Evanston’s new Pop-up Gallery

On Thursday, a new pop-up shop will be opening its doors to the public. The Evanston Pop-up Gallery officially launches at 11 AM to showcase the art work of 50+ artists.

I snapped a photo of the application email when I walked by in June, and was promptly invited to see the space when I applied.

Having been a visitor to the former rendition of this storefront, I liked owner Steve and Sally’s vision for the space, and started scoping out the various options for my own display. 

After a few calls back and forth, we agreed to a pair of shelves by a mirror and I scoped out the dimensions some more.

It is always exciting to see something new take space. 

Maybe that’s why decorating shows are so popular, because we see spaces transform into something new.

I sat down at my bench and made some new earrings for summer.

Then I picked out the pieces I wanted to bring in and made the inventory sheet for it. The sheet was sent off so Sally would have time to add the inventory to the system.

After peeking in to see how lusciously other displays were coming together on Saturday, I decided to visit Michael’s and HomeGoods to scope out new shelf decorations.

HomeGoods inspired the look, and found the right pieces to complement each other.

I did some staging at home to ensure the dimensions would work.

On Monday I returned to Sherman Avenue. Steve put up my rented shelves and I started putting my display together.

Then the barcode stickers were printed and I cut them to size to fit my tags for the next 2 hours.

Then I heard a familiar voice, and Margarita and her mom popped in to plan out their space for Golden Sapphire bath bombs, soaps and other delicious materials to keep people and pets clean. Their natural and handcrafted bath and skincare products are safe for the environment, children, pets, and the rest of your family. All materials are recycled, and they use natural ingredients. I looove the bath bombs.

We are also partners at Hip Circle Empowerment Center’s Women-Powered Retail Zone so it will be fun to collaborate on this space as well. We decided to have fun in the selfie booth.

Angel also christened the selfie booth, and then Steve jumped in on the fun.

I also learned that Elektra and her husband will bring in their lampwork glass. Everlasting Fire Studio will bring in their beautiful  wine glasses, marbles and paperweights, and some pendants. I use their vases for my trunk shows.

The shelves were soon arranged, and I really like the look. It’s fun to see how a vision comes together in actuality.

I am super excited to see how the rest of the spaces come together.

There is already a lot of great art to see.

The pop-up gallery opens 11 am to 7 pm on Thursday at 1627 Sherman Avenue Evanston.

Then on Monday, the Mayor and Alderman will be present for a 4 pm ribbon cutting.

Check Facebook for updates, special events and hours

Here’s to a successful new boutique!

A family angel collaboration

Recently a friend asked me about various angel options, and when she mentioned having her children draw something, I couldn’t wait to start on this project.

I gave my friend my angel paper to use (handmade scraps and teabags), and the family sat down to decorate.

I received two drawings for the body, and two quotes for wings.

The young girl who drew the family had a preference over which picture to use, so that gave me the dimensions of my angel.

This body would be much bigger than my jig setup, but I started with the template anyway.

Then I resized the circle to fit the size of the family picture.

I also fit the wings around the quotes I had been given, and soon a wire angel emerged. Because the young girl had drawn a heart, I knew that would be the angel bodice embellishment.

Then I waxed the paper in encaustic medium on my skillet.

Safety is key, and I always wear my mask when the encaustic is hot.

I couldn’t let the extra art go to waste, so I made a bonus pendant as well.

Because the mom loves purple, I added a dash of purple encaustic paint to the wire.

I fit the wings so the quotes would be legible.

Dashes of color.

Then I fused the paper to the wings, the body, and added a head.

Exacto knives are my friends in the trimming process.

It is always fun to see the translucent effect the wax adds to the paper.

I hope the Su family enjoys these two mementos marking a transition in their lives. This is a fun way to memorialize chapters in family life, and I could see this as a family ornament tradition.

Let me know if you need a custom piece that incorporates a quote, a drawing, or vintage heirlooms wrapped in wire. I am always happy to collaborate on special pieces to reflect the owner of a handmade creation.

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.

 

 

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

Testing Critters for Outside Use

As my critter plant stakes gain popularity, the question of how they hold up outside is asked. So in April I put together a dragonfly that has a variety of materials waxed in for testing.

I have some alcohol inks that are designed for metal and others that are not, so I painted parts of the dragonfly with various colors. I also tried colored wax, and left some parts ‘bare’.

Then I hung it outside to brave the elements. I used various types of gift tissue paper, a colored teabag and a scrap of cotton fabric to test.

That evening while I was at a pop-up we had a rainstorm, and I got to peek at the dragonfly when I returned.

The droplets just hung out on the waxed paper.

But the next morning you could see rusty spots.

I don’t mind that patina, but some people might.

Another rainstorm happened in daytime, and I checked out the dragonfly again.

I noticed the rainbow markers were runny, and I observed additional rusty spots.

So I purchased permanent markers for additional research. How cool is it that my business expense is rainbow markers?

I colored a new teabag for testing (original markers, rained out markers, permanent markers below).

I also decided to replace one piece of tissue with a handmade paper scrap to see how that holds up. Then I touched up rusty spots with colored wax to see how that holds up for the purists.

For now, rainstorms don’t bother the dragonfly structurally, and the paper/fabric remained attached.

I am curious what hot summer temperatures will bring, but my guess is that as long as the dragonfly just hangs out and doesn’t get handled in the heat, the paper or fabric will hold up fine.

Soon I will be checking some fabric versions of a ladybug too, since I have a second hook on my porch. Dragonfly 2.0 is awaiting the next rainshower. 

Unfortunately my web shop is undergoing repair right now, so you don’t see the full catalogue of my pieces there. You can check out the Hip Circle Empowerment Center, Sacred Art, ReVive Consignment and the Evanston Art Center Pop-up Shop for select pieces at retail shops.

I can also make custom designs of course, just pop me a message and peruse my Facebook page for samples.

Sacred Art Pop Up Saturday

Part of the fun of being a maker is discovering all the boutiques that support artisans in Chicago. Last November Sacred Art had my Angels in the shop, and in late May I took some pendants and plant stakes there.

On Saturday, June 10 from 11 am to 3 pm I will have a Pop Up Shop at Sacred Art Chicago.  I love this specially curated gift shop of local art.

Sacred Art is an art gallery and gift boutique located in Chicago’s charming Lincoln Square neighborhood. This lovely area along 4619 N Lincoln Avenue is filled with small businesses and lovely places to eat, drink and be merry.

Owner Kate Merena features new artists every month. Last month we popped in to peruse the new origami collection that Prairie Kate had brought in.

My friend Chai, with whom I hung out in April, also has lovely art work on display.

I made a special Chicago Flag Ladybug stake for the store.

The collection I dropped off includes these pendants.

Since Kate also teaches meditation workshops at various satellite locations, I felt the Kyanite stone is particularly appropriate for her store, so I left this Kyanite Square with her.

I will have all my wares at Sacred Art on Saturday and look forward to meeting new people from the neighborhood. Founded in 2006, Sacred Art has more than a decade of experience connecting makers and clients, with an eye for quality and style and a focus on community. Owner Kate Merena’s goal is twofold: to support independent artists in the Chicago area and beyond, and to provide you with an inviting environment in which to browse and buy original artwork.

Sacred Art’s hours are Monday: closed or by appointment, Tuesday – Friday: noon – 7pm, Saturday – Sunday: 11am – 6pm. Metered street parking is available and there are two metered parking lots nearby. The shop is steps from the CTA Brown Line Western Avenue stop. You can also take the 49 Western bus to Wilson Ave stop, the 50 Damen bus to Eastwood/Brown Line stop, and 81 Lawrence bus to Western Ave stop. I also spotted some bike racks along the street.

Lincoln Square also has lovely eateries and drinkeries to peruse, so grab some frozen yogurt in the cheerful shop nearby.

I’m looking forward to taking a Flirty Cupcake home.

It will be hard for me not to shop while I am hanging out at this lovely store, but I already have some uplifting art gracing my fireplace mantel. So come buy things from me so I can pay that money forward to other artisans.

Making Plant Stake Critters

I have distributed plant stakes at 3 locations this week, which means a lot of stake-making happened over the past month.

Staying focused to pick up more wire was indeed a danger zone during my hardware store trip.

Something compelled me to make stakes late last year, but then winter happened and ornament production kicked in. With spring/summer finally emerging, I decided to make more dragonflies and also play with ladybug designs.

I had to allocate enough pieces for Evanston Made, my own Pop-ups, a Sacred Art Consignment, and the new Hip Circle Empowerment Center Retail Zone.

There are popular colors, and then I keep finding scraps I want to play with, so it required some focus to get it all done. Shopping sprees also provide more fun colors.

I created a design on my Now That’s A Jig for the dragonfly. The ladybug is just two rounds and then I hand-bend the wings and the dots.

Then I cut out the patterns and place them on my palette to be waxed.

I fuse the paper layers onto the wire.

After that, I cut the paper or fabric to size.

It is easy to poke my eye out in the process, but so far so good. I also keep discovering new scratches on my arms…

Some stakes are embellished with alcohol inks, and I have one dragonfly hanging out on my porch to test all that for weather-fastness.

Rain causes a little bit of rust, and we’ll see what the sun does in terms of heat and fading.

Stakes are hard to photograph, so I need to figure out the setup for that if I load them to the shop.

Bouquets need a better backdrop as well.

I also wasn’t thrilled with the old bottles to use as a display.

So I scoped out Everlasting Fire Studio’s new glass vase designs that they debuted at a recent trunk show.

Based on my stake height they created two larger versions for me, and I love this much more than the recycled pieces.

I will still use the bottles as ‘car seats’ for my critters.

On Tuesday I dropped off my pieces at the former Hip Circle Studio.

Tonight the Hip Circle Empowerment Center makes its debut (changing Hip Circle from for-profit to not-for-profit) and the Women-Powered Retail Zone will be open for business.

I made special pieces for the occasion.

Class-goers have already admired all the gorgeous goodies by The Collage Cafe, Rita Shimelfarb, Golden Sapphire, See Jane Sparkle, Strait Jacket, Maike’s Marvels, Chai Wolfman, and Rock These Socks. We’ll be up for a month or two until the retail Zone features other woman makers, so you’d better shop during their new business hours.

The Women-Powered Retail Zone is open: 3 to 6 pm Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday,  1 to 4 pm Fridays, 15 minutes before & after all classes/workshops, and during the Custer Fair June 17 & 18. Here’s to my creatures flying off to new homes.

I also tagged a bunch for the Evanston Made pop-up shop at the Evanston Art Center, which opens tomorrow evening to the public.

All that spread-sheeting and number tracking has me looking forward to making more fabric versions next.

Nasty Women of Evanston

The Nasty Women Exhibits are making their rounds, and Evanston is participating this week. On June 3, the women of Evanston will present their artistic take on the political climate.  Through art we can raise awareness, raise money, raise our voices and raise hell!

Nasty Women Evanston is inspired by the Nasty Women Exhibition in NYC and the growing number of sister shows all over the world supporting women’s causes. On Saturday, June 3 from 6 to 9 pm this one night only special event takes place at 1100 Florence in Evanston. 100% of the profits from the sale of artwork will benefit Planned Parenthood of Illinois. All artists have donated their art work for this purpose.


Per the Nasty Women site: “While Donald Trump used the phrase “nasty woman” to belittle and disrespect Hillary Clinton in a presidential debate, millions around the world have used it as a powerful rallying cry against the current administration. We join Nasty Women and their allies in the mission to challenge increasing threats to reproductive freedom, women and minorities, the LGBTQ community, and human rights of immigrants through mobilization and artistic expression.”

While pondering my submission in March, I came across an old photo that is perfect for the challenge. When I was a reporter at The Baytown Sun the Baytown police took us to a shooting range. While that event had been in my calendar, I forgot about it that day, and wore a girly flower dress. This made for quite the juxtaposition with the dark gun belt. I kept the target for a while, but cannot find it now.

As always, I infused the background with words, in this case all the words associated with women.

Then I printed the photo and waxed the paper to give it the translucence it needed.

I fused it onto the canvas with encaustic medium. My toner had a pink hue, which was appropriate for this work, so I kept that and mimicked the toner color with Enkaustikos Rose paint. Then I needed to let the canvas sit for a while.

I thought about adding wire symbols to the canvas, but couldn’t find one I really resonated with that is also easy to recreate in a single piece of wire. There are lots of ideas percolating though.

Then a few days before the final submission deadline I decided to fiddle with the wire and see what happened. I had dreamt up a vision of the canvas being framed by a wire flower, but that wasn’t nasty enough. Instead I went with swirls and the hint of an infinity symbol, to signify the curves, well-roundedness and lifecycle energy women are associated with.

Initially the wire came out of the center of the canvas, but it didn’t quite work. So I re-jiggered the wire to come out of the gun, and this pleases me far more. So come and see the final work in person while it is up on the wall (buyers leave with their pieces). The show is Saturday from 6 to 9 pm at 1100 Florence in Evanston. Street parking is easy to find, and a brand-new bike rack awaits the sporty ones enjoying Spring weather.

Planned Parenthood is one of the nation’s leading providers of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, and the nation’s largest provider of sex education. Planned Parenthood also works with partner organizations worldwide to improve the sexual health and well-being of individuals and families everywhere.

  • 75% of its patients are Medicaid recipients who depend on preventive healthcare services.
  • Planned Parenthood provides more than 270,000 Pap tests & more than 360,000 breast exams in a single year.
  • Planned Parenthood provides more than 4.2 million tests & treatments for sexually transmitted infections, including more than 650,000 HIV tests.
  • ONLY three percent of all Planned Parenthood health services are abortion services, and these are not funded by the government.

Agápē Commission

When I started adding wire to my encaustic collages, a friend asked me to make a piece for her. She bartered for massage services, which I couldn’t refuse!

So her Agape piece has been marinating in my head for a while. I started by writing good words on the cradled board and then layered encaustic paint representing water and greenery for her.

I received a partial anatomy book from a friend that had hands and hips, which were quite appropriate for this lady. I also gathered other snippets of words and images that would fit her profession and personality.

Agape (Ancient Greek ἀγάπη, agápē) is a Greco-Christian term referring to “love: the highest form of love, charity”, and “the love of God for man and of man for God”. Per wikipedia, “agape embraces a universal, unconditional love that transcends, that serves regardless of circumstances. The noun form first occurs in the Septuagint, but the verb form goes as far back as Homer, translated literally as affection, as in ‘greet with affection’ and ‘show affection for the dead’.”

Since the words would be obscured, I also made a small stab-stitch journal for my friend to allow her to read the content of the collage.

It was fun to play in a different artistic arena for an afternoon.

Then I wrangled the word ‘agape’ out of wire.

I embedded the steel into the wax layer, which is harder than it seems. The metal heats up while the wood stays the same, and it is a challenge to get continuous pieces of wire to stay on the board as they cool.

After that, I forgot I had not yet added hardware to the back, so making sure I wouldn’t make the steel bounce off the front was interesting, but the challenge was mastered.

Last week I sent this piece on to its journey to a new state, where it will reside in Rebecca’s new office.

If you’re in Louisville, Kentucky and need a massage therapist, check out Rebecca!

She truly has healing hands.

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.