job isn’t exclusively about paying rent. This year stands out for having many bigger pieces finding homes, and many of those homes being with people who have bought from me before. I have collectors y’all!! That tells me something important. It tells me I’m connecting with people. I’ve talked before about how art is a desire driven purchase. It serves no practical purpose, and there’s no good reason to budget for it from a cost/benefit standpoint. We’re not looking at psychological stuff. Pure nuts and bolts I’m talkin’. So when people are spending on something with no purpose other than to be looked at, it’s speaking loudly and insistently to something rooted in their guts and souls. And that’s an artist’s freakin’ JOB. I am doing my job! And I appear to be doing it passably well. I probably can’t properly articulate how exciting that is for me. I have never comfortably referred to myself as an artist, because I never really thought of myself as one. That whole imposter thing is a thing. So for me, it’s beyond dope that I feel like I’m doing the job of making art. You did that! Give yourselves a cookie, because you made someones day.

In the coming season I want to build on that momentum and sense of growing community. That’s going to mean exploring new venues. New shows, always and of course, but also open studios and funky spaces of all sorts that support the artists. If all goes well you’ll find me right back at the shows you found me at this year. Glenwood, Lakeview, Edgewater, Craft and Relic, and Art Girls. Because those all continue to rock. Not Bucktown. Yes, that one turned out ok in the end, but the vibe was wrong for me, and I’m learning to trust my gut when it says “nope”. I hope to extend a tentacle into Logan Square this time around, so that should be interesting. Indiana will wait til next year because of family stuff, but it’s on the radar. There are some events in Milwaukee I’m eyeballing too.

And, Patreon. Is going. To happen! In the coming months, in addition to making All of the Things, I will be shooting video and giving a serious think on rewards (exclusive blogs! live chats! dinners! classes! art!) and whatnot for the various patron levels, so that I can make this happen. If you, oh hive mind, have any suggestions on such things I welcome your input. I don’t know what someone who pays me whatever, say $5 a month, to make art would like to have access to, so I’m open to ideas.

The opportunity this vehicle gives artists to connect with people all over the world is incredible. And the opportunity it gives people of modest means to be part of supporting the arts is mind blowingly awesome. I love tipping buskers. My dollar isn’t much in this day and age, but it’s not the only dollar in the hat. The hat contains many dollars from many people like me who want to be some part of that artist’s success. Patreon is the hat for people whose art doesn’t translate to a busking sort of situation, or a busker who wants a way bigger stage. A global hat to pass, with the opportunity for real interaction between artist and patrons. I have no idea what I’m doing when it comes to that, but I have no idea what I’m doing in general, so I’ma just do it and see what happens.

Thank you thank you for being here my lovelies. 🙂

Here’s to a safe and sane (or insane in a really great way) years end.

 

 

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Here, have an update

Hi y’all!

Those of you who keep up with me on social media may have noticed that I’m a busy monkey lately. Usually I do the bulk of my production over the winter, but this year Life Things made that not happen as well as I’d have liked, so I used the huge lag between my spring show and my late summer ones to make up the difference. And man, have I done that. I’ve got a serious amount of stock ready for these next two months of shows. Before you get too impressed with me, remember that I’ve got a rennie crafter’s ideas of time and workload management, and that this is my full time job. I have way more time than many artists do to art with, and was taught the valuable skill of working even when I’m not feeling it. Inspiration is a thing, and sometimes you don’t have it. But when you’re trying to make a living you have to not let that stop you. There’s lots you can do even when the muse is taking a smoke break. Fortunately, I work well under pressure, and my muse has been on board with me these last couple of months, so I’ve been frankenjunking like a boss.

You’ve probably noticed all the flowers hereabouts, which is a bit of a sidestep from my usual. My meditations lately have focused on the transitory nature of the states of being we experience. Things like depression, happiness, anger, contentment, and what it actually means to embody an emotional state, both physiologically, (like what all those fancy neurotransmitters are really doing in there) and experientially. What’s more symbolic of how brief our lives and experiences are than flowers, says me. Moths and butterflies are often used symbolically to represent transition and change, too. Hard core monks meditate in charnel houses next to decomposing bodies to really come to grips with the brief nature of our existence. While most of my materials are decomposing, an actual carcass is too Dada even for me. Also, stanky. So flowers it is. You’re welcome.

Plus, you know, they’re pretty. I like pretty things. Not everything I find attractive is dead, you know. I have layers, people.

So, shows! You can find them all listed to the left of my Facebook page under the “events” tab. You can also say, “Madam! Prithee, put me on your mailing list, for I am lazy and wish all pertinent information to be delivered directly to my device.” and then give me your e-addy and I totally will. (Ok, “prithee” is recognized by spellcheck, but “experientially” and “charnal” are not? WTF spellcheck??) But I’ll be back at Glenwood and Lakeview, and also Edgewater, though they haven’t notified me yet, they cashed my check like two months ago so I’d better have a booth number. And new this year I’ll be in Bucktown, which everyone has been telling me since I started this party that I should check out, so I’m optimistic. August and September are the time to see me this year, unless you’re in the Milwaukee area, in which case come on out to Re:Craft and Relic in November so we can hang. I’ve also applied to my first Chicago Art Girls show in December. If you’re all “wtf is Chicago Art Girls”, they’re a loosely organized bunch of women artists that promote and support each other, throw a holiday shindig once a year, and kindly let a few non members apply to their hootnanny. I have a lot of shows in common with several of these ladies and I deeply dig each and every one of them. I just wish they didn’t all live in like West Town or whatever. Those of you who don’t live in a city the size of a small country just don’t understand how difficult it is to get with people that live in farther flung neighborhoods of the county. It’s actually easier and faster to get to Wisconsin. But I digress. I won’t know about that one til September, so stay tuned for updates on that score, and the rest of the holiday shenanigans, as the November and December shows don’t tend to put their calls out for a while yet.

Speaking of which, I will not be back at Late Late this year, for any of you who attend that one. That crowd way wasn’t into my glittery shenanigans. A few FB peeps came out like the awesome, supportive rock stars you are, but on the whole I was clearly not what that crowd was looking for. Eh, live and learn.

A new Thing I’m trying this year at shows is pay what you want artist trading cards. I’ve made up a buncha tiny art that anyone can afford because you can pay or trade whatever you want for it (No children or pets please!). You can pay a quarter, a dollar, a flower, a c-note, a cupcake, a hug, produce, sandwiches, your own tiny art, or just say “thanks” and we’re square. If you don’t at least say “thanks”, I will think you’re kind of rude, because damn, where are your manners, but you can still have some art. The point is that you pay what you want, and if you want to pay with being kind of rude, I accept. I’m  gonna judge you, but I accept. It’s always been my jam to be accessible. This way, even if you’re homeless, you can afford art. Because they’re not “free”, you still participate in a fair exchange, even if your part is just shaking my hand. I dig this because I’m a control freak (no really, just ask my shop monkeys), and it’s a great exercise in not controlling, just accepting. Whatever your payment will be is exactly enough (As long as it’s not alive! I really can’t stress enough how much I don’t want a pet hamster or a five year old.).

Also! The knits are going away forever, so what’s left is going to be on super sale at the shows where they’ll let me have more than my juried medium. Some shows are picky about that, but others, like Glenwood, are pretty laid back about having more than one kind of thing in your shop, so long as you’re still making all the things. So hats, scarves and tubes made with super sexy, really kick ass fiber are going for less than cost of materials, even. I just need them outta my way. And, while not on super sale because they’re already pretty much at cost, the mini shrines are also going away, so what I’ve got is all that’s gonna be, and if you’ve been eyeing one, now is the time to commit. I still have a decent number left, so they’ll probably still be around next season, but I’ve decided I’m not even going to take custom orders on them anymore, so git em now before they’re gone.

Is that it? Hm. Yeah, I think that’s it. You know all of the things for now.

I hope everyone is having a fabulous summer so far. It’s all too brief in this godforsaken latitude, so enjoy it while it’s here. I know I am.

Hello 2016

Happy new year peeps! Welcome new peeps and thanks for sticking around, old peeps. I actually can’t do it without you. ::sniffle:: Totally love you guys. I hope everyone had a safe and sane holiday season. I ate. A lot. That about sums it up.

Anyway. Things!

Production has been very slow due to various life things. What started as the week off I promised myself after my last show of the season turned into “eh, it’s the holidays”, turned into a sick dog. Hepatitis. I know, right? I didn’t even know dogs could get that, but apparently they can. And the critter was poorly indeed. She’s on the mend now, but for those of you whose pets are their kids, you feel my pain and know how distracting that can be.

But this week, at last! I’m back in the lab and juggling bones and baby heads with my usual flair (by “flair”, I actually mean clumsiness, for those of you who don’t know me well and haven’t seen me trip over perfectly good nothing while standing still in bare feet). So many new things will be posted both to the Facebook and Etsy here in the coming weeks. Because motivation. I don’t has it, but I fake it extremely well, and then eventually I has it. Usually after a trip to the flea market. Which! In March, I intend to do a Junking for Art field trip to the Grayslake Antique and Flea market. Limited space, so hollah ASAP if you want in on the rusty, junky, funky goodness. We will discuss Boxes, Rusty Shit, How Much Should You Actually Pay for That Awesome Thing?, Is This Junk Good Junk for Art?, and many more fascinating topics, as well as eat delicious baked goods made by nuns. No really. They’re French, so they know the meaning of butter. Cost is $7 at the door of the flea, plus whatever you budget for junk and pastry.

Shows! I’ll post links and exact dates as we get closer. But as it stands right now, for starters I’ll be back at Re: Craft and Relic in April, just south of Milwaukee. My application to the Spring Green Arts and Crafts Fair is sent, and, I expect, accepted, as you generally are when you’re a returning artist. Unless you piss someone off. Which I’m pretty sure I didn’t do. Also, the Lakeview East Festival of the Arts gave me the compliment of an early invite and waived my jury, so I’ll be back to the corner of Belmont and Broadway in September.

Glenwood and Edgewater’s applications aren’t up yet, but I intend to be back at both those shows, and I applied to Bucktown for August, so we’ll see where that goes. I’m trying to hit it light in the early part of the season and heavy in the late part. My stuff is labor intensive, and I always feel like I don’t have enough, so this is me trying to deal with that. We’ll see how that works out.

So that’s all the news I have for you currently. Back I go into my hole in the ground to mix up glittery shenanigans for y’all!

Finish Line

One! More! Show!

And I’m so ready. It’s been a busy, roller coaster-y season, and I’m mentally exhausted and ready for a breather. Which isn’t really a breather at all, because just as soon as I put the gridwall away for the winter, I’m going to be frantically gluing, painting, junking, and doing All of the Business Things (Taxes in two states! I’m gonna need more wine…) to get ready for next season, which will have me doing even more shows and maaaaabe some consignment. Maybe. Still thinking about that one.

Also, I really want to get some workshops/field trips/ninja tea parties organized. That means attending to my thus far practically ignored mailing list and trying to see what kind of trades I can make for space. I don’t have any space to run a workshop, so I’d need to barter for some from a kind soul. Free workshop? Private tutorial? Art? I dunno, what would you want in exchange for the use of your living room by half a dozen people for an afternoon?

Another thing I’ve been chewing on lately is Patreon. For those of you unfamiliar, Patreon is a web based art patronage platform. You set an amount, can be as low as one dollar or as high as you want, and you either pay for content (I pay you a dollar every time you make a Thing) or you can generally support (I pay you a dollar a month so you can live and make Things) from artists you want to support. Patronage comes with perks like exclusive content, first looks and dibs, and gifties. But the point of it is so that artists can afford to make art, and anyone can afford to be an art patron, because it relies on a crowd giving dollars (not unlike passing a hat) rather than a handful of wealthy people. It’s really cool. I don’t know if I have enough of myself out there yet to attract even a handful of people willing to put a monthly dollar in my hat, but research is happening in any case.

These and other exciting questions I shall be pondering this winter.

Along with Moar Blogging! I do show reviews, which many people have told me they find helpful (thank you for the feedback), but I don’t post much else, being either busy with other stuff or wrestling with the age old questions “Will this bore them?” and “Why would anyone care what I think about -insert Thing here-?”. But I feel like flexing the writing brain more, so I’ll do my best to keep it engaging.

In the meantime, I have one more show to get ready for. Shop Jarvis Square, which is happening not this Saturday, but next (the 12th) from 10-5, half a block east of the El stop in a string of pubs on Jarvis. It’s your last chance to see my glittery shenanigans without a computer screen and not pay for shipping. Til spring, anyway. Which is soooo far away. So don’t miss the last show of the season. There will be beer.

Happy Equinox!

The leaves aren’t doing much hereabouts just yet, but it’s definitely on its way. You can smell it.

With autumn comes the end of the outdoor show season, but the beginning of the INDOOR show season. You know what that usually means? I don’t have to set up a tent or worry about the weather. I realize it’s not as exciting for you as it is for me, but that’s ok. I’ll be excited for both of us.

So! This is where I’ma be at for the rest of the season.

THIS WEEKEND!! The very last outdoor show of the year (for me, anyway)! Edgewater Fall Arts Fest on Granville between Broadway and Kenmore. 11-6 Saturday and Sunday. A boatload of killer artists of my personal acquaintance will be there. I can totally vouch for the content of this show, if not for the beer. Which I hope for your sakes there will be. But if not, you know I won’t tell on you. Winkwink.

ALSO! Monday the 12th of October brings a small, cozy popup art market in Evanston. The Prairie Moon restaurant on Sherman will host me and a bunch of other rad makers between 5 and 9 pm. There will definitely be beer, and food and if I’m lucky, the cake lady will be doing samples again.

NOVEMBER! Busy busy month for your holiday shopping pleasure. Milwaukee-ans, on the weekend of the 14th and 15th, I’ll be at the indoor sports complex just south of you in Franklin for Re: Craft and Relic, a brand new show featuring upcyclers, vintage pickers and funky indie crafters of all sorts. Come support local indie makers in yer ‘hood you guys!

Then on the 22nd I will once again be supporting homeless puppies, kitties and bunnies at the Red Door Animal Shelter’s Holiday Bazaar! Held at the Warren Park field house on Western from 11-5 that Sunday. There is a cookie bake sale of truly epic proportions, and you can bring your critter (the four legged kind, though I’m pretty sure Santa will let your kids in on the action too) for a picture with Santa, who I know for a fact is secretly a sassy ol’ biker dude who loves puppies.

Lastly in November is the Black Friday indie craft hootnanny known as the Late Late Craft Show! Hosted by Mrs. Murphy and Sons Irish Bistro on Lincoln Ave., this event starts at 5 and goes till 11 pm. There is food and whiskey and art. Which is all I need for a recommendation, really. Cooooome!

If all goes as expected, December will bring us Shop Jarvis Square to close my season out. The event is trying to change management, as the organizer said eff this noise and moved south and west away from this godforsaken latitude after the last blisteringly cold winter we had up here. Who can blame her? But I haven’t heard if she’s managed to pass the torch on, or if it’s happening this year, or what, so stay tuned for updates on that score.

Otherwise, that’s the rest of the season mah peeps. Enjoy the turning of the leaves and the gutting of the gourds and the begging of the candy!

New adventures

Greetings friends old and new. I’m announcing a thing.

With the addition of a mailing list (I’m working on figuring it out, swear), there is new opportunity for shenanigans! I frequently get asked at shows if I teach. Well, not as such. I have no place to host a workshop or anything else of that nature. But I do get around. To flea markets mostly. But also to coffee shops and bars. Well, mostly bars. Heh.

So, this mailing list gives anyone interested the ability to not only get updates on what shows are coming up, but what ninja art gathering is happening in the near future.

For example, this October is the “In Rust We Trust” field trip to the Grayslake Antique and Flea market. Only three spots available currently, cost is $7 entry to the flea and whatever you want to spend on junk. In other words, I’m not personally charging you anything for this exploratory excursion. We’ll wander around the market talking about boxes for junk, what kind of junk is good junk for assemblage, how much you should spend on junk and other art/junk related topics.

This is the first of such things, so it’s small. If it works out and everyone digs it, or if I get more people wanting to get on board, I’ll expand the size of the posse.

But in addition to junking trips there are any number of arty activities you and I can engage in. Ninja tea parties (and by “tea” I mean “whiskey”…or tea, you know, if you prefer) where the curious can ask any questions they like of me about any topic that tickles their fancy, and we can talk about how to integrate your artistic leanings into your life, the nuts and bolts of 3D mixed media (I know we all wish it wasn’t, but hot glue is inadequate to just about all tasks you set forth for it, more’s the pity), what you need to start doing shows, and generally have a nice time over, um, “tea”.

And from there we’ll see where it goes. I have all sorts of notions in this head of mine and I’d like to share them. And if you’d like me to, just the second I figure out this mailing list monkey, there will be a sign up thingie for you to hit up and you can get in on the action in a way that ensures you won’t miss an update because of Facebook’s lousy algorithms.

Prepare yourselves!

Atumn schedule and whatnot

Hello!
You were all totally wondering where you can find me this fall, slash, early winter season, weren’t you! I knew you were.

So, this is what I will be getting up to these next few months, should you wish to shop for holiday, birthday, and just-because-day gifties for your best beloveds, or simply wish to come hang out and have a yak while I mind a table.

October (this coming week in fact!) puts me up in the incomparably fabulous Baraboo for their Fall Art Tour, on the Sunday of which will be the Sunday Market in Baraboo’s town square. Sunday Market is a summer long art and vintage market that happens from April till the end of October every weekend with excellent regularity and has been for the last three summers now. I had the pleasure of participating in its opening season and I’m really excited to be doing it again this year. If you’re in the area (“the area” being anywhere north of Milwaukee, or hell, all of south eastern WI if you’re willing to drive though beautiful fall countryside) seriously, you should check this out. Little Village Cafe has the best pancakes and you can visit the Baraboo participants of the Fall Art Tour while you’re at it.

In November I will once again be supporting the valiant efforts of the Red Door animal shelter to rehome puppies, kitties and bunnies by participating in their Holiday Bazaar. On the 23rd from 11-4 at the Warren Park field house in Rogers Park, there will be a massive cookie baking event and lots of fantastic vendors to shop with. There’s a Santa photo op for your critters as well as foster critters wandering around for your critter love needs. It’s indoors, there are bunnies, you have no excuse.

In December, just in time for Christchaunnikwanzika, is Shop Jarvis Square! On Saturday December 13th all the businesses just east of the El tracks on Jarvis will be opening their doors to a passel of artists, bakers, makers and creative hoodlums of all sorts for a one day art, food and booze holiday event. Bars normally reserved for drinking will host art shenanigans for your shopping pleasure. Brunch time bloody marys and art? Hell yes please.
I’ll be there with my glittery dead stuff, art lamps and general good cheer (or at least amusing snark, depending on how much whiskey they’ve given me) so you can find that perfect skull for your boo’s stocking.

Also! Through the month of October, ending on All Souls Day (November 2nd, for those of you not hip to the Catholic calender of events…don’t worry, I only keep track of the cool ones involving interesting saints or dead people, so I don’t judge you) my work is hanging in the gallery at North Main Studios in Rockford, Il as part of a Dia de los Muertos exhibit along with a bunch of talented local artists. You can go see it for yourself if you’re passing through, live nearby, or are just bored and want to take a short road trip.

So that’s the rest of my season y’all. I know you were waiting with baited breath to know where else you could stalk me this year. You’re welcome.
Otherwise stalk me in cyber space on Facebook, but remember they’re assclowns who will only show you a teeny percentage of the amusing and occasionally disturbing shit I post, so come visit the page in person rather than counting on your feed to tell you what’s up.
I hope to see your happy mugs at one of these events before I lock myself in my lab till spring.