Friday, December 16, 2011

I wish you the happiest of holidays

 Well Christmas is almost here and it feels as though the time has flown by. I've been spending my time creating last-minute gifts and stocking up on the Christmas cookie dough for the freezer. Next week I will have a marathon of baking and decorating for all the Christmas tins. As usual, I think I want to make too many different recipes and I end up with more than I need. It is fun though.

This time of year I'm always reminded about how much more we do have in this part of the world and how lucky we are. My only real complaint about Christmas is that it proves that we consume way too much and produce way too much garbage. We are very lucky to have such problems.

This time last year I wrote about a couple charities that I donated to and I'm happy to tell you that I was able to make a second Kiva loan and help support another entrepreneur. I hope to keep rolling my loan paybacks into new loans to help more people. For this year I've decided to donate to Charity:Water and support projects that give the most basic necessity of life. I live in an area that has some of the cleanest and most readily available water in the world. Again, I know that I am lucky and I want to help make clean water a reality for others.

Next week I'm going to take a little break and spend it quietly with my family. I hope that you enjoy the rest of the  Christmas season  and I will be back before the year ends. Happy Holidays!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Studio Morran update

As a follow up to last week's post about Studio Morran and the sad news that little Morran had passed away, I now have some good news to tell you. I've now heard that the Studio Morran book has been completed and is available for purchase through Blurb. There is a condensed edition with 70+ illustrations and a large edition with over two hundred illustrations.
You can fully preview the book on the Blurb site. All profits will go towards the World Society for the Protection of Animals. Very cool.

I looked through the large edition and there are so many wonderful images of the late Morran. A fantastic edition to anyone's art book collection for sure. And you know what else? My digital painting of Morran was included too! I was so surprised! I honestly didn't think I would make the cut because I thought that there was so much fun imagery the jury had to choose from.  I'm so thrilled to be included with so many great illustrators and if I don't see a copy of this book under the Christmas tree I will be sure to become my own secret Santa. ; )

Friday, December 2, 2011

Studio Morran

 In the last week of October I saw a post from Geninne on Facebook about a call for submissions. I love Geninne's work so I took a look at the call. Artist Camilla Engman, another artist I admire had asked artist's to create an image of her little dog Morran in the hopes of creating enough images to compile a book. I saw the call just a few days before it was to be closed so I didn't have that much time to come up with something. I really wanted to be part of this though as her dog was just so darn cute! I quickly created a black and white digital painting of Morran based on one of her many Flickr portraits. I created it reductively just like I do my monotypes and it was a great exercise in using my tablet.

Below is my submission but I so wish I had more time to have created something more playful and unique.  You MUST check out the Studio Morran blog to see some of the fantastic submissions that have been accepted to be part of the book. Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful.

Unfortunately this post doesn't have a happy ending because little Morran became ill not too long ago and has since past away. Judging from all the sympathetic comments on the blog, Morran's little face will be missed. From muse to fond memory. Camilla, I'm very sorry for your loss. 

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Finds at the Steveston Christmas Craft Fair

Yesterday was the last show of the season for me and I figure you've already seen my set up so I would show you some of the other vendors that were selling at the Steveston Christmas Craft Fair.

I only had about ten minutes before the doors were to open to check out the other tables but thankfully I was able to buy a gift from SwirlySpoons because I was sure they were going to be sold out by lunch. They had a wonderful selection of unique gift items at great prices.

I wish I had some extra time to visit Jennifer Lee's table as the knitted shawls were gorgeous. I see from Jennifer's site that she is very multi-talented.  Worth snagging something from this artist for sure. 

Anyone who knows me, knows that I have a fondness for bees and I truly worry about their survival. If they don't survive, we won't last too much longer.
 Gold Strike Honey Bee was a table selling right next to me and they did brisk business through the whole show and I didn't see the seller sit down once. (!) I bought three different jars and I will do my best to make sure at least two of them become gifts.

So now that I'm done doing shows I think I'm going to try and go to Got Craft on Dec. 4 and be a buyer. Bring on the handmade!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

How the Christmas Craft Show at Southarm went

So how did the Southarm Christmas Craft Show go for me this weekend?

 Meh. Not that great.

This show is a popular local un-juried show which I had never attended before. There were several rooms of vendors and there was a fairly steady flow of people which seemed promising. I soon found out though that this was the place to get you Christmas bargains of the year as there were handmade cards being sold for $2.50ea and handknit scarves being sold for $8 (!). The quality of the products being sold was definitely not being reflected in the prices. Most of the vendors were retired ladies with plenty of years of expertise  under their belt. These sellers were asking probably just enough to cover the cost of their materials and not much else.

Needless to say I didn't sell that much but I did get a few people come by and let me know that they felt my work was  unique and interesting. You know what I did get though? I won the vendor raffle draw and I was given $50 and an escort to go around the show and buy whatever I wanted. I think I love having the ability to spend money freely. It's fun!

I changed up my table for this year. Below are some pics. I would love to hear your critique.

New silkscreened aprons, napkins and t-shirts

Art tins, pendants and clay rings and earrings

Original prints, pocket mirrors and art cards

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Notes about this year's Circle Craft

This past Thursday my Mom and I made our annual trip to the Circle Craft Christmas Craft Sale downtown at the convention centre. We go with the intent on buying for people on our Christmas list and we mostly find things that we want for ourselves. It's a guaranteed  way for my Mom to easily get a gift for me. I pick out something nice, she buys it and asks me to forget about it until Christmas. Okey-dokey.

I always like going to see if there is anything new and to maybe get a few ideas about packaging and show presentation. Each year re-affirms my desicion not to aspire to do a show like Circle Craft. While the exposure would be great, the work, commitment and inventory needed would be more than myself and my family would be willing to make. The artists and crafts people that do do the show have my full respect.

I thought I would tell you about a few vendors that really impressed me this year. First up is Untamed Feast which offers 100% dried wild mushroom products. I bought a gift pack of four different mushroom and rice mixes. I'm supposed to give one container as a gift but I don't think it's going to happen. I'm really looking forward to making the Chantrelle Arroz mix as the sample of mushrooms at their display smelt amazing.

Next up is Natalie Gerber who creates fantastic messenger bags and handbags using men's suiting. Everything looked so stylish and well made it made me wish I had some high-powered executive job to go with one of her items.

Next is Ilee Paper Goods. As a printmaker, I always love going into their booth and admiring the beautiful letter-pressed cards and calendars. The urge to buy a letter-press comes on strong when I see their wares.

Finally there is Abeego which is a vendor I hadn't seen there before. This simply designed booth was selling re-useable food wrappers made with fabric a impregnated with beeswax. Each wonderfully smelling sheet can be used like plastic wrap and molded around your food or dish with the heat of your hands. I think they have some strong interest in their new product as it seemed quite easy for them to maintain a crowd around their table.

I wasn't able to buy everything that I wanted but I never regret going to Circle Craft as it's so inspiring to see so many wonderful handmade items in one place. What did you get there this year?

Friday, November 4, 2011

Local Showings

Now that we're into November the pace is picking up and everyone is getting geared up for the holiday rush. Even though I sense that this year will be a tight one for most people around here I'm taking the chance that people will be moving away from store-bought items and choosing to support local artisans when buying gifts for their loved ones.

This month you'll be able to find me selling my work at three different Christmas shows.

November 19: Southarm Community Centre Christmas Craft Fair
                      8880 Williams Rd., Richmond

November 23: Dixon Craft Night and Silent Auction
                      9331 Diamond Rd., Richmond

November 26: Steveston Christmas Craft Fair
                      4111 Moncton St. , Richmond

If you can't make it to those venues you can still find my work online, at Bird on a Wire Creations and at the Christmas Boutique at Place des Arts in Coquitlam.