Monday, December 28, 2009

A Very Handmade Christmas 2009 Edition


There's this funny joke Jim Gaffigan does about when you catch onto something too late. In his version, he has just watched a movie that came out 5 years ago, and when he's like "whoa, I just saw (insert old movie here) and it blew my mind!" everyone else is over it and not excited. -- and he says "yeah, but I still want to talk about it!"

That might not have translated well, but its still how I feel about this super late Holiday post!

So you may remember last year when I scored big at the family Christmas when I was presented with one of my Grandfather's famed cutting boards? This year did not disappoint either. My mom had my name, and had been making this (and keeping it a secret from me) for the last few months:


This is a hook rug tapestry made from hand dyed wool strips looped through a the large kind of mesh/woven base-- I hardly know how to describe it myself, its that amazing. All I know is that from the moment I opened the box it looked like some kind of amazing heirloom folk-art relic, and that I can't stop looking at it long enough to know where to put it!

This particular pattern called to my mom a bit because she has three girls who left the nest. The birds in the image are carrying bittersweet.

I took handmade Christmas to a different level this year. Normally I have the time (sort of!) to make lots of stuff, but this year I gave away plenty of handmade gifts from others-- some towels made by Lish went off to my Grammie, a Vermont sugar shack print by Melanie for my Grandpa, amongst others. I ordered lots of t-shirts off Threadless that support amazing designers and some jewelry from fellow Etsians.

I received lots of handmade gifts too. Some earrings from Rag Trader from my sister, Lisa. An exquisite bowl from my other sister, Brooke -- carved by an artist in Austin from a solid piece of stone with snail fossils in it. (!)

I didn't take the Handmade Pledge this year or anything (and have to admit, I did include a sprinkle of Trader Joe's, Target, and Ann Arbor's super sweet fair trade warehouse Orchid Lane, into the mix, but I did give more handmade items this year than I have since I was 10 years old and didn't have any money of my own!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Holiday Show Recap: Part 2

So we loaded up the wagon last Friday and headed to the windy city for my very first Renegade Craft Fair. We stayed right downtown (at kitschy/cheap wonderland: the Ohio House) After immediately hitting the Michigan Ave. H&M (we forgot to bring hats, gloves, scarves etc) we were adequately warm and ready to hang out.

(looks cold, huh?)

My sister Lisa and her husband Brad came to town too, so we all went out on Friday and had some deep dish and beers-- we didn't Yelp it up before hand and ended up at the local racetrack betting bar, a beer cafeteria, and a hotel restaurant-- but had a great time nonetheless! Chris and I found increasingly better food and drink as the weekend wore on!

We got up bright and early on Saturday and headed for the show just a few minutes away in Wicker Park. Pulaski Park Fieldhouse is a beautiful old community building with Eastern European architectural details-- a wonderful place for a show!

Here's my table in the morning-- lots of natural sunlight in this venue!

I had a little time to shop on Sunday morning--this show had over one hundred and fifty vendors-- and my favorites were the printers, of course. I got plenty of loot, but my absolute favorites were concert posters from Spike Press. They were selling slightly irregular/botched hand screened posters for $5-- considering I really only hang the misprints of my own work up, I thought they'd fit right in!

picked up this poster for the National with super fun hanging clothes and lovely shades o'green!

and one for Rogue Wave with gold gates!
(photos from spike press' site on gigposters)

also picked up a little letterpress note card from Michelle at Ann Arbor's own Elevated Press (which I framed and stuck up on wall)

(photo: elevated press)

We took off for home on Monday, and I got right to work putting together the Etsy sale (going on now!-- Buy One Get One!) and have been cleaning and organizing my supplies and inventory since.

I have lots to blog about in the coming days and weeks-- a few local projects, an online feature, and plans rolling into next year. See you next time!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Holiday Show Recap: Part 1

I sold prints at two holiday craft shows this season, and had a blast at both!

First was Detroit Urban Craft Fair on November 21st. I have only one lousy camera phone shot from this show because it was absolute crafty madness from open to close. I sold so much work that I had to ask for backup frame delivery service to the venue, (thanks to my friend Ms. Going) where I framed woodcut prints at my table for the better part of the afternoon. I had purchased a batch of frames for DUCF and Renegade, and left at the end of the day with one frame from that entire batch.

My table was right between Phantom Limb's incredible paper goods:

(wouldn't these little library pockets make the best little cards to go with gifts?!)

and My Vintage Kitschen (lovely applique flour sack towels):

Both of these ladies will be at Holiday Crafternoon next weekend with a handful of other wonderful vendors-- if you're in the area and have some last minute shopping to attend to, I highly recommend you stop by!

Just prior to this show I decided to start taking credit cards, and while I don't have a system perfected for taking them yet (this is where I justify buying an iphone) I saw a huge leap in sales.
Handmade Detroit has really put indie art in Michigan on the map, and I'm so happy they gave me the opportunity to be a part of the community they've created this year.

Here's a video from the show!

Detroit Urban Craft Fair from Final Five Productions on Vimeo.

After DUCF I rushed back to work to prepare for the Thanksgiving Pilgrimager. Trader Joe's gets absolutely bananas this time of year-- in the art dept. we rush around like mad little elves to get signage and decor out for two flyers inside of three weeks! Here's my vestibule design for Thanksgiving, complete with a barely visible 8 yard burlap canopy!

I had so much fun arranging the table to look like a messy kitchen-- lots of vintage kitchen bits mixed in with baking and cooking products!

After Thanksgiving I got right to work on prints for Renegade Handmade. My most successful print of this group was a bird in a tree carried over from my woodcut edition. These all but vanished the first day of the show-- and I'm already planning to bring them back in the future!

Last Friday we packed the car to the gills and headed to Chicago for the Renegade Craft Fair Holiday Sale! Expect to hear all about it tomorrow!

Monday, December 7, 2009

and the winner is...

Buy One / Get One!

Now through December 19th, every print (in the freshly updated shop!) is Buy One Get One Free!
Just buy the more expensive of the two prints you'd like, and include the other in the Message to Buyer. Mention that you read There Is Only Make and I'll throw in a free surprise!

The two holiday shows I participated in were absolutely wonderful! Expect a full recap later this week!