back from balitmore

i returned from baltimore on monday and it has taken until now to catch-up on sleep and to get back into some semblance of a routine. ouch. who knew it would be so exhausting?!? ....... well, here are some random bits of information and reflections on my experience....

1) this is the suitcase that carried all of my jewelry to baltimore - the perfect carry-on for flying! so lucky that i make small things.
2) i realize now that i'm back home, that i really failed to get a good collection of images that captured the full experience in baltimore. my mind was so busy trying to remember and process everything on less-than-adequate amounts of sleep each night caused me to neglect the documentary portion of the trip. this was the sign as you entered the convention center in baltimore and gives you and idea of the graphics involved with the show.
3) i learned so much about doing big shows like this - but also about the American Craft Council and the role it serves for its members. having received an email-invitation to apply to the NEW WAVE CRAFT section, without much clue as to how i got the email - i must admit i was somewhat clueless about the council. the NEW WAVE section was new to the show this year and was received with mixed-feelings amoung the other exhibitors. the goal, as i understand it, was to bring some new energy to the show and to give a new "generation" of artisans/crafters a chance to experience a show of this maginitude. some of the more seasoned crafters seemed annoyed that we were allowed in for a discounted rate - or perhaps felt threatened by the thought of the show changing or trying to get new types of artisans to apply. however, the general public was quite excited about the section - as many people from the east coast come to the show every year - and this is exactly when the Council was hoping for - creating some excitement in order to inspire new shoppers to attend the show.
4) the section itself was physically different from the rest of the show. the 750+ exhibitors each had their own boothes and there was a SEARCHLIGHT ARTIST section that had tall white walls and really felt like a gallery setting - juxtaposing the work of 2 different artists in each "cove" of the SEARCHLIGHT area. the NEW WAVE section was much more casual with low pole&curtain partitions and a series of 2'x6' tables. it was intended to feel like a cohesive section that was different from the rest of the show - and it did achieve this - but i can't help but wish the space was a little more refined with more prominant visual and physical ques that told people that the section was different without being "cheap." i am sure they will refine the section for next year and then again each year after that.
5) i tried to keep my table as simple as possible. it is really easy to convince oneself that you need special display tricks or trinkets - but i really believe that work can/should be allowed to speak for itself with elements that support without being distracting. i layered 3 different white fabrics over my table - the first was a simple and smooth fabric, the second narrower piece was a cool sort of webbing and the third smallest piece was a white fabric with white rubber nubbies on it. the texture created a very subtle depth that kept it simple, while looking intensional.
6) i met some really awesome people at this show and was able to talk to several exhibitors who have been doing this show for many many years. i have gained an immense amount of perspective and really feel like i have a better sense of where to go from here. i sold 25 pieces over the weekend - (not as bad as my worst fear and not as good as my biggest hope - but pretty much in line with my realistic expectations for the show) - 80% of my customers had some sort of connection to the design/architecture world - go figure! i also received some great compliments from experienced exhibitors encouraging me to try to do more whole-saling.
7) and then there are the personal connections - meeting margaux lange for the first time in person, eli from alchemy who makes awesome messenger bags out of bike tubes and recycled banners from wholefoods, megan auman who was a search light artist for the retail show (and who traded some jewelry with me!! so much fun!) and catching-up with old aquaintences who i haven't seen in years: karen gilbert and her husband paul & new baby girl! ... to name just a few.
8) and then there are the people who held me up at the end of the day - my friends patricia & tony who let me and my sister stay with them the whole weekend - driving us to and from the show each day, feeding us each morning and night -- so much more than i ever expected or planned on. i am soo very grateful! .....and finally, i don't think i could have done this show without the help of my sister, brit. she is 9 years younger than me and somehow is able to remain calm in ways that i have yet to master. she is supportive and a hard worker and POSITIVE without being sickening (if you know what i mean?) and basically was the perfect person to help keep my attitude in check, my spirits up and my anxieties down .... there is much to be learned from that sister of mine! THANK YOU!
and thank you to YOU...for reading my blog. thank you for the words of encouragment from places far and near. i'm learning it takes a lot to put yourself out there and it means so much that you receive me so graciously.....


loose ends

i've spent the last several days checking-off the items on my to-do list. i've been printing labels for earring-cards and sales-bags. i still have a few loose-ends to tie-up, but i am nearly ready to leave for baltimore on thursday morning.
it is crazy to think that martha is already there - probably with her space set-up and ready to go for the wholesale show which starts tomorrow. i'm excited to see her exhibit on thursday afternoon before she packs-up and before i unpack for a long weekend of the public show.
i think it is inevitable, as you get close to actually doing something that you've prepared a long time for, that thoughts of uncertainty creap in. today those thoughts arrived - wondering if it is going to be worth all that i've put into it ... of course it will be worth it, but it is safe to say that i'm getting anxious ... i hope it goes well ........


new / tests

this is a new design that i am debating including in the ACC show. i haven't invested in as many color&material options for it as i have invested in some of my older designs because it is so new ... but we'll see. it is an evolution of the design below - which i'm fond of conceptually and form-ally (??) .................................... but am not 100% confident about functionally. because the two layers are loose, when the pendant shifts even slightly while wearing it, a small slit of light is revealed because the side of the top piece is so narrow. not sure how i feel about it yet....


weekend progress

the frigid, severely-below-zero weather is back in minneapolis and is making it easy to focus on making and preparing my jewelry (instead of heading out for a "quick" ski on the groomed trails at the public golf course just a few blocks from our house.) here's a shot of some of the progress i've been making ... i've made slight adaptations from a previous design - narrowing 3 itterations down to this one for the show. (i'll also offer it in bloodwood, walnut, sand-blasted translucent and yellow.) this is a long pendant and is intended to be worn over a piece of clothing with a crew-neck or turtle-neck.


"make my day" award

first wendy, in california, and then kirsten, in melbourne, honored me with the "make my day" award today - i'm so touched that i'm blushing! i sometimes wonder if anyone (besides myself) is (proof) reading this little blog of mine -- thanks you-two ... you're on my list as well!

this is how the award works:
1. write a post with links to 5 blogs that make your day;
2. acknowledge the post of the award giver
3. tell the award winners they've won by commenting on their blogs.

i'm a newcomer to this blog world - so my list of blogs-that-make-my-day can pretty much be found in the column to the right, but here are some thoughts on a couple of them & two random-throw-ins that i don't have listed links to:

1. uniform studio : i've known martha for many years - first through the minnesota-architecture community and now through our respective design/making endeavors. i'm endlessly inspired by her!

2. assemblage : an architect, mother, maker across the world in australia who i have recently discovered and love to check-up on -- it also fascinates me to learn about and think about the architecture and design and seasons in her world ...

3. dozi : wonderful graphic/paper design ... go to her flickr and look at the print materials at her wedding - lovely!!!

4. dan wilson's blog-thing : a minneapolis musician/grammy winning-song writer/rock star who is using his voice and talent and passion to speak out and make a difference. he's fantastic in concert, his music/lyrics get into your bones and i absolutely love the fact that he has stayed in minneapolis and that he is PROUD of what that means -- even if it means that we are passive-agressive ;)

5. dooce : this woman writes a letter to her daughter every month - i've wanted to do the same, but her eloquence intimidates me and i've failed to do so as of yet.....

thanks to all who might be reading & please feel free to comment if you haven't in the past!


new ...

i've been "test-driving" these earrings for the past week (nearly everyday) and have decided that i like them - i'm adding them to my ACC offerings.
by the way - the American Craft Council has officially announced the New Wave Craft artists and section ... getting exciting and nerve-racking at the same time!



i should start by saying that i have never worn a piece of gold jewelry in my life - no kidding. i think that people/families tend to be gold or silver people/families and mine was definately a silver (steel, gray, black metal etc.) family.
so, you can imagine my dilema when i found an awesome dress to wear to a dinner on the eve following my brother's wedding that was navy blue with an empire-band with GOLD stitching. perhaps i could have passed on the dress because of it - but really, i couldn't. (it's one of those dresses that makes you feel really feminine and sexy.)
so, it left me with a little design problem and it is one that has come to fascinate me. "Could my jewelry designs handle gold??" it is really an exciting idea -(particularly given my opening-statement re: my blatent generalization about people being gold or silver people)- that i could possibly appeal to a realm of people who would normally not even consider looking at my jewelry. it is an on-going experiment of mine - but i thought i would share this design that i adapted to go with my dress.
to adapt my HOLLOW necklace: i used a longer and less-rigid chain so that it would hang lower (deep V) and gold-colored rings for the connections. upon discussing with my husband and graphic designer-brother (not the one getting married) - the gold in combination with the acrylic it has a really "edgy" feel to it - almost 80's-ish. i don't think i intended for that to happen but it is interesting how things can take on a life of their own!