art

Confessions

I'm attempting something new, inspired by my friend Beth and her writing. Sharing before I can convince myself it's not good. 

 

 

When is enough

enough? 

 

Enough emails responded to. 

Enough cleaning

and tidying.  

Enough scrolling.

 

Nothing is ever done.

So when is it okay  

to set aside the undone? 

And how? 

  

I dislike the unfinished  

loose ends.  

 

So I don't begin.  

The Makers Summit


What I’ve been up to lately. Planning, planning, designing, making, and teeny amounts of stressing.

I’m super excited to see this idea come to life. Conference details are online at the event site Andrew designed. I’m so excited and hopeful about the connections and opportunities that will come out of this one day. And happy to be part of the growing community of makers in Greenville, SC.

Conference tickets are almost sold out, so if this applies to you be sure to snag one today!

Holiday Fair in West Greenville.

I haven’t mentioned how great the Indie Craft Parade Holiday Fair was!

Below are a few of my favorite images from that day, which was only about two weeks ago — but it feels like a month. What is it about this time of year that makes days feel long and short at the same time?

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Note: These images were not all taken by me. Most were pulled from the Indie Craft Parade Facebook album.

My favorite things:
balloons, giant and otherwise
the most beautiful weather we could ask for
happy shoppers
a neighborhood full of people and excitement
even happier artists

A handmade Christmas.

This weekend, we’re hosting our first Indie Craft Parade Christmas show. If you’re in Greenville, you’ll definitely want to check it out. Over the past month, it’s grown from a small gathering of artists to a neighborhood party, including food trucks and open studios. I love having a front row seat to all the amazing things going on in our art district! This show has been fun to put together alongside all the normal holiday things going on. But it’s also made me do a little more thinking on why I care so much about handmade, especially this time of year.

Sometimes, it’s easy to look at handmade items and think ‘I could make that’.

Only in the last couple years have I realized that trying to make all my own Christmas gifts is a pretty terrible idea. Why, during the busiest time of year, am I choosing to stress myself out with so many projects, trying to learn multiple new skills and then give my first attempts as gifts?

Also, where did the thought come from that I have to do it all myself?


A few favorite gifts I’ve given and received, clockwise from top: Crocheted Dishtowels / Custom magnets from Jordan Grace Owens / Stainless Steel Tie Bar

It’s much more rewarding to honor those who are out there doing it. The people who have made it their career to perfect bookbinding, or sewing, or metalwork instead of just dabbling in it. The artists who deserve to make a living at this because they’re truly talented and passionate about their craft.

I want my money to support creativity, courage, and hard work. Buying handmade is just one way I know how to do that.

Brooklyn Beta highlights.

This year I had the privilege of heading to Brooklyn, NY for my second Brooklyn Beta, a “small, friendly web conference”. It’s taken me a while to post about it because there are so many things I want to share.

For now, I’m just documenting a few of my biggest Brooklyn Beta takeaways. These aren’t necessarily direct quotes, they’re mostly words and phrases I wrote down during the sessions or even ideas that have really stuck with me since I heard them a few weeks ago.


The Brooklyn Beta stage.

Here’s what I learned from:

Aaron Draplin
· always make room for helping your friends
· say yes maybe a little more than you say no
· do good work for good people

Seth Godin

Revolutions destroy the perfect and enable the impossible.
As artists, we’re under pressure to be industrialists and mass producers.

If you can be sure it’s going to work, you’re not an artist. If all you’re doing is following instructions, you’re not making, you’re assembling. You’re doing something yourself that could be done in a factory.

Also, the distinction between ‘make something you love’ and 'make something that matters’. They’re not always the same thing.

Ben Pieratt
Pursuing scale can cloud the mind and poison your product.

Kyle Kneath
Some of the principles behind GitHub.

· favor leadership over management
· favor goals over deadlines
· favor shared visions over road maps (what do we want to accomplish in the next 6-12 months)
· favor sustainable pace over hourly commitment (consistently producing great things)
· favor tangible work over meetings
· favor building new tools over using bad existing ones (aka if you use ugly software, you’ll create ugly software)

We can create a better future by creating better companies.

Cory Booker
Accountability = a standard that can be measured and has consequences for failure.
Bad people are elected when good people don’t vote.

Scott Belsky
Initiative trumps experience, and resourcefulness is greater than resources.
Critical mass vs. credible mass: thinking about the next generation of community curation.

Maciej Ceglowski

Succeeding feels just like failing, except you’re not allowed to stop.
Barely succeed. There are so many projects that don’t have to grow. Grow or die is a false set of options. Gauge your ability to continue indefinitely.  Decide whether you want to grow.

See what I mean? So many great things to ponder.


Fabulous Brooklyn Beta sponsor banners.

Also, I learned about some pretty cool products at Brooklyn Beta.

Makers Row
bringing made in America back with direct access to factories in the US.
Connecting ideas with factories who can make them happen.

The Noun Project
Image based communication to cross language boundaries. Awesome.

Designer Fund

More designers working on meaningful problems through entrepreneurship.

The Great Discontent
I knew about TGD before Brooklyn Beta, but it was great to meet them in person and be reminded about their product. They do weekly interviews with inspiring people from the creative industry.

And here’s the thought provoking question they asked that kept ringing in my ears: What message would you give to your future self?

indie craft show and tell

Here’s a peek at what we brought home from Indie Craft Parade last weekend! This year was more of a blur than the last two and shopping didn’t happen until Sunday. Which means when the show was over, I remembered several booths I intended to revisit, but never made it back to!

Overall, I felt like the booths and handmade goods this year were even better than in previous years, which is hard to believe. I really couldn’t be more pleased to be part of this event! Check out what made it home with us (except for a few gift items that can’t be pictured):

Clockwise from top: Screenprinted set of 4 napkins from Tiny Peepers / medium bowl from Jeanette Zeis Ceramics / inside, three soaps from The Herb Garden, a necklace from Spectrum, and my first Finkelstein creature! / letterpressed tags from Concrete Lace / hand-lettered, letterpress cards from Ink Meets Paper / The New Empires latest album / Tea towels by Chomp Textiles / letterpress coasters from The Gilded Fete / Metal bangles from Lily / an extra bright Spectrum bead

It’s obvious I gravitate toward all things paper and letterpress — with kitchen textiles and jewelry coming in at a close second. If you missed this year’s show, don’t worry — The Parade will be back next September!

Indie Craft Parade

It’s time for the Parade!

At our house, Indie Craft Parade weekend is quite possibly the craziest one of the year — even more so than Christmas! But it might be my favorite anyway. I can’t wait to see what all these artists have been working on for the last few months, shop (or at least window shop) my way through a sea of handmade goods and try to decide which ones to take home.

And this year, we’ve got workshops! I wish I could take every one of these. If you’re anywhere near Greenville, SC there are a million reasons you don’t want to miss the Indie Craft Parade this weekend, so come check it out. You can still buy a ticket to the VIP Gala tonight, or come out tomorrow and Sunday when it’s free.

seeking shelter.

For months now, we’ve been looking at ways we can move closer to downtown. Every time we find a possible solution, there’s something keeping us from moving forward. Maybe it’s the timing, the price, the location. Maybe we’re being too picky. But for whatever reason, we haven’t found home yet.

Yesterday we visited art&light, our favorite gallery in Greenville. It’s been a while since we’ve been there and it was really great to see all the new work, visit the adjoining galleries and talk to Teresa, the gallery owner. We left with two beautiful woodcut pieces by local artist Kent Ambler. Other than posters and functional objects, I can’t remember the last time we bought a piece of art.


Seeking Shelter, by Kent Ambler

While I love the colors and the circular shape, the subject matter and title of this one really spoke to me. Andrew, Melanie and I are looking for home. We haven’t found it yet, and as frustrating as it is sometimes, that’s where we are right now.


The title and timing couldn’t be more appropriate.

Buying this piece feels like a turning point somehow. I don’t know if that’s just wishful thinking, but I can tell you it definitely feels good to buy art again.

bringing creativity back.

Around Christmas time, Andrew and I were discussing how (in spite of us both being designers) our everyday lives don’t seem to allow for much creativity. One small way we decided to combat this is by adding a small chalkboard wall to our kitchen. We’re hoping that this will give us a good place to make art that’s intentionally temporary and help us remember to have fun creating things.

I remembered that Barb of Knack Studios did this a while ago, and she kindly gave me a few tips. The most important: Don’t skip the conditioning step. Even though you won’t want to mess up your beautiful wall, you need to do it.

There are all kinds of varying reports online about whether or not this step is necessary, so her advice was really helpful. I would definitely have been tempted to skip it since that eliminates most of the process. Here’s what we did:


Step 1: paint the wall
For such a small area, I was really pleased with how quickly this went. I did three coats for this wall. It was really tempting to stop here because it looks finished!

Step 2: condition the wall
This is the part where you use up half a box of chalk by covering the entire wall with chalk. Using the chalk on its side makes it go fairly quick though.

Step 3: erase
Although it makes you wonder if the wall will ever look good, these conditioning steps make sure your wall erases better down the road.

Step 4: clean
Use a wet cloth or sponge to wipe down the wall. Surprisingly, it returned to the beautiful rich black it started out! You’ll also want to clean up your floor here as well since steps 2 & 3 leave a fine coat of chalk dust next to the wall.

After our one-weekend project, we can now draw fun things on our wall any time we feel like it! It’s been really nice to have a place to practice hand-lettering and be creative without the aid of a computer!


Andrew drew this for Melanie the day she came back for school.

We’ve also used the wall to keep track of weekly menus, welcome friends when they come over or just to leave each other notes.

I tend to be a perfectionist at heart, which means this wall has been a good exercise for me — making myself draw and write and not worry so much about how it looks. I can always erase and start over.

Note: I was worried about a chalkboard wall in a kitchen because of the mess, but the wall is small and away from where we prepare food so it hasn’t been an issue at all.

keep it local.

A few weeks ago some friends and I headed up the road to Asheville, NC. The main reason for our trip was to meet Grace of D*S at her book signing there. We had so much fun exploring the city and checking out the shops, galleries and restaurants before we headed over to the bookstore. (If you want to see where all we went, look for more photos at Erin’s blog.)

Asheville has always had a strong ‘buy local’ movement (see examples of their campaigns below), but I was excited to see a new 'Local is the new Black’ promotion around town. Beautiful silver screenprinted posters stand out against shop windows all over town.


Various Asheville Grown Business Alliance (AGBA) Campaigns as seen around town. Photo credits clockwise from top right: alicia.pimental / briface / ello lovey / Ron Gunzburger

It’s a great reminder as we head into the holidays. Every city has independent retailers struggling to make ends meet, and we can choose to support them and our local economy with our purchases.

If you’re not sure where to start, there’s a growing movement that can help. The 3/50 Project has been very instrumental for me in demonstrating exactly what kind of impact buying local can have. From their website:

“For every $100 spent in locally owned independent stores, $68 returns to the community through taxes, payroll, and other expenditures. If you spend that money in a national chain, only $43 stays here. Spend it online and nothing comes home.”

The basic idea behind their project is to encourage consumers to pick 3 local businesses whose doors they would be sad to see close, and commit to spend $50 (total) each month at these stores. This is a great campaign with a very worthy mission.

I’ve seen a sign online that says “If you really want to occupy Wall Street, do your holiday shopping at a small independent merchant.” While I don’t know if that’s the entire answer, it’s definitely a good start! Support your local businesses this holiday season — whether that’s an artist or a restaurant or shop owner in your city. Think of creative ways to give gifts that support others in your community.

unintentional hiatus + handmade nation

The lack of posts here is directly related to the amount of Indie Craft Parade work that’s been going on in my ‘non-working’ hours. So, while I feel a little guilty about neglecting the blog, I’m super excited about all that’s going on in the Indie Craft Parade world!

First, the exciting news that we’re co-hosting a showing of the documentary Handmade Nation. This will be happening one week from today at the Warehouse Theatre as part of the Greenville Forward Challenge Series*. If you’re curious what the big deal about art and handmade goods is, this documentary is a great way to learn about the modern craft movement. Director Faythe Levine interviewed “artists, crafters, makers, curators and community members” across the country to learn about this subculture in America. Tickets are $10 and you can reserve them in advance here.

The second milestone we’re approaching is the application period, which runs June 1 — June 18. If you’re an artist or crafter in the Southeast, we want to see your work! We’re looking for quality handmade goods in a variety of categories. If you’re interested, or know a favorite artist who should apply, more information can be found here.

*Sidenote: we saw Food, Inc. as part of Greenville Forward’s Challenge Series, and it’s not an exaggeration to say that for us, it was life changing. This series is host to all kinds of documentaries, with focused discussions afterward that help the audience make applications to our community in Greenville. It’s one of the many helpful programs Greenville Forward is behind, and I highly recommend it!

Planning ahead.

This may be the first time I remember us being so well ahead of schedule. It’s the first week of November, and we have Two Over Zero Christmas products ready to go!

All the credit goes to Teresa of art & light gallery, who approached us not too long after Indie Craft Parade to see if we would be interested in selling some Holiday goods in her lovely shop. When I say ‘lovely shop’ — if you’ve never been to art & light, you really need to head over there this weekend! Teresa is an amazing curator, always finding new and fresh artists to showcase. She is an avid supporter of independent artists, which I really love. This month alone, I know that she has more than half a dozen of our Indie Craft Parade vendors’ work on display in her shop!

The card pictured above is my personal favorite of the three illustrations Andrew created for our Two Over Zero Christmas cards this year. They aren’t available in our shop yet, however you can see them and our other Christmas goodies at art & light this weekend!

Another reason to head out this weekend for art is that it’s not only First Fridays tonight, it’s also Greenville’s Open Studios weekend! This is the time of year you can visit artists in their studios throughout the city. If you don’t know where to start, check out the map, and start with your own neighborhood. There are hundreds of participating artists!