Monday, June 25, 2007

The Flea

I sold my crafts at the Chilmark Flea Market on Martha's Vineyard for almost ten years in the 90's. The show ran every Wednesday and Saturday from June to October. The first year I did it was tough. It was not a juried show, per se, but you had to get past the twins, two ladies from the church who had the power to reject you if they didn't like your attitude. I was young, which was a strike against me, and selling a lot of jewelry, which, as many of you know, is always in abundance at shows and makes it hard to get in as a vendor.

Mom and I would get up so early it would still be dark. She would make egg salad sandwiches and we'd pack the car with tables, chairs, an umbrella and my little duffel bag of goods. The roads were quiet at that time of the day and the 15 mile drive up island was idyllic. The sun would be up by then and we were able to enjoy the old stone walls and sheep pastures, the grape vines and picket fences without the terror of a tourist bus hurtling around blind corners on the narrow winding road. Birds who were not expecting traffic for some hours would look up from their clatches in the middle of the asphalt and petulantly walk to the side. We were not playing by the rules.

We had to be there early, it was first come first served. At 6:30 we'd line up and try not to look like trouble makers. One of the identical twins was nice and one was a ball buster. But I got into every show and set up my card tables with my tiny offering.

After that first year, I was considered a "regular" and I earned a permanent spot up on the hill under an old shade tree. Fragrant honeysuckle would tumble over the stone wall behind us. Mom set up under an umbrella and drew pictures of the scene. She loves being "backstage".

We would celebrity watch, baby watch, we made friends with the other vendors, it was quite a scene! The hardest thing I've ever done, too. So exhausting. We'd pack up to leave at 2:30, get home despite those buses coming at us on the wrong side of the yellow line, and I would sleep so deeply, a wad of wrinkled bills safely tucked in an envelope in the bureau drawer.

Friday, June 22, 2007

The Scroll

We went to the opening of the display of the original manuscript of On The Road by Jack Kerouac who was born and raised in Lowell. This September marks the 50th anniversary of its publication so the original manuscript, which is a continuous scroll of paper taped together, is on display at the Boott Cotton Mills right downtown.

Opening night was Friday, June 15th. We got there a bit too late to hear speeches and get free drinks but we were able to view the scroll and the fantastic display surrounding it. Check out this video on the unrolling of the scroll. And this slideshow both from WBUR.

Monday, June 18, 2007

I am adaptable

I think this is one of the best traits for success in life or business. I can change my mind about things if need be. But I wasn't made this way, I learned this skill over time. I still start out with plans and ideas that I think I will see through to their conclusion, but along the way if I have to shift I will. I will research the heck out of the new direction, but I have no inclination to stick to a game plan just because that's how the adventure started.

I had wanted to open a shop in downtown Lowell to showcase all my goods, plus vintage items and the handmade goods of other artists. But after exhaustive research revealed that wouldn't be feasible, I switched my idea of what my shop would be into 1) An online biz + 2) A studio + 3) Doing craft shows.

So when construction on the studio I am waiting to rent was delayed and delayed again, and a good friend told me she had the idea to get a temporary studio in the main building, I slowly came to see that this was a good compromise. I will be taking a studio for the short term in the main building until Mill A is ready, and all my things will already be there for the moving!

Friday, June 15, 2007

I went nuts with the needle felting!

I have this roving, it's some of the first wool I bought when I wanted to learn needle felting. I got it at Bazaar Bizarre in Boston last December. Here's Chester enjoying it with me. It's washed so it cannot be used for wet felting. So yesterday, after wet felting beads with my unwashed merino woool from Village Spinning and Weaving Shop all morning, I decided to needle felt some irregular round stacked flower shapes with it.

The roving is so soft and fluffy and smells very slightly of lanolin. It's a complete pleasure to handle. And I got to incorporate some of my vintage buttons so the joy was complete. I just need to put pinbacks on them and they will be ready for listing on Etsy, or perhaps I should stockpile them for South End Open Market coming up all too quickly on July 22nd!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Button Earrings

I am excited that I made some button earrings for my Etsy shop and not just to keep for myself. Though I do grow attached to the little buttons, I am willing to share. And if I use them up, it gives me the excuse I need to purchase more!

When I handle the vintage mother of pearl buttons, I feel their history and try to picture the garment they once graced. Sometimes there is a bit of the original fabric still sewn to the button and I can imagine a pair of flannel pajamas or a dress shirt stiff with starch.

When I was in Florida I ran out of jump rings but was able to purchase a length of 18 gauge sterling half-hard wire. I coiled it carefully around a knitting needle and snipped the rings apart with a flush cutter. The trick is that the cutters only cut flush on one side so you have to flip them around and snip the pointy end off each second cut. I don't mind the repetition, it's satisfying to end up with a pile of perfect silver circles. When I got home, I made more in all sizes.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Beautiful Wedding

Well that was an amazing and emotional weekend! My nephew married a wonderful woman in a fairy tale setting and everyone who was able to attend felt grateful to be a part of it. We missed terribly those who could not be there, but they were in our hearts. It all went so fast and I can't wait to see everyone's photos so I can relive it!

Thursday, June 7, 2007

PCAGOE Etsy Labs Letter Project

The clever people in the Polymer Clay Artists Guild of Etsy came up with a cool idea. They assigned us to make letters from polymer clay which will spell out "
Your Place to Buy & Sell All Things Handmade."

One of the members, Dawn of Hardflower Studios, who knows how to do mosaics (check this out!) will mount the letters on a board and ship the finished project to Etsy Labs, which is the physical manifestation of Etsy in New York, where we hope they will enjoy it and want to learn more about polymer clay! All the artists in the guild have very different styles, so the variety will be interesting to see.

Here are my contributions: (They are roughly 2 inches square and about a half inch thick)

UPDATE: It has been completed and shipped and received, Etsy Labs loves it! My "E" is the E in "Etsy"!! And my "U" is in "your". I think they letters look amazing together!! Great job everyone and special thanks to Dawn!

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

My Private Chefs

Remember the wedding invitations I made? That wedding is coming up on Saturday! My nephew and his beautiful bride will tie the knot and we get to celebrate that while enjoying a de-facto family reunion (minus my much-missed sister in California).

My other sister drove up north with her husband for the whole week. I kidnapped them for a day and forced them to cook us a gourmet meal in my decidedly un-gourmet kitchen. And D got to enjoy it too when he got home from a long day at work.

It was pan seared chicken breast in a lime-chili dressing on a bed of mixed greens with mango, apple and peppers. Did I mention the fruit and cheese first course? I know you are saying, "What, you don't eat like that every day?" As it turns out, we don't! It was incredible, and they thoughtfully left us enough to make one more meal for two the next night.