Anticipating ThinkStartDo

Next week a fabulous entrepreneurial idol is coming to town and I will get some continuing education in.

Maike's Marvels meets Princess Lasertron at the Creative Connection Event

Megan Hunt is a serial entrepreneur I discovered in an issue of Where Women Create, and since then I have followed her various adventures from Princess Lasertron to Hello Holiday to AirBnB hosting and her various speaking events.

On Thursday and Friday I will listen to her and numerous other women business owners about maximizing business ventures. ThinkStartDo was founded by Stefanie Monge, an international yoga and mindfulness teacher and serial entrepreneur, to help established and aspiring female entrepreneurs from around the world to learn, collaborate and grow. ThinkStartDo is designed to promote meaningful connections and collaboration while providing tangible resources and support to entrepreneurial women.

ThinkStartDo Conference

Chicago was picked because it was recently named Best City in the World for Female Entrepreneurs (Global Startup Ecosystem Ranking 2015). On Thursday, registrants can join a traveling happy hour in Wicker Park from 5 – 9 pm, followed by the ThinkStartDo Opening Reception sponsored by the Tech Pilot Fund. The learning begins on April 8 with 2 panel discussions, 9 speakers, meals, and a party to round out the day at Jackson Junge Gallery, 1389 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago, IL, 60622.

The speakers include female founders, media personalities, authors, serial entrepreneurs, consultants and innovators from Chicago and beyond. They’ll share personal stories and provide inside tips for success related to topics including: mindfulness and productivity, social media marketing, blogging, optimizing happiness, building a business that fits your lifestyle, startup strategies, attracting investors, and opportunities in tech.


But the conference doesn’t end there. To maintain momentum after the event, ThinkStartDo will offer conference-goers tangible resources stay on track to achieving goals after the event ends. Conference registration includes access to the ThinkStartDo online community, peer mentoring, accountability groups, one year of free web hosting, plus additional resources. Registration ends on April 5 and you can get a 50% attendance discount via this link. ThinkStartDo is limited to 150 participants to maintain an intimate feel and help spark collaboration.


Attending provides the following benefits:

  1. Free resources – Your registration comes with additional resources to help you succeed after the conference ends, including one year of free web hosting from ThinkStartDo Sponsor A2 Hosting.
  2. Learn from others’ experience – You’ll get the chance to connect with entrepreneurs at all stages in their journey as a business owner who can share their experience.
  3. Mingle with investors – You’ll get to meet potential investors and learn from entrepreneurs who’ve successfully raised startup funds.
  4. Be a peer mentor – You’ll have the opportunity to become a peer mentor to other women in the ThinkStartDo network.
  5. Accountability groups – You’ll have access to accountability groups full of other goal-oriented entrepreneurs to help you stay on track.
  6. The speakers are great – You’ll hear from more than a dozen self-made entrepreneurs who can share their tips for overcoming obstacles and thriving in business and life.
  7. Wicker Park is awesome – You’ll get to explore one of the most vibrant and artistic neighborhoods in Chicago – if not the entire U.S.
  8. You can expense it – Be sure to keep your receipts!
  9. You get an instant support group – You’ll become a member of an international community of female entrepreneurs and allies to help support your success.
  10. Fun parties – Along with the conference you’ll get the chance to network and socialize at two happy hour events, an opening and closing party.

Get your ThinkStartDo Conference Passes here.

(ThinkStartDo photos courtesy Stefanie Monge, and the Joy*filled journey deck card is from The Collage Cafe)

A lovely local pop-up

Art & Wine Night at Creative Coworking is always a fun event, but even more exciting when you’re an exhibitor.


On March 18 numerous Evanstonians perused the artful mixed media collages of Melanie Deal.


They also chatted under my encaustic and steel wire works on the opposite wall.


I also popped up with my jewelry, which was well-received by many.


A pair of angels flew to new homes.


There was much conversation and perusing of art.


Wine and nibbles were served and the evening was videographed by Creative Coworking interns.

Photo by Abby Powers for Creative Coworking

I observed my pieces in profile.


I was thrilled to see my friends pop in and out.

Photo by Abby Powers for Creative Coworking

You can enjoy pie by Pyrite Sun, get massages from Rebecca and Journal with Maggie.

Photo by Lauren Levato Coyne of Sidetracked Studio

A few pendants, earrings and a keychain got adopted.


Check out Creative Coworking’s upcoming events here.

Photo by Abby Powers for Creative Coworking

Thank you Angela for hosting me!

Photo by Abby Powers for Creative Coworking

I’m still sorting out details for my next pop-up.

Love at CC
Photo by Abby Powers for Creative Coworking

In Evanston you can find my pieces at The Collage Cafe and See Jane Sparkle (the latter has a soiree Thursday you’ll see me at).


I was gifted a rainbow of macarons from Bennison’s Bakery too!


The show is up through the end of the month, and then a new artist will rotate in.


So swing by between 9 am and 4 pm on weekdays at 922 Davis Street.

Photo by Abby Powers for Creative Coworking

Jigging a Daisy

In 2011 I learned to make wrangled bangles with Brenda Schweder.


Little did I know that intro to wire class would lead to a whole new career!


Wrangled Bangle by Brenda Schweder in 2011

At the time I considered myself a paper collage artist, and encaustics were just beginning to show up on my radar.


The bangles workshop was just to pass the time at the Creative Connection Event, but I did like the results.


Fast forward a few years and I am now the owner of Brenda’s Now That’s a Jig!


I added a round peg combo pack to my order so I could use the Jig for my Frosties.


Then as I was fooling around with a daisy I realized that might be a jiggable item as well.


So I laid the hand-wrangled version on the jig and started spacing out pegs. Then the bending began.


2 petals formed.


And then I kept looping around the pegs and created a replica of the daisy.


The center wasn’t stable, so I wrapped more wire around it to secure the shape. I bent the petals for dimension and adhered the wire to the encaustic substrate with a mini-iron.


Then I had to conduct an overnight hang test to make sure the wire would stay on.


Now you can see this piece at Creative Coworking through the end of the month.


I’m looking forward to taking Brenda’s Now That’s a Pliers! Class at the Bead & Button Show.


Collaborate Project by Brenda Schweder in 2014

Her creations are so inspiring!


Steel wire jewelry by Brenda Schweder in 2011

Celebrating Life

Last week was quite celebratory with Pie Day kicking off the week, celebrating Irish lore on Thursday, and then opening my show on Friday.


Monday started with Pie Day, and a CRAVE event offered perfect healthy pie by Pyrite Sun.


We chatted about big dreams in growing our businesses at Creative Coworking and savored every bite of the pies.


The Myer lemon and Matzo powder hand pie was just right for angel.


I thought the grapefruit with black rice and berry was hard to beat.


But then the Rum Raisin pie proved me wrong. Cultivate’s art openings tend to be catered by Pyrite Sun, so come on by and savor the deliciousness for yourself.


On Thursday the celebrating continued with Green Prosecco at The Wine Goddess for St. Patrick’s Day.


We admired the lovely chandelier from Little Light Bazaar.


I brought a green angel along who loved all the Irish fashion.


Then we moved on to our Hip Circle Fitness Party, where more socks can be rocked.


We earn the party by attending 5 classes in a month, and this month we celebrated with the card game Pie Gow.


For St. Patrick’s Day the drink had to be green, so minty Moscow Mules were served.


It was a lovely way to unwind before gearing up for my opening night. Here’s to celebrating every day.

Hanging my Show

It’s been a fun few months preparing for Friday’s Show Opening.


After creating all the substrates and bending the shapes to go on top of the pieces I had to attach the hanging hardware before fusing everything together.


Then I fused the wire to the encaustic backgrounds and did the hanging test to make sure the shapes would stay put.


Meanwhile, Downtown Evanston promoted the show in their newsletter, right above Ayla’s Bead’s upcoming event.


Next came the challenge of transporting dimensional art to its destination.


My bouncy heart of Communicating Love had to ride shotgun so I could keep the springiness at bay.


Then came the daunting task of filling up a giant wall.


I have hung art, but I have never hung an actual show before, and having a vision for how to hang it is much different when faced with the blank wall in actuality.


But I hammered in nails, and eyeballed the spacing as I went.


I learned a new vocabulary word, hexaptych, in time to describe the 6 piece grid I made.


I like how the angles are reflected in Melanie Deal’s mixed media collages as well.


This one might be my favorite, but I haven’t looked too closely at the other ones yet.


Such fun details!


To bookend Communicating Love I added triple heart collages next to the re-wired Piano Scrolls Diptych.


Tomorrow I’ll also be popping up with my Jewelry pieces for one night only.


The art show remains on display through the end of the month.


So come on out to 922 Davis Street for some wine, good company, and colorful art from 5 pm to 8 pm. Creative Coworking is a fabulous space to peruse.


I think we complement each other well.


Here’s hoping for a good turnout tomorrow!


Finishing collages for my show

My encaustic wire collages are all finished and the March show is hung!


It’s been fun to explore what to make and how and when.


Some substrates lingered while I tried out various ideas and rejected them, and other pieces came together in consecutive sittings.


I repurposed some older pieces into different looks. Adding wire and changing colors gives a whole new perspective. The beauty of encaustic is that you can keep fusing layers on older paint.


While I understand the premise that one must create every day, sometimes you cannot force where you want a piece to go and have to wait for inspiration to strike.


It’s a balancing act to live the artists’ life and take advice about what that life should look like.


I think the key is having discipline, knowing how your personality works, and being realistic about other demands on time.


Pushing too hard to make art can lead to burnout, but not going into the studio regularly will make for a lesser artist.


I find myself missing studio time if I let other things interfere with my rhythm.


It is easy to get absorbed in schedules and obligations, but ultimately the passion that calls you to make art will also force you to do it, or you won’t be as happy.


When my wire won’t bend the way I want it to or the heat gun seems to have a mind of its own and the wax won’t cooperate, I just putter around for a bit and think about what I want to make.


Filling the Creative Coworking wall was a challenge, and I do feel like I should have made more and bigger pieces, but I couldn’t push myself too hard with other things going on in life.


I hope you come by on Friday to take a peek. Melanie Deal’s collages are really cool and I look forward to scrutinizing them more.


Creative Coworking is located at 922 Davis Street in Evanston.

Hello, Lake!

It’s still wire bending time in the studio, but I did have a chance to stroll by the lake during two balmy weekends.


Yesterday’s snow flurries remind us it is still winter, but for a moment Spring was real!


At least the queen’s crown is melting off.


Within a week the tree  trimmers came by.


Soon the trees will be green.

Clark Square

Loving the blue skies.


Harbingers of spring give me warm fuzzies.


Here’s to a speedy melt of yesterday’s blanket.


Walking in nature is so important for balance, but it has to be warm enough to do so.