7.07.2014

Show Report: Festival for the Eno 2014

We've definitely lucked out in the excellent weather category for shows this year.  Last weekend's temperatures in the mid-80s and low humidity were a joy.  Typically, the weather at Eno is a challenge, with high temperatures, and sometimes even higher humidity, making it an ordeal to sit through for us, and a not very pleasant experience for the customers. Not so, this year, our 10th at Eno.

I chose to display my most recent work; the Talisman and Adornment Series wall hangings.  Below you'll see my booth, and the Inspiration: Wax-Print Cloth bamboo bowls featured on one panel. 

Festival for the Eno 2014 display
As usual, comments were positive, and as I've often said, I'd love to have a dollar for every time someone utters some variation on "Ohhh, I LOVE your colors!" This was not a big art-buying crowd; most were there to hear the music, eat the festival food (yes, the ubiquitous turkey leg was popular as always), and buy little trinkets.

However, I did gain some new collectors, and several pieces have now found new homes.

To end the show, we had two "firsts" as we were packing up to leave:  1.  A new collector came by to purchase another piece which she'd had her eye on the first day.  Since it was already packed up, I had to pull it out of its packaging, whip out my Square, and make the sale.  Thanks, Phyllis!
2.  While I was making this final transaction, Stan was breaking down the tent.  He stepped outside the walls to loosen a bolt on the tent bars, and when he went inside again about a minute later, he found a woman sitting on the grass in the center of the paneled area, breastfeeding her baby!   We thought we'd seen/heard it all before. Perhaps now?  But no, after I posted this incident on an art fair Facebook page, I read an even wilder tale of an artist's tent which had been used for a clandestine tryst (after hours, thankfully).  I think that trumps our story!

Looking forward to a bit of downtime before the African American Cultural Festival at the end of next month.  I'll be doing a custom order generated from Eno, and a few new pieces, too.  Photos to come....
The Inspiration:  Wax-Print Cloth panel

6.23.2014

Show Report: 2014 Columbia Festival of the Arts

Excellent show management, beautiful site, easy load-in/load-out, helpful volunteers, returning collectors, and friends to share it with = a great time had by all!  The Columbia Festival staff is one of the best I've encountered, and the show runs smoothly because of it.  And, when something happens to upset that, they take care of it.  Case in point:  on Saturday evening, everyone's lights were intermittent; something to do with the main line to the booths.  This was distressing, since we really needed our lights inside the tent once the sun set.  When management couldn't fix it immediately, they came around and apologized, and said our electricity fee would be refunded.  We appreciated that gesture; not every show would have handled it that way.

I also very much appreciated that my email postcard campaign worked its magic.  Three collectors from prior year's shows came to visit and purchase (and of course, they received their 20% discount as a result).  It was great to see them, and in one case, I got to see how three wall hangings from the early Talisman Series are hung on the wall of a law office!  My collector says they're the first things everyone sees as they enter or exit the main conference room, and they've gotten many positive comments.  I may also be doing a large, commissioned piece for his home (!)...details on that as they become available.  Another collector returned after last seeing me 5 years ago; the last time was at  Artscape, Baltimore 2009!  She received her email, and because she fondly remembers me and my work, she now is a "true collector," becoming the proud owner of a total of three Kindred Spirit Studios wall pieces. 

And, I have two new collectors, who immediately gravitated to the pieces they ultimately purchased.  I'm always fascinated by how that occurs.  Usually, the person is drawn in by one piece, moves closer to examine it, reads the title, then slowly looks around at the other work in the booth.  Sometimes, they don't even get around to everything else; the first piece which resonated with them calls them back.  I observe this, and when they look up (I try not to disturb this process as it's happening), I ask if I can tell them a bit about the piece they like.  This interaction is what works for me; it may not be the best "sales tactic," (I always envision someone saying "Okay, so what do I have to do to get you into this wall hanging today?!) but it's effective.  I'll be the first to admit I'm not a salesperson, but I can certainly speak about my inspiration, my techniques, my research, etc., which I think is what "sells" the work to those who are already interested in it. 

Here are the pieces which have new homes, and I will show you them in their new environments if their owners send me photos as promised. 

Bese Saka, Talisman of Abundance
 
Inspiration:  Adinkra 1
 

Faraja, Talisman of Joy

Huru, Talisman of Independence


Neema, Talisman of Grace

Inspiration:  Adinkra 2


5.27.2014

Countdown to: Columbia Festival of the Arts

Just 17 days until we leave for our first show of the season, the Columbia Festival of the Arts, in Columbia, Maryland. 
It's one of my favorite shows; beautiful location, excellent show management, great collectors, and always good weather.  You can read about our first time here. This will be my third consecutive year there, and I'm looking forward to displaying the new pieces I've been working on all winter.  I'm nearing the end of the production cycle, and will have lots of photos to show in a couple of days.  Then, it's on to inventorying, tagging, signing, etc., all the little details which go into making a successful show.  If you're in the area, stop by and say hello...Artventuring readers receive a 20% discount off their purchase by just mentioning you saw this post! 

See you there.

5.15.2014

Wow, that's a HUGE stamp!

The Scrap Exchange in Durham, NC is one of my favorite places to find offbeat, but just the right thing to use as an art supply; you never know what you'll discover from one visit to the next.  On a recent trip, with my friend and fellow mixed media artist extraordinaire Sharon DiGiulio, we came across some scrap pieces of Lucite.  There were many to choose from, covered with protective paper, in different sizes and shapes.  Immediately, I thought:  wow, wouldn't it be great to use them to make large foam stamps? So, I scooped up some pieces of various sizes, and  experimented. 
I'd never created one of this size (4"x 10.5"), but figured it was just one of my usual 2"x2" Lucite squares, all grown up...and voilĂ , they do make great, large stamps.
Here's how they came out:


Second stamp, in progress, using
white "fun foam" and UHU glue
to adhere to the Lucite.
First stamp, after inking.  Colorbox Chalk Ink
in "blackbird" worked perfectly.









The completed wall hanging.
Note that I used the stamp to texture the clay
pieces as well as for the inked borders.
Pretty cool, right?!

5.13.2014

Update: The Adornment Series

As we were photographing my newest work last weekend, I realized I hadn't displayed the finished piece from my March 18th work in progress post.  I'm really pleased with the way it turned out, and it has inspired other pieces, which is always very satisfying.  I'm calling this series of wall hangings The Adornment Series, since it's inspired by textile, jewelry, and ceremonial cloth designs of Africa.

As you can see, the painted symbols in the center panel are similar to the ones in Adinkra 3, in my previous post (sorry for the out of order posting!); this was the inspiration which carried through to a number of new pieces (love when that happens).  I'm happy I decided to hand paint each symbol; while it was a great deal of work, it allowed me the flexibility to decide which symbol looked best in each square, and I could adjust its design accordingly.  Carving or cutting stamps would have worked too, but I wouldn't have had the same flexibility.

Next up:  the largest stamp I've ever designed, and how I used it on another of The Adornment Series wall hangings.  Stay tuned.

Adornment 2
Block Print
20"x24"
 

5.08.2014

New Work

News from the studio:  I've been working on more wall pieces which will debut at our first show of the season:  the Columbia Festival of the Arts, in Columbia, Maryland.  This three-day festival is one of my favorites, and this year, it's on June 13 through June 15.  Here's some of my new work, including one which has already been sold.  More to come.  What's on your work table?

The Adornment Series:  Beaded Cuff 1
5"x24"
Private Collection

The Adornment Series:  Beaded Cuff 2
5"x24"
Polymer, brass and glass beads, acrylic on MDF
$175


Adinkra 3
5"x24"
polymer, acrylic ink on MDF
$175 each, or $500 for the trio


 

3.28.2014

Workshop: Paper Marbling with Michelle

Here I am at Jerry's, in 2012,
holding a student's marbled paper
On Saturday, April 5th, from noon to 3pm, I'll be teaching a workshop at Jerry's Artarama in Raleigh.  It's Paper Marbling with Michelle, where I demonstrate different techniques of paper marbling, then let the students loose to try them on their own.  I've taught this workshop before, and the results are always beautiful and varied.  I'm always interested in how the students will use their papers.  Many are avid scrap bookers and journal artists, who use them as backgrounds; some are book makers, who use them as they were first intended, many centuries ago as endpapers.  Still others are mixed media artists, and well, you never know where a mixed media artist will use lovely bits of paper! 

If you're in the area, and want an afternoon of creative play, visit the Jerry's website, and register.  You'll need to bring mixed media paper of your choice, acrylic paints, oil paints, and Turpenoid.  I'll supply the rest of what we'll need to make gorgeous, lusciously colored papers.  Oh, and bring an apron and latex gloves...it's a messy process!  But, as I often say:  if you're not getting messy, you're probably not having fun!

'Hope to see you next weekend.