Plant Stakes for the Trunk Show

Last summer I made a dragonfly stake on a whim and it was well-received. This year I took the production level up a notch and added ladybug stakes to the collection. I distributed them at my various boutique outlets, and they steadily fly off to new homes. A post on Facebook prompted Ayla’s Originals to coordinate a trunk show with me.

So for Ayla’s Trunk Show this coming weekend, August 12 and 13, I am replenishing the batch. The traditional ladybugs go fastest, so red was on the brain this week.

Meanwhile, the jig I had set up for the Morpho application needed to be dismantled. However, I was inspired to create a stake form that setup before making the change.

I had also just made two mini-books, and that book setup led me to make two bookish stakes.

Then I changed the jig to my custom-created dragonfly template, and started bending wire into the popular dragonfly stakes. When my fingertips were sore I closed the studio for the evening.

The next morning I fired up the griddle and my irons, and started laying out the outfits for each critter. I hand-stamped lime green paper and interfacing fabric to reflect the writings of a book. Then I painstakingly added each page, which takes a lot of aligning, adjusting, cutting and realigning.

The books are my most time-consuming piece at this stage, followed by the dragonflies and their waxing intricacies.

I hand-colored interfacing with rainbow stripes (in permanent marker) for the ever-popular rainbow dragonfly.

One ladybug was begging for polka-dotted fabric, and the other two were given red tissue paper.

Storm clouds were brewing, so I also used that tissue paper and another fabric scrap for a test ladybug ornament, which I swiftly hung outside.

Soon the buckets came down and even splattered onto the deck.

Nonetheless, I stepped out in the rain to see how my own two creatures were faring. Rain was bouncing off the dragonfly.  The ladybug was shielded from the onslaught, but soon the angle changed and it too started getting wet.

After the storm, both ornaments were wet, but undamaged.

Upon closer inspection you can see spots of rust in the dragonfly, which has accumulated since I hung it in April.

But overall the droplets just hang out on the wax until they evaporate, and the fabric and tissue strips remain intact.

I waxed my new creations. The whimsical oval piece was fun to design.

Then I photographed them as the light and angle allowed.

Stakes are harder to take pictures of than my other pieces. They don’t lay flat like regular ornaments, and getting all the angles in a photogenic way is challenging.

The Everlasting Fire Studio vases showcase each one well, though.

I really like the bookish ones, which will be a whole other outdoor test run. As ornaments, these books are more fragile than my other pieces. So for now I’d recommend them indoors only.

Good thing I have a volunteer with an outdoor plant I can send one of these off to.

My fireplace mantel is also a bit crowded, so I played with one corner for now, which isn’t ideal.

I will need to work on a light box setup to block out the windowsill.

Meanwhile, they look pretty as a bouquet and by themselves, and make me happy.

Since I will be showing at a bead store next, I also wanted to play with some bling on a stake.

The organic creation received 3 led crystals, which I know will hold up outside.

I plan on asking Ayla what else is suitable for outdoor sun catchers when I set up my trunk show this weekend.

The new creations will have their own table at the Ayla’s Originals Trunk show. I will also bring my jewelry and angels of course. 

Ayla’s Originals Store is located at 1511 Sherman Avenue in Evanston. I will be there Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm and Sunday from 12 to 5 pm. Then all unsold pieces go home with me again.

There are lots of fun shops and eateries around 1511 Sherman. Be sure to take a selfie with Wonder Woman at the Other Brother Coffeehouse!

Trunk Show at Ayla’s this weekend

Whew, I thought 2 weeks between shows is a long time, but there is still a lot to be done by Saturday.

When I went to the Bead & Button show in June I stopped by Ayla’s booth first, and was promptly stickered by Joe.

At that time, we made plans for a trunk show, and August 12 & 13 felt so far away. I optimistically purchased some large hole pearls for the occasion. Fast forward one eventful month and I am wrangling wire like crazy, with idea after idea piling into my brain.

My aim is to make sure I am using beads sourced via Ayla, so I went through my inventory list, and I’ve attended quite a few of Ayla’s bead shows over the years, along with visits to the store itself with friends.

I compared the inventory dates to my visual archives (photos snapped after each shopping spree) and set those beads aside in my jewelers bench.

Soon I had ideas and matched papers to my designs.

The last batch came from Kina’s Trunk Show, and I started with those first.

I was pleasantly surprised that the vintage beads I bought from Ayla actually fit the 16 gauge wire, and had fun stringing those.

I waxed the pieces, with the cage versions being a bit more challenging than the others. The etched jade also fit the thicker wire, and I am glad my friend and I shared this strand last summer.

Ayla’s store has many beads that can be strung directly onto the steel wire for a swinging bead effect. David Christensen creates a gorgeous array of glass beads that I have had in my collection for a while. This pendant will get some matching earrings too, though whether that happens by Saturday is still a question mark.

Ayla’s Originals offers freshwater pearls, Czech glass, Swarovski crystals, antique trade beads and gemstones from all over the world. If you see something you love in the store this weekend, I am happy to design a piece if you aren’t interested in creating your own.

In 2016, Ayla’s Originals received an official proclamation from Evanston’s Mayor for the 20th anniversary in Evanston. The store’s history is longer though.

Two decades ago, Ayla was a Director of Human Resources in corporate America. She frequented a bead store to take her mind off her waning passion in the work she was doing.

After a few workshops, Ayla began designing her own jewelry. The bead store owner was retiring, putting Ayla in a position to take over the store’s lease after resigning from her job.

The Ayla’s Own jewelry line was soon featured in the Art Institute of Chicago and Field Museum Gift Shops and well publicized. In 1998 Ayla’s Originals moved to Sherman Avenue in Evanston.

The store offers classes, private lessons, and private party options. The store offers a wide array of You Are Beautiful merchandise as well.

You can get a bingo card for special discounts on future purchases. Ayla and her husband, photographer Joe Pizzo, reside in Evanston.

Ayla’s Originals Store is located at 1511 Sherman Avenue in Evanston. Hours are: T,W, F: 10 am to 6 pm; Th: 10 am to 7 pm; Sat. 10 am to 5 pm; Sun 12 to 5 pm. Closed Mondays.

I will also be bringing my stakes, which are getting additional siblings this week.

There is so much more to make!

Final Evanston Made Sip ‘n Shop

June has flown by, and this is the final week to see all the Evanston Made art on display at the Evanston Art Center. As of July 1, all this lovely art will be off to new owners or back to artists’ studios. To celebrate the success of this annual event, Evanston Made is hosting a Sip ’n Shop party on Thursday, June 29 from 5 pm to 8 pm.

Enjoy a night of cocktails, nibbles and shopping at the Evanston Made Pop Up Shop at the Evanston Art Center, located at 1717 Central Street. It’s your last night to purchase locally created goods by the creatives of Evanston.

You can peruse ceramics that are decorative and functional, fiber arts you can wear, carry with you, or hang on the wall. Handmade Jewelry is abundant and offers something for everyone.

Gorgeous leather goods include bags and keychains. Prints, postcards, stickers and books offer affordable art that makes a statement. I especially love the mixed media vignettes.

You can also take in the full exhibit on the main floor one more time. I love all the vibrant art that showcases the variety of artisan skills Evanstonians have.

The event is free and open to the public. Though we hope you invest in some of your local artists, of course…

The night before, Wednesday, June 28 I will finally make my way to the Five and Dime for the Evanston Made Closing party. Dan Kelch of Lulu’s, Five & Dime and Taco Diablo is throwing a party to say “Thank you” to everyone who participated in Evanston Made!

There will be food and drink from 6 pm to 9 pm at 1026 Davis Street in Evanston. We’ll celebrate the volunteers who made this event happen.

I’ve never been to the Five & Dime but have great things about it, so I am looking forward to this excursion in my home town. If you cannot make it to either, be sure to follow the artists below for upcoming events. Their art is so lovely and I have been honored to be in such good company this month.

 

 

Sacred Art Trunk Show

Summer is here, and with it come leisurely strolls around neighborhoods to peruse art and beauty.  On June 10 I visited the bustling Lincoln Square Neighborhood for a Meet & Greet at Sacred Art.

I set up my wares in a lovely nook, and met wonderful customers.

Sacred Art hosts handmade creations by more than 100 artists. There are numerous gift items to cheer up friends, adorn your home and or a human with, or to use in your every day life.

Chicago lovers have a plethora of unique gifts to choose from as an alternative to mass-manufactured tourist tchotchkes.

The store is also a wonderful inspiration for decoration ideas.

I had a lovely afternoon absorbing the Lincoln Square vibe and seeing pieces adopted.


Sacred Art is located at 4619 N Lincoln Avenue in Chicago and still has a selection of my pendants and pant stakes available.

Check out upcoming Sacred Art events on their Facebook page.


Evanston Made 2017 Tour

For 4 years in a row, Evanston Made has been held the first weekend of June.


Evanston-based artists open their private studios for one day only, so the public can see where they create. In addition, local businesses partner with artists to display their work all month long (if not on a more long-term basis, like Stumble & Relish).


The Evanston Art Center also hosts a pop-up shop, designed by Anomaly Productions, which features functional art by local artists, including me.


I have some of my swarm and angels in the shop this month, and helped with setting up other merchandise on June 1.


It was fun to peruse the other beautiful creations in the store, and help place them in the display Amy Amoroso had set up.


The art work includes assemblage vignettes, prints, booklets, keychains, leather bags, fiber fashion for kids and adults, ceramics, home decor, spark syrup, greeting cards, and jewelry.


My swarm had a whole new arrangement I would not have thought up myself.


On June 2, we had the Evanston Made opening party, and customers began perusing the store.


The Art Center’s Evanston Made Exhibit features numerous Evanston Artists with one piece each.


The art work is very vibrant this year.


Spark Syrup offered samplings in addition to the bar and nibbles.


3-D art is also welcomed.


Numerous people showed up to peruse the art work and support their artist friends.


Pantsuit Nation by Melanie Deal, which has a red dot, is one of my favorite pieces in the show.


Ben Blount’s framed print is already claimed, but you can pick up unframed prints in the pop-up shop.


Jason Brown had created location-specific installation art for the exhibit.


My Daisy Dots Constellation is on view as well.


I enjoyed the fabulous response on opening night, and loved watching people peruse all the items in the store.


Artists attend the pop-up on a rotating basis during Evanston Art Center’s Business Hours until June 30.


Meanwhile, the exhibit gave a sneak peek at the types of art to be featured during the Saturday Artist Tour.


One Dragonfly fluttered off to be gifted.


Spearheaded by Lisa Degliatoni, participating venues are plotted on a map by IDG, so Evanston residents can stroll their neighborhoods and get to know their creative neighbors.


I visited my friends Lauren and Rory Coyne first. With Rory’s venture into Coyne leather, the layout of their home studio had changed quite a bit.


Then I visited Ben Blount, who helped people create prints onsite.


A staged home became an artist coop showcase, with the dining room featuring Ellen Greene.


FUSEDChicago member Katsy Johnson was also represented.


Because of the tight schedule, I drove to the various clusters of artist studios. On Sherman, Platform had a wonderful new installation.


Then I visited Jason Brown and Yadi in a garage near her living quarters.


Then I needed lunch, which I got at Curt’s Cafe, which also has rotating exhibit, and is helping young ladies learn skills in the food industry to get their careers going.


Lea Pinsky and Dustin Harris showcased the murals they create in Chicagoland. Their work is on Church Street in Evanston, and they are assisting the Main-Dempster Mile in more beautification.


Then I headed over to Florence to peruse the vibrant artists street there, and discovered the Rembrandt Chamber Musicians, where singer Josefien Stoppelenburg had her music-themed paintings.


Ausrine’s Art Room is full of beauty.


I love doll houses so much, and Mill Creek Miniatures keeps making new ones.


I ended at 1100 Florence to observe the wonderful Nasty Women Fundraiser frenzy that evening.


You can peruse additional Evanston Made photos on my Facebook page. The Pop-up shop and the exhibit at Evanston Art Center are up through June 30.


Keep on supporting local art!

Creativity at Creative Coworking

My last pop-up in May was a set-up for Evanston Made Month at Creative Coworking.

The May-June Art & Wine Night featured macro photography art by Ross Martens and vibrant paintings by Laura Engel.

I set up a booth in a conference room, complemented by artwork created by Greg Palmer.

As usual, art appreciators came to converse about the work.

Laura showed off one of my favorite pendants, which she bought before the reception began. 🙂

Who doesn’t love rainbow druzy?

I chatted with wonderful Evanstonians throughout the evening.

It was fun to try out the new vases created by Everlasting Fire Studio just for me.

The Creative Coworking Art & Wine Nights always feature nibbles.

I liked the shadow games my pieces were playing.

It is always good to have extra product shots for the webshop (which is undergoing repair).

A few pieces found new homes.

And in time for pride month I was able to give Angela her rainbow safety pin commission.

It was a lovely evening, and I look forward to the next rotation of art in the front lobby.

My butterflies have moved to the third floor of Creative Coworking to make room for Virginia Kondziolka’s beautiful pieces downstairs.

This is my favorite Engel.

You can view this exhibit until the end of the month as part of Evanston Made.

People photos courtesy Creative Coworking

Art & Wine Night Pop-up

On Friday evening I’ll have an Evanston pop-up. Creative Coworking is hosting Art & Wine Night Friday, May 26th, from 5 to 8pm. This month showcases work by Laura Engel and Ross Martens.

I will have a pop-up table with my jewelry and ornaments and brand-new plant stakes in the exhibit area. Creative Coworking is located at 922 Davis Street in Evanston.

These evenings are always fun and full of new discoveries.

I also have my butterfly collages on a wall in the coworking space, and numerous other artists grace the three floors.

Ongoing exhibitions inlcude: Liz Albertson, Laura Allen-Simpson, Jerry Alt, Raissa Bailey Eirich, Ann Baker, David Bender, Michael Berns, Betty Butler, Melanie Deal, Mark DeBernardi, Michael Birnbaum, Vanessa Filley, Angela Garbot, Larry Geni, Ted Glasoe, Liberis Golfinopoulos, Heather Hancock, Jill Hejl, Chris Heisinger, Jason Kaiser, Sarah Kaiser, Bonnie Katz, Bridgette Kelling, Ian Lantz, ITALA, Edyta Legiec, Elisa Lindstrom, Patrick Linehan, Stephen Lloyd, LP Lundy, Michelle Mallin, Christine McClure, Katherine Nemanich, Kristen Neveu, Darren Oberto, Greg Palmer, Annette Patko, Brian Peterson, Ron Rutkowski, Don Seeley, Barbara Seyfried, Sorcha, Rich Sparks, Nina Ulana, Amy Woodbury, Jerry Woods, Monica Zanetti, and Benita Zarling.

Come on out and enjoy wine, nibbles, and excellent company!

You can take the CTA to Davis Street, or park nearby in Sherman Garage or on side streets. I’m sure there’s a bike rack closeby as well!

 

Fun Mother’s Day Fairs

It’s been a whirlwind of fairs the past few weeks, but all were fun. I always like exploring new Chicago neighborhoods.

On April 22 I got to know the families involved with Sauganash School. The PTA hosted a fundraiser that included a vendor fair in what is normally their cafeteria.

Soon the space was transformed for Spring shoppers.

My spot was under a tree. 🙂

I was seated next to my friend Chai Wolfman, who has lovely collage art and paintings that she also makes available for prints. Meeting her family during the day was a bonus.

I have my eye on a few of her pieces, and got a head start on Mother’s Day cards.

Soon I had admirers too, and I was happy to see my creations go to new homes.

It was fun to play with a spring-y setup for this fair, since holiday trees are a bit too early for April.

On May 6, I ventured to Independence Park, which was also new to me. I have driven on Irving Park Road a few times, but never stopped to explore the area.

I unloaded my bags in the gym and set to transforming my table.

The Field House was quickly transformed from Gymnasium to art fair, with amazing new-to-me artisans.

Angel was partial to these twig creations.

Receptables made from pine needles and raffia caught my eye.

These glass boxes have so much scope for the imagination.

A young girl sold tic tac toe sets with different designs.

I enjoyed being next to a doll boutique that was perused carefully.

My dragonflies and ladybugs and butterflies were admired.

It was fun to imagine swinging from the ceiling.

Soon I had admirers, and a few pieces wandered away with kindred spirits.

I enjoyed admiring the craftmanship of old building construction.

These pieces were raffled off with positive feedback from the recipients.

Before long, this booth was packed up as well.

Let me know if there are indoor art fairs in your community I should know about. I always like learning of new organizations that support the handmade community, and enjoy exploring Chicagoland that way.

Mother’s Day Gift Market

I love honoring the nurturers in my life, and I have another Mother’s Day shopping pop-up this week. On Wednesday, May 10 from 4 to 8 p.m. I will have a table at the Mother’s Day Gift Market hosted by Ravenswood Covenant Church.

The Mother’s Day Gift Market features fresh flowers and plants from Patyk Farms, green beauty products, and goods from local artists. It also features fresh new pieces by me.

I will be joining these fabulous vendors:

Bring the kids to create a personalized message for mom with a “Why I Love Mom” photo backdrop. Our friends at Ravenswood Covenant Church will also be running a craft table with activities for children.

The Mother’s Day Gift Market will be held indoors at 4900 N Damen Avenue in Chicago from 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm. Ravenswood Farmers Market is a joint effort of Ravenswood Covenant Church, Ravenswood Community Council and Greater Ravenswood Chamber of Commerce.

Check out the new creations I made last week to gift to your favorite maternal figure. I decided not to get too attached to the beads I had bought at last week’s expo, so after counting them I already had ideas.

Pink is always a fun color and perfect for spring, so I started stringing the square marble beads into new pieces.

I knew this would be a jewelry set right away, and the bangles called for the longest stringing.

The teardrop pendant has fewer beads.

Soon the set materialized.

I hope someone enjoys this combination!

Fine Craft Fair at Independence Park

May is here already, which means getting ready for my pre-Mother’s Day pop-up. From noon to 4 pm on Saturday, May 6 I’ll be part of the 10th Annual Pre-Mother’s Day Fine Craft Fair. Sponsored by Greater Independence Park Neighborhood Association (GIPNA), the fair will be held at the Independence Park Fieldhouse, 3945 N. Springfield Ave., Chicago, 60618. Free parking is available in the lots north and south of the fieldhouse. #82 Irving Park Road bus stops at Springfield Ave.

The fair will showcase more than 30 artisans offering everything from handmade jewelry to recycled hardware, knit garments, miniature rustic twig furniture, ceramics, stained glass objects, baby clothes, pine needle baskets, greeting cards from recycled materials, totebags, sketchbooks, wallets and more. I’ll bring my new dragonflies to bring in spring. The plant  stakes are already getting a good response.

The Greater Independence Park Neighborhood Association (GIPNA) is a group of civic-minded individuals who believe a unified community that faces modern challenges can affect real, lasting change. GIPNA is dedicated to maintaining and enhancing the quality of life in the Independence Park community by involving, informing, and encouraging people to participate in matters relating to the community, and by protecting the historical, social, cultural, and architectural character of the neighborhood.

The Independence Park neighborhood began in 1869, when New York investors bought land between the current Irving Park Road and Kennedy Expressway. These developers made an agreement with the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad to build a train station if the trains would stop, resulting in the new city of Irving Park. In 1889 Chicago annexed the Irving Park community, adding new electric trolleys and new rail cars, attracting more residents of varying nationalities.

On Sunday I attended a local bead show and picked up some lovelies that I hope to transform into jewelry by Sunday as well.

I was on a mission to find more pewter dragonflies, but of course couldn’t resist other goodies along the way.

It’s fun to count this new treasure and I look forward to revealing the new creations on Saturday.