Closing out December

The last months of the year were hectic, and two multiday shows capped off the art fair season. In late November, just before Thanksgiving the Jewelry and Gift Show was held at the Highland Park Art Center.

I always love visiting this town, and enjoyed the Pegasus horses that were set up for the holidays.

The Art Center always has wonderful sculptures on their premises.

Fresh off my 3D Encaustic workshop, I was intrigued by this sculpture in the hallway.

We transformed the indoors to a jewelry and gift fair.

The staff was helpful in adjusting lighting and ensuring we had all we needed for setup.

Spectacular Jewelry and Fashion items were available in 4 rooms of the Highland Park Art Center.

On Friday friends came by and invited me to dinner after their copper bangle making class and the show closing.

Saturday and Sunday we returned to see who would adopt our creations.

Some items were to benefit the Highland Park Art Center.

The show was not as successful as hoped for, probably because the venue and the name of the show were changed this year after a longstanding recognition as the BLING show.

Investing 3 days in this show when my cousin was in the country was a but of a bummer, but it is all a learning experience.

Nonetheless, a few pieces flew away, and I enjoyed meeting the other vendors.

My last show was the Bucktown Holiday ArtShow which was familiar territory.

The new organizer moved my space to Number 1!

Once again the gym was transformed into a handmade shopping extravaganaza.

It was chilly but we had a good turnout and the sun cooperated on day 2.

I visited with vendors I knew and met several talented creators.

This year’s silent auction benefited Visibility Arts.

The organization had a booth as well.

Soon it was time to put the booth to bed and head home for the night.

The next day the sun was bright and we had more foot traffic come through the door. I noticed the lovely stained glass skylight for the first time.

The Holstein Field House also hosted a king.

Here my angels and frosties were most popular.

I have a Facebook album with the angels and frosties still in my possession, and they are $5 off at Sacred Art and The Evanston Pop Up Gallery until I refresh my pieces for Valentine’s day.

I am curious what will be popular through 2018.

Stained Glass at the Halim Museum

In early January I took a staycation and stumbled on a wonderful new Evanston Museum. Founded by an avid collector of clockworks and stained glass windows, this brand-new museum is a gem!

The museum houses three exhibits: Stained Glass Masters, Treasures of Louis Comfort Tiffany, and Clocks of the World.


Custom-built by the Halim family, the building has 5 storeys, of which 2 hold the exhibits and the others rentable event space.

The outward rectangular shape belies the internal labyrinth of hallways custom-designed to house each collection item.

The museum, located at 1560 Oak Avenue in Evanston, opened September 26 and is $17 to visit. It is kid friendly, and visitors are encouraged to touch the stained glass.

The Stained Glass Masters exhibit houses more than 30 windows, and begins by explaining the European stained glass techniques on which American School of Stained Glass built.

Of course now I want to backtrack and see what my Dutch ancestors did, but that is a research project for another day.

I discovered numerous new glass artists in these halls, including artists like Frederick Wilson who made a name for themselves in Tiffany’s workshops, but also others that worked independently or as other companies.

The collection houses works by John La Farge, William T Hickinson, Mayer and Company, David and Helen Maitland Armstrong, Frederick Stymetz Lamb, Rudy Brothers Company, Edward Peck Sperry, J&R Lamb studios, and George Maher. Each display has a detailed narrative about the maker as well as the theme of the window.  It is a lot to take in during the first round.

There are beautiful displays of opalescent glass, along with other techniques that are highlighted in the exhibit’s narrative. Tours are also available.

I learned about confetti glass.

The exhibit offers a lot of background information on the industry and various glass techniques. I also flashed back to Susan Vreeland’s Clara and Mr. Tiffany, which is a great read for this exhibit.

I was struck by the work of Mary Tillinghast. Born in New York, she studied in Paris under Carolus-Duran and Henner.

She received a gold medal at the Chicago Exposition in 1893 and gold and bronze medals at the Charleston Exposition in 1902. I love details of her windows.

One source says that Mary was the first to understand how electric lighting would impact the effects of window design. Tillinghast became a textile designer, served as manager of the La Farge Decorative Art Company, and learned the art of designing and making windows from La Farge. There is no wikipedia page on her yet, but another blogger claims that she sued La Farge’s company and started her own company. I like this lady!

Treasures of Louis Comfort Tiffany traces the creative life of the artist.  It showcases his innovations in stained glass, pottery and other media. This exhibit includes paintings in oils, pastels and watercolors that showcase his early life and travels.

Later works include housewares and decorative arts, mosaics and windows.

Beautiful Mosaics with iridescent details are on display.

Here’s another old art form to immerse oneself with.

The chandeliers were mesmerizing also.

Even though the stained glass had saturated my brain, I couldn’t resist going upstairs to peruse the Clocks of the World. I’ll save that for another blog post though…

The Halim family certainly has an eye for beauty, and I love that they share their passion collection with the public. I highly recommend multiple visit to this lovely museum, and plan on making a few returns myself.

The skylights are striking too, and I learned more about other Chicago Landmarks through this exhibit.

This local beauty is a great addendum to the Stained Glass Museum at Navy Pier.

Art Fair daze

It’s been a good but weird year.  Overall the holiday art fair season went well, but the Holiday shows I was banking on didn’t do as well as in prior years. I only sold one piece at a time, rather than the two-to-three a single customer would pick up last year. The price points were slightly lower too, which changes the profitability of a show. Nonetheless, the ones I have been a regular at still did well, and the one new show that I lost money on was a good learning experience.

What helped this year is that I have made more year-round sales than before, so I am still showing overall growth in the business.

So now as I catch my breath and look for new opportunities, it is nice to see how much wandered away over the past two months.

The Evanston Pop Up Gallery is off to a great start and I hope their second year continues to mark growth and expansion.

The Downtown Evanston gift destination on Sherman Avenue is giving $5 off on my ornaments until I fluff up my shelf for Valentine’s Day.

My last-minute pop up at the Pop Up went quite well.

To spread the local price fairness, Sacred Art is taking $5 off the tagged price of the ornaments that are still there.

I don’t know what the current status is, but these are the ones I left their during my last visit.

I also dropped off some darker and naughtier angels in this quirky gift boutique full of creative locally made art.

Rainbow Dragonfly ornaments had a sudden surge, and I sold a few to friends via Facebook. Skull angels are also hard to keep in stock.

I enjoyed this custom order for my long-time friend’s children.

This year I also had a ladybug fan who kept picking up all my ladybug stakes.

My second Handmade Market was a lovely event, and I sold up until teardown.

Red was a theme color on that day. It is lovely to see some oldies flutter away.

Separate customers purchased a pupil and a teacher musical pendant.

At the Wilder Mansion, the first cold snap of the season encouraged a flurry of frosty sales.

Pendants and Keychains also found new owners.

In a moment of interesting vibes, a lady perusing my angel collection would ask what each carol was just as they were playing on the speakers. So clearly these two were meant to flutter away.

Pink was irresistible to a young girl, and other angels and dragonflies came out of the box to meet their new destination.

As I review all of these, it is fun to see how far my creations have come since I started developing angels in 2013.

Of course I made some presents as well.

And one friend proudly shared their custom angel atop the tree.

I am grateful for the support I received and excited to see what this year holds.

Easing into 2018

Weather is interesting. The deep freeze has made it more tiring to go outside. Just bundling up is an effort, and then dealing with the cold another. So I’ve limited my outdoorsyness, and also learned that I am not crazy to think this has been my frostiest winter yet. I had never seen my studio windows completely frosted over.

Now my windows are finally defrosting, I don’t have to wait hours on end for AAA to jumpstart my car, and I am actually heading to warmer climes for another post-Harvey purge trip.

I am taking steps to get some accountability with my new year’s goals, but am also realizing that I need to pace myself a bit. Instead of implementing wellness steps January 1, it will have to wait until the 22nd, and that’s OK.

It is so easy to want to do ALL the things right at the beginning of the year, but truthfully I haven’t finished processing the past year. So both administratively, physically and mentally there is some house cleaning to be done before I can genuinely launch into 2018.

Meanwhile, I am also looking at the Q1 opportunities and have applied to those of course. So several things are on the books for February and March that I will start promoting in the near future. But this week, I am still allowing myself to absorb life, rather than rushing ahead.

Several sources are telling me to chunk out my goals, instead of tackling every single one at once. It is also about picking what genuinely motivates you, rather than focusing on external factors for living the best life. I know from experience that unless I enjoy it, a goal will not have staying power. That goes for eating healthy foods, for exercise, and for other activities.

So I will focus on tailored plans for me, and will follow my intuition on what is the right path to pursue for wellness, work, and life.

Reflecting in Ice

We’re entering another deep freeze here in Chicagoland, which is perfect for holing up. This week I am doing a writer’s retreat in my own town, since the unpredictable weather had me leery of driving up to the White Pines.

I am looking forward to focusing on my September plans which were derailed by Harvey. While the trauma and drama of this weather event was uninvited, I also saw a lot of good come out of it, and am grateful I had the time and means to assist my family in the aftermath.

My heart goes out to those who dealt with devastating events, and I am well aware that while ‘the news’ moves on to current headlines, the impact of one day or one week in time has repercussions that continue to ripple.

I wish strength and comfort and faith to those still struggling to recover from their personal devastation.

Meanwhile, I strive to focus on the positive, and will continue to do so. There is a lot to be grateful for.

So live joyfully, find the good in life, and know that you have an impact beyond your own perception. You are in this world to brighten someone else’s life, and whatever you feel called to do is indeed your purpose here.

Here’s to a fresh start in 2018, and a continuation of all the good you are striving toward. Keep on keeping on. The universe will make a way for you to achieve your dreams.

Holiday Hibernation

It’s funny how you think you have loads of time to do things after the holiday shows, but then a week of holiday prep just flies by and your aspirational to-do list still sits there. Meanwhile the books you picked up from the library are tempting…

Then I slowed down for a minute, and now the to-do list isn’t as urgent…

My friend brought a mini tree and a present that I enjoyed looking at in anticipation of Christmas Eve.

We had a lovely white Christmas here in Evanston, and I enjoyed watching the snow fall.

Soon I was eager to go outside and explore the winter wonderland.

It was fun to re-walk the streets after an earlier evening of Christmas lights exploring.

On Christmas Day the windows started frosting over.

So I took a cue from Hygge and read.

I also indulged in holiday movies, and binge watched Zumbo’s Just Desserts, which led to some sweet snacking,

Half of my Holiday Cards are now written, though my native language is getting rustier each year. I will get to the last few by New Year’s.

Now it is getting even colder out, so apart from a few pre-planned outings I plan to stay in for the week.

Next week I will do a writer-hibernation staycation, and am excited to get started on that. But for now, I will take the rest my brain and body crave, and marinate in the holiday for a little longer.

The time between Christmas and New Year’s is perfect for reflecting and taking stock of what life has brought, along with hope for what it has yet to bring.

It’s fun to live in my own Narnia, and to enjoy being where I am at without wishing for anything to be different.

In spite of all the shifts that have happened over the past year and the drama that came along with some of it, I am glad to be here in the present, and quite excited about what the future holds.

Social Week

Wow, first Advent barely registered with me, I did second Advent on a Monday, and third Advent completely slipped by. It is 9 pm as I write this post because Monday and Tuesday breezed without my writing anything. I do however want to give you one blog post this week, even though my mind is oversaturated.

My computer is too. Instead of writing my regular Tuesday blog that time was spent troubleshooting memory issues, scanning drives and Googling how to declog my mid-2012 laptop. One factor is that it is my 800th blog post today (since October 2010)!

Congratulations to me! I learned to congratulate myself on milestones at Sergio and Yanina Gomez’ Goal Setting Webinar earlier today. I recommend the replay.

I learned from my web helper that I need to change the way I set up photos, and a revamp is on the way. Meanwhile, you can ‘shop’ for my ornaments on Facebook, although shipping them in time for Christmas is nigh impossible as of this afternoon. Still Evanstonians can claim them and I will meet them at Brothers K for caffeine and a handover.

Meanwhile, Sacred Art featured my angel in their Grandma gift-giving video. The whole series is a blast to watch, so check out the rest of them.  

I had a blast at the Evanston Pop Up Gallery on Thursday and angels are steadily fluttering out of the Downtown Evanston Store.

On Friday I kicked off my Christmas ‘vacation’ at the premiere of Nutcracker on Ice, my local tradition. I love this production that showcases skaters of all ages, and had some Junior Olympian talent present this year!

On Saturday I paid a visit to Sacred Art to drop off my wine angels (and more) and did a visual inventory check. A few pendants and a keychain are available here too, so check out the plethora of gifts in this lovely Lincoln Square store.

After that I visited the Dank Haus for their Weihnachtsmarkt where many of my friends were vending that day (one borrowing a tree of mine). With my German roots tended to, I crossed the street to the Pannenkoekenhuis which I have passed for years but had never set foot in. My ham and cheese Pannenkoek was delicious!

Sunday the fun continued with an Artist Talk by Kelly Mathews and music by Heather Lynne Horton at TheNewStudio, which is a lovely intimate Evanston art venue. 

Yesterday I shipped what is likely my final Christmas package for the season.

Now I will take time to stroll the Main-Dempster Mile. It is so festive and I haven’t seen my small business friends since October!

I look forward to reflecting on the past year, organizing the home to refresh it, and then set some goals for the new year.

Evanston Angel Making

I am having such a blast in the studio this week!

I still have more ideas than I have hands and time to implement, but Tuesday I was able to replenish the map angels that keep on fluttering off.

For today’s pop-up soiree I will add the Evanston angels to my shelf.

I worked on a Book of Ruth commission based on my Bat Mitzvah books.

An older angel got a makeover. This worked for other recent ‘oldies’ that now have new homes.

With snow on the ground my frosties need replenishing this month, after having an abundance earlier this year.

Yesterday I planned to run errands but my first at Michaels turned into inspiration. How could I resist miniature wine bottles for my angels? I had already picked up the things I was supposed to get, so as soon as I checked out I dashed home to bend more angels and get a wine party started.


It took a bit of finessing to get the bottles in the right place, and I laughed a lot with these two.

I also needed to add another skull angel to the collection, since these are never in stock for long.

Soon several new wax and wire creations were cooling off.

A fun party of Angels came about.

After photographing these properly they’re off to the pop up party.  Wine will be served there too, but the CTA is nearby.

The Evanston Pop Up Gallery is hosting The Pop Up Gallery Friends & Family Shopping Night, Thursday, December 14th from 5 to 7 pm.

Owners Sally and Steve will offer snacks and drinks and you’ll get to mingle with a variety of artists who will be present to discuss their work.


I’ll bring in my whole shebang of ornaments and jewelry for you to peruse, beyond what is on my regular shelf at The Pop Up Gallery. Come to 1627 Sherman Avenue in Evanston and browse the lovely creations of numerous local artists and get your holiday gift shopping on.

Hope to see you there!

 

Last Pop-up Hurrah

It’s the most wonderful time of the year….

I’ve had carols in my head since December and am contemplating which Christmas Album will be this year’s splurge (Gwen Stefani is a contender).

Meanwhile, I have one final local pop-up before my pieces go into holiday hibernation. The Evanston Pop Up Gallery is hosting The Pop Up Gallery Friends & Family Shopping Night, Thursday, December 14th from 5 to 7 pm.

Owners Sally and Steve will offer snacks and drinks and you’ll get to mingle with a variety of artists who will be present to discuss their work.

I was going to sneak my Jewelry bag and ornament boxes into the back room so you can peruse my Facebook album in person. However, I’ll be able to set up a small table with my wares in the store, so it will be a true trunk show. 🙂

If you are unable to attend that event, The Pop Up Gallery, located at 1627 Sherman Avenue, is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., with closing hours extended on busy evenings.

Meanwhile, Sacred Art Chicago in Lincoln Square also has a few of my ornaments in their holiday inventory. Owner Kate Merena has been posting a fabulous gift guide on Facebook, so be sure to drop in 4619 N Lincoln Avenue, Chicago for locally made gifts as well. She is also open til 10 pm on December 14, and might have other holiday events coming up.

Keep an eye out for Everlasting Fire Studio as well. I adore their ornaments and nabbed some for myself.

Meanwhile, this scarf weather is perfect for my scarf pins that are available exclusively at Evanston Stitchworks. Bundle up and meander over to 906 Sherman Avenue for gift cards and charming fabrics to offer your stitcher this Holiday Season. Around the corner, at 709 Washington Street, the Women-Powered Retail Zone is still open for business at Hip Circle Empowerment Center, where I have a small shelf as well.

Lena Rose Boutique, 4668 N. Manor Avenue, Chicago, is the hostess of my bangles this season, and has a variety of events to get you glammed up and beautified for the holidays.

Speaking of glam, get your hair done did at ChromaK8 boutique and peruse the lovely artisan gift items in their soothing and earth-friendly salon at 5425 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago.

It’s been a strange year for retailers so please be sure to shop local and shop small this holiday season. I can guarantee that every time you shop independent, someone if not more than one person is doing a happy dance because you chose to spend your dollars with them. I certainly cheer every time my partner locations make a sale, since keeping them in business keeps me in business as well!

Happy holiday shopping!

Angel Sessions

I just finished inspecting all my pieces for the Bucktown Holiday ArtShow. Sometimes they get battered during teardown and transport, so I make sure all the waxed paper is properly secured.

As I reviewed my stock, I noticed my musical angels were running low, so I added to that stash.

Now I feel more confident about having the right song for the right person.

 

As I reviewed my stock I realized I’ve held some back from view because I am so attached to them.

But it’s time to let go of ugly sweater angels and other favorites. This photo is in the running for Now That’s A Jig!’s latest challenge that runs through December 31.

It’s been a month of inventorying and tagging.

I just made my 1000th jewelry piece, a pendant. This tracker includes earrings, bracelets, keychains, collar necklaces and pendants created since September 2012.

It’s this musical pendant that reminds my mom of a baby grand piano.

For those counting, my angels, frosties and other ornaments are currently at 469 and I started making them in 2013.

Druzy Angel is the latest in that collection.

Someone will be attracted to that sparkle!

My “Swarm”, including butterflies, ladybugs and dragonflies, expanded to stake format and now also include bats and witchy books. I started these in 2016 and have made 143 to date.

Red dragonfly turned a bit evil during creation.

I also played with a 3D Dreidel. I don’t know whether my Judaica ornaments will find an audience or not, but when someone in retail asks, I create!

I did think the Beetlejuice Angel would be snatched up last month.

It may not be the right time for a snowflake angel at this time

Bucktown usually is a good venue for Chicago Flag Angels.

I might not be able to recreate this skull angel cage.

Some of my dragonflies got blinged up for the last show, but are still awaiting adoption.

I’m incorporating more beads into the ornaments, and can always add custom birthstones to any of my creations.

So many more ideas are waiting!

You can find the angels below at Sacred Art this month, while they are in stock.

I look forward to seeing you at the Holstein Park Fieldhouse this weekend!

Here’s to Marbled Angel finding a home there.